Families sample Australian life. The Mills family from Eastbourne test out life in Australia for a week, as they assess whether their psychotherapy dream could become a reality.
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Welcome to Wanted Down Under, the show that catapults a British family to the other side of the world
to help them make the biggest decision of their life -
whether to stay in the UK or to move to Australia.
Sally Mills has always wanted to emigrate to Australia.
It's so beautiful here and I just really wanted to work here.
She's travelled there before and is drawn to the warm climate and outdoor life.
Husband, Jem, is not so sure.
Having built a successful psychotherapy business in the UK, he's worried about risking it all.
If I couldn't work as a therapist in Australia, it wouldn't work for me.
They get the taste of the beauty and luxury of the Australian dream.
My goodness - this is amazing!
It's like a big fairy tale, really.
But Jem is forced to face harsh realities on the work front.
It would involve going back to the salary that I was on years ago.
-The figures just don't add up.
-It would be very difficult to consider the move, I think.
You can't live the dream if you can't afford to pay for it.
You're almost scared to look, scared to open up your eyes to the kind of life we could have here.
I don't know where I am with it - it's all up in the air.
Will the fairy tale have an unhappy ending?
Around 150 people a day migrate to Australia in search of a better life.
And anyone who's under the age of 45 and on the skills shortage list
could be heading down under at the head of the queue.
But for all these families, how hard is the decision and do they find what they are looking for?
We've given another British family
the opportunity to spend a week down under,
to see if it's all they've dreamt it would be.
After that, they'll have to make a decision one way or the other -
to stay in the UK or to move to Australia.
Sally and Jem Mills live in Eastbourne with their three children,
Jevon, nine, Rowan, five and Hannah, who's four.
Sally visited Australia as a backpacker 16 years ago.
I know I love it and I know I would probably, as long as the family are happy, move there tomorrow.
But I am concerned about Jem a little bit.
Both Sally and Jem work as psychotherapists - they've built up a successful business from scratch.
I feel a massive emotional attachment to the business.
There's something special about having an idea,
seeing it in your mind's eye, and then, over a period of years, watching it come to fruition.
And because of that, it would be a very hard thing to leave.
We are very, very happy and proud of what we've achieved through the work we do.
And it would be... It's a big thing to take him away from that.
Sally's not one for sitting around. She's been researching a potential move for months,
and has already found a place to stay on an internet house-exchange website.
The people with this gorgeous house, really lovely house,
they're coming to travel round Europe and spend some time in the UK.
-Yeah, they've built this house themselves.
And they've just said, "Come on, come over and stay in our house."
Jem has never been to Australia before
but he is keen to test the water.
Sally is the main driver for this whole thing, really. She's been before.
I'm a bit fearful, way there at the back, possibly,
that we'll just end up with an OK lifestyle.
That it'll be a big move, we'll be away from friends and family,
and the lifestyle isn't going to be enough of a kind of draw
to really sit back of an evening and think, "Gosh, that really was the right move for us."
To make the move, it's got to be better than we already have.
The Mills have a lot to lose so what will they decide?
16 years ago, Sally fell in love with Byron Bay, so that's where they are considering starting a new life.
Byron Bay is a beachside town, roughly 100 miles south of Brisbane,
and is the easternmost point of mainland Australia.
Back in the '60s, its amazing surf breaks and beaches were discovered by surfers,
and the town soon built up a reputation as an alternative destination.
The Mills will be looking for a spacious four-bedroom house here to fit their £450,000 budget,
as long as they can also find good work.
Byron Bay has a variety of lifestyles on offer.
We've put together three that might suit the Mills.
Let's take a look at the first option.
The town of Byron Bay has grown in recent years,
and there's a big alternative therapy scene here.
But there are already many psychotherapists in town
and opening a brand new business would be highly competitive,
so they may struggle to match their combined UK salary of £55,000.
House prices are expensive.
A three-bedroom town house like this costs around £450,000,
which is just within their budget but doesn't offer the space they're after.
So, very different from their life in the UK.
So what about the second option?
The rolling hills of Byron County are stunning,
and the Mills would love the spacious properties with big gardens
but that dream home could be way beyond their budget.
This spectacular four-bedroom home is a beautiful example of rural, open-plan living,
but it doesn't come cheap.
You'd have to pay around £850,000 to buy it.
Smaller houses within budget will be available but they have to shop around.
Living out here means the Mills would have to commute for up to an hour.
All very nice if you can afford it.
What about the third option?
The coastal options around Byron County are many,
and will provide the Mills with a family-friendly alternative
to Byron Bay's bustling streets.
There may be opportunities to start a business here eventually
but to begin with, Jem would need to find a salaried mental health job,
which would pay around £30,000.
Work would be an hour's commute away.
The Mills could buy a four-bedroom house here for £400,000.
If their new business took off, they could afford something like this,
which is on the market for half a million.
So, three very different lifestyle options
but the Mills have found their own place to stay.
