The One Where We Move to Tasmania from the UK

A statue of Louis Bernacchi at Hobart waterfront with the text 'Moving to Tasmania from the UK'

We are moving house again. Not a little move, but a big one.

We are moving from the UK to Tasmania.



I can tell you the exact moment that I made my decision.

It was a beautiful sunny day. I was sitting on a bench in a playpark, the sun on my face, drinking a cup of tea and making easy conversation with another mum – someone I’d met all of forty minutes earlier. Her young son was gurgling contentedly on a picnic blanket at her feet, while mine had just jumped off the slide and was running up a small hill towards the swings, when suddenly he stopped and shouted.

‘Mummy! Mummy! Come and look at this! It’s a parrot! Lots of parrots!’

I walked towards him, and sure enough, there were five or six brightly coloured rosellas walking around, squawking and pecking at the grass.

DorkySon was enthralled, and something flicked in my head at that moment.

Yes, I said to myself. Yes. We can do this. We can move to Tasmania.

And so we are.

an image of a boat in the water at Hobart waterfront in Tasmania

Just over a month from now, we’ll be boarding the aeroplane that will fly us across the world for the start of our next adventure.

No one is more surprised by this news than us.

Until very recently, I had never been to Australia. DorkyDad had been a few times before for work, and had enjoyed the cities he’d seen, but we didn’t imagine for a minute that we would ever move there.

When DorkyDad told me that a wonderful job opportunity had come up in Tasmania, I had to go and haul DorkySon’s big atlas down from the shelves to see where it was. It was a very, very long way away.

So then I did a quick Google search, and was rewarded with several pages of results about bush fires that devastated parts of the island earlier this year.

‘What shall I tell them?’ he asked.

‘It’s too far away and it’s on fire,’ I said. ‘Tell them no way.’

An image of an angel on the Seafarer's Mission at Hobart waterfront, Tasmania

He didn’t tell them that.

Instead, he persuaded me to give it a little more thought, to speak to some friends who know the land down under far better than we do, and to at least visit the place to see if it was somewhere we could make a happy life for our little family.

After hours and hours of talking, we came to agreement on just one thing before we left. It would have to be absolutely perfect for us to even consider it.

The sun setting over boats on the waterfront in Hobart, Tasmania

About four or five months ago, on a chilly, damp English morning when DorkySon was at nursery, I sat at my computer and wrote a list. It was called ‘What do I wish for’ and it set out the dozen or so things that I was longing for in that moment; the things that would make me feel happy and alive and inspired again. Being near the sea. Culture – music, theatre, poetry, museums and bookshops. Street art. Small schools within walking distance. Friendly people. Good food. A house big enough to fit our books, rugs and paintings. Sunshine.

Hobart, Tasmania put a giant tick beside every one of those items on my wish list. It felt comfortable right away. We were there for five days, and once we’d dealt with the jetlag it felt so possible to imagine that nice life there.

It was as close to perfect as it could have been.

A young boy taking a photo of a statue at Hobart waterfront in Tasmania

We are not foolish. We know there will likely be some tough times ahead. The thing that scares me most is the same thing that scared me when we left Edinburgh for Hertfordshire – missing those support networks that we will leave behind.

I am so lucky that in my life so far I’ve had close friends and family living relatively nearby. DorkySon has been so lucky to have those same people around him for the last four years, making him feel secure and confident and loved. For us to move to a place where those people will be a full 24 hours away by plane, rather than just one or two hours, is no small thing.

But it’s a measure of our confidence in them that we believe our relationships will continue to flourish even with the added distance. It might take more effort, but we are determined to make that effort. I truly believe that we are adding to DorkySon’s life, not taking away from it, by making this move. For him to see his first parrots flying wild in a play park rather than in a Hertfordshire zoo is so exciting. For him to live somewhere where he can spend so much time outside, where people in the supermarket make time to stop and chat rather than running him over with their trolleys, where he gets another two years of part-time play based education rather than being shoved into school at the age of four… these are all good things.

An image of a QR code on a lamppost at Hobart Waterfront in Tasmania, which says 'There is lost history here'.

We have just over five weeks before we go and a very long to-do list. This sofa that I’m sitting on – along with everything else in our house – needs to be wrapped and packed and bundled into a container to be shipped across the sea. We want to see as many of our friends as possible before we move, and they are widely scattered, so we are packing as much travel as we can into this summer.

