Melanie Barratt fell for Australia while competing in the Sydney Paralympic Games. Can a trial week in Melbourne convince husband Richard that it could be home?
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Everybody has a dream,
but if yours was to set up home in a country you'd enjoyed sporting success
in almost two decades earlier,
how would you go about convincing
your whole family to take the plunge?
Especially if it meant uprooting everything that you had at home
and moving to the other side of the world.
Swimmer Melanie Barratt brought home gold
from the Paralympic games in Australia.
Ever since then, I've had this idyllic image of Australia
and it being the perfect place.
She now wants to move her family to the country
that made her a champion.
We could have an amazing future and fulfil these dreams
that I have for them of being outdoors, doing sport.
But convincing husband Richard to leave the UK...
This is definitely the biggest decision in my family's life
and not one that I'm going to be taking lightly.
..could be the hardest challenge she'll ever face.
I'm hoping Melanie sees for herself what she's got in the UK
and realise that it's just a dream.
Its warm climate,
a national passion for leisure and sport,
and one of the highest rates of pool ownership in the world
characterise Australia's love affair with the outdoors.
A culture that's proven irresistible to over 30,000 Brits
who make the move there every year.
Ever since competing for Great Britain
in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics,
swimmer Melanie Barratt has claimed Australia as her spiritual home.
Now, over 15 years later, she's desperate to make the move there,
but with jobs they love,
a dream home and the support of extended family in the UK,
husband Richard doesn't believe things could be any better elsewhere.
So, will a trial week down under see Melanie treading water
as she tries to convince him and their two sons
to start a new life on the other side of the world?
The week begins with an epic journey from London to Melbourne
via Dubai and Sydney.
But when they finally arrive, everyone's feeling quite upbeat.
It didn't go too bad.
The boys were well-behaved.
-Very well-behaved, yeah.
-And, yeah, we got through it.
-Yeah, it was surprisingly good.
That's it. That's one of ours, Leo.
Mum, Melanie, can't wait to show her two boys the country that captured
her heart almost 16 years ago.
To finally be here now in Australia,
back here when all my dreams happened and came true
and to finally be able to see whether we can make a life here,
it's just so exciting.
So, are you going to push this one, Asa?
And the boys share her enthusiasm.
I'm looking forward to Australia because it's sunny.
It'll be really nice and warm all the time.
Richard, on the other hand, is already thinking about
what he'll need to see to call Australia home.
I'm really going to be looking for something really special
from this week to convince me that it's going to be the right move
for us and it's going to come down to whether I really think
it will be a significantly better life for the boys.
As they head out into Melbourne,
Melanie knows the next seven days will be her best shot of getting
the life she's been dreaming of.
Meet the Barratt family from Kenilworth near Coventry.
They're dad, Richard, mum, Melanie, nine-year-old Asa and Leo, aged six.
I can see you over the top.
Go on, Leo, you can go higher than that.
Can you do a seat... Whoa!
Richard and Melanie have been together for 17 years.
We met on a blind date, which is quite ironic.
Everybody has a good laugh about that seeing as I'm registered blind.
I think Mummy's going the highest.
Back then, Melanie was making a splash as a competitive swimmer.
And just a year into their relationship, she won gold,
silver and bronze medals for Great Britain
at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
I had such a successful time at the games
and it was such an amazing experience.
Before returning to the UK,
Richard proposed to Melanie on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
and, not surprisingly, the combination of success and romance
has left a lasting impression of the land down under.
I've had this idyllic image of Australia
and it being the perfect place.
And I've always felt very attached to it.
We went to the beach and did trips out,
so I got a general idea of what Australian life was like.
Then obviously with the games, it just was so exciting.
And it just seemed like a fantastic place to live.
Richard knows Melanie's been dreaming of making the country
her home ever since.
Marriage preparation day, one of the questions was,
"What is your partner's dream?"