They've chosen the coastal town of Lennox Head.
With its great beach and quiet atmosphere,
they hope they will be able to settle in and meet new friends.
We've got some properties for them to look around.
Wow! Look at that view!
We've set up some meetings with mental health professionals, so they can assess their opportunities.
But they have a tough week ahead, as they try to make the biggest decision of their lives.
I don't want to invite the idea of moving to Australia in at the moment,
because we've not made our mind up.
The journey from London takes 3 flights and 27 hours.
The Mills finally touch down in the Gold Coast at 9:15am local time.
They've spent months arranging this trip and it's finally happening.
My main goals are to see if my husband and the family like Australia. I hope they will.
I felt really good flying in.
When we touched down in Sydney, I just felt, this is so great, it felt so right.
Jem is keen to make up his own mind.
What I'm really looking forward to finding out this week is what the work prospects are like,
whether the Lennox Head area that we're staying in
is going to be a community that we really feel we could be part of.
It is important that if we move out here, that what we have here can really feel like home.
The Mills are on their way to Lennox Head,
two hours' drive from the Gold Coast and an hour south of Byron Bay,
their temporary new home is ready and waiting.
Sally has been in communication with designer and homeowner, Melina Pandelides,
to arrange the house exchange.
To pick this time of year, and especially today, to arrive - it's just going to blow them away.
Because it's even blowing me away - it's just the most incredible day.
This design is based on a Japanese idea
in which separate buildings containing bedrooms and studio spaces
are linked together with walkways and conservatories.
The result is a spacious, calm environment.
This house recently won an Australian Home of the Year award.
In the UK, a place like this might run into millions.
In Lennox Head, it's valued at approximately £800,000.
Jem and Sally couldn't afford somewhere like this to start with,
but it will give them a great springboard to explore the area.
As the Mills arrive, they're full of anticipation.
Sally has been in contact with Melina for months but never actually met.
Very exciting. We've had a lot of e-mail correspondence together, got to know each other really well.
I feel a real sense that we do know each other really well, but this is actually the first time we've met.
I'm really looking forward to meeting them.
I'm a little bit nervous about it,
but we're all very excited about meeting them.
Hello. It's so nice to meet you!
I feel like we've already met.
Your house is beautiful.
Melina and Phil are off on holiday themselves, but just have time to show the Mills around.
So, this is the link.
And as you can see, it's fenced off.
It's so lovely.
-I wouldn't think of swimming in the pool now but you guys might.
The spacious design immediately chimes with Jem's love of the Orient.
It feels very Zen-like to me, the garden, is that the influence?
Yes, directly from Japanese modular concept.
It's all on a grid module matrix.
I really love the way you can't tell whether you're inside or outside, wherever you are in the house.
It's absolutely perfect.
Melina and Phil have a whole wing to themselves.
This is the bedroom, master bedroom, the parents' retreat.
-I love that term that you use in Australia.
-It's not used in Britain?
It conjures up all sorts of ideas of things we haven't had for a while.
-It's nice when a view is framed, isn't it?
-Oh, it's just... Yes.
-There's a bottle of wine missing from there.
-It's in the fridge!
-OK, and this is the master bedroom.
I hope you guys don't mind light in the morning.
These blinds come down, but they're translucent. So you can never really block out the light.
-A nice cup of tea for me waiting.
-That's the deal.
Melina specialises in top-notch bathrooms with those added extras.
-A bath with a view.
-It's like a big egg.
-Yeah, isn't it?
-Where did you get the bath from?
Not the local furniture shop, then?
I've never seen a water plane before.
-They're OK. But you can't leave it on for too long, because it's a bit slow in drainage.
So it's more beautiful than efficient,
but it's all about the look!
This is very important.
Whenever I design bathrooms, I always try to design a loo with a view.
So, this is a loo with a view of a 200-year-old ficus.
I was quite jealous about it because, for a guy, this is great, he gets the view, right?
That's why I put the mirror here, so that when we're on the loo, we can still get a reflection.
-That is clever, isn't it?
At the other end of the house, their children have a large space of their own.
So this is the... Well, this is Clay's wing now - now that she is an only girl, an only child.
Our two boys are out of the home, so this is pretty much her space.
With this amazing home, the Mills have really landed on their feet.
Have fun. And you look after my cats, too, OK?
Their newest friends are off on an adventure of their own, leaving Sam and Jem to settle in.
Take care, bye-bye.
-24 hour flight and...
-It's been about 40 hours we've been travelling for, isn't it?
I'd be blown away if I was really fresh coming to a place like this.
On the back of that kind of journey, where you feel a bit weird anyway...
Just to have this kind of beauty,
it's kind of blown me away.
It's like a big fairy tale, really.
This is just the beginning,
but how long will the fairy tale last?
Back in the UK, the Mills have a three-bedroom townhouse in an upmarket district of Eastbourne.
