Andrews Family Wanted Down Under Revisited


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Andrews Family

Melanie wanted to convince her husband Rob that a life in Australia would be better for their future, but after a trial week, where are they now?


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Melanie Andrews was desperate to convince her husband, Rob,

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that a life down under would be better for their future,

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and worth giving up close family ties in the UK.

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My auntie and uncle, they mean everything to me.

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Leaving them behind is just going to be very hard.

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But, after a week of shocks...

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I'm not liking this at the moment.

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..and surprises...

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-Wow.

-Oh, my God.

-Oh, I'm crying.

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..have the Andrews managed to achieve the life Mel had dreamt of?

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I just don't know how much I'd resent him later on for not going.

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So where are the Andrews family now?

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In the UK, or down under?

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Australia's warm climate and golden beaches have long been a magnet for

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Brits seeking a new life abroad.

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On average, nearly 100 of us emigrate to Australia every day.

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But the dream doesn't always match up to reality,

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and as many as a third of new arrivals end up heading back home.

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Moving your family to the other side of the world can throw up massive

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challenges - finding the right house,

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juggling finances and getting a job

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is daunting enough, but if your partner can't bear to leave

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friends and family behind, it becomes a huge dilemma.

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In 2011, the Andrews embarked on their trial week.

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Two flights, 9,000 miles

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and 22 hours gave them time to think about the adventure ahead.

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-I think we're excited about this week, aren't we?

-Yeah.

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You know, I'm nervous as well, but I'm really looking forward to it.

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You know, just want to get in there and convince Rob

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that it will be good.

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It's going to be more of a reality check.

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-Yeah.

-It is going to be a big test, this week.

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This is sort of like the make-or-break.

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It was a week that had the potential to change their lives for ever.

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And it was a long way from Folkestone in Kent.

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Mel and husband Rob share their happy home with their children,

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Kobi, who was seven

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and little Lexi, who was then just three.

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But, for Mel, it was Australia that offered the life she'd dreamt of

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since she was a teenager.

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I'd originally planned to go travelling for six weeks,

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and it fell through, so I couldn't go.

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And there was a second time I was going to go and that fell through.

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I was so upset and so gutted that I couldn't go.

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No-one wanted to take her, to be honest.

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No, so it's third time lucky.

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And, after being there on holiday for three weeks,

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I absolutely loved it, and Kobi and Lexi did as well -

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they were always outside, they were always playing in the park.

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I suppose it is a lot like England.

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-It's mainly the weather.

-Apart from the weather and the lifestyle.

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Just it's so far away.

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Yeah.

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If they were going to make the dream a reality,

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they had to move fast, as their visa was close to running out.

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We've got two years left before our visa expires.

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Once that expires, if we haven't gone to Australia permanently,

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then we just wouldn't be able to get that visa again.

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For the move to work, Rob had to decide if he could walk away

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from the family cleaning business he ran with his brother

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and start again in Australia.

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Work does worry me, as well.

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Even though I would do anything to do work,

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moving to Australia and starting fresh,

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not having the network of support you've got here,

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you know, it will be hard.

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So, yeah, that does worry me, as well.

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But there was something even more important than work that Rob would

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have to leave behind - his close family and friends.

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My auntie and uncle, I'm very close to.

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You know, and they mean everything to me.

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Leaving them behind, it's just going to be very hard...

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..cos I'm just going to miss them so much.

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I wouldn't want Rob to do anything that he didn't want to do,

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and I certainly don't want him to think that I'm trying to

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emotionally blackmail him into going, and forcing him.

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Because, you know, I wouldn't.

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I love him to bits so, you know, at the end of the day,

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he's my husband and if he doesn't want to go, then we won't go.

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But, you know, I just don't know how...

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..how much I'd resent him later on for not going.

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With so much at stake, everyone's emotions were running high.

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Ahead of them was a huge decision,

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perhaps the toughest they would ever have to make.

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The family visited Perth in Western Australia.

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Home for their trial week was the popular beach-side suburb

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of Watermans Bay, just a short drive from the airport.

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Their three-bedroom property was only a couple of minutes' walk to

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the beach and had plenty of space for all the family.

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Oh, look.

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Oh, look.

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-I think the kids have got over their jet lag now.

-I know.

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-They won't go to sleep tonight.

-No. Be a nightmare tonight.

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The children looked happy,

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but Mel and Rob's thoughts were already on the week ahead.

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What I'd really like to get out of this week would be really for Rob to

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really like it and to think,

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"Yeah, I could see really myself living here."

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I think it's going to open our eyes a lot more

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to what we thought it was going to be like.

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Just as soon as you get here, you've got that vibe about the place,

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that you could just see yourself living here.

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So, yeah, first impression's very good.

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Back in the UK, the Andrews lived in this three-bedroom ex-council house

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in Folkestone.

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Based on its estimated value,

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they had a budget of around £180,000 to spend,

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and they're expecting a lot for their money in Oz.

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It would be at least a four-bedroom detached.

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Whether it's got a pool or not, it's got to have a home cinema.

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That's always been something I've always wanted.

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Mel does want a nice house, but as long as it's big enough

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to hopefully accommodate loads of visits from friends and family,

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then that would do me fine.

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Whilst the children were with the childminder,

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we gave the Andrews a taste of Perth's housing market.

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We showed them three options - two based on budget and a third,

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which could have been their dream home.

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Only after they'd seen each one did they find out its value.

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Their property tour started in the suburb of Butler,

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on the outskirts of the city, with this three-bedroom house.

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You could have a dining room table here, couldn't you?

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I don't know. I'm not liking this at the moment.

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I don't mind it.

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No.

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Not a bad-size kitchen, though.

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But when you look from the kitchen down there, it's not open plan.

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It certainly wasn't impressing Rob,

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who looked like he might be a tough customer.

