Caroline and Simon came to Australia for good in 1994 and settled on the coast of New South Wales between Sydney and Newcastle.

Simon works as a plumber and between them they manage their plumbing business. He works hard Monday to Friday but the weekends are when they let their hair down and relax, usually doing very little, other than sitting around the pool, dining out or having friends over for a bbq. They still live in the same house they bought all those years ago. Caroline tells me it was the worst one in the street but after a lot of t.l.c., it now sits proudly mid way up a steep hill and from their veranda, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the jungle, as it looks grandly from its lofty position above the treetops and houses looking down towards the sea. The exotic birds that we see only in cages are living wild in the garden, cockatoos, rosellas, parrots and this all add to that jungle feeling.

They decided a long time ago that children were not for them, they told me they thought about it for about a week. They both love animals and have a wonderful dog, who I think must have been human in a previous life, called Charlie. Charlie is a ‘Groodle’. Some of you dog lovers out there will know what these are but I had never heard of them before. They are a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Charlie has a marvellous temperament (except with one or two particular dogs) and loves to go to the local Care Home each week to be pampered for a couple of hours by the residents. He is an absolute star and truly wonderful companion to not only Caroline and Simon but anyone he comes into contact with. There is an established café culture out here and it is quite normal to get up and go to the local Surf Club for breakfast and meet up with friends and their dogs of course. I honestly felt as though I had dropped into Home and Away the first weekend I was here.

Locals swim in the sea, Caroline pointed an elderly gentleman in his 80’s who swims everyday, and looks marvellous for it. Ladies dog walking and chatting, joggers, young lads on surf boards and paddle boards, boats, diving groups, children in their school uniforms ready to head straight off to school - and all before 8.00am on a morning!!! WHAT A LIFE!!!!

There are a few similarities between Australia and England and I have to say it feels very familiar to me, particularly the roadsides and tree lined verges which are all very green and lush and look like they have been dug up and transported from England, they drive on the left (always and advantage), the climate can be changeable and of course the language is quite similar. If I was young now I would definitely be looking for ways to live here and would recommend it to any young people starting out on life’s rich journey but there is always a caveat – to thrive here you must have something to offer to Australia and for what you give you will be handsomely rewarded with an amazing lifestyle