But it's just not big enough for their growing family and they'd love a bit more space.
In Australia, they are looking for a four- or five-bedroom house,
and have a budget of up to £450,000, depending on employment and what they can get for their property at home.
Property one is a four-bedroom house on a quiet estate
and is on the market at £325,000, well within budget.
It has an immediate impact on Rowan...
I think it's very good.
..but Sally isn't so sure.
It's not the kind of house we'd go for from the outside, really, is it?
It's kind of, lots of bricks.
Let's have a look in the bedroom.
So, is this the main bedroom?
-I guess it probably is.
-It's quite small, isn't it?
-Yeah. Smaller than what we'd be used to.
Looks like they're not really using this room.
The main reception is spacious, if nothing else.
It looks very formal, doesn't it?
-No character in here at all.
-It feels a bit like a village hall, in a way.
-It's a bit soulless.
Hopefully the kids' bedrooms will be more to their taste.
Wow! Do you see the fairies? Bet you love this room, don't you, Rowan?
I don't really like it. There's girls' stuff.
Boys don't really like girls' stuff.
The thing that I like is this.
I like this
but I don't like all the other stuff.
Will the all-important garden change their minds?
I've just realised - what else is missing?
-Oh, yeah. No swimming pool.
-No room to build a swimming pool.
-You could dig there but then you'd lose your football pitch.
-We've got to have a swimming pool.
-Mum says we've got to have a swimming pool!
So, I don't know.
That means this one's probably out. Yeah.
The simple red brick house is hardly the luxury the Mills have become accustomed to.
I guess because we've stayed in Australia's favourite home,
anything we look at today is obviously not going to come up to that level.
But we wouldn't expect it to.
There's beautiful houses in England we can't live in, because we can't afford them. That's life.
Australia's favourite home, would be our favourite home, too.
Rowan's also decided this house isn't for him, after all.
-I hate this house.
-You hate this house?
Rowan, hate is not a very nice word. You don't like it but we don't have to say hate, do we?
Perhaps property two might give them what they want.
It's a four-bedroom house plus study and has a pool and garden.
It's on the market
for around £450,000, right on budget
but they would both need to have jobs or run a profitable business to afford it.
-I love it. It's really unusual, isn't it?
-Now, this house makes the last one look ugly.
-Yes. It does.
-It's so beautiful.
It does. It's beautiful.
This is much more to their taste, but will the interior match their expectations?
-Let's have a look.
-Oh, this is more us, isn't it?
With three massive living spaces and a high-spec finish, surely this house will do the trick.
-This is a nice family room, isn't it?
-It is a nice family room.
Again, you've got the kitchen and... Look at that television!
-It's like a cinema!
-I'm disappointed that I like it.
-Cos it's huge!
-It's not you at all.
It's not me at all, but I'm thinking, that's really...
-I love this window.
-Wow! This is a balcony. Is that safe?
-I think so.
Looks pretty safe. ..Don't play with other people's stuff.
It's another nice sitting area, isn't it? Oh, this is beautiful.
Now, that's all right, isn't it?
That's lovely. A balcony, too. This is gorgeous!
So I guess you'd get evening sun here.
Yeah, I guess you would.
The Mills can't wait to get outside and explore the exotic garden.
It's like a jungle.
-Yeah! Oh, this is nice.
This pool area is just like the pool area we imagined
because I want somewhere where we can sit like this
-and they can just play and we can kind of just be together.
-This is what I had in mind.
-Did you hear that? What was that?
-Some wild bird.
-I love that nature's so close to where you are.
-Yes, right in the middle of it.
And I imagine, of an evening, that would be even more atmospheric.
-Wouldn't it be lovely?
-It's so tropical, isn't it? All the plants and...
The beautiful outdoor space has sparked the whole family's imagination.
It's good for playing pelican chess. Check, pelican!
With a home like this, the Mills' dream could become a reality.
It's time for property number three.
This is a four-bedroom house on the same road as the house they are staying in.
It's on the market
for over £500,000, and is over the Mills' budget.
But they want to see what may be possible if they can settle in and build a successful business.
Not many properties have a bridge to the front door.
Wow! Look at that! You can see straight through the door.
Wow! Look at that view.
This house seems to suit their taste.
Why wouldn't it?
Oh, my goodness. This is amazing.
Don't touch it.
-Don't touch the balls. Look at that.
-Just incredible, isn't it?
-Wow! This is amazing.
This is such a nice, big space, isn't it?
-Look at the kitchen. Isn't it lovely?
It's really gorgeous.
Jem and Sally seem to be blown away by this home's slick and contemporary finish.
But is it really a family home?
In the master bedroom, there's a romantic theme.
-I don't think we would be that obvious.
-That would probably have to go.
-If we had a bit of an argument or something.
-I'm having a bath and I'm putting the blind down!
I'm taking the "love" away as well!
Shall we go down and see the garden?
-Up the hill!