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A walk-in wardrobe. And an en-suite.

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Not appealing to me much...

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-No.

-..I'm afraid.

-No.

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There was only the outside space left to try and tempt him.

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-This is quite nice.

-Yeah.

-Because it's like a blank canvas.

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We would have to spend a lot to get it how we would want it.

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-Yeah.

-And I don't think it would be worth it.

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The house had left Rob cold, but what about the price?

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Would they even be able to afford something like this

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on their £180,000 budget?

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Whoa!

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-230,000.

-230,000.

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347,000.

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Don't you... Don't you think the properties are more expensive?

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-Than what we thought?

-Yeah.

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At £50,000 over budget, it was a big setback for Mel.

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-It's a no-no, this one.

-Yeah.

-For me, anyway.

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Well, let's just hope you like the next one, then.

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ROB CHUCKLES

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In Perth, affordable housing is often only found out in the suburbs,

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which sometimes means up to a two-hour daily commute.

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With their budget in mind, the Andrews headed to Yanchep.

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The average house prices in this area are still high,

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but a cheaper new build was a realistic option.

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As the development was still being built,

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they viewed a three-bedroom show home to give them an idea of what

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a typical finished house would look like.

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This is nice.

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Nice, big walk-in wardrobe.

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Look at the size of that.

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Cor, look at the size of this.

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Cor, this is lovely.

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As soon as you walk through the door,

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it's got that bit of a wow factor.

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With its stylish interiors and open spaces, this house felt ideal.

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A cinema room.

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-Ticks all the boxes so far.

-Oh, definitely.

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Without a doubt.

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Bedroom.

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Nice double bedroom. Ideal for Kobi.

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I like the big windows as well.

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-Oh, this is nice.

-This is a nice bedroom.

-Lexi would love this room.

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It's lovely, isn't it?

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-They are all nice-sized rooms, aren't they?

-Yeah.

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We'd best both get working, so I can have this house.

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-It's lovely, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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And a large garden, complete with built-in barbecue,

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seemed tailor-made for Mel's dream of an outdoor lifestyle -

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assuming the sun came out!

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Would it be within their £180,000 budget?

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Go on, then.

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-Wow.

-Oh, my God.

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£200,000.

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300,000.

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Nice. That's all I can say.

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When can we move in?

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You wouldn't get something like this back in England for 200,000,

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-I don't think.

-No, you wouldn't.

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If there's a chance we could afford one of these properties, you know,

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it does sort of put you up the ladder a bit more.

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It was £20,000 over budget, but Mel could see the possibilities,

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and even Rob looked like he might be ready to settle in.

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But before they made a final decision,

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there was one more property to see.

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The final house was in the coastal suburb of Banksia Grove,

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and a 30-minute drive to Perth made it the closest

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of all three properties to the city.

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Like so much of what was on offer in Perth,

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it was another new-build house.

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Mel and Rob viewed a show home with four bedrooms,

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a cinema room and open-plan design.

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On paper, this looked like the house that could definitely convince Rob.

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-That's nice.

-It's nice, innit?

-Yeah.

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It's a big hallway.

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Wow.

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Walk-in wardrobe. Nice.

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The en suite. No shower.

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It was a good start, and there was another room to come.

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Look at that kitchen.

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-It's lovely.

-It's an ideal size for us four.

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-Oh, yeah, definitely.

-I love it so far.

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Yeah, I do. Move in tomorrow.

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It looked as if property three

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could have offered the space the Andrews wanted.

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So that's four bedrooms.

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Weren't expecting...

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-No, I thought it'd only be a three bedroom.

-Yeah.

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-Quite surprised, being a four bedroom.

-Yeah.

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Rob looked one over, and there was still the outside space to see.

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With a stunning garden, complete with beer pumps,

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this was a house that seemed to have everything they were looking for.

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-It's lovely.

-Yeah. Yeah, very nice.

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Perfect.

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With a budget of £180,000, could they afford it?

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Go on, do you want to do the honours?

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-Oh.

-Oh, not far off, then.

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£270,000.

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So we wouldn't really be able to afford it.

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If we had a house like this,

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it'd definitely encourage you to move out here, wouldn't it?

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Without a shadow of a doubt.

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Yeah.

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They had potentially found the dream house that could have helped

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persuade Rob to move to Australia, but it was £90,000 over budget.

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It had been an eye-opening day for the Andrews.

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The first house offered Mel the space and location she wanted,

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but Rob's reaction and a big price tag left the Andrews feeling cold.

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The second house spiced things up with its stunning interiors and

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cinema room, and costing less than they expected,

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it showed Rob an upside to property down under.

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Finally, the open-plan living of property three

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offered both Rob and Mel a genuine dream home,

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even if the cost was a big ask.

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While Mel would have been happy in any of them,

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had these properties done enough to convince Rob that the move would be

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worth all the pain of leaving home behind?

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Based on the properties that we've seen today...

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..the houses in Australia versus England...

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..we have decided to vote for...

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-..Australia.

-Australia.

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For the money you spend, you get a lot more for your money.

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-Yeah.

-And the three properties we saw,

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two of them were just really nice and just what we was looking for.

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Round one, Australia.

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-Get ready for round two.

-Yeah.

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It had been a promising start for Mel,

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but with their budget potentially stretched by property,

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it was time to explore work opportunities.

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Back in the UK, Rob worked at the cleaning firm

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started by his parents.

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Moving the company down under would have been impossible,

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so Rob was considering returning to a trade he'd learned previously.

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I did used to do painting and decorating many years ago.

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It's something I enjoy, so whether there was a way

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of getting into that field of work.

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Yeah, I would like to definitely find out more about that as well.

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But while Rob's work would be vital to their finances,

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it was Mel who held the key to the move, thanks to her hairdressing

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qualifications, which had earned them their Australian visa.

