Monday, 16 May 2016

The Newcomer’s Guide to Australia: Innovative Ways to Spend Your Time

Oftentimes, when you move somewhere new you have a grace period before starting your new job. In the meantime, you’re trying to settle in and acclimate to your new surroundings.

I’m dealing with this now; I arrived in Melbourne three months ago and I’m looking for my next job, so I totally understand your dilemma! The worst thing is to sit in your room and stress about all the things you have to do, or that you don’t have anything to do. The best remedy for this anxiety is to get moving and involved in interesting events and classes in your area as well as finding positive creative outlets for yourself.

Here are some ideas, for newcomers of all ages, on keeping busy and finding your grounding during the first few weeks in your new home!  

Finding a job:
This task can feel most overwhelming of all, especially when you move somewhere with no personal connections. Fear no more! There are a number of very helpful websites to get you started on a clear and active job search. You can do a highly specific search on jobs in your area, in your field of expertise and the type of contract or hours you prefer. Here’s a list of great job-finding websites:


Ps. Here are two more ways to make an income before work starts:

Uber:  becoming an Uber driver is a great way to make some money until your new job is settled. For more details visit

Grants: Have an amazing new business idea? You can now apply for grants for innovative business ideas. Check out this article for more information:

What to do until work begins:
You have so many options! Read on…

If you choose so, you will never be bored in Australia. No matter where you live, there are countless activities for kids, teens and adults. I live in Melbourne, and I haven’t had one quiet weekend since I moved in! Here are some ideas to keep you busy no matter where you’re living, then I’ll give you a list of some adventures and events throughout Australia.

Volunteer work: great for all ages; a way to give back and connect to your new community and make friends

Babysitting: teens! this is a great way for you to make some money and keep busy when you first arrive. It could also be a good way to meet people and new friends in your neighbourhood

Tutoring: this is a great job opportunity for teens and allows them to give back to the community and make new connections

Blogs: writing a blog about your experiences is a great creative outlet and allows you to connect with friends back home. You can include photos, cafes and bars you enjoyed and stories about your first impressions of your new home.

Social groups/  joining and other local social groups is a fantastic way to make friends and connections. Events in practically every category are available (arts, sports, hiking, film, writing, etc.)

Workshops: Signing up for a workshop is a great creative outlet and a perfect way to meet other likeminded people. You can easily find workshops in writing, art, and more.

Short courses: Your little pocket of free time could be the perfect time to take a course in something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.  Many of the universities throughout Australia offer short or single courses in a wide variety of subjects. Here are just a few options:
Arts and crafts: Another fun activity is to get involved with arts and crafts. You can find local classes, art groups and great art stores. Check out for art groups and workshops

Shopping: for your new home (and maybe a little something for yourself...)
You just moved into your new place, so I’m assuming you’ll need to pick up a few things to make your new home feel like home. And perhaps you need to do a little bit of shopping before you start your new job. Here are some great sites for incredible deals:

1.      Trade Secret – you can find this store all throughout Australia. It offers incredible deals on clothing, home décor and more.

2.      50 Best Online Shopping Sites – perfect for when you’re too busy (or exhausted!) to leave your couch to go shopping. Tons of brands just a click away.

3. – shop for everything from furniture to clothing to electronics. Its all here and you can be sure you’ll find some great deals.

4.      IKEA – you can pretty much never go wrong with IKEA. I’ve furnished full apartments with IKEA furniture and it looks great. Affordable and beautiful. Plus, you can buy lovely wine glasses for under $10...  Relax and browse:

5.      My Furniture Store – great discount prices on every type of furniture.

6.      Buy furniture online – 17 places to buy furniture online:

7.      Sell Buy Swap – this is a great site to sell, buy and swap furniture and more. Definitely worth a look!

Events for you… and the Kids!
Don’t forget about the kids while you’re enjoying your online shopping and catching up on long forgotten art courses! There are tons of activities you can do with your kids before starting work. Here are some awesome events and activities for everyone: 


Kids Activities and Classes:
Trampoline Park:
200 Things for Kids and Families to do in Melbourne:
20 Things to do in Melbourne with Kids:


Daily Ideas for Sydney Mums:
Kids events and classes:

Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:

Kids Events and Classes:
· -- Drama classes

I hope these tips help you fill your newfound free time, keep you thinking positive and allow you to enjoy your new home. I wish you the best of luck on settling in, exploring the city, and of course, finding the perfect furniture. Adventure on!