Despite the lack of a pool, there's communal land at the back of the house for the kids to run around.
For Jem, the stylish properties have opened his eyes to the potential of Australian culture.
One thing I was concerned about coming over here was that it's a relatively young country.
That maybe there's a lack of depth of culture and stuff.
But I think one thing I've realised is,
there's a huge amount of creativity, a lot of richness of ideas and community,
that I maybe wasn't expecting.
I think there's areas within Australia that are as you imagine them to be -
quite suburban and, dare I say, soulless.
But there's something really special about this area around Byron and Lennox Head.
I think it's quite different to stereotypical Australia.
-It's quite special.
-It is a very special area.
-A special place.
Although they are excited by possibilities in the area,
the Mills have still got their feet firmly on the ground.
This is the top end of our price range.
-It depends what kind of work we get.
At this stage, we don't know how that's going to pay, how much work we are going to be able to get,
whether we're able to do some private practice,
-which would support an income to help us to do that.
The Mills have seen three very different properties
and have been inspired by the impressive design and architecture.
So, how will they vote on property?
So, we've been looking at properties in Australia today.
Now, it's time for us to decide.
And we're going to vote...
Those properties really whet the Mills' appetite
but they've got to get the kind of work to pay for that dream lifestyle.
So, are they going to find it?
Back in the UK, Jem and Sally run a successful psychotherapy business.
They specialise in cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT.
I absolutely love my job.
Really, really do. It's kind of...
It sounds like a corny cliche, but a lot of the time,
it feels like a privilege to be in the situations that we are in.
But it is their original nursing training that will provide the entrance visa.
In Australia, without degrees in psychology, they are not qualified to practise psychotherapy.
The work thing is the real thing for me, with him
and I'm just wondering, these difficulties with recognising nurses doing cognitive behavioural therapy,
whether he's going to feel that he fits in there.
Jem hopes his CV is good enough to buck the system.
If I couldn't work as a therapist in Australia,
it wouldn't work for me.
He'd love to build his CBT business down under,
but, initially, he'd like the security of a salary while the family settle in.
He's come to meet Richard Buss, the head of mental health services in the area.
-Jem, hi, pleased to meet you. Richard Buss.
-Thanks very much for your time.
That's all right. Welcome to the north coast. A long way from home!
It's a large facility, for the whole area.
We've got 48 beds here, community mental health and area mental health.
Jem knows only too well what's at stake.
We've only been here a couple of days, but everything's so lovely and so perfect.
I was worried that I was going to find something that would be a deal breaker.
And I suppose this could be it, really.
Jem, I've been looking at your CV, which you kindly sent us, so thanks very much.
a very different experience than a traditional pathway that a nurse in mental health would take here.
Jem's keen to impress.
I personally think it's very important to feel like I can contribute to my fullest extent.
One of the things that I'm really keen on is professional development,
just trying to be the best mental health worker you can be.
But will Richard be able to help him?
Mostly, cognitive behavioural therapy is being done by psychologists.
So, I think the thing is, if you were to look at a job here,
you would probably be going into a nursing role,
and then using your skills and your CBT skills in that role, in nursing,
as opposed to being employed as a psychotherapist, to begin with.
That's a huge blow.
Being a nurse will not only result in a cut in salary, to around £30,000,
he'd also have to work shifts.
It would be much more of a struggle than he had hoped.
That would involve going back to ways of working, and in some cases, the salary that I was on years ago.
I haven't worked shifts for 14 years.
I think the biggest challenge for Jem would be fitting back into the system,
and back into a nursing role,
and then implementing and introducing his ideas around CBT to an acute care team.
That would be the biggest challenge.
If we had everything else in place, but I was doing work that I didn't find exciting and energising,
then it would be very difficult to consider the move, I think.
# Opportunities available in all walks of life in Australia... #
Sally's trying to forget her worries about Jem.
She's taken the kids shopping in Byron Bay. She was last here 16 years ago.
When I was here as a backpacker, it was great that it was hippified
cos that was where I was at then.
But now I've got a family, it's kind of really lovely to know that it's more family focused now.
That makes me even more excited about the whole idea of moving out here. So that's great.
She's doing some research of her own,
to find out if their ultimate goal of opening a private practice might be possible.
Catherine Chugg has a successful psychotherapy practice in Byron Bay.
Would you mind telling me a little bit about what would perhaps be the main challenges for us,
coming into the Byron Bay area to set up a private practice in psychotherapy?
It would be building a reputation, going to meet GPs and being really clear and specific what you do.
It's finding the right way to get known.
Sure, it is. You've just got to go out there and meet different people,
-speak to people like yourself and get some leads and make some contacts, really.
I don't want to be rude or anything, but is it OK to ask a little bit about our earning potential,
perhaps the charges that you may have for clients?
Generally, people in this area, they don't want to pay more than, you know, 100 bucks an hour.
It's not like a city, where you can charge 150 or 200 an hour. It's...