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But Mel was nervous about her prospects.

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My main reservations about going back into hairdressing is,

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I suppose, am I still as good as I think I am,

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or that I was?

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Because I haven't worked in a salon for so long

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and obviously, you know, techniques have changed,

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and I suppose that's my main reservation,

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is am I still going to be...

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..or am I going to be as good as I need to be?

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Mel's Australian dream rested on her ability to impress.

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So we arranged for her to see if she could still cut it at a modern salon

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in Subiaco, a trendy inner-city suburb.

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I think the pressure is on me to try and find work first rather than Rob.

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Just mainly because obviously I've got that skill

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and hopefully that hairdressers are still in demand

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that I could maybe get a job straightaway,

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at least to get the money rolling in when we first arrive.

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-Hiya.

-Hi, Mel, how are you?

-Hello.

-Welcome.

-Thank you.

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With introductions out of the way,

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manager Charlene put Mel straight to work.

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So if you can shampoo, blow-dry and style it,

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so I can just have a look at your blow-drying skill...

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-Yeah.

-So let's get started with that.

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-Lovely.

-OK, Laura?

-How is that water for you, Laura?

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Perfect, thank you.

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It was vital for Mel to find work, but also a lot rested on Rob finding

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a job that paid a decent wage.

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Mel would then be another step closer to her dream.

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The work is the most important thing in this move.

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You know, if we can both get a job that we both enjoy and, you know,

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the money's there, then we can start to set our target in,

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you know, achieving the house that we want and the area

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that we want to live in.

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Rob spent the day working with expat Bernie,

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who ran his own painting and decorating business.

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-All right, mate.

-All right. How are you?

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-Rob.

-Bernie.

-How are you doing?

-Yeah, good, mate.

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Keen to see what he could do, Bernie set Rob to work.

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But was Rob really prepared to swap everything he had in the UK for

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a chance to work in the sunshine?

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-All right, Robbie, how are we looking?

-Yeah, good, mate.

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Beautiful.

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I've still got, you know, concerns about leaving, you know,

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me family behind, but I think if they saw what I could actually

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achieve here, you know, hopefully they can come round

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to the way that we're thinking

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and they'd be pleased with the decision that we may make.

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Back at the salon,

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Mel's time away from hairdressing was beginning to show.

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You are going well.

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It's just getting used to...

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..to doing it all again.

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If you're thinking about coming out here in another six months...

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-Yeah.

-..you could do a few courses in London or, you know,

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go to a few salons and maybe get some part-time work.

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-Yeah.

-Just so you're not so rusty when you come to Australia.

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Because, you know, our expectations are quite high.

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-Yeah. Sure.

-Yeah.

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It was bad news.

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If Mel wanted to make the grade in this kind of salon,

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she was looking at retraining.

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And with courses costing around 500,

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that meant at least 2,000 just to get her back up to speed.

0:17:250:17:29

But would an Aussie salary compensate for that?

0:17:290:17:32

If I was employed as a junior stylist,

0:17:320:17:34

what are the wages sort of...?

0:17:340:17:36

Like I said, would be around about between 19 to 21.

0:17:360:17:40

OK.

0:17:400:17:41

An hourly rate like that meant

0:17:410:17:43

a potential annual salary of around £28,000.

0:17:430:17:46

It was a mixed result for Mel, so everything now hinged on Rob.

0:17:460:17:50

But before he could make a decision,

0:17:500:17:52

he needed to get some answers from Bernie.

0:17:520:17:54

What's the, erm, wage that, you know, a decent painter could earn?

0:17:540:17:59

Average 30 an hour.

0:17:590:18:02

So work wise, in Perth, is there quite a bit of work here?

0:18:020:18:05

Yeah, there's plenty of work in Australia.

0:18:050:18:07

I've never been out of work myself.

0:18:070:18:09

And how long have you been here for?

0:18:090:18:11

-13 years.

-13 years?

-Yeah. You can't go wrong.

0:18:110:18:14

A result for Rob.

0:18:140:18:15

He could have earned more than £50,000 a year in Australia,

0:18:150:18:19

doubling his UK salary.

0:18:190:18:20

But was it worth giving up the family business for?

0:18:210:18:24

The best thing I found out about today was the hours, you know,

0:18:240:18:30

half seven in the morning, finishing at three,

0:18:300:18:33

half three in the afternoon, so at least, you know,

0:18:330:18:36

you've got time in the evenings to actually see the kids from school,

0:18:360:18:40

pop down the beach.

0:18:400:18:42

You know, it's just amazing, so overall really, really pleased.

0:18:420:18:47

It was a big decision.

0:18:490:18:51

-How did you get on?

-Yeah, all right, you?

-Yeah.

0:18:510:18:54

And the future of the move lay in Rob's hands.

0:18:540:18:56

-How did you get on, all right?

-Yeah, all right.

-Cool.

-All right.

0:18:560:18:58

Based on our work experience today

0:18:580:19:02

and the working hours

0:19:020:19:04

and the wages we can earn, we are voting for...

0:19:040:19:07

Australia.

0:19:090:19:11

..Australia.

0:19:110:19:12

-Ooh!

-Shocked?

0:19:130:19:15

I am actually. Oh, I'm crying.

0:19:150:19:18

Hey.

0:19:190:19:21

I think I was just so worried that...

0:19:210:19:23

..you know, you wouldn't... They'd say, "Oh, you know,

0:19:230:19:26

you need to be qualified," or you wouldn't be able to earn the money.

0:19:260:19:29

I was like, "Oh, God, he's going to choose England and that'll be it,

0:19:290:19:32

"that'll be our dream over."

0:19:320:19:33

So I'm pleased.

