Sunday, 2 October 2011

Relocation advice - Australian Spiders, Snakes and other dangerous creatures

One of the things we get asked the most is about how dangerous the spiders and snakes are in Australia. Everybody seems to be concerned about the dangerous creatures here: crocodiles, jellyfish, snakes, sharks and spiders, Certainly Australia does have dangerous creatures including spiders and snakes but many people who live in Australia would not see them or encounter them at all.

There are two types of spiders which are to be avoided and which can give you a nasty bite: the Sydney Funnel-web and the Redback. Anti-venom for these bites means that death from the bite of a funnel web has not occurred for over 30 years and from a redback for over 55 years. Yes, they can be painful but thankfully they are not as common as you may think. There are some useful tips such as  not putting your feet into shoes without first banging them on the ground, making sure you have gardening gloves on if you are poking around in dark, damp places, making you have shoes or sandals on if running around in the garden. There is a useful website which you may like to look at

Ten of the world’s deadliest snakes live  in Australia but take heart, on average there are approximately 3000 reported snake bites in Australia every year, of those, only one is fatal. Snakes are really more frightened of us than we are of them. If you make noise as you go through the bush they will usually slither away to safety. Make sure you wear boots if you go into the bush as extra protection. In the cities it is very rare to see a snake at all. Have a look at

Sharks always fire up the imagination but again are rare.. Shark netting on Australian beaches deter sharks, but always swimming between the flags on patrolled beaches and avoid swimming at dusk or evening. Try not to swim alone, far from shore, at river mouths or along drop-offs to deeper water.

If you want to see crocodiles you will need to go to the rivers and coastal estuaries across northern Australia. Always  make sure you obey safety signs and don’t swim in rivers, estuaries, tidal rivers, deep pools or mangrove shores. Also make sure you ask rangers or locals about crocodiles before camping, fishing or boating.

So  while sharks, snakes are rarely seen, and spiders are not as dangerous as portrayed there is one creature which you really must avoid. From November to April when box jellyfish are present in tropical waters in the north of Australia you should only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming, snorkeling or diving on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The jelly-fish has a square body and has  toxins on its tentacles which are often several feet in length. The sting is like an electrical shock . Vinegar and urinating on the spot may reduce the pain a little bit, but medical assistance is vital as quickly as possible.. The box jellyfish is responsible for more deaths in Australia than snakes, spiders, sharks, and salt water crocodiles put together.

It is always better to take precautions but if you are starting to feel worried have a look at the table below:

Human Deaths in Australia Between 1980-1990, Inclusive (from Stevens & Paxton, 1992)
Cause of Death
Total Deaths
Average per year
Crocodile Attacks
Shark Attacks
Lightning Strikes
Bee Stings
Scuba Diving Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Relocating with pets

