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Learning to drive in Australia for over 25 years old.

I don't know how to drive a vehicle

I arrived in Sydney in 2016. I lived in Sydney and going to work, I was just walking and sometimes taking the city's very convenient public transportation. I never had the will of learning to drive. I was able to reach different suburbs and regions just by public transportation, especially by trains.

In February 2017 I moved to Port Stephen, a regional town in New South Wales.  Public transportation here is not as convenient as in Sydney. Buses come at least every hour, taxi fare is expensive. Walking from my apartment to my workplace is 45 minutes and doing that is not the ideal way. My solution is a bicycle. I initially bought the ordinary pushbike but it is not practical because there are many hills on my way home from work. I then bought an eBike (Electric Bike) and life is so much better. I never had the will to learn to drive because biking along the way in this beautiful town, along the beach and bushland is amazing. 

All of my colleagues and friends do have a car, some of them live just 500 meters from the workplace and still driving to get to work.

I Wanna Learn How to drive Now

In June 2021 my permanent residency application was approved.  My residency status gives me the urge to learn new skills. I thought of going back to school, take a short course, and finally, I decided to take a driving lesson first. I want to learn to drive. I don't necessarily need to give up riding on my bicycle but knowing how to drive is a good thing.

Two of my brothers are jeepney drivers back home, I sometimes go with them before but never really tried to drive. Because of that, I have zero knowledge about driving.

My Steps in Learning How To Drive in New South Wales.

  1. Book a DKT or Driver Knowledge Test - I Book the Driver Knowledge Test at the Service NSW website but you can also book it in the Service NSW office. DKT is a computer-based test,  done in the Service NSW center. The test feels easy but it is not because I failed 2 times. You'll know you failed right after you choose the last wrong answer.  Because the test cost $45 and I already spent $90, I decided to study first before taking another DKT test the next day. I read the "Road User's Hand Book " and also practice the DKT online. I pass the DKT this time. You'll know you pass the test when you see Congratulations at the end of the test. I then paid $25 for my Learners License, They gave me a receipt and 5pcs of yellow "L90" plate that I can already use to drive.  The Learner License Card is going to be sent via post. They said that I can drive a car as long as there is someone with a full driving license supervising me or next to me in the car.  

  2.  Find a Driving School - There are many driving schools in my community, the cheapest that I found was $50 an hour but the one that I went to is $60 an hour. I took it because it's the one that is available at my preferred time. I explained to the driving instructor that I am an absolute beginner. It was an amazing feeling for the very first time I was able to drive a car.  I am taking a 1-hour driving lesson each day and each day my driving instructor is teaching me different things like parking, changing lanes, good road sense, etc... I have done 12 lessons but I am not very comfortable yet that is why I am going to make more lessons until I am comfortable enough. I am over 25 years old, which means that once I passed the Hazzard Perception test and the Actual Driving test I will be able to get my Red "P" Plate that will allow me to drive a car without anyone supervising or next to me. Learners who are below 25 years old need to complete 120 hours of supervised driving before getting a red "P" plate. 

  3. Hazard Perception test - I f you pass the DKT Test you can immediately book a HPT or Hazard Perception Test and it cost $47.
    It is a test on a computer where it is going to test on how you are going react on different road situations. The test will show you video footages as if you are driving a car  where you need to decide when to go, to stop, to slow down etc.  Here is the sample test, https://www.easydrivingtest.com.au/driving-test/hpt/practice

    August 5, 2021,  Lockdown was announced in Hunter Region  including Port Stephens due to CoVid cases in the area. Because of that I stop my driving lesson and hoping to continue it after the lockdown or once I am fully vaccinated or when the lockdown ends.

  4. Actual Driving Test. After passing the DKT and HPT You can now book the actual driving test and it cost $60. 
    I actually did three driving test and I failed 2 times. On my first test I mostly forgot to indicate when turning or leaving the roundabout. The tester also said that I did some illegal manoeuvres.
    During this time booking the test is very difficult as most of the Testing centre around NSW are closed. I actually did my second test at Raymond Terrace. I failed again because I was nervous and excited and did some error starting the car after few minutes of the test. 
    It was last week of May 2022 when I took my third actual driving test.I was really cautious and focus on my driving not to no forgot to indicate, always shoulder checking and being aware of the environment. I was still not sure of passing the test until we drive back to the NSW office and the tester told me to wait for my name to be called because I pass the driving test.  It was amazing. I drive my car on my own going home for the very first time. 

    As a learner you still need to have someone will full license to accompany you driving to the test centre. It was my driving lesson instructor who accompany me on two of my test and it cost differently from my driving lesson. On my third test I used my car on the test and Inigo, my friend was the one who accompany me to the test centre, he left because he needed to go to work.  It was a lucky day because I passed the test which means I drive my car on my own. It was amazing. Learn more the procedure here  Service NSW website.


The story of me getting permanent residency in Australia.

2008 when I left the Philippines for a job in Dubai. 

I was a working student at that time and earning money just for survival, no savings and can't really afford things that I want. I was able to support the processing of my documents and related expenses because of the 13th and 14th my pay that I received from my employer.  I was able to go on a job interview during my 1 day off and by skipping a class. 

2015 when I left Dubai. 

I have a good, comfortable life in Dubai. My first salary in Dubai was 1700 AUD as a Commis Chef. I worked in Four Season Golf Club, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and for more than five years in the Armani Hotel. The latest salary was 3000 AED and I manages to save a little bit and was able to buy some of the things that are making me happy. 

My First month in Dubai 2008

I was able to do what I love.

September 2015 when my friend convinced me to work in Australia. I was hesitant because I do not want to spend a big amount of money and I have a comfortable life in Dubai. I was then convinced and by November of 2015 we left Dubai heading to Europe. 
While waiting for the Australian Visa, my friend and I decided to travel around Europe and Southeast Asia. In February 2016, we are in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia when my Australian visa application was granted. 

Arrives in Sydney.
With my training and research visa or 407 Visa, I work as a Chef de Partie in Training.  Training Visa is a workplace-based training and it is paid just like a normal employee. This visa is designed for people offshore who want to enhance their skills in Australia. 

My First week in Sydney

Sydney is beautiful with my overall experience and that is why I decided I want to stay longer here. The 407 Visa is valid only for a year that is why I gather my documents and did a skills assessment, English test for me to be able to