0:19:330:19:35

It looked as if Rob was coming round, but the question remained,

0:19:430:19:46

could they afford to live down under?

0:19:460:19:49

Shopping list.

0:19:490:19:50

£9.81?!

0:19:500:19:52

Oh, my God. Is that right?

0:19:520:19:54

To help them find out, we had prepared a breakdown

0:19:540:19:57

of their weekly living expenses.

0:19:570:19:59

Any difference in the cost of living

0:19:590:20:01

would be offset by their potential earnings.

0:20:010:20:03

So in the UK, our total income

0:20:030:20:07

per year is 28,120.

0:20:080:20:11

So you full-time in Australia, me full-time,

0:20:110:20:14

we would be £3,950 a month better off.

0:20:140:20:20

Yeah. But that's as my junior stylist, so that would go up.

0:20:200:20:23

So obviously we've got to take into consideration the mortgage.

0:20:230:20:27

So even with that taken off,

0:20:270:20:30

you're still looking roughly about £2,000 better off...

0:20:300:20:34

-..a month.

-You know, it's sort of...

0:20:340:20:37

It's there for the taking.

0:20:370:20:39

On paper, it looks like the Andrews could have been as much

0:20:390:20:42

as £2,000 a month better off in Australia.

0:20:420:20:45

Yummy.

0:20:450:20:48

With all the facts and figures sorted, it was time to vote.

0:20:480:20:52

Based on the figures that we've seen today for the reality check

0:20:520:20:55

and the wages that we can potentially earn in Australia

0:20:550:20:59

and how they compare to the UK, we have decided to vote for...

0:20:590:21:04

-..Australia.

-Australia.

0:21:070:21:08

It was a no-brainer. Australia.

0:21:080:21:11

So, erm...we can actually have

0:21:110:21:15

a really nice lifestyle as a family.

0:21:150:21:18

-Good.

-Pleased.

0:21:200:21:21

The sums had added up in Mel's favour.

0:21:280:21:31

If Perth could have also offered the family a good lifestyle,

0:21:310:21:34

she would have been even closer to convincing Rob to follow her dream.

0:21:340:21:38

The Andrews visited John Forrest Park, about 16 miles from Perth.

0:21:400:21:44

It was the ideal spot for a family day out.

0:21:440:21:47

This is just how I imagined life in Australia to be, you know,

0:21:470:21:51

to be outdoors, taking the kids places all together as a family.

0:21:510:21:56

You know, the kids are going to benefit from it big time.

0:21:560:21:58

I still have my concerns.

0:21:590:22:02

The only reason being is...

0:22:020:22:03

..the simple fact, is leaving friends and family.

0:22:040:22:07

That's the biggest sacrifice we've got to make,

0:22:070:22:09

and if that wasn't the case,

0:22:090:22:11

I honestly would just go and pack my bags and come here tomorrow.

0:22:110:22:16

To round the day off, Rob had a chance to indulge in an activity

0:22:170:22:21

he enjoyed with his brother back home.

0:22:210:22:24

-Don't fall off.

-I won't.

0:22:240:22:27

-G'day Rob.

-Hello, mate, how you are doing?

0:22:270:22:28

-I'm Greg.

-Rob. Yeah, nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you, too.

0:22:280:22:31

Rob hit the trail with Greg from the Perth Mountain Bike Club.

0:22:340:22:37

And it was going well...

0:22:390:22:41

..to start with.

0:22:440:22:46

No, I'm fine, just...

0:22:470:22:49

..just me pride hurts more than anything.

0:22:490:22:52

If I'm here, it's just a shame me brother won't be here.

0:22:530:22:56

You know, it's me and him that always go out and do stuff like that

0:22:560:22:59

but...but no, something like this is just brilliant.

0:22:590:23:02

The reality of what he would be leaving behind

0:23:020:23:05

was becoming clear to Rob.

0:23:050:23:06

But Mel was just as clear that Australia

0:23:060:23:09

offered everything she had ever wanted.

0:23:090:23:11

I don't know why but I've never really felt settled anywhere,

0:23:110:23:15

I don't know, it's really hard to explain,

0:23:150:23:17

but here I could honestly say I could call this my home.

0:23:170:23:20

If Rob didn't vote Australia,

0:23:200:23:23

obviously I'd be upset because I think this week, you know,

0:23:230:23:27

it has had a positive effect.

0:23:270:23:29

But if he chooses the UK,

0:23:290:23:31

I guess I just have to try and work on him a bit more.

0:23:310:23:34

And I will.

0:23:340:23:36

It had been a day to remember, but had a taste of the Australian

0:23:360:23:39

lifestyle been enough to win everyone's vote?

0:23:390:23:42

On today's outing...

0:23:420:23:45

..and based on the day we had...

0:23:460:23:49

..we are going to vote for...

0:23:500:23:52

Australia.

0:23:560:23:58

Australia.

0:23:590:24:01

Undecided.

0:24:010:24:03

-Really?

-When I'd done the mountain biking, which I really enjoyed...

0:24:030:24:09

..erm, it just brought home with, like, you know, me brother.

0:24:100:24:15

-I knew it would.

-You know, that is the only thing.

0:24:150:24:19

Like, it's my brother that got me into it,

0:24:190:24:21

-and I just felt a bit lonely, that was all.

-Yeah.

0:24:210:24:24

I've still got a bit of convincing, then, to get you out here.

0:24:240:24:28

It should have been the most enjoyable day, but Mel's mission

0:24:280:24:31

to win over Rob had suffered a serious setback.

0:24:310:24:34

This is my last chance.

0:24:340:24:35

You know, this is my third time to try and get out to Australia,

0:24:350:24:39

so it's...

0:24:390:24:40

..you know, it's... This is it.