And the first thing I said was to go to Australia
and to live in Australia. So, I always knew it was Melanie's dream.
Now mum to Asa and Leo,
she's more desperate than ever to make the move.
I want to be on the beach, I want to be outside with the boys.
I want them to learn to surf, I want them to get into kayaking.
And just enjoy the great outdoors.
The children are enthusiastic about the idea.
My mummy has told me a lot about living in Australia.
Such as, going to the beach and going to the Olympic pool.
Though Richard would rather be at home.
It's a great country, but the things that we'd have to leave behind
make me hugely hesitant.
Hold on tight!
I think I have got quite a challenge in convincing Richard that the move
to Australia is in our best interests.
-Tea and cake.
-Has the cake turned out all right, Mel?
It's OK, actually.
-It's still hot, but it's nice to have some warm cake.
Richard's dad recently passed away,
making it even more difficult to contemplate saying goodbye
to his mum in the UK.
With my mother being 83 and suffering from dementia,
the thought of leaving her is really tough.
And if there was a deterioration in her health,
it would be so difficult to get back quickly.
Melanie appreciates Richard's concerns
and though she's desperate to move,
admits it's not straightforward for her, either.
-What do you think? We'll wait for you to eat it.
Oh, it doesn't look like it's cooked!
I'm fully blind in one eye, which is actually an artificial eye.
And the other eye, I see shapes, but they're quite blurry.
I rely hugely on my family and friends.
My parents help massively with the boys.
Her parents are distraught at the thought of their daughter
moving 10,000 miles from home.
My mum in particular is struggling a lot with the idea of it.
To the point that she doesn't really want to talk about it.
Unable to forget the country she fell for all those years ago,
the week ahead will be a chance for the couple to discover
once and for all whether Australia
really is the utopia Melanie imagines.
Part of me is actually hoping that we go there for the trial week
and I can think, "Actually, my life is good at home."
The other half is hoping that it is what I imagine it to be
and it's fantastic and it's given us enough of an idea to make the move.
I'm hoping that Melanie sees for herself
what she's got in the UK and will perhaps come round and realise
that it's just a dream.
Apparently, there's the highest density of swimming pools
in Australia than anywhere else in the world.
-Who told you that, then?
-Oh, I don't know.
Something I picked up somewhere.
The Barratts are spending their trial week in the Mount Waverley
area of Melbourne, around 13 miles from the city centre.
Oh, I think this is it here, look. This is the two-storey one.
-It looks really nice.
-Oh, does it?
Their temporary base is this three-bedroom house.
But will it be everything Melanie hopes for?
Oh, wow! This looks really nice.
-Is it a nice house?
If first impressions are anything to go by,
the week's off to a great start.
-Is it good?
-Oh, yeah, it looks amazing.
-This is going to be a great place to stay.
-Definitely lots of space.
But all the excitement has worn out a little someone.
-Bit too much for you today.
-Goodnight. See you later.
With Leo tucked in, the rest of the family go off exploring.
Oh, this must be Asa's room.
-What were they thinking?
-Oh, didn't they know there were boys coming?
Asa's too sleepy to be concerned and soon nods off while Mum and Dad
discuss their thoughts on what lies ahead.
Two very exhausted boys.
-What do you think they're going to make of this week?
-I have no idea.
I want to move here to make their lives better.
But despite Richard's earlier positivity,
he's not making any promises.
Seeing whether it would be practical for us to live here.
-Work-wise and the cost of living.
-Things like that. It's whether the reality lives up to the dream.
Back in the UK,
home for the Barratts is a rather unique property.
They live in a converted water tower in the town of Kenilworth.
It's obviously round.
So, that adds a lot of features to it and it's got the pool
and it's even got a snooker room.
The couple admit their home is pretty special
and Richard's adamant they'll need to find something
just as impressive down under.
If we move to Australia and ended up in an inferior house,
I think I would be something that would put me off the move.
With around £1.4 million to spend,
hopefully they won't be left disappointed.
