Tips for Relocating Back to Sydney
July 14, 2014 12:56 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I left Sydney 3 years ago as newlyweds, and we will soon be returning with 2 young children (currently 2 years and 1 month old). When we left we had family and friends there, now they have all pretty much departed. I'm looking for any relocation tips in general, but in particular around temporary accommodation for when we arrive, buying a house worth of furniture, transport and other logistical things.

First on the list is where to stay when we first arrive. We have nothing in Sydney other than a small fridge and some random bits and pieces we couldn't get rid of, no house or furniture. So we will need temporary furnished accommodation, somewhat close to the CBD (maybe 15 - 20 mins by transport). I've looked at places like Fraser Suites and other serviced apartment style places, all of which are really expensive. My wife doesn't like the sound of airbnb. Any other possibilities?

Second is getting all the physical things we will need. A house full of furniture (only the baby's cot and a TV stand will be shipped back), appliances, utensils etc. Looking for quality a little bit above Ikea, though it is hard to beat Ikea for a one stop shop for all this stuff. Is there somewhere else where we could get a house worth of decent furniture in one hit?

Third, transport from the airport to wherever we end up staying. When it was just the two of us we would just use taxis. Not we have two young kids taxi's are out (as they will need booster seats etc right?). So how to get from the airport to where we stay?

Lastly, any recommendations for a company to handle the shipping of stuff back to Sydney? We were going to look at Crown.

And anything else anyone can think of. I've sorted Medicare for the kids, I think I have health insurance under control (though any advice there is welcome), I know we need to find long term accommodation and I'm familiar with how to do that (still and I assume?)

posted by Admira to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Welcome back!

1) Furnished apartments are sadly very expensive. I don't have much to offer you in this regard. Consider widening your search to a bit further out, there are cheaper furnished serviced apartments round parra, macquarie,etc.

2) Don't underrate Ikea! If you want quality "a little bit above Ikea", just buy the expensive Ikea stuff (imho, that mid-range Ikea stuff is where the best savings are to be had there). The quality is way, way better than Freedom, for example. And derivatives like Fantastic Furniture are not even worth mentioning. Go and check Ikea, before you rule it out, I think you will be pleased. I presume you want new furniture? If you need shit for baby, I implore you to check out and buy second hand. Soooooo many people are getting rid of nearly pristine baby furniture (my kids are just a soupcon older than yours, 2.5 and 6 months), we got a boori country cot which retails for over 500 for 200 hundred. And you know, when you're only gonna use it for a little bit, it really makes sense to pick up some second hand furniture for babies.

3) You can book taxis in advance that come with boosters etc. You can try any of the sydney taxi website, or alternately look at a "limousine" service (not limousine, just private as opposed to taxis).

Good luck
posted by smoke at 1:32 AM on July 14, 2014

What is your budget?

1. This website advertises 30day+ stays in 2br furnished apartments for $650pw right in the city.

2. Don't rush this bit until you have your more permanent accommodation. Gumtree is good for buying 2nd hand furniture including nice stuff. If you need new, Ikea works for temporary and then you can sell it later on Gumtree.

3. You can pre-order taxis with kid seats and baby capsules and be assisted by the kerbside supervisors at the airport.
posted by Kerasia at 1:36 AM on July 14, 2014

Have you considered if you fulfill the relevant criteria. We used them to find people to mind our child friendly house in Sydney for three months. Loved the experience.
posted by taff at 1:58 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peter's of Kensington for homewares. They're best known for selling high-end stuff, but they also have a lot of good value items in the mid-range. For example, these Bormioli Rocco glasses are comparable quality to kind of thing you pay $6 each for at David Jones, but cost well under half that. Victoria's Basement is also good. Between the two of them, you should be able to find everything you need.

As for Ikea, it depends how much you like chipboard. Even the few wooden pieces they sell are often only partially wood once you read the small print. (This bookcase, for example, has a description that begins "Solid wood has a natural feel" -- but the entire back panel is fibreboard.) For that same $200 you could buy an actual solid wood bookcase secondhand and get it delivered, and you could probably even buy two.