You have to be mindful of the economic status of people here.
Of course you do. OK.
Byron Bay is a highly competitive environment. So opening a practice straightaway would be risky.
I just don't think we're going to be able to match what we have already.
We have got our own business in the UK.
We've got great people we work with.
I don't know how or whether we are going to be able to match that at all.
Her hopes ride on Jem.
She knows how ambitious he is.
He has to be able to know that he can enjoy his work here, that there's prospects for him.
Thank you very much. Very good, yes, lots to talk about.
He's very happy in the work he does in the UK.
So, yes, it could jeopardise the whole thing, really.
Moving to the other side of the world would be a huge gamble, personally and professionally.
Jem has to drop the bomb shell to Sally that nursing might be the only option to start with.
It would be going back to shift work.
Some of the shifts go on till 10 o'clock at night.
And it's working weekends. And the starting salary, before you get to the clinical nurse specialist,
is something like 60,000, just over.
-So that's just over 30... So it's going back 15 years.
-That wouldn't really work for us.
You want to walk into your permanent dream job,
but if you get over here and you're somebody that can make things happen,
then, the world's your oyster.
Exactly. You and I are not going to have a cast-iron guarantee.
-If we decide to do this, we're going to have to accept the risk.
Do we just try it, see what it's like for us, or not?
So I think we're going to have to be quite brave to do it with the three kids.
It's quite a thing to, you know, hoick them out of school.
But then again, the pay-offs, if it does well, potentially, are enormous.
So it's just like, which way do you go, really?
Right here, right now, in terms of what's on offer,
it has to be the UK.
-And for me, it's in the middle.
Without the work they love, the Mills' Byron Bay dream hangs in the balance.
The Mills' work prospects are in doubt
and they'll have to think seriously whether they can afford the move.
A lot of this will depend on what price they can get for their house back in the UK.
Sally and Jem own a three-bedroom house in Eastbourne.
They bought it back in 2005 for £200,000.
Today, they believe it's worth around 300,000.
We sent two estate agents to their home for an up-to-date valuation.
A nice, spacious hallway.
From the outside, it looked a little bit like it needed a bit of TLC and cleaning.
TLC and cleaning up on the outside?
It's a very good location with the primary school opposite.
-It's your school.
-Couldn't be any closer. It's great.
Oh, this is a lovely room.
I love the fireplace. It's nice to have some old features in there.
For the third bedroom, it's a nice size.
Again, original fireplace is nice.
What's negative for some is good for others.
I mean, the school opposite, for some, is a fantastic point. For others, it's not so good.
I think, at this moment in time,
the true value of this property stands to be around 250,000.
-I think we could market it slightly higher.
It's very low, isn't it?
Obviously, the only slight disadvantage is the smaller back garden,
which tends to be showing, probably, in the price.
250 is the area I'd expect to achieve.
I might put it on the market at 259,950 to allow for offers.
I'd have expected it to be more around the kind of 300.
-Yeah, I suppose, we hoped, really, didn't we?
-We haven't been following the market.
-I think it's just the current market, really.
I think that's the reason why, if we made the move, we wouldn't sell it anyway.
We'd wait for property prices to go back up.
After the disappointment with work prospects, this is yet another blow for Jem and Sally.
It almost feels like I don't want to see how wonderful it is and how beautiful it is.
I look at the view and I think, "God, it's just so gorgeous."
You're almost scared to look.
You're scared to open up your eyes to the kind of life we could have here
because, if we can't get it all to fit together,
then it might not work for us, you know.
It's like we're here,
but I don't want to invite the idea of moving to Australia in at the moment
because we've not made our mind up.
And it's a bit sad, really. It's kind of...
You can see the beauty, the possibilities,
-but emotionally we're just holding off a bit because of that.
I don't know where I am with it all, really. It's all up in the air.
We have to see, really.
It seems to be going from bad to worse for the Mills.
If they're going to keep their dream alive, they're going to have to work out all their finances.
We've compared their living expenses in the UK and Australia
so they can work out if they can afford to live down under.
Shall we do the pool?
-Wow. Is that all of it?
Now what about the children's clubs?
OK, so, £100... I mean, this is expensive for children's clubs.
With a large family, the price of groceries is a big weekly outlay.
Bagels are 4 for a four-pack.
They are roughly twice the price.
-Twice the price, goodness me, look at that.
..are very expensive.
I think anything they have to import will be a lot more money.
It's all the processed stuff that's really expensive.
-No more luxuries then.
-No more luxuries? We don't do luxuries!
The cost of living in Australia isn't as low as many people imagine.
It's time for the final reckoning.
We would be £511 worse off.
£511 worse off.
-This is a bit close to the line, is it?
-I think so, yeah.
You're more likely to be... If big things come up...
We don't want to be over here struggling.
-Having to go into the overdraft, credit cards.
Jem and Sally have had their eyes opened by the financial reality.