To find out what kind of house they could have,
today we'll show the family three properties.
Two based on budget
and a third which could be a dream Australian home.
Only after they've seen each one, will they find out its value.
So, let's go and have an investigate.
First stop is the coastal suburb of Beaumaris.
Around 40 minutes outside of central Melbourne.
Next to a beach and within walking distance
of cafes, shops and a school, it's exactly the kind of location
Melanie is after.
And here's the house just here.
-Amazing view it's going to be over the sea.
But will this modern four-bedroom house put Richard on her wavelength?
Amazing modern architecture.
Glass balconies, three storeys.
It's off to a positive start.
Really nice, bright hallway.
And things get better on the first floor.
-So, this is obviously the main living area
-because it's got a lounge area on the front.
Looking out the patio windows.
-So can you see the sea?
-Yeah, you can see the sea.
-And there's a seating area outside.
So you can sit and eat on the patio. That's amazing.
Their optimism reaches new heights
with a discovery of a quirky feature.
It's got its own lift. Shall we give it a try, Asa?
Where are you going to end up?
Let's hope it doesn't go shooting through the roof.
Thankfully, Richard and Asa arrive safely in the basement,
where a games room goes down a treat, too.
Oh, well, this would be my den, then, wouldn't it?
It's even got a fridge for the beer.
I hope the car comes with it.
Not sure about that, Richard.
The house tour takes a brief pause while the boys squeeze in a game.
But they soon move on to discover what else this place has to offer.
Oh, wow, it's the master bedroom.
I was wondering where our bedroom would be.
Over here we look like we've got a jacuzzi bath.
-That's big enough for you to swim in, Asa.
Might be going overboard there, Richard.
Perhaps there's a better solution in the outhouse.
-It's a swimming pool.
-Like a jet pool.
-And you can swim against it.
-And then it's got a jacuzzi at the other end.
Looks good, but why isn't it outdoors?
It's a fair question.
But, with everything else the house offers,
including the beach-side location Melanie was after,
will their budget of £1.4 million be enough to cover it?
I would say it's probably worth about 1.4, 5.
-Yeah, I think this one's going to be a bit over budget.
I think 1,495.
Time to turn the card.
That's £80,000 under budget.
That is less than I thought.
It's quite a lot less than I thought.
I didn't actually think we'd be able to afford a sea view.
-I think it is an amazing place, and that's quite exciting, isn't it?
Knowing they could afford to live by the coast down under
has got the family's house-hunt off on a great footing.
Next, they head to the popular seaside town of Mount Eliza,
which is around an hour's drive from Melbourne city centre.
Oh, look at some of the size of these houses, huge detached houses.
Wouldn't it be amazing if you had a house that looked over the sea like that.
Do you think it could be one of those?
It's further out, but this busy holiday spot on the Mornington peninsula,
with stretches of sandy beach, parks and walkways,
is ideal for active families.
-This is it here.
Looks an amazing house.
So what will the Barratts make of this spacious four-bedroom house?
-A lot more traditional.
-Yeah, really high.
-Yeah, really spacious.
It's going well. Will the living room impress?
What a really nice big lounge.
-There is a little bar at the back.
-Really? A bar?
While the boys play, Mum and Dad go exploring.
This is a really nice family area, isn't it?
It does remind me of our house in England.
High praise indeed.
-Nice open-plan kitchen.
-Yeah, it's good, good.
And, to their surprise,
the open-plan living area has even more space.
-And another dining table.
And another dining table. So that's three lounges that we've seen.
-It beats our house.
Will the master bedroom score highly with the couple, too?
-It's quite a large size.
Oh, here's your dressing room, just round here.
I think I would have to have this one and that one.
Yeah, I could just have this little corner.
Out on the veranda, they are blown away by the outdoors area.
-Oh, here's the swimming pool.
-How big is it?
-15 metres, maybe?
No! That's amazing.