Gumtree and eBay are great for secondhand furniture. You can hire "two guys and a ute"-type removalists to pick your purchases up and bring them to you for fairly reasonable rates. I've also bought some wonderful vintage furniture at Vinnies and Salvos, though it's probably not the best way to go if you're in a hurry.

If you'd prefer to buy new, the only thing I can suggest is to head for the nearest Supa Centa and wander around the furniture stores until you find something you like. Nobody will have have Ikea's range, but you'll definitely find better quality.

Welcome home to you and your family!
posted by Georgina at 3:21 AM on July 14, 2014

I would look at house sitting or failing that, renting furniture if you can't rent a place fully furnished until you get settled and can buy permanent furniture you actually like. Do you know where you are looking at living? Twenty minutes from the CBD means you will be paying a small fortune in short term accommodation/short term apartments like Fraser suites.

What you could do is do a short term lease from people who are going overseas for a few months and need someone to take over their rent. They tend to advertise on Gumtree and generally are only one room but maybe if you look or advertise yourself that you are happy to take on rent for a few months, you could get lucky and get a house.

So far as buying furniture in one hit, try Freedom furniture or Domayne (Harvey Normans furniture arm) yes, it's fairly generic stuff but you can source entire suites/looks in one place. If you have extra cash, try Coco Republic.

You can get lovely very well made furniture second hand on Ebay and Gumtree, far better than Ikea and the like (this is where I've gotten a lot of mine) but it requires a lot of looking and logistics of collecting it etc so that doesn't sound like your quick and dirty requirements of buying it all in one hit unless you find someone who is selling a houseful of furniture at once - which definitely happens but you still may want it new regardless.

Getting from the airport to your accommodation - pre order a taxi with baby seats which will be tricky to get or you can get a shuttle bus. You are allowed to carry your infant in arms on the bus, it's not illegal. (You may still not be comfortable with that but you can do it.)

Shipping requirements - I've used Crown myself years ago. They were good but Be careful, depending on where you're coming from, and I was coming from Asia, there can be a lot of hidden costs once you arrive in Australia. Quarantine, spraying, collection, I just remember there being all sorts of additional costs. If this move is being covered by your company, it may not be an issue for you.

Other things to think about - if you are planning on daycare at any point, even if it is a few years in the future, put your kids names down now. There is a huge childcare shortage, I'm looking myself at going back to work and can't do it because I can't find places. Same goes if you want your kids in private schools (this is a whole other topic) but if this is important to you, be looking at it now.

Good luck and come on over to the northern beaches! Best place on earth...
posted by Jubey at 3:27 AM on July 14, 2014

Agree with everything already said. Gumtree especially. Most 'nice' furniture stores will have a significant wait time for the furniture. I got quoted 12 weeks for a bed from snooze last week. I ended up getting a bed from ikea, as it could be delivered the next day.

If you join Ikea Family on the Tempe store site, you can then join GoGet for free. They have vans and cars all over the city, which means you can buy secondhand furniture and get it home easily. (I just joined, but haven't tried it yet). They also have cars with a car seat.

If you're not far from the train station, you could catch the train. It's good, if expensive. Look carefully to see which stations have lifts. There are other short term stay sites, but I've never used any of them.
posted by kjs4 at 8:32 PM on July 14, 2014

I should add that Jubey is a liar, liar pants on fire. The northern beaches pales in to un-vaccinated insignificance to the superior inner west. And Abott's from the northern beaches. you soooooo don't want to go there. You might bump in to him and then spend the next thirty years of your life showering ten times a day to feel clean again.

I've got plenty of inner west tips if you end up in this neck of the woods.

By the way....I got so hung up on car seats when returning from the airport in the taxi when we came back from many months India a few years ago... till someone pointed out to me that in India we'd had no carseats for months at a time. And this was a one off, in a taxi. The big tarago types often have both types of seats (baby and toddler) but you might have to wait for a while till one comes. I'd happily offer to come pick you up in my car but my littlest is in a booster and my other one goes commando.

And... welcome back, almost. Meetup when you settle! xx
posted by taff at 4:43 AM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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