0:24:400:24:43

I haven't got any other chances, so I'm just hoping that, you know,

0:24:430:24:47

I can convince Rob that this would be the best place to bring up

0:24:470:24:50

the kids and, you know, for all of us as a family,

0:24:500:24:53

be able to settle down and, you know, just enjoy our lifestyle.

0:24:530:24:58

Time was running out for Mel to convince Rob to make the move.

0:24:580:25:01

With Rob's resolve wavering, the Andrews were about to get

0:25:050:25:09

another reminder of the friends and family they'd be leaving behind.

0:25:090:25:12

Mum and Dad felt it was important for the children

0:25:120:25:15

to watch messages from loved ones at home, too.

0:25:150:25:17

-Hello.

-Hello, Mel, Rob, Kobi and Lexi.

0:25:170:25:20

Hope you're having the perfect time.

0:25:200:25:24

What are they like as a family?

0:25:240:25:26

They're loving, very loving.

0:25:260:25:30

-Very close.

-Very close.

0:25:300:25:32

Very caring.

0:25:320:25:33

They are really, really good fun.

0:25:330:25:35

Their children are lovely.

0:25:350:25:37

Really, really nice family.

0:25:370:25:39

I mean, nine times out of ten,

0:25:390:25:40

Rob is always the funniest person in the room,

0:25:400:25:42

without a shadow of a doubt.

0:25:420:25:44

He is definitely one of a kind.

0:25:440:25:46

Lexi's kind of just happy-go-lucky,

0:25:460:25:49

she's getting to the age where she's...

0:25:490:25:51

She's a minx.

0:25:510:25:53

Kobi, he's quite a bright lad.

0:25:550:25:58

He's very bright.

0:25:580:25:59

You only have to show him something once and he picks it up.

0:25:590:26:02

He's quite good like that.

0:26:020:26:03

-Very caring.

-Yeah.

0:26:030:26:05

When I first heard that they was going to be moving to Australia

0:26:050:26:08

and applying to go to Australia,

0:26:080:26:09

I thought it was going to be a good thing.

0:26:090:26:12

You know, they've both wanted to do something like that, anyway.

0:26:120:26:15

He's like a brother.

0:26:150:26:16

I don't really know how we're going to sort of fill the gap

0:26:230:26:27

that they're going to leave until, you know,

0:26:270:26:30

they've actually done it, really.

0:26:300:26:32

It's... But the decision's up to you, and

0:26:320:26:35

I'm sure you'll make the right one. Good luck.

0:26:350:26:38

We love you dearly.

0:26:380:26:40

Very, very much. We all do.

0:26:400:26:42

And we hope you make the right decision, and...

0:26:420:26:45

-Yeah, good luck.

-Good luck.

0:26:450:26:47

-I love you.

-Yeah.

0:26:470:26:49

And I hope that you've done all that you wanted to do.

0:26:490:26:54

Whatever decision you make, make sure it's for you.

0:26:540:26:57

Make sure it's the one that you're happy with

0:26:570:26:59

and the one that will make you happy.

0:26:590:27:01

As your mum, I just want you to be happy.

0:27:010:27:05

Yeah, and we'll see you when you get back.

0:27:080:27:10

-Take care. Bye.

-Bye.

0:27:100:27:12

How do you feel?

0:27:190:27:21

-Sad.

-You feel sad?

0:27:230:27:25

You know, there's been some real big positives,

0:27:270:27:30

-but then you watch that...

-It sort of makes you feel...

0:27:300:27:33

And it can just take everything away...

0:27:330:27:36

It just throws everything up in the air, doesn't it?

0:27:380:27:40

Mummy, Mummy.

0:27:400:27:42

Because whatever decision we make,

0:27:420:27:44

we've got to make for the best for our family, don't we?

0:27:440:27:47

I just want my kids to get the best out of everything, really.

0:27:480:27:52

You know, I just want them to...

0:27:520:27:54

..enjoy life and...

0:27:560:27:57

..I know we're taking them away from friends and family...

0:27:590:28:03

..but they will make new friends here.

0:28:050:28:08

You know, me auntie and uncle, I know it's hard for them.

0:28:100:28:12

It's hard for me, as well.

0:28:120:28:14

The thing is, we don't know if it's the right decision or not,

0:28:140:28:16

but I guess we'll never know unless we try it.

0:28:160:28:19

Watching the messages had given the whole family pause to consider

0:28:210:28:25

the momentous decision they were about to make.

0:28:250:28:28

You know, if I think about it too much,

0:28:280:28:30

I'd probably crack and say, "No," you know?

0:28:300:28:32

I just think if I don't try it I'll never know and I just know

0:28:320:28:36

I'll end up kicking myself, thinking I should have done it

0:28:360:28:38

when I had the chance.

0:28:380:28:39

If I decided against the move to Australia, Mel...

0:28:390:28:44

Yeah, I think she would be upset so, yeah,

0:28:440:28:47

that does play on my mind a little bit because, you know,

0:28:470:28:49

she's my wife at the end of the day and I want to try and make a happy.

0:28:490:28:52

It was the end of a difficult week and time for the Andrews to make

0:28:520:28:57

their final vote.

0:28:570:28:59

Based on our week here in Australia,

0:28:590:29:02

as a family we have decided that we want to live in...

0:29:020:29:05

-..Australia!

-Australia.

0:29:080:29:10

Really?

0:29:110:29:13

I think if we don't...

0:29:150:29:16

..give it a go,

0:29:180:29:20

we will regret it for the rest of our lives.

0:29:200:29:22

It has got to be the hardest...

0:29:220:29:24

..the hardest thing we'll ever do, but...

0:29:250:29:27

..life's too short to have regrets, and I don't want that.

0:29:290:29:31

-What about you, Kobes?

-What did you say to Daddy?

0:29:390:29:41

You want to live in Australia

0:29:410:29:43

and you want to live in the UK, don't you?