Depending what day you catch us on, we are excited, or nervous, or happy or scared. The truth is that we don’t know what this new life will look like, but we can’t wait to find out. It hasn’t been an easy decision making process. Our age difference has not been an issue, but the gulf in our experience has been, a little bit. DorkyDad has already done this once. He has emigrated from the country he calls home, leaving all that is comfortable and familiar to him and setting up somewhere new. I have not. This feels like the biggest decision I’ve ever made – bigger even than marriage and a baby – because it is such a leap into the unknown.

I think we have handled it really well. We have been as thorough in our discussions as we possibly could have been. It has brought us closer together. DorkyDad’s adventurous, energetic side has spurred me on to try something I would never have done alone. And my cautious side has made him slow down and really consider the implications of such a big move. We have never stopped talking, and have been able to reach a three-way unanimous decision (DorkySon has full voting rights) with minimum drama.

We hope very much that you will stick with us, and share our adventure by following it here. And any recommendations you have – friends in Tasmania, must-see sights, tips on moving overseas, useful websites – would be so welcome.

It’s five weeks and counting… we are moving from the UK to Tasmania… we need all the help we can get.


If you’ve found this blog post because you live in the UK and you’re considering a move to Australia, check out the website Smart Steps to Australia – Move to Australia and Thrive. It’s run by a fellow blogger Karen Bleakley who moved to Brisbane about a year after we moved to Hobart and it’s packed with helpful information.

145 responses

  1. So excited for you, I can’t wait to read about your life down under! I shall be relying on Skype and Google+ for proper chats and reading every post on your fabulous blog. Bon voyage my friend! Xxx

  2. having left everything by moving from the North to the South – as you know, no matter how small or how long the distance, once you move out of a city people ‘think’ you’ve moved to the other side of the world. We’ve all gained from our move, it’s not always easy but we love exploring a new place and our son has really benefited from the move, he has found the transition the easiest. It’s given us more time as a family, precious time. Time moves quickly, in a few short years, my son will find his own friends and his own way, we have treasured this period, when we have spent more time together (because we three are mostly what we have here) than we would have had we stayed put (where we were surrounded by people and often in different directions).
    I now know two very cool people who live in Tasmania. I hope you and P become acquainted – I really do think you will get on.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    • Wise words indeed, lovely, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I can’t wait to email P and say hello – he sounds like an incredible person. And now you’ve got an extra excuse to come to Tassie and visit one day xx

  3. what an amazing opportunity for the dorkies! grasp it with everything you have got. we will miss you, that is true but we will still be here just moments away on this great thing we call the world wide web x big love x

  4. My dear deaprted mum always said to me the one thing you will always take with you wherever you go is simply you. And you are a fine woman Ruth, smart sensitive and you CARE and that’s so precious to be someone who cares. You will be fine anywhere becuase you have a loyal loving family unit, huge compasssion and depth and a zest for life. I wish you happy days

  5. I am so going to miss our playdates and I know LMC is going to miss DorkySon, but as sad as I am about you moving to the other side of the world I’m also madly excited for the three of you (and a tiny bit jealous that I haven’t the guts to do something like that myself!) I can’t wait to read about all your adventures over there and hope that one day we’ll get to come and visit you and see Hobart for ourselves. Good luck with everything x

  6. Oh wow, that’s a long way away!! My friend moved to Sydney in December and they’d never been. They’ve settled in so well, it took a couple of months and they now love it. I’m not actually sure they want to move back. They love the quality and pace of life and how much of a difference the sunshine makes. I’m sure you will love it, even though it will be hard at times. Very exciting times!!

  7. Oh wow!

    I have always lusted over the sheer brilliance of the quality of life over there. Space and air and scenery and outdoors, nature and wildlife, the sea. It all makes me sigh dreamy sighs.

    What an amazing opportunity for all three of you, I’ll be keeping up every step of the way.

    Good luck x

  8. Heeeee I am soooo excited for you and so glad you made the decision to go. You will have the most amazing and fabulous time there. I love it here and I really hope you do too. Can’t wait to read all your Tassie posts it will take me right back to how I felt when we first moved.
    Good luck and if you need any more info just give me a shout! X 😀

    • Thank you for dealing with all my slightly panicky emails through the decision making process! All the reassurance was v much appreciated. Hope we cross paths when we’re in and settled xx

  9. How exciting! My husband has always wanted to emigrate to Australia ever since I have known him but I just don’t think I could do it. We moved from Bournemouth to Bristol on my say so to be closer to my family and my support network. 18 months on it’s only now my husband feels settled, I on the other hand have never been happier so for me, it shows how much I need to have family close by.

