Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
7Trip End Dec 31, 2016
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I have now been in Canberra for nearly two months (Tom since the end of June). We are slowly getting on with setting up our new life here in Australia although there is only a limited amount that I have been able to do until I get my partner visa in November when I will qualify as a bona fide Australian resident.
After many weeks of uncertainty regarding where we were going to move to we have decided to stay in Canberra for a few years. We made some difficult decisions and turned down a couple of good job offers in Sydney and Brisbane deciding instead to give Canberra a go. We like it here and reasoned that if we moved further north then we would probably never come back to live in this part of Australia again and would have missed out on exploring this part of the country
Tom is still working with CASA and his contract there has been extended until March. Hopefully securing further employment after this time won’t be too difficult although we are still a bit concerned about the whole security clearance issue that goes with many of the jobs in Canberra (see previous blog for explanation!).
We have bought a car! It’s a very nice looking Hyundai Tucson, only 3 years old with 40,000kms on the clock and in immaculate condition. As both of us have never spent more than £500 on cars in the past this is a bit of an upgrade! We have bought the car on a novated lease which basically allows you to package everything including petrol, servicing, insurance, rego etc into a neat bundle which is paid for monthly and has significant tax benefits as the lease payments are taken out of the Tom’s pre-tax income. We went for the Hyundai Tucson because it is incredibly good value, comes with a five year warranty and has loads of space for all out future camping trips that we intend on doing lots of. There is also of course space for baby Mogfrog who will be making an appearance in February!
When Tom isn’t working hard we have been exploring the local area. A few weeks ago we drove 40kms out of Canberra to visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a beautiful place up in the hills with lots of marked trails. We saw numerous birds, lizards and even a red bellied black snake, potentially deadly but actually a placid snake that would much rather slink away into the undergrowth than bite, which he did after Tom managed to take a photo! Last week I visited a local nature reserve called Mulligan’s Flat, a very important area of box-gum woodland where the rangers have built a predator proof fence, removed feral cats and foxes (not native to Australia) and are now hoping to introduce several rare and threatened species that have been missing from the area for over 100 years including bettongs, bandicoots and Bush Stone Curlews. On Sunday we attended a meeting organised by the local rangers and scientists from the Australian National University who are trying to get the local community engaged with the work being done at Mulligan’s Flat and get people involved with the different projects being carried out there. We have both put our names down for voluntary work and look forward to getting involved.
We are still living in the same shared house but hope to be in our own place by the end of the year when I will finally be able to get down to some proper nesting behaviour!