-What's the green...?
-Is that grass?
-No, it's a tennis court.
-The boys would love that.
Could this home be the one to persuade Richard
to buy into Melanie's dream?
It is a bit like a celebrity house, isn't it?
Got the wow factor.
But will the price appeal, too?
I think 1.55 million.
I might go for 1.495.
-Go on, turn it over then, Asa.
That's right on budget.
-That's a lot of house.
-That is an amazing amount of house.
-Would you like it?
-I love it, too.
The house has proven a hit with everyone.
But the day's not over yet.
The final house is on the same peninsula, in Mount Martha,
another oceanfront town and an hour's drive from central Melbourne.
With plenty of local amenities and a beautiful sandy beach,
it's perfect for outdoor types.
Well, we're definitely within walking distance of the sea.
We think this four-bedroom house set on an acre of land
could be the family's dream home, but will they agree?
So here we are.
My goodness, it's a mansion!
It's absolutely huge!
Will inside measure up just as well?
Such a big house from the outside,
I was expecting it to be bigger inside.
Melanie's staying upbeat.
-Still lots of space.
-Some interesting angles as well.
And there's competition for the bedrooms.
So whose bedroom do you think this could be?
-Do you like it?
-You like this one, don't you?
Oh. Another bedroom.
Could this one be yours, Leo?
-What's that in there?
It's a big walk-in wardrobe. Or it could be a little den.
Could be a den.
While the boys try out their potential new rooms,
Melanie and Richard check out the first floor.
-Huge living space.
Downstairs was big, but coming up here,
you can just see the whole scale of things a lot more, can't you?
-This is huge.
And the kitchen?
-Beautiful, isn't it?
-Yeah, beautiful kitchen.
Yeah, definitely could see ourselves entertaining here.
Will the master bedroom meet their idea of Aussie living?
-That's a big room.
-It is, really nice size.
Upstairs for a change.
-I think that's one of the first that we've seen upstairs.
An en-suite and spacious walk-in wardrobe
give this room the perfect finishing touches.
Oh, the dressing room, what you've always wanted.
A walk-in dressing room.
-I've always wanted one of these, yeah.
Big size en suite, definitely a lot bigger than ours at home.
Can outside tick even more boxes for the couple?
-Finally, some grass in Australia.
-Yeah, really big garden.
-How big is it?
-First big garden.
It probably goes about 60,
-70 metres down to the bottom there.
And you can see the sea in the distance
But Richard spots a problem.
No swimming pool, though.
-But we could have one built.
There's certainly space for a 50-metre pool, even.
There's ample room to install whatever they want,
but this house hasn't excited them as much as the last.
Obviously this house is amazing
and it's got a huge garden and it's close to the sea.
-But I haven't got that buzz that we got from looking
around our house at home and probably the second house here.
I think I preferred the second house more than this one.
I'm expecting it to be more expensive, but...
I am, too.
I think 1.75.
I think 1,695.
Shall we find out?
That's almost £200,000 over budget.
Although we didn't like this house, today has made me realise that
actually we could probably afford something
that we would be happy with.
Property three might not be the dream home,
but the couple are definitely impressed
with the kind of houses they could have down under.
Right next to the beach and under budget,
property one had huge appeal,
but the indoor pool didn't match Melanie's idea of Aussie living.
The second house was a clear frontrunner.
Bang on budget, it had everything the family were after.
Property three was well over budget and lacking a pool.
It didn't make the cut.
So, when it comes to the vote,
has the day tempted Richard to give up their home in the UK?
So you voted for Australia, Mel. I'm not too surprised.
You boys go and play. I just want to talk to Mummy.
So you... So you're a bit upset.
The fact that you voted undecided just makes me feel like, you know,
you don't feel the same way,
and that's why I got a bit upset, I guess.
It's just the fact that all the houses today
seemed a little bit of a compromise one way or the other,
and obviously the house in the UK that we love
really made me undecided at the end.