    All the best. x

    • It’s good to know that about yourself. This will be the furthest I’ve ever been from family (by, ooh, several thousand miles!) so it’s going to be a steep learning curve, but it’s lovely to know we’re going with so much support and so many good wishes behind us xx

    • Absobloodylutely! If it wasn’t for texting, tweeting, emailing, Facebooking and the like I don’t think I could do it. Thanks for the kind wishes xx

  10. Good luck! How exciting for you. You are going into this aware of all the harder parts as well as all the wonderful points so you will be well prepared! All the best to you xxx

  11. Oh those pics are so perfect, you capture Hobart beautifully.
    I can give you lists, I can give you a few people. I can give you my mother, who is amazing at making a coffee procuring a perfect cake from a nearby bakery and listening.
    It’s such an amazing city you will love it!

    • I am so grateful for all the support and advice you’ve given me already, thank you so much! Hope you are able to come out for a visit sometime soon, and I can’t wait to meet your lovely Mum! xx

  12. I am so excited for you, and looking forward to living your grand adventure vicariously via your wonderful writing here. Wish you more than the best! xx

  13. Such a huge decision but it sounds perfect to me. I am both envious and nervous for you but the joys of the Internet and social media are that it will still seem like you are down the road. Good luck lovely lady x

  14. I lived in Oz for a year and loved it. The lifestyle is – of course – what you make it, but it is all there for you. It is a fantastic place for families. I found it exciting, chilled out and sunny. I am beyond jealous. Good luck with the move, Thank goodness for the internet and keeping in touch. I can’t wait to read all about it x

  15. Wow, that’s not a small move! How super-exciting. I wish you the very best of luck with it all. It’s an opportunity you just can’t decline, and neither would I

  16. I’m so pleased and excited for you, I think this will be an amazing experience for the whole family, one you can only gain from. I shall be following as I’m sure you’ll have some fabulous tales to share as you discover life in Tanzania. Wishing you the very best of luck xxx

  17. Hello, I’m Jennie, and I haven’t read your blog before. Shame on me. Well I’m glad I caught you now, at least, before your next big adventure starts.

    A couple of words from me, as I found myself getting a teary eyed reading this – partly though sympathy and partly through envy! When I was eight my parents picked my up and moved me to Chicago. Dad’s job took us there. We’d never even been before. But what did we have to lose, they thought. Although it didn’t last forever, like it was meant to and like we all wished it had, I can honestly say it was THE BEST THING we ever did. And I write this note to hopefully put your mind at rest if your doubting how your son may take to it.

    I got a new accent – apparently I didn’t like being the odd one out in class so quickly developed an american twang. I got to see so much more of the world at such a young age than I ever would have – and that made me braver in the adult years that followed. I made life long friends who I still speak to now – our friendship still stands despite an ocean being between us again. I got a whole lot cleverer – you mentioned the improved schooling your son will receive – it’s true. Outside of the UK they just seem to get the balance right and it make such a difference in the long run.

    Anyway. I think you’re making the most wonderful decision for you ALL and wish you all the very, very best with it. Enjoy the next few weeks – they’ll be emotional – and look forward even more to what lies in store. I’ll be back to read how you’re getting on. Jennie x

  18. Oh wow, how exciting is that! You won’t regret it, but you would have regretted not trying it at all. Have fun, and I’ll look forward to hearing how much you’re enjoying it. Don’t forget it wasn’t always feasible for family to get to you in 24hours from IoH either. 🙂

  19. Wow, that’s amazing, and very exciting! Must have been a very difficult decision but I think you’ll have an amazing time, looking forward to reading about it.