Elite Cultural Discovery assists you with every aspect of your move to a different country where you will live like a local with all the support or as little support as you need to fit right in.

As a world traveler from birth, Rahel has been sharing her experiences through photography, creative writing, poetry and film. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Rahel has moved to three countries on her own and hopes to inspire others to travel and learn about themselves and others in the process. Rahel currently lives in Melbourne, Australia. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Melbourne: Day 1

For Elite 

So, the flight is long. Really long. You try to sleep on the plane, chat with strangers, eat whatever you can find in the airport, and pretend to read your huge book. Then you get to that dream-like space where you’re so tired you’re just wandering around the airport until your next flight, purely running on fuel.

In this unreal state, I kept imagining myself landing in Melbourne, groggily enduring the cab ride to the hotel and with the last of my strength, crawling into bed never to wake again.

When I got off the plane and through the huge customs line, I grabbed my bags and rolled out into the arrivals area. I thought I would be grumpy, exhausted, just ready to get out of there. But much to my surprise, I was just happy. Beaming, in fact. The energy in the air was so fresh and warm, people were hugging and pushing babies and drinking expensive airport coffee.

The driver who was arranged to pick me up was about an hour late, but I was ok! I was just so happy to be here. All my anxieties and tears about moving again seemed to suddenly disappear. I just had this reassuring feeling that everything was going to be great here.

Of course, because I needed to beat the jetlag (19 hours from Vancouver, Canada!) I forced myself to stay away from the incredibly tempting hotel bed.

I stayed in CBD (Central Business District) for my first week in Melbourne and just explored on foot every day. My first day, jetlagged and dreamy, I explored for hours. Discovering the most amazing street art and graffiti, hidden shops and café’s, friendly people and live music on the streets.

Melbourne is alive. There is always something going on, no matter what you’re looking for. Incredible food, coffee, music, art, kids events and more. I have found the people here to be so kind and welcoming, inviting me to sit with their friends, strangers making me feel comfortable in my new home.

I knew from my first day here that I wanted to stay. At least for a little while, or maybe a bit of a longer while... I guess we’ll see!

Welcome home,


Monday, 20 July 2015

Doing Business in Australia

This week our business Elite Executive Services became one of the winners in the Telstra Business Awards.  

The win was a win for our remarkable team and was a huge validation of the work we do supporting  companies, their  employees and individuals in the world of relocation. 

The Telstra Business Awards are a marathon for any business but a huge learning exercise. The entry covers every aspect of business, challenges any complacency but most importantly makes you feel very good when you confirm that you have been doing things well! 

There were thousands of entries in each state and each entrant received a business health check to learn from: that means that many thousands of businesses have been given solid advice about where they stand and how they can improve. 

This is a sensational initiative and even if a small proportion of those who entered take on the advice it will lead to an upturn in their fortunes. Very Australian: giving people a fair go.  It led me to think about the advantages of starting a business in Australia compared to many other countries around the globe. Business owners are given a tremendous amount of support compared to many other countries. Government initiatives, grants and advice are available and other business owners are almost always supportive. There are numerous networks and if people see that you are doing what you do well, no matter what size you are, they will support you!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Elite Executive Services Shortlisted for Best Family Support, Destination Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in FEM Awards

Elite Executive Services  have been shortlisted for awards which recognise the assistance with and ongoing support they provide for relocating families as well as for their app Applocation Australia.

The Elite Executive Services Team has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) Expatriate Management and Mobility Award (EMMA) for Best Family Support Programme,,Destination Service Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in Global Mobility

The FEM Awards recognise excellence in global mobility, with winners announced at the dazzling  Awards Dinner on 14th October  2014 at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore.  Shortlisting in these three award categories highlights Elite Executive Services’ outstanding team and their commitment to ensure every relocation is smooth and the transition is stress-free. Relocating with Elite Executive Services not only means that the executive can concentrate on work rather than the challenge of finding homes, school and networks while Elite Executive Services provides the support introductions into a new community.

Elite Executive Services has its own consultants throughout Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UK, South Africa, , Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Which is better: Melbourne or Sydney?