After Richard's undecided vote,
Melanie's coming to the heartbreaking realisation convincing
her husband to move is going to be much tougher than she'd imagined.
To get things back on track,
Richard will need to be assured of decent work opportunities
before he can even contemplate walking away
from the life they have.
Back in the UK,
Richard's been a software development manager
for the past 25 years.
Everything rides on him finding the right job in Australia.
As the major breadwinner,
my job would be key in maintaining our standard of living.
Job security, a competitive salary and decent work hours in the UK
have set the bar high for his career expectations
in the southern hemisphere.
I'd like to maintain a sensible work-life balance
and have a similar salary.
So just relax. I'm going to lift your leg up.
With her sports background,
Melanie loves her job as a physiotherapist
at a private practice.
The treatment that I give is very effective and,
because it happens straightaway,
it can be really rewarding for me and the patient.
But being a mum comes first.
I'm not looking for a full-time job.
I'm just looking for something part-time
so I can fit it around the children.
To start the day,
the family wave Melanie off at a physio practice in Mentone,
around 13 miles from Melbourne's central business district.
We've arranged for her to meet up with company director Bill McTeague.
So, Melanie, this is one of the treatment rooms.
We've got quite a number of them.
First, she gets a brief tour of the facilities.
So, Melanie, this is one of our Pilates studios.
Melanie's aware she would have to sit an exam before she could work
as a physiotherapist in Australia,
but wants to know what other roles
might suit her skills in the interim.
You could work as a sports trainer or a massage therapist.
OK. So do you have those working for you at this practice?
We do. We have massage therapists and Maya therapists.
OK, that's great.
I love that kind of area of my job anyway so I'd be very happy
to do that while I'm studying.
It's encouraging, but could Melanie continue to work part-time?
It's certainly possible to work,
-say, three days for a six-hour session.
So you might work Monday, Wednesday, Thursday.
-With young kids, that's really good.
Yeah, that sounds just like what I'm looking for.
What could she expect to earn?
Currently, I'm doing approximately ten hours over two days
and I'm earning around about £10,000 a year.
What would the equivalent be here?
You'd earn around about £18,000 for the same hours.
Brilliant. That's almost double. That's excellent.
It's fantastic news, but how easily could she find work?
In this business, we haven't got a job currently,
a role currently for you,
but certainly in Melbourne you're very employable.
-Thank you. It's brilliant.
-Lovely to meet you, Melanie.
-Yeah, you too. Thank you.
It's been a great morning for Melanie.
After reuniting with the family,
she takes the boys for a bite to eat while Richard heads to a
digital advertising firm where we've arranged for him to meet up with
chief information officer Nigel Dalton.
Having looked at Richard's CV, Nigel has some advice.
If I look at the people I would normally talk to here,
they're probably going to have a profile online
for the projects they've worked on, maybe a blog.
And that's who you're competing with.
So what I think you need to do is take what looks like a pretty
traditional resume in the Australian market...
-And just make it a little more modern, go to courses,
go to conferences, do some online things, read.
-That will make a big difference with your resume.
A few tweaks will help Richard to stand out.
What about the work hours?
-Working 8.30 till 5.30 is probably pretty normal.
No surprises there.
What sort of salary do you think I could expect?
I think you're going to be looking at £70,000 a year.
-Now, with the way people develop their careers in Australia and in
Melbourne, I think you could probably over a couple of years
get back to your £80-90,000.
It's not good.
He'd be earning £20,000 less a year, at least to begin with.
I would have liked to have got a very similar salary to the UK,
but need to kind of weigh it up with all the other elements
to living in Melbourne.
But could he land a role down under?
I think working at REA's not possible.
You've been a packaged software guy and it's all about mobile,
but don't be too discouraged.
There are, you know,
-there's 5,000-6,000 vacancies here in Melbourne today.
There will be one for you.