  20. Well hello Ruth! You emailed me a while ago, asking me about what life is like here in Hobart. I’m so delighted to find you’ve made the big decision to move. Hooray! I’d love to meet up once you’re settled. Email me anytime. I have 3 littlies under 8 so ready-made playmates waiting! J x

    • I did indeed, thanks for remembering! Very much looking forward to getting there, and lovely to know there’ll be some potential coffee and play dates in the not-too-distant future! x

  21. I’ve been waiting for this post for a while (as you well know). What an exciting time for you all. Oz is my home country but I’ve never been to Tasmania but have heard lots of amazing stories about it. It’s got some colourful history too. Your big leap is making my 1 hour planned move look a bit pathetic to be honest! Hope the move goes smoothly for you. Look forward to hearing about all your new adventures.

    • Yes! It’s been so hard trying to keep it quiet, especially after BritMums when I’d told lots of people in person but it still wasn’t *out there*. Moves are always a bit stressy, whether it’s an hour or a world away – you still have to pack your life into boxes and leave everything that’s familiar to you. Thanks for your good wishes xx

  22. I am so excited. We are sat in the car driving to our new house right now & reading this was perfect. All the best Dorky family x x x

    • It’s funny how many bloggers are making big moves this summer – has been lovely to share the experience with you and Kate from Kate Takes 5 – a real testament to the power of social media that we can reassure each other even when we’re many hundreds (and even thousands) of miles apart. Much love and luck to you and your family in your new home too x

  23. Wow, wow and wow! I am certain that you will not regret your decision. A little part of me is jealous, i think it’s such an adventure! It will be tough at first but such perfect timing for Dorky Son. I look forward to hearing/reading all about your adventures down under 🙂

  24. Wow, how exciting! Very best of luck with the move, shall look forward to learning more about Tazzy from you guys! (My main knowledge now is that when people in Neighbours leave Ramsay Street, 9 times out of 10 they go to Tasmania..)

  25. I am so, so excited for you all!!!!! I totally understand that this has been the decision of your life! It’s a huge move, but from the energy behind your lovely writing, I can tell that it is absolutely the right decision you have made. The poetic thing is that you are returning to island living again, and what a great education Dorky Son is going to get. One day your accent is going to have this amazing mix of Southern England, Scottish Islands, and Tasmanian! Bon Chance my friend!

    Ps. Your blog is going to become this amazing narrative of all your new adventures! XXX

    • Oh lord, yes, I dread to think what accent we’re all going to come back with!
      Well, I’ve been inspired over the last year by your own move, and it’s great to see you come out the other side, all settled in a house you love after so much stress and waiting. Thanks for your lovely kind words xx

  26. Wow! Is the only word that escapes me at this news. Oh and Wow! just in case you missed the first one.

  27. I’m late to reading this post but I’m glad that I did. What a huge leap for the three of you! I’m in pure admiration at how you compliment each other so well and I’m sure that when you settle in Tasmania, your life will be that much more inspiring. Good luck to you all and we shall carry on reading!

  28. Whoa!!!!! I know I am a bit behind in my blog reading (yes, planning and executing my wedding in 2.5 week period WAS a wee bit stressful…) but this??? I am so happy for you, because I do know this is a brave and wonderful adventure for the Dorky Family. How great that of can do this! And how wonderful that that hae Internet there, too, so we can still read one another’s musings… I think I need to make sure I read my blogs on a daily basis. Maybe between then and now you have decided the Moon was a better place? Hugs to you three as you prepare, and I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    • So lovely to see all your happy wedding photos on the old book of Face! Huge congratulations to you both… I had wondered why the blog was quieter than usual! Thanks for all your good wishes, we are very excited, and just a little bit scared! x

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  30. ooooh, I am so excited for you. We almost emigrated once, and then for various reasons it didn’t happen. I’m sure it will be amazing. xx

    • Thanks so much! We quite like quiet, so hoping it will suit our wee family quite well! Sorry I won’t have the chance to meet you at the MADS though – good luck!

  31. Fantastic! I’m on my way back to the UK after seven years abroad. I might not have loved every minute and I might be craving all things familiar right now, but it truly was one of the best things that I’ve done. The perspectives that you gain from living in the midst of another culture are fantastic and your son will thrive, I’m sure. Wishing you the very best of luck. I can’t wait to read all about it.

  32. Wish you all the luck in the world and everything you wish for yourselves as well. I am sure you have made the right decision for the right reasons and in ten years time you will be looking back and thinking “Thank Goodness”. Onwards and upwards to your new, exciting life. P.S. When my parents emigrated to Australia in 1971 my mum was 55 and had been a housewife ever since her children were born, so no work colleagues etc. She said she went for a walk every day and made a point of saying hello and chatting to everyone she could. It worked. She made lots of friends quickly.

