Today we bring you the final chapter in the story of Karen and Gene’s move to Tasmania.

Thank you so much Karen for writing about your experience and sharing it with us.

Read the story from the beginning.


The Final Chapter

So you’re waiting to hear about the 15%, right?

We had our large house with large kitchen, large yard, plenty of elbow room, great view, garden, fruit trees, workshop and sheds. What was missing? Well, it turns out there was no town trash collection, no town sewerage, no town water—in fact, no town–no mail delivery, no public transport, no mobile phone service and only very, very basic internet connection and television reception. And other than the kitchen cupboards and giant pantry, there was no storage—no bookshelves, no wardrobes, no closets.

All these lacks we found out one by one, and most of them after we had a binding contract. Fortunately most of the lacks were fixable. We rented a mailbox in a town a few kilometres away where there is also a general store, petrol pump and gas bottle exchange. We deal with the trash by taking all the solid stuff to the recycling yard, burning or composting the small paper detritus, and have acquired two handsome hens to recycle all the kitchen scraps. There was quite an efficient rain water catchment set-up which only wants a filtration system installed; meanwhile a counter-top filter does the trick. The television works most of the time thanks to the local antenna man’s clever adjustments; we’ve learned to tolerate the slow internet, and the mobile phone is useful for whichever person goes out shopping in case they want to ring the home landline.

As far as the storage, fortunately I married a master woodworker who is designing and building some nice wardrobes and a few more kitchen cupboards. I overcame his distaste for ‘cheap and nasty’ and we bought a number of inexpensive white shelving units to hold most of the books and bibelots, and turned the sun room into a library-cum-office.

We learned why people took their shoes off at the door—the property was infested with wallabies and pademelons, who all suffered from incontinence. It took 8 months, but eventually we chased all of them out of the acre around the house and into the big paddocks, where they are welcome to roam. We reinforced all the fencing and think we have plugged all the gaps.


A few photos of the property – and the visitors…

View from the patio
The waterlilies
Wallaby in a cage

Things we learned the hard way that maybe somebody else won’t have to:

If you aren’t sure where you want to settle, consider renting for 6 months or a year and looking around really well before deciding. Yes, you’ll have to move twice, but it may be cheaper in the long run. A six month domestic rental is ¼ the cost of a holiday rental.

Make a list of what your new house must have and what would be nice to have. Don’t compromise on the really important things, but be flexible on the ‘nice to have’ ones.

Make a list of questions to ask the real estate agent. Include things that you would take for granted in Perth or Adelaide or Melbourne. Is there roadside mail delivery? Trash collection? Town water? Town sewage service? Does your mobile phone work, here? Can you get fast—or any—internet connection? Where is the nearest shopping centre? Medical centre? Is there any public transport? Is there a school nearby, and a church of your denomination?

Do spend the extra money to have a professional housing inspector do all the checking that you might not think of: not just checking that there are solid floor boards and roofing sheets, but less visible things such as the electrical system, and the waste disposal arrangements. Even with this, we still got caught out—two weeks after moving in we had to have the septic tanks pumped, despite assurances by the owners that that had been done not long ago.

Don’t expect Tasmania to be like some other place—it’s unique, but it’s not the most modern place in the world. What it lacks in whiz-bang technology it makes up for in friendliness and an easy lifestyle. You won’t find everything you want in the shops, but most places will do their best to get it in for you.

If you are easily scared by steep, winding, roads that aren’t in the best repair, consider relocating to Queensland instead. Every place in Tasmania is either in the hills, or you have to go through some hills to get in or out. The central highland area is flat—but it’s a high flat, so you must transit some fairly scary hilly roads to reach it.

Last of all, don’t tell too many other people about this place; we don’t want it to be overrun with people from the North Island!