And then maybe we'll see you in a couple of years,
as you've invested in digital skills and experience.
It's a disappointing end to Richard's meeting.
And, when he meets up with the family in the park,
it's clear he and Melanie have a lot to discuss.
The practice was absolutely amazing.
I've never seen anything like it in any of the jobs that I've had.
-Everybody was so enthusiastic.
And the equivalent of what I'm doing now would be £18,000.
-Which is a huge difference, isn't it?
-How about you?
Yeah, I mean, I had a really good chat with the CIO of the company.
The key issue was salary.
Probably start on around £70,000,
which is obviously less than what I get in the UK.
With his wife's better news, when it comes to work opportunities,
can Richard find the confidence to lodge his first vote for Australia?
After a very interesting day of looking around the workplaces,
it's time to vote.
Kind of expected that.
Yeah. I can understand where you're coming from, obviously. Your job you've got is great.
And it's going to be difficult to find something similar over here.
Yeah. It wasn't all negative, but definitely kind of, yeah,
in the favour of the UK.
With Richard uncertain about work prospects in Australia,
it looks like Melanie's plans for their future could be in deep water.
Desperate to dive in,
she's now hoping a day exploring the Australian outdoors lifestyle
she believes the whole family would benefit from
will be enough to keep her dream afloat.
There couldn't be a better way for the Barratts to start their day
than at the Brighton Sea Baths,
where Melbournians have been coming to swim for over 100 years.
The large enclosed area of sea water is the same size as an Olympic pool.
While Richard takes the boys kayaking,
Melanie gets stuck into a few laps.
That's why we move to Australia.
When everyone's had enough fun in the water,
the family catch up with some local swimmers
who explain why the city's so great for water sports.
We've got the most beautiful beaches.
All along the coast here is family friendly and you will see people on
their sup boards, their kayaks all the way down the coast.
Melanie's quick to try and garner support for her Aussie campaign.
If you were asked, would you make the move to Australia, to Melbourne?
-Get a flat.
With lots of energy still to burn off,
the family head to Karkarook Park,
around 12 miles outside the city centre, for a run.
Well done, boys, that's really good.
Go on, Asa, big finish.
Oh, yes, well done.
After an action-packed morning,
everyone's worked up an appetite and in this environment
there's only one thing for it.
-Ready for some food? Australian style.
-I am hungry.
It's been a great day out down under,
which has only heightened Melanie's desire to call the country her home.
I've always had this image of the Australian lifestyle and I feel like
today has fulfilled that, and more, really.
While he's enjoyed time with the family,
after his disappointing workday, Richard's questioning if they can
afford the lifestyle Melanie has fallen for.
The economics of it have got to work out,
so that we can have the life that we want to enjoy in Australia
and doing it on any other basis
I feel would just be a recipe for disaster.
The afternoon also reminds him of the dilemma
about leaving his mother.
On one hand, if I opt for Australia, I'm going to be letting my mum down.
If I opt for the UK, I'm going to be letting Melanie down,
by not following and going with her dream.
And Melanie understands it's a tough call.
When it comes to the vote tomorrow,
I'm struggling whether to base my vote on what impact it would have
on Richard's mum, with me taking him away from her.
Richard could be torn
between his wife's hopes for a new life down under,
and the bonds he has at home, come the end of the week.
For now, it's time to find out if the lifestyle
has done enough to secure his first vote for Australia.
After the whole day of Australian lifestyle it's time to vote.
Leo, you voted for UK, did you?
Why did you vote for the UK?
-Because the sea was scary.
-The sea was scary.
So, Asa, you voted for Australia. Why was that?
Because in the UK you can't do kayaking on the sea.
Not where we live, anyway.
You voted for Australia, Mel. What was your reason?
-Well, it's what we're looking for really, isn't it?
The whole outdoors lifestyle.
Yeah, no, it's been a really good day
and it's definitely why we're here.
After a winning day soaking up the local lifestyle,
Richard could be turning a corner.