    • Thats good advice! We haven’t had a car for 10 years, and are thinking we should get onewhen we move so that we can explore, but I’m convinced that just walking round remains the best way to get to know a place – and its people – really well. Thanks for commenting x

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    • Thanks so much! I love this feeling like I’ve joined another community of people who have shared experience. It’s a bit like becoming a mother all over again!

  34. You ROCK! Feeling the fear is always good. It keeps you alive! What an amazing adventure, for all of you! After living in LA for 3 yrs my best advice? Don’t come back to the UK to visit for at least 2 x

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice! It’s so lovely to be surrounded by all these inspiring women who are saying YES! Feel the fear and do it anyway! xx

  35. I’ve just got around to reading this and really enjoyed it. Congratulations on your decision and good luck down under! I hope the move goes smoothly and everyone makes a smooth transition. 😉

  36. Woo! I’ve lived in Hobart all my life, good luck with your move and a pre-emptive welcome to our beautiful state! x

  37. I live in Hobart 🙂 it’s a beautiful place and I’m positive you will love it!
    Please email me if you need/want anything! Welcome!!!

  38. I do hope it works wonderfully for you 🙂 Hobart is lovely….and support and friends and family will still be ‘beside’ you via skype and emails! Welcome to Tassie (from a Hobart mum)

  39. I’m brand new to your blog. Found through a Hobart Mum’s Network fb page but just thought I’d say Hobart is a great place to live. I moved to Tasmania from Scotland when I was 12 and it took me a long time to settle in but I think that was largely due to my age at the time – probably not really understanding how to settle in. Now I truly believe that I’m so lucky to have been brought here!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! It’s good to know that you settled well eventually – that’s a tough age to move so we’re lucky that our son is a little younger. Must be a lot of good things going on in Tasmania if you’re still there though 🙂 x

  40. HI Dorky Mum!

    I am trying to resist the push to read blogs but Christine from The Hobart Mums Network recommended I read yours and said you were moving here from the other side of the world and I would love to welcome you to Tasmania! I am sure we can be friends if you promise not to tell too many people how excellent Tasmania is. I really enjoyed your post on your upcoming move and might come back and have a look at the rest if time permits but I do have 4 children and I have limited time!

    Please look me up when you get here and if you are on Instagram I am @handmaedbybec

    Have fun saying farewell and I look forward to showing you and your Dorky family around

    From Mrs Wonky and Mr Wonky and the Wonky Kids!!
    I figure wonky and dorky are on the same team?

    • Wonky and Dorky have definitely got to be kindred spirits!

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment & welcome! I’m off for a wee look at your site and hope to meet you and all 4 of those children after we arrive 🙂 xx

  41. I have been directed to your blog by the Hobart Mums Network. I live in Hobart and I just want to say that you will enjoy yourself down here!! If you want to talk with someone in Hobart, feel free to drop me a line on I am happy to give you advice and information about Hobart and the surrounding areas. Or If you just want a friendly person to talk to, I’m here 🙂

  42. You will love our state. My beautiful family and I live in Hobart. When you arrive, be sure to get onto the Hobart Mum’s Network on Facebook. Lots of awesome Hobart women inspiring and supporting one another. 🙂

  43. I live in Hobart. It’s a fantastic place to raise a family and I hope you love it too! You might be happy to hear that Hobart was just rated the second friendliest city in the world by Conde Naste travel magazine 🙂 We still think we should’ve been number one though 😉

  44. We just moved to Hobart from New Zealand via Launceston (northern Tassie for 7 years). Tasmania is a little treasure trove, you will love it once you find your feet after the initial move. I can totally relate to leaving your social network behind, and while it takes to time to form a new one, it will happen here. Feel free to PM me on Facebook if you want to catch up or need any assistance. Cheers Paula

  45. Wow! What a journey for you…. I hope you come to love our small island like we do! I have followed you on FB so i can keep up with your adventures! And most importantly, WELCOME 🙂

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  48. I’m a bit slow this week and massively behind on my reading list. Wow congrats! Such amazing news and I’m very jealous. Hertfordshire’s loss is Tasmania’s gain. Best of luck to you all and I look forward to following your new life through your blog (and not in a stalker-ish-I-can-see-you-way). X

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