Whether you are moving overseas or moving interstate, if you are intending to take your pet with you, you will need to make sure that you have considered all aspects of the move. Depending on the kind of pet it is, you may not be able to bring it into a new country. Australia , for example, does not allow you to import pet rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, caged birds and reptiles yet some of the types of animals which are prohibited may be purchased at an Australian pet shop. It is certainly worth checking this out before you tell your children you are moving as it is good to have a good solution for Thumper’s future if he is not going to be able to join in your  antipodean adventure!
Assuming then that you can bring your pet, the first thing to decide on is transportation. If you are going to travel interstate you may decide that you can drive but if you are going to put your cat or dog on a plane then this should be arranged early.  There are a number of excellent pet moving companies which your relocation consultant can recommend and any of these will be able to explain what the process is. If you are travelling to a new country there will certaibly be quarantine restrictions. For Australia, your pet will need an import permit, microchip, annual vaccinations (omitting leptospirosis), 3 blood tests (dogs only), spray and worm prior to departure along with a health certificate. Your vet will be able to assist with all of these but again the earlier you address the requirements the better it is. In Australia pets will need to stay in quarantine for around 30 days.
The cost of transporting a pet can be quite considerable so it is worth checking these costs early to avoid late surprises. Transportation is often based on the weight of the animal so a St Bernard will be more expensive than a poodle. Anyone feeding a St Bernard will be used to higher pet costs!
Animals are very sensitive to change happening within the home and will have more idea than you think that things are about to change.  One thing that is really helpful is to keep familiar blankets and toys with your pet in an area where you can keep your pet while any household moving or change is happening. In this way you can be sure that your pet is not hurt or escapes onto a road through an open door or gate. It is also best, if your pet is going to be travelling separately to you, that he or she is collected early before the main packing starts. Make sure that your pet gets lots of attention before the move as they will need plenty of reassurance.
So when you arrive at your destination if you have not already secured a property your relocation consultant will be able to assist in finding pet friendly accommodation. The consultants will have already established whether a potential landlord will accept a pet but there are some ways in which you can assist your cause. Make sure that you have references from your previous landlord if you were renting or from your neighbours if you owned a home. Have any documentation to show that your dog has had obedience training or to show that your pet is well cared for. Be prepared to offer a greater security deposit as some landlords may still be nervous about having an animal on the premises. Also be prepared to clean and fumigate the rental property on leaving.
When you  move in, try to make sure that you have the toys and blankets that belong to your pet  as early as possible in the area where he or she will sleep. Make sure that you spend a little time with your pet in this area and also introduce the pet to the new home. Also be careful for the first few weeks to reassure your pet. Cats, especially, will often try to return to their old home so do everything you can to make sure they identify the new home with you and pleasant times. A few treats when they first come into the new home will help them to associate this new place with something pleasant.
Your relocation consultant will be able to advise on council regulations for pets, off leash areas for dogs , vets, animal hospitals and kennels and boarding kennels. Having pets is often a great way to meet new friends and having owners is a great way for them to meet new friends as well!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Relocating with children

In all the years that we have been relocating people, one of the main  concerns that families have is whether or not the children will be happy. There  are those who start looking feverishly for houses with pools or adventure  playgrounds in the garden as an incentive to encourage their children to move  while others do not dare mention the move until it is almost time to get on the  plane. In reality children will accept and enjoy the move much more if they are  involved from the start and in fact have few expectations.  As soon as you know  that the move is a certainty, then it is a good thing to start to make the new  country or city familiar. The internet is full of lots of information which will  help them to build a picture of where they will be living and perhaps where they  might go to school. For children relocating to Australia for the first time the  fauna, especially kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and parrots are exciting and  different. Places such as The Great Barrier Reef are really wonderful Australian  draw cards for families and the opportunity to visit is often something that  fires the imagination. A wish list of places to visit close to the new city is  also to be encouraged as it builds up anticipation and helps to focus on the  positives of the relocation: include zoos, beaches, parks and museums. Have a  look at the Elite Executive Services website for special activities for  children

One of the things which is of most concern will be leaving friends  behind and it is often useful to start a scrapbook with lots of photos of  friends and happy memories. Make sure that they have an address book with all  their friends’ addresses, email addresses and perhaps jot down birth dates so  that you can early keep in touch. Setting up Skype is also a great idea to keep  in touch once you have moved.

Make sure that the children have a say in what to pack and what to  leave behind. It is important to let them feel that they are involved. Always  make space in the hand luggage for a few favorite items to go along with you. It  is also a great idea to mark boxes of special toys to be packed last and which  can be unpacked first once your shipment arrives. This will keep them occupied  and less stressed at the destination.

Relocating is a great opportunity for families to experience new things  together so involve the children and have some fun along the way!

Relocation blog: Packing and Delivery Days' Tips

It is what everyone dreads: the pack up and delivery days! The thought of moving can turn the fearless to jelly but don’t panic as there are lots of ways to simplify the process.  The main thing is to choose removalists you are comfortable with: if you have a relocation consultant to help with your departure then they can make recommendations. In the lead up to the day make sure to use up as much as you can from your pantry, donate anything you really are unlikely to use again, keep a special box of essentials which you will need when you move to your new home and throw away anything that is not good enough to donate. Fell the freedom that comes with decluttering!