But to keep him onside, the finances will need to stack up.
If they do move, the couple are considering selling their UK home,
which they believe is worth around £1.3 million.
To see if they're right we sent two estate agents round
and the whole family sit down to watch their valuations.
Wow, what a great hallway. Great start to the house.
-Wow, looks good, doesn't it?
-It does look nice.
This is a really unusual kitchen.
Definitely an unusual kitchen.
The lack of a dining area within it might put some buyers off.
Yeah, that's what we've said, isn't it?
-Here we go.
-On the roof.
Wow, it's a fabulous roof terrace.
-There's your solar panels.
In today's market I'd value this house at £1.3 million.
For a quick sale,
I'd put the property on the market for 1.2 million.
If the owners wanted to rent the property,
I'd suggest a monthly rental figure of between £2,500 and £2,800.
Yeah, I think that valuation fits in with what we were expecting and how
we were kind of planning our budget for the potential move,
so, yeah, I think it's good news generally.
I do, too. I think it kind of confirms what we were expecting.
While the boys play,
Melanie and Richard sit down to examine the rest of the figures.
-The bit you've been looking forward to.
-Yeah. I guess so.
We've provided a comparison of cost of living
between Australia and the UK.
First, they chew over the weekly food bill.
Your steak pies, it's more than double.
I'll have to just make my own in future.
I think you will, yeah.
Even though they'd have to pay out
£33 more each week for food down under,
Melanie's remaining optimistic.
You know, it's obviously a significant difference,
but I think, you know, it's not insurmountable.
It's harder to be positive when they consider mortgage costs.
Our mortgage at the moment in the UK is £1,806 per month.
The mortgage for house two in Australia would be £3,290, so, yeah.
But it's not all bad news.
Council tax in the UK, paying 215.
In Australia, it's £97. So that's at least...
-So that's at least something clawed back.
-That's something, yes.
Overall monthly bills down under would come in
around £1,400 more.
-It is the mortgage.
-It is the mortgage.
-Solely the mortgage.
But, you know, you can shop around for mortgages, can't you?
Next, they look at income,
basing the figures on Richard's lower earnings.
My salary, we'd be worse off by £1,223.
That combined with the mortgage is not good news.
And the final sums show they'd be worse off
by around £1,500 in Australia.
That is really not good news.
Sensing his wife's disappointment, Richard looks for a solution.
Maybe a better route forward would be to rent property in Australia,
-keep our house in the UK.
-Which we love.
Richard's been doing his homework
and thinks they could rent a house in Australia for around £3,000.
On that basis, the figures look a lot more favourable.
We would be £58 per month better off
-renting in Australia.
Will the final calculations save the day,
as the couple face a choice between finances?
After a very thought-provoking reality check, it's time to vote.
-Oh, well, there you go.
-That's a surprise.
Emigrating by renting has got to be the way to go.
We'd actually be slightly better off,
so on the basis of being slightly better off it was Australia.
Richard's second vote for Australia is great news for Melanie's dream,
but she knows he still needs to be convinced
about the emotional cost of moving.
To help, the family decide to watch messages from home together.
-There we go.
-All settled now.
-Yeah, all sitting comfortable.
Hope you've managed not to affect a dodgy Aussie accent out there.
When Melanie swam in the Olympics in Atlanta and Sydney
it was quite the most emotional time for us both.
We've been amazed and delighted about how well she's done
and what she's made of her life, despite that difficult start.
Richard is very competitive as well.
They're very well matched.
He's very caring towards Melanie and the boys.
I'd describe Asa as being very sensible and caring.
Extremely competitive, takes after his mother in that sense.
Leo is full of energy,
too much energy, if I can say that, but, yeah.
I don't want them to go because...
And that's probably being rather selfish on my part,
because I'll miss seeing them all.
I'll miss seeing our grandchildren grow up.
It would leave a big gap in our life.
