5 ways that moving to Australia has improved our family life
5 ways that moving to Australia has improved our family life By Karen Bleakley at Tales of a Twin Mum.
In 2014, my husband, three kids and I moved from Hampshire in the UK to Queensland, Australia. It was a move we’d agonised about for years as we loved Australia, but taking our kids away from their grandparents was the most difficult thing we’ve ever done.
Almost two years on and Australia feels like home – we love it here. I’m so pleased that we had the confidence to take a risk and live a life of no regrets. Tackling such a big adventure together has shown us we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it – so much so that I’ve just launched a new business called Smart Steps to Australia to help other families make the move.
Here are just five of the ways our family life has improved since we moved to Australia:
1. We cook and eat outside all the time
I always loved having barbecues in the UK, but we only managed a handful each year because of the weather. Now we cook on our barbie at least once a week. The kids adore it and they actually eat the food rather than complaining (unlike with other meals!) I love eating big family breakfasts outside on the deck at the weekend – it sets us up for a fun day ahead, and I love that you can cook almost anything on a barbecue – pizzas are our favourite.
2. We spend a lot more time at the park
In Australia, the parks are a huge attraction, and there are so many of them! They all have a great range of activities – and many have scooter tracks which my kids adore. Lots of them have toilets and barbecue points nearby so you easily can spend a whole day there, and they’re so well maintained and clean. It’s great to let the kids run around having fun while the adults sit back and catch up. Much as I love technology and am excited that my boys are about to start learning to code at school, I know it’s just as important to disconnect and spend time outdoors. The weather here certainly makes park visits a lot more fun too.
3. Our house is bigger
Having a larger house over here has made masses of difference to our lifestyle. The kids can fit their toys in their own rooms – something we didn’t have the space for in the UK (of course, their stuff migrates around the whole house just like it did in the UK, but at least we have space to put it all back again at the end of the day!) We have two large living spaces so we don’t all have to be in the same space doing the same thing at the same time. I can be off working in my office (I lost my office when we had our third child in the UK) while the rest of the family are home doing other things. We aren’t under each other’s feet anymore and the kids have a great place to play hide and seek!
4. We go for more days out together as a family
Days out are a lot cheaper in Brisbane than they were in Hampshire. Annual passes for attractions and theme parks are also great value. This means we can pay once and make use of the pass for the rest of the year without spending any more money. Australia Zoo is our favourite – we’re already on to our second annual pass there and I can see us renewing again and again as the kids never get bored of going. We take a huge picnic, lots of drinks and snacks and it is practically a ‘free’ day out – aside from needing to buy everyone a toy in the shop on our way out (how many plastic snakes is too many?!) but because the passes tend to come with shop discounts too even that isn’t so expensive.
5. We get to explore together
Because we earn a little more over here, and because days out and eating out costs less, it means we can take more trips as a family than we could in the UK. My hubby and I love to travel and explore new places and it’s really exciting that we can have adventures together as a family and introduce our kids to some of the places we visited when we were backpacking many years ago. Last year we had holidays to the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay and Moreton Island not to mention lots of day trips, and this year so far we’ve away been to Tamborine Mountain, Noosa, the Gold Coast and are planning a holiday to Fraser Island next month. I love planning little trips like this all year round – it means we always have something to look forward to.
Making the decision to move across the world was huge for us. It’s not right for everyone, but we’ve got our dream lifestyle here and the kids are thriving. We miss family but it just gives them an excuse to come out for a holiday!
Karen writes a family, travel and lifestyle blog at Tales of a Twin Mum. She’s just written a book aimed at families expecting twins or more and is about to launch her new migration business too. You can follow Karen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.