0:29:430:29:45

-Yeah.

-And Lexi chose Australia.

0:29:450:29:48

It is a big step and we don't know if the grass is greener on the other

0:29:500:29:53

side, but unless we try it, we'll never know,

0:29:530:29:57

and I'd rather find out for myself.

0:29:570:30:00

I think, from the family's point of view, yeah,

0:30:000:30:03

you've got to do it.

0:30:030:30:05

Definitely. Go for it?

0:30:050:30:08

-Hm?

-Do you want to go for it?

-Yeah.

0:30:080:30:10

Love you.

0:30:170:30:18

Love you, Mummy.

0:30:180:30:20

That was 2011.

0:30:250:30:27

Back in 2013, we caught up with the Andrews to discover they were in...

0:30:270:30:33

..Perth.

0:30:330:30:35

It was quite a scary feeling, wasn't it, when we landed at the airport?

0:30:370:30:39

It was like, we've left our life behind.

0:30:390:30:42

Suddenly it hit me and I thought,

0:30:420:30:44

"Oh, my God, have we done right thing?"

0:30:440:30:46

The Andrews were living in a four-bed detached house

0:30:460:30:48

just 20 minutes from the beach and 20km from the centre of Perth,

0:30:480:30:52

and Rob was delighted with his new surroundings.

0:30:520:30:54

When I drive to work and I'm heading towards the city, you know,

0:30:560:31:00

you're driving over the Swan River, the sun is shining,

0:31:000:31:04

you feel happy straightaway.

0:31:040:31:06

Moving to the other side of the world hadn't just made

0:31:060:31:08

the family closer - it had made it bigger too.

0:31:080:31:12

For the family, we've got another one on the way.

0:31:140:31:17

Erm...

0:31:170:31:19

So that's going to be five of us now.

0:31:190:31:21

So that's going to be exciting times.

0:31:220:31:24

With a new addition to the family on the way,

0:31:250:31:27

the children were looking forward to the future.

0:31:270:31:30

Me and Lexi want to...

0:31:310:31:33

LEXI WHISPERS

0:31:330:31:34

We want to a...

0:31:340:31:35

We want a little brother.

0:31:350:31:37

Cos...

0:31:390:31:41

I don't know why Lexi does, but I just want another brother because...

0:31:410:31:46

So he can teach him wrestling and beat me up.

0:31:460:31:49

That's not true.

0:31:490:31:50

But it wasn't all plain sailing.

0:31:500:31:52

Rob had struggled to find work.

0:31:520:31:54

Yeah, when we made the move over here, obviously I was

0:31:540:31:59

wanting to get into my painting and decorating,

0:31:590:32:02

but that sort of has been put on hold for the time being.

0:32:020:32:05

He had hoped to get work through a contract he had secured during

0:32:060:32:09

the family's trip, but the promise of work fell through

0:32:090:32:13

so Rob fell back on a trade he knew well.

0:32:130:32:16

I've started up doing my carpet cleaning,

0:32:160:32:19

which I used to do back home as well.

0:32:190:32:21

And, yeah, it's going really well.

0:32:230:32:25

You know, I had to invest in some machinery and the vehicle, so, yeah,

0:32:270:32:31

it's going really well.

0:32:310:32:33

The carpet cleaning company had taken off, but Rob's dream

0:32:370:32:40

of a painting and decorating business was still very much alive.

0:32:400:32:45

Here to go off on your own, you need a painter's registration,

0:32:450:32:48

so I'm going back to college, doing night school,

0:32:480:32:53

just to get the ticket.

0:32:530:32:55

Mel also had to change careers.

0:32:550:32:58

The hours in a salon just wouldn't be practical for me,

0:32:580:33:01

especially with the children at school,

0:33:010:33:03

I need something around them.

0:33:030:33:04

So I'm working as a secretary for a cleaning company,

0:33:040:33:08

so it's very similar to what I was doing back in the UK,

0:33:080:33:12

so it's something I'm familiar with.

0:33:120:33:14

I basically run the office,

0:33:140:33:15

which I really enjoy and it's nice because I can work it around

0:33:150:33:19

the children's schooling.

0:33:190:33:22

For Rob, leaving his aunt and uncle was a major stumbling block to

0:33:220:33:25

the move and breaking the news that he was leaving turned out

0:33:250:33:28

to be harder than he imagined.

0:33:280:33:30

So, yeah, when the time came to tell them, it was...

0:33:300:33:34

..you know, it was, I suppose, like a lightning strike, I suppose,

0:33:340:33:38

to them, knowing that we was actually going to leave.

0:33:380:33:41

But I never thought I would get that reaction what we did.

0:33:410:33:46

Rob's aunt and uncle were devastated by the decision,

0:33:470:33:50

and one year on, they still hadn't spoken.

0:33:500:33:53

It hurt, didn't it? It hurt you big time.

0:33:540:33:57

You know, it still does, but,

0:33:570:34:00

you know, there's nothing you can do and, you know,

0:34:000:34:02

we've just got to carry on, haven't we?

0:34:020:34:06

You know, the first year has been a learning curve,

0:34:060:34:08

and it's got us in here and, you know, we're starting to make friends

0:34:080:34:13

so I think the next year, our second year,

0:34:130:34:16

I think we've just got so much to look forward to.

0:34:160:34:18

By the third year, I think we will class it as being settled and

0:34:180:34:22

feeling like we are at home.

0:34:220:34:24

Despite a shaky start down under, and the emotional pull from home,

0:34:270:34:32

Mel still believed that the move was the right thing

0:34:320:34:35

for all the family to do.

0:34:350:34:37

So five years later,

0:34:370:34:39

are they still living on the other side of the world,

0:34:390:34:42

or back home in the UK?