If Melanie and the family moved to Australia...
..it would just be awful.
We have been fortunate enough
to be a part of the boys' life, which we have really enjoyed.
And we would just miss them all so much.
Wow, OK, decision time.
I think Mel, Rich, Leo, Asa, you go with what you want.
We will miss you, but you have to do what you want to do, so go for it.
Above all, just listen to your hearts.
Do what you think is right.
We'll support you, whatever decision you make.
But please just make sure there's a spare room for us there to stay in.
Whatever you do decide to do, obviously we'll support you.
We would miss you terribly
and I don't know quite how we'd overcome that.
-Pretty much worse than I was expecting.
-I know. Yeah.
I knew everybody was going to miss us and say that.
-I was about to cry.
-I was crying.
You did start to cry, did you?
-What made you sad?
-Nanny and Grandad.
Yeah. They are really going to miss us, aren't they,
if we come to Australia? Yeah.
I think after seeing that,
it does make you kind of evaluate things a lot more and it makes you
realise what you'll be leaving behind
and the people you'll be leaving behind.
The reality of leaving loved ones in the UK has hit home with Melanie.
Torn between love for her family and her passion for Australia,
will she be the one with more questions than answers
as their trial week draws to a close?
Oh, you're very good now. Careful at the top.
After a lifetime dream of emigrating,
the last few days have left Melanie conflicted about what happens next.
I kind of feel like I've sort of been pulled between
trying to make a future and my past,
and trying to find out what's best for me and the family.
Oh, yeah. That's good.
She's very close to her family
and it would be a huge thing to leave them behind in the UK.
Providing a better future for the boys
has become Melanie's driving force,
but she now realises achieving it means great sacrifices.
If we were to vote to be in Australia,
potentially they could have an amazing future
and fulfil these dreams that I have for them of being outdoors,
doing sport, but then, it takes them away from their family
and family does mean a lot.
With so much to consider,
choosing between life in Australia and the UK is not going to be easy.
Obviously, it's a life-changing decision potentially,
and we've got to think about
everything that we've seen and done over the past week.
This is definitely the biggest decision in my life
and in my family's life, and not one that I'm going to be taking lightly.
Time to turn the cards for the final time.
Will they decide to pursue Melanie's dream,
or stick with their life in the UK?
After a roller-coaster of a week it's now time for the final vote.
I thought you... Maybe you'd go for Australia but...
Yeah, well, my heart still says Australia,
but after hearing everything from my parents
-and the issues with your mum.
It's just, there's too much to try and sort out to say Australia now.
There's just been too many kind of ups and downs and it's a lot more
complicated decision than I thought it was going to be when we set off.
But it's better than saying UK.
So that's a plus.
Oh, Asa, come here. The dream's still alive, you know.
Come here, Leo, let's have a cuddle.
A CHILD CRIES
A week of genuine highs and lows
hasn't been enough to completely sink Melanie's dream,
but it seems that for now her
and Richard agree their ties to the UK
are just too strong to walk away from.
Wherever they ultimately decide to call home, we wish Melanie, Richard,
Asa and Leo a very happy future.
Melanie Barratt's first experience of Australia was when she represented Great Britain as a swimmer at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. After winning gold, silver and bronze medals, her success was topped with a proposal on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from her then boyfriend Richard. Sixteen years later the pair are married and parents to two young boys, but the heady concoction of success and romance down under has left a lasting impression on Melanie. Claiming Australia as her spiritual home, she dreams of an outdoor lifestyle by the beach for her family. While Melanie might be prepared to give up a good job, dream home and the support of loved ones in the UK, husband Richard is far from convinced that emigrating is the right move. Happy with the life they have, he finds it hard to believe their future could be better elsewhere.
A trial week in Melbourne will provide the whole family with the opportunity to sample what life could be like on the other side of the world. Will the experience reveal that Melanie's Australian dream could be their reality, or show them all there is no place like home?