Yesterday, I was saying that, from a vocational point of view or a career point of view,
I wouldn't be that interested in coming back as a registered nurse.
It actually transpires that we probably couldn't afford to, either.
In terms of our current lifestyle, the money we spend on the children, we could be quite stuck.
We wouldn't want to come here to the other side of the world, away from our families,
and just be running out of money every month.
Jem and Sally aren't ones to give up easily. For them, where there's a will there's a way.
The fact that we've discovered financially that it's not doable as a registered nurse,
just tells me that's not the way we're gonna do it.
-It's not the path to take.
-Another way will emerge.
I want to play hide and seek!
We very, very much believe that if you hold that idea in your mind,
then you're much more likely to be able to see the opportunities for it
and end up achieving, ultimately, what you want. I still believe that.
And if it's meant to be, it's meant to be - it will happen in that way.
Even positive thinking can't change facts and, on the cost of living, it's time to vote.
This morning we've been looking at the cost of living comparing Australia to the UK
and, with everything in mind, we're going to vote...
in the middle.
Now, if you're the active type, then Australia has something for everyone.
And Byron Bay has built its reputation on one thing - surfing.
And it's largely due to its prime geographical position.
The largest island on the planet sticks into the biggest ocean
and this is where it happens -
Byron Bay, the eastern tip of the Australian continent.
Byron Bay was discovered as a great place to live by surfers and hippies in the '60s.
It's a working-class town. They had a couple of policemen, one sergeant.
It was sort of like the old Wild West with the sheriff.
You could come with your surfboard, walk onto the beach, stay with friends
or just camp out on the beach.
Since then, surfing has exploded around the world as a way to exercise both body and mind.
Surfing is a sensory sport. It stimulates all the senses.
You can smell it, you can see it, you can touch it, you can feel it.
And it actually works on subliminal levels as well,
where you're mentally becoming aware of things in a way that you're not normally in your everyday life.
You're going along on a wave,
everything's fine then you get a section,
something breaks in front of you and you gotta go down and around it or up over it or through it
so it's an interesting sort of way to look at life, too.
But, if you're new to surfing, make sure you get a lesson.
Take the time to come and pay a small amount of money to get some basic information
to go and have a safe, fun experience in the ocean. It's money so well spent.
When you go out surfing, you're going in another environment.
You can step on a rock, you can get eaten by a shark, you can get run over.
A lot of things can happen.
So, it calls for real awareness.
So, if you've got the nerve, surfing is a great sport to try.
Come to Byron Bay. It's a dynamic area, it really is.
It's a beautiful beach environment. We're lucky.
Byron Bay is one of the surfing Meccas of the world.
Jem and Sally Mills dreamt of a fairy-tale lifestyle down under
and when they arrived at their luxury pad they thought they'd found it.
-Oh, my goodness - this is amazing!
-It's like a big fairy tale, really.
But the reality of jobs available and their finances hit home.
That would involve going back to the salary that I was on years ago.
Listening to messages from loved ones is never easy.
They are a very important part of my life. I shall miss them. A lot.
Sally is desperate to make the move but will she ever be able to convince Jem?
Life out here could be so good for us, but is there going to be enough for him workwise?
Are we going to be able to resolve those issues?
It's kind of resting with me a bit.
And... That's a bit of pressure, I guess.
Who knows what they'll decide? But one thing's for sure -
the Mills will want to make the most of the sporty Australian outdoors.
But is it really better than the life they have in the UK?
Back in the UK, Jem and the kids enjoy all aspects of oriental culture including meditation and karate.
So, in Australia, we've set them up with a martial arts club in Byron Bay.
It's an important part of our life. The boys love their karate after school.
If we came over here, we would really be looking for something to replace that
and hopefully, fingers crossed, this is going to be the one.
-Nice to meet you.
Sam Calibro is the instructor.
He's keen to see what the kids are made of.
As Jevon and Rowan use up their excess energy,
Jem takes the chance to question parent and ex-pat James Robinson-Gale about the hardships of emigrating.
Those first few years, it was really difficult. I really felt...
-Yeah, absolutely homesick.
But now, this is it.
It seems odd to go back home now. I mean, I miss several things. You get nostalgic about things.
-Do you go back much?
-Unfortunately my father died recently...
-I heard. I'm sorry about that.
-..so I had to go back, so that sort of wrench is very difficult.
If you can get over all those feelings of loss, being away from the UK,
it's a wonderful standard of living, quality of life - particularly with little ones.
It's Jem's turn to have a go.
He's learned a different form of martial arts in the UK so could be in for a battering.
# Jungle boogie
# Jungle boogie Get it on
# Jungle boogie
# Jungle boogie Get it on
# Jungle boogie... #
That was great. Really enjoyed that.
It's a really good workout and some of the younger ones, especially the guy at the end, were beating me up.
I've got a lot to learn!
For Jem, it's not just about the karate, it's about the people.