0:34:420:34:44

It's 2017, and the Andrews are living in...

0:34:450:34:49

..Perth.

0:34:490:34:50

Slightly larger, of course,

0:34:530:34:56

with three-year-old Macy now part of the family.

0:34:560:34:58

So, we've been here...

0:35:000:35:02

It's five years in June so it will be four years since we've been back.

0:35:020:35:06

We haven't seen anyone.

0:35:060:35:07

Mel's pregnancy was just the start

0:35:080:35:10

of a turbulent few months for the family.

0:35:100:35:13

She was eight weeks early, so she spent some time

0:35:130:35:17

in special care in King Eddie's Hospital in Subi.

0:35:170:35:19

They were brilliant.

0:35:190:35:21

It was hard.

0:35:210:35:23

The premature birth of their daughter

0:35:230:35:25

showed Rob and Mel just how far away they were from friends and family.

0:35:250:35:30

We had very little network of friends and family close by.

0:35:300:35:35

You know, Mel struggled a lot.

0:35:380:35:40

Well, we all did, but obviously Mel, being the mum, more than ever.

0:35:410:35:45

But it made us stronger and if anything has come out of it,

0:35:480:35:53

it's made me and Mel strong.

0:35:530:35:56

Just like the rest of the family, Macy is thriving these days.

0:35:560:36:01

She is just brilliant.

0:36:010:36:03

She is a mini you.

0:36:030:36:04

She's just like her daddy.

0:36:040:36:06

-The only one.

-Yeah.

0:36:060:36:07

The other two are more my side, I think, aren't they?

0:36:090:36:11

She's a proper little Aussie.

0:36:110:36:14

She doesn't like wearing shoes.

0:36:140:36:15

-Nope.

-I think Kobi's quite glad that he hasn't got a little brother

0:36:150:36:19

because she does not leave Lexi alone.

0:36:190:36:21

Wherever Lexi goes, she follows,

0:36:210:36:24

and she wants to do everything that Lexi's doing.

0:36:240:36:26

The family have moved since their last visit and are still renting,

0:36:260:36:29

although they hope to change that in the near future.

0:36:290:36:32

The other house, in Kellyville, weren't we?

0:36:320:36:34

But I think we left there because,

0:36:340:36:37

obviously, the rent was just ridiculous, it was too high.

0:36:370:36:40

And obviously it didn't have a swimming pool.

0:36:400:36:43

Where we're actually renting now is in a lovely cul-de-sac,

0:36:430:36:46

-got lovely neighbours. I think...

-Pool.

-Yeah, with a pool.

0:36:460:36:50

When the time's right I would like to put an offer in for this,

0:36:500:36:53

and we're still looking at buying some land

0:36:530:36:56

for an investment property, as well.

0:36:560:36:59

Work wise, Rob has fulfilled his ambition

0:37:000:37:02

and now owns his own painting and decorating business.

0:37:020:37:05

The work situation, I mean, I had to go off and,

0:37:070:37:11

you know, start on me own.

0:37:110:37:12

And then, as I got more and more busy,

0:37:140:37:17

erm, Mel started taking over the office side

0:37:170:37:22

of the business and generally running the day-to-day of it.

0:37:220:37:28

I've always said, you know,

0:37:280:37:30

especially being husband and wife, you know, both working together,

0:37:300:37:35

you know, will it work?

0:37:350:37:37

And to be honest, I think what helps is, because I'm out all day

0:37:390:37:44

on site, and she's here, you know, even though we have contact

0:37:440:37:48

on the phone, to be honest, it works really well

0:37:480:37:52

and she is really good at her job.

0:37:520:37:54

So, five years on, how do they feel about the move now?

0:37:550:37:59

I think I've settled into Australia

0:37:590:38:02

more than Rob. I think...

0:38:020:38:04

Again, because Rob does his painting,

0:38:060:38:08

you know, he's working on his own.

0:38:080:38:10

He's been lucky that he has made a few friends from painting,

0:38:100:38:13

like he went to college and did his registration,

0:38:130:38:16

so he made a few friends there

0:38:160:38:18

and obviously a couple of guys that do painting with him.

0:38:180:38:21

You know, he's made friends with them,

0:38:210:38:24

so that's nice for him.

0:38:240:38:26

But I think, cos I've made friends through, obviously, the kids.

0:38:260:38:30

Not many, but I did make a few, so I had that social outlet I could,

0:38:300:38:34

you know, maybe,

0:38:340:38:36

with the kids having play days after school, you know,

0:38:360:38:38

you'd meet up and have a coffee with the mum or, you know...

0:38:380:38:41

So I did make friends that way,

0:38:410:38:44

and I think, that way, I settled in more.

0:38:440:38:46

I would say I'm the one that's more...a little bit up and down.

0:38:460:38:51

You know, Mel has been, I would say, more of the rock, definitely.

0:38:530:38:59

She's... You know, she has been my rock through this

0:38:590:39:03

because I do struggle a lot.

0:39:030:39:05

Erm... It's not as much as missing England,

0:39:050:39:10

it's missing the people that we left behind,

0:39:100:39:13

and I still struggle with that but, you know,

0:39:130:39:15

I just maybe have to, you know, get through that

0:39:150:39:19

because I've got to do what's best for my children and, you know,

0:39:190:39:24

that's all we've ever set out to do.

0:39:240:39:26

Nonetheless, the Andrews have made Perth their home to the extent that

0:39:260:39:30

they have applied for Australian citizenship.

0:39:300:39:34

We did our test in November, which we passed,

0:39:340:39:37

-which is great because it's only me and you that have to do it.

-Yeah.

0:39:370:39:40

So the kids go on our application.

0:39:400:39:43

Macy is, obviously, already a citizen.

0:39:430:39:45

And then you have to wait...

0:39:450:39:48

It says up to six months for your ceremony to pledge your...