The age old question is whether Sydney or Melbourne is a better city to live in.  There is always huge rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne.  Sydney has a reputation for being cutting edge, showy, spectacular while Melbourne is more conservative, quieter and gently refined. In  1877 Marcus Clarke sealed the perceptions of the two cities when he referred to Sydney as ‘fashionable and luxurious’  and Melbourne as the ‘intellectual capital’.  Hmmm, I am not so sure it is as easy as that! Take the fashion industry for example. When Uniqlo and H&M made Melbourne their Australian centre which succinctly underlined the notion that Melbourne is the nation’s fashion capital with its designers hitting the world stage and Victorians spending much more on fashion generally than the population in NSW. Conservative Melbourne, it seems, also has more flexible shopping hours than Sydney so that the retail experience is available more easily. Beyond fashion look at architecture: Sydney’s architecture tends to the conservative while Melbourne’s architecture is definitely ‘out there’ as Federation Square shows us clearly. Then there is sport. Both cities are sport mad and have wonderful sporting venues. Melbourne’s MCG is without doubt the jewel in Australia’s sporting venue crown but there is also the amazing tennis centre which hosts world’s best tennis at the end of January and turns Melbourne into an amazing carnival. But wait a moment, what about eating? Sydney definitely has the most spectacular fine dining restaurants in Australia. Melbourne probably has some of the most interesting and inspired medium priced menus. Terry Durack, the The Sydney Morning Herald's chief restaurant critic recently summed up the dining options as that Sydney has the glamour, the seafood, the sunshine, the modernity; but Melbourne has the detail, the laneways, the coffee and the rich interior life.,'' Durack says. ''Melbourne's long-established food culture makes its diners more discerning, and the more demanding you are as a diner, the better you make your restaurants.'' Melbourne is a frequent winner of the most liveable city because of the ease of doing almost everything. A strong consideration! Then again, don’t forget the weather! Sydney’s weather is probably the best in Australia. The weather is amazing all year around and if you love an outdoor lifestyle then you are certainly better in Sydney. If you like rugging up during winter in a cosy café in a little laneway, then Melbourne would be far better. Spectacular beaches: Sydney is an out an out winner! Spectacular fireworks, carnivals: Sydney! Spectacular iconic landmarks: Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Spectacular, amazing places to visit with wonderful awe inspiring views: Sydney. Incredible journey to work: Sydney ferries! It is so hard to be objective when deciding which is ‘better’: if your dream is to have an early morning surf, a ferry ride to work and to spend the evening at a café under the stars then Sydney is your place but if your ideal is general liveability all the time then Melbourne is much more your scene. Both places are pretty amazing so whichever one you end up in is a pretty good choice!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

House Auctions: why they are popular and what some Australian states are doing about underquoting

Auctions: some love them, others hate them and they are always controversial. For real estate agents auctions are a great way of driving potential buyers towards a set date with set open for inspections and the vendor usually paying for greater advertising fees and potentially display furniture because they feel as if they are very ‘public’ in the lead up to the auction date. This assists the effort going into making the sale. Usually the real estate agency gets lots of free publicity from the campaign as well. For properties which are very desirable there is a chance that an auction campaign can drive the price up also as buyers compete with each other. In Victoria, auctions also offer no cooling off period: the auction is final! The thought of higher prices is what drives a vendor to auction and the thought of a bargain is what makes it appealing to buyers!

If you are thinking of buying your new home at auction please do your homework. Underquoting is rampant so before you pay for a building or pest inspection and fall in love with the home make sure that you are not being misled. Agents will often advertise the home at a lower price than it will be likely to sell for in order to drive interest and demand. By inflaming desire they guarantee a larger crowd on auction day and each under bidder, even though their bidding ceiling is low, plays a part in driving the price up. Find out what other homes have sold for in the area, compare the land size and check out the contract as well.

In Queensland there are currently some auction reforms which are being pushed which may also come into play in other states. The Queensland Government would like to see an end to underquoting and is planning to ban price guides at auctions. Real estate agents are worried that this will impact the effectiveness of auctions. In South Australia the auction system advertises the higher of what the agent feels the house is worth and what the owner wants to sell for and keeps the reserve price at no more than 10% above that.

The strongest advice for anyone thinking of buying at an auction is to attend plenty of them especially in your preferred purchase area.