One thing I get concerned about is whether or not we'll fit in, make friends, that kind of stuff.
It's hard to imagine there could be an easier place to make friends - they are so open and friendly.
I really appreciate it. Thank you very much, sir.
So, how's he going to vote on the lifestyle?
Jem's feeling more at home in Byron Bay but will Sally find what she's looking for?
Back in Eastbourne, she's a member of a local running club.
After years and years of struggling with a regular exercise routine, I've finally,
over the last couple of years, established one, which I'm really happy with and really enjoy.
It's been fantastic, so I'd really miss that.
In Australia, it's 5:30am.
And some of Byron Bay's roughest and toughest are up for a spot of light exercise.
Right, starting straight into it, guys!
Fitness instructor, Daniel Clifton-Northey runs boot camp courses every week.
He can't wait to put Sally through her paces.
The runners go. The bag throwers go.
Patrol between logs. Stop, this team.
I hope you didn't do your nails.
No one's counting, especially Sally. Start again. Let's go!
This team over here working well together. This is your last lap.
Come on, Sally, put your back into it.
Come on, guys, let's go.
Don't let them beat you this easy. Let's go. 30 seconds.
Rather you than me, Sally!
-Oh yeah, mate. Oh yeah.
Let your elbow go just behind your shoulder and you'll feel it right across the front of your chest.
The setting here is just absolutely gorgeous. I mean, look at the views. They're spectacular.
A really nice group of people. Similar to Eastbourne, similar kind of guys.
So I'm really pleased to see that there's something I could do here, fitnesswise.
Byron Bay has everything to offer a family like the Mills but Sally is feeling the strain.
It's a feeling of unsettlement
and I think that's a feeling that other people that are trying this can relate to.
Nothing seems familiar so it's a kind of sense of vulnerability, being here and being away from home.
It's scary, in a way, the thought of moving away from everything familiar and coming to a new place,
even though the new place offers everything you could possibly want it to.
It's still quite a scary thing to think about doing.
The reality of the move is kicking in.
Is Sally now changing her mind?
The Mills have had a long week and lots on their mind.
Will seeing messages from loved ones back home make the decision to move down under even harder?
Hi, Jem, hi, Sally. Hi, Jevon, Rowan and Hannah.
Hi, it's Mum here.
I'm hoping you're having a wonderful time.
You know, people say that their brother is their best friend.
Well, in Jem's case, that's true.
He's been a rock to me through some very traumatic, dark times in my life.
He's like a best friend, as well as a brother.
Sally, yes, she's very laid-back.
She's a really lovely mum and good with the kids,
and very good with me.
She's always willing to listen.
Sally was one of the inaugural members of our running group.
She's always there, smiling, keeping people going.
She's one of the only people
who never ever gets disturbed by the trainers.
She's such a kind, lovely person
and we really would miss her.
She's not just one of our clients, she's a good friend, so it would be sad.
What kind of person is Jevon?
And he listens.
He's my best friend.
We'll miss all of them,
particularly seeing our grandchildren growing up.
They're young now, I know, but Australia is thousands of miles away.
It's a long way away, so we will miss that.
I've been spending time with them, and I know they'll only ever be a phone call away,
but it's not quite the same as spending time with them as a family.
It would be difficult.
OK, you can have webcams and whatever the modern technology is,
but actually being accessible so you can ring them up and say, "Can I pop over?"
or, "Would you like to come over?" and feeling them, you know?
Part of me hopes they don't want to go, and part of me thinks it would be lovely if they do. So...
I just want them to be happy.
Yeah, I shall miss them. A lot.
I really do miss my nanny and grandad, especially my uncle,
because they are very kind to me.
I miss my friends and family and...
..it made me feel a bit emotional.
I think the hardest thing for me was watching my mum
and kind of feeling the sadness that she would obviously experience
if we were to move away.
As she says, you can Skype or keep in contact,
but it's not the same as being able to just pop round. That's really sad.
It's special with my brother because he's there for the weekend every fortnight
and the kids really love him and so do I.
That's going to be a real difference for us.
On an emotional level, it's really hard,
because you're attached to people, your family and your friends,
and it's a big wrench to leave them.
But, on the other hand, you have got to think of what you're offering your immediate children,
your immediate family, and the lives that they can have and our grandchildren will have.
Listening to messages from home has left them feeling torn and it's confirmed how big this move would be.
The Mills are still undecided.
Now, they are coming to the end of their trial week and it has been full of ups and downs.
They've been swept away by the stunning landscape and lifestyle of Byron Bay.
-They've seen some stunning houses.
-Oh, my goodness! This is amazing!
But the job prospects are far from encouraging - a lower salary could leave them broke.
-It's a bit close to the line, is it?
-It would be difficult to consider the move.
You're almost scared to look, scared to open up your eyes to the kind of life we could have here.
There's a big question of whether they can afford to move financially and emotionally.
Will meeting new friends at Lennox Head help them make that final decision?