0:39:480:39:52

-..allegiance to Australia.

-Before you can apply for your passport.

0:39:520:39:57

So we're not there yet, but we know we've passed the test.

0:39:570:40:00

It wasn't a case of, right, we're going to get our citizenship

0:40:000:40:03

and then we're going to go back.

0:40:030:40:05

It was a case of, you've got to set goals and our goal was, you know,

0:40:050:40:10

to get a citizenship and then we'll be Australians as well as

0:40:100:40:16

British and for the kids as well, because...

0:40:160:40:19

They are 99.9% Aussies now.

0:40:190:40:21

Unfortunately, it has been a mixed bag of emotions,

0:40:230:40:26

as Mel and Rob have still not reconciled

0:40:260:40:28

with Rob's aunt and uncle.

0:40:280:40:30

Unfortunately, some people don't...

0:40:310:40:34

I don't think they see it like that.

0:40:340:40:35

They just see if like, "Oh, they've decided to leave,

0:40:350:40:38

"they've moved away. That's it."

0:40:380:40:40

You know, we're not going to see them again,

0:40:400:40:42

so for whatever reason they don't want to stay in touch.

0:40:420:40:44

You know, some people don't agree with what we've done, but at the end

0:40:440:40:47

of the day, you know, it's my family and that's what I've got to do.

0:40:470:40:54

I've got to look out for the best for them.

0:40:540:40:57

What they don't understand, it was the hardest thing that we've ever

0:40:570:41:00

done, to make that decision to move away from everyone.

0:41:000:41:02

Erm...

0:41:020:41:04

And of course we miss them.

0:41:040:41:06

We miss them everyday, but...

0:41:060:41:07

Yeah, it doesn't stop you missing people and thinking about them every

0:41:080:41:12

day and still thinking, have we made the right decision?

0:41:120:41:15

I've always said it's better to regret something you've done

0:41:150:41:18

than regret something you haven't done.

0:41:180:41:20

Really? Because I think that was actually me that said that.

0:41:200:41:23

-No, no, no.

-I think you'll find that's my motto.

0:41:230:41:26

-Look back on the...

-Yeah, look back.

0:41:260:41:28

-On season one.

-I think it was me, actually. I've always said that.

0:41:280:41:32

That hasn't stopped Mel and Rob from planning

0:41:350:41:37

a very special Christmas for their family.

0:41:370:41:40

As soon as we landed, we said the first Christmas

0:41:420:41:44

we're going to do Australian things.

0:41:440:41:46

Go down to the beach, have a beer on the beach on Christmas Day.

0:41:460:41:50

And to be honest because it was so different, it was brilliant,

0:41:500:41:53

-weren't it?

-It was nice.

-The sea was just lovely.

0:41:530:41:56

It's just not the same here. You just don't get that.

0:41:560:41:59

I mean, you can go round to your friends' and have a barbecue...

0:41:590:42:02

-Which is the norm, really.

-Which is nice, yeah, which is nice.

0:42:020:42:05

But I just missed that environment of being in the pub

0:42:050:42:08

and feeling all Christmassy

0:42:080:42:10

with the Christmas carols and Christmas decorations.

0:42:100:42:12

We are going back to the UK in December for Christmas

0:42:120:42:15

and New Year, for five weeks, and we can't wait.

0:42:150:42:19

Yeah, no, it's going to be exciting.

0:42:190:42:21

After four years away, it's, er...

0:42:210:42:22

Yeah, we're just looking forward to it, you know,

0:42:240:42:27

to catching up with everyone,

0:42:270:42:29

family and friends and, erm,

0:42:290:42:32

the kids experience a British Christmas again.

0:42:320:42:36

Macy has, obviously, never been to England.

0:42:360:42:39

She's going to have a shock.

0:42:390:42:41

How cold it is and, obviously, the long flight.

0:42:410:42:44

But, erm, yeah, I'm looking forward to taking her back

0:42:440:42:48

and seeing where her roots are from.

0:42:480:42:51

Your mum and dad are super excited, aren't they?

0:42:510:42:54

Because they have already bought loads of Christmas decorations,

0:42:540:42:56

-and I think it's going to be like walking into Santa's Grotto.

-Yeah.

0:42:560:43:00

I think, especially, for Macy...

0:43:000:43:02

-And that's just for me!

-..she's going to love it.

0:43:020:43:05

Macy's going to love it.

0:43:050:43:07

And, obviously, seeing family and friends,

0:43:070:43:09

that's just, you know, the icing on the cake, really.

0:43:090:43:12

It may not have been completely plain sailing for the Andrews,

0:43:140:43:18

but they've no regrets when it comes to their decision

0:43:180:43:22

about making a new start for their family in Australia.

0:43:220:43:27

We wish Rob, Melanie, Kobi, Lexi and Macy the best of luck.

0:43:270:43:31

In 2011 the Andrews embarked on their trial week. Two flights, 9,000 miles and 22 hours gave them plenty of time to think about the journey ahead. It was a week that had the potential to change their lives for ever, a long way from their home in Folkstone in Kent.

Melanie and husband Rob shared their happy home with their children Kobi, who was seven, and Lexi, then just three. Mel loved the thought of emigrating, having experienced the lifestyle when she visited on a holiday as a teenager. But if they were going to make the dream a reality they had to move fast, as their Australian visa was close to running out.

But for husband Rob, it was much more complicated. For any move to work he had to decide if he could walk away from the cleaning business he ran with his brother and start all over again. However, there was something even more important than work that Rob would have to leave behind - his close family and friends, in particular his aunt and uncle. With so much at stake, everyone's emotions were running high. Ahead of them was a trial week in Perth to sample the life they could enjoy and afford before facing a huge decision.

So five years later, just where are the Andrews living?