Betsssssy via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Betsssssy via Compfight cc

Betsssssy via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Betsssssy via Compfight cc

Today we continue with Karen and Gene’s move to Tasmania story. You can read Part 1 here.


Moving Week

The house and the workshop were now packed into 400-odd boxes and bundles. The biggest category was my husband’s collection of timber. This was the collection of half a lifetime of attending timber auctions, and much of it was high-grade furniture maker’s material which could not be replaced without a major Lotto win. Phone calls and emails to the Tasmanian quarantine office had cleared the wood for import to the island; the movers had estimated the space it would take in the shipping containers and we did not expect any problems.

You can guess what happens next: on moving day the supervisor looked at how low the container was riding on the truck and said that it was as full of boards and planks as it could be, and other than a few light-weight things like lawn chairs, nothing else could go in. This meant that another partial container would have to be used, over and above the original quote for two. I have to give Allied Pickford credit for being generous in the matter; they pared back the price of the extra space as far as possible, and the best of the remaining wood was duly packed up.

Our son-in-law was lumbered with the rest of the lumber, but as he planned to build a shed and a tree house and some decking, he seemed happy enough to take it. It choked his patio for some months thereafter, but eventually came in handy. Lesson learned: timber should be counted not only in length and volume but also in weight if you plan to ship it any distance.

The movers brought large plastic bags to encase the mattresses and ‘export wrapped’ the antique desk, table and chair to protect them. Every item, every box, every bundle got a sticker with a bar code and number. As far as we know, nothing went astray and nothing was broken. However, the stickers weren’t easy peel ones and we used a great deal of eucalyptus spray removing them.

When you move a great distance, it’s good to have someplace to stay not only when you get to the other side, but for the last few days in your former town. We were fortunately able to rent a holiday cottage just down the road from our old house, and stayed there for a few days and nights after the movers left with all our possessions. The cats were boarded at the posh cattery.

When you plan to land in a new place, give some thought to how long you may be in temporary quarters. We were reasonably sure that we wanted to buy a property no more than an hour’s drive from Hobart, and I was able to negotiate a deal for a fortnight’s stay at a riverside holiday let. Especially in the off-season, a lot of landlords will offer a weekly or package rate to you, especially if you have already established your “good tenant” status, as we had in our previous stay in April. It doesn’t cost you anything to strip the beds and clean the kitchen well before you check out, and it saves time and bother for your landlord who may well be holding down a regular job as well as servicing his rental property.

On the day of departure we said a tearful farewell to the daughter who ferried us and our cats to the airport at the crack of dawn and had the great good fortune to travel Business Class to Melbourne and then on to Hobart, thanks to some soon-to-expire frequent flyer points. Travelling with a tall person who has adequate leg room is much to be recommended.

We had researched ways to ship the cats, and discovered a huge disparity in price and service. Shipping agents charged what we thought were incredible amounts. The best deal was with Qantas, with the pets being put on board as “Pets Accompanying Passengers” at $60 each. This ensured that they were on the planes with us, not shunted off to come along whenever. With one cat being a frail aged moggy subject to fits, and the other being a princess, this was an important consideration. (Make sure the pets have no solid food for 12 hours to prevent unpleasant accidents. Also, you need to have IATA-approved carry cages , which cost about $60 each and will do for cat transport ever after.)

By 8 p.m. we had landed in Hobart, reclaimed out cats, picked up a rental vehicle, found a shopping centre for food and wine, and driven to a charming cottage in Carlton River where we all settled in as comfortably as if we were visiting friends.

Having a place to stay when you get off the plane is important; it’s wonderful to know there’s a hot shower and comfortable bed awaiting you. This is particularly important for those travelling from afar. It’s also good to have your own transport–if you own a good car, you may find as we did that it’s cheaper to ship it to Tasmania than to buy an equivalent one here. You will have three months to re-register it. We saved thousands of dollars in potential car rentals by paying a relatively modest $1400 to ship my car from Perth so that it was waiting for us in Hobart.

Hint for prospective immigrants: Get quotes from several moving companies, and be sure they know exactly what you plan to ship. If you have something unusual, such as a woodshed full of jarrah boards, or a number of fragile antiques, try to pin the mover down to a hard-and-fast quote, rather than be surprised with a last minute upward price adjustment when you really have no choice.

Check out car transporters, you will find that the prices vary hugely, and not all of them deliver to Tasmania. We used CEVA and were very happy with the service.

If you are bringing garden tools, be sure to clean off all dirt and soak them in bleach water so that there are no pathogens or molds from where you are now to be introduced to a place that may not have them.


We will bring you more of Karen and Gene’s story next week. Stay tuned!