Sally's been on the case as usual and has contacted Carol Piper through a friend back home,
before coming to Australia.
We've been in e-mail correspondence with them but we've never met them before so, it's like, great.
It'll be nice to put a face to name and really see them in person,
get to know them a little bit.
The Mills have come to Lennox Beach to meet Carol, husband, Andrew, and their kids for the first time.
The Pipers are both teachers and emigrated from the UK two years ago,
so are perfectly placed to give them the real story about making such a big move.
So, what are your initial impressions of the whole area and Australia?
Well, it's beautiful, we're just stunned by the scenery here. It's absolutely gorgeous.
And the people have been brilliant, people we've never met before, like yourselves.
They've been so generous and so giving with everything.
It's just been fantastic.
It's kind of everything I hoped it would be, really, and more, definitely and more.
Has there been anything since you moved out here that you miss?
Obviously you miss things about the UK, but things that you feel aren't quite as good over here or...?
I really miss the English countryside.
We lived in Cornwall before we left,
and we walked a lot with the dog in the English countryside.
That's something you can't do here.
Jem's keen to find out how the Pipers made their decision.
One of the things we're thinking about doing is trying it for a couple of years
and then deciding, once and for all, whether or not to put our roots down here.
I know all you've been here for a couple of years now,
so I'm wondering what it's like at the two-year mark for you.
I guess when we left the UK, we didn't want to leave that get-out clause for ourselves.
We felt that, psychologically, we'd always be thinking about returning if we kept one foot in the UK.
So we purposely sold up and we moved out completely.
And even now, we sometimes think back to the UK
and think, "We miss this," or, "We'd like to go and see that."
Do you have any regrets at all?
No, really, life just gets better because you just get more established, you make friends...
Is it beginning to feel like home? Because Jem and I feel...
We think we could move out here and have a beautiful life, a beautiful place to live,
a great culture, but will it ever feel in our hearts like home?
For us, it really feels like home.
Really? Did it early on? Or did it take a while?
Um, no, really pretty much straightaway.
Because it's such a huge thing, that move from the UK,
that when you arrive, you've arrived and then you live it.
When you're not working and you're on the beach,
you just think, "Oh, my goodness, this is lovely - this is the life."
But, for sure, it doesn't feel like it's artificial.
Because it's not - this is all real, isn't it?
There's one thing that is always on Jem's mind.
One of the things we've been looking at, and it's a fairly challenging area for us,
is thinking about work.
It does take time and you need a little bit of luck.
But you've got to make your own luck and put yourself in the right place to find it.
I think, in some ways, we were hoping that we'd get a tailor-made, ready-to-fit-into job,
to give us that security of coming all the way over from the UK.
It just seems a real challenge
to just cross your fingers and hope that it's all going to turn out.
I believe it, though - you make your own way,
and if you've got a positive way of approaching things, you'll succeed.
That's the golden rule, really.
And Jem and Sally certainly are positive thinkers.
But will they find the courage to take the plunge?
This whole week's been a roller coaster.
On one hand, you can feel very positive about something,
and on the other hand you can have some doubts
and there's the fear associated with such a big decision.
But then, you have a bit of a talk to yourself and think,
"There's so much out here for us, what could we possibly lose?"
But there's the security of what you know, what we know in the UK,
the security of having our friends and family around us.
To just up and leave is quite scary. Yeah.
It's funny - today, about the move, I've been feeling...
I've gone through different phases, just today. It's just gone up and down, up and down.
Sally's been the main driving force for this whole process, really.
In a way, it's kind of resting with me a bit.
That's a bit of pressure, I guess.
If he votes for England today, that means at this point in time,
from the information he's had this week,
that he's not satisfied that we could just drop everything and move to Australia.
I think that would mean it was still work in progress for me.
You know, if I decide that it's just a stretch too far,
from the work point of view,
then what does that mean in terms of the impact on the family and what they want?
So, you know, what's it going to be?
It's time for the Mills to make their final decision.
What will Jem choose for himself and his family?
We've had a fantastic time in Australia, we've met some wonderful people,
and this is the time when we finally vote for whether or not we want to move over here.
And the vote's going to be...
You voted Australia?
It was that last conversation with Andrew,
where he said that if you're prepared to step back a little bit and network
and really fit into the Australian way of life,
then this is a country where people with our kind of drive, passion and creativity
can really make something of themselves. I just think, what the heck? Give it a go.
Aw, bless you.
The Mills have been on a real journey of discovery and have made a brave decision.
Let's hope it works out for them.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Series in which British families, keen to trade in the British weather for the down-under lifestyle, are given the chance to sample what life would be like if they moved to the other side of the world.
The Mills family from Eastbourne test out life in Australia for a week. Jem and Sally Mills run a successful psychotherapy business in Sussex, and want to see if they could do the same in the surfers' paradise of Byron Bay. Will the harsh employment realities, and the cost of living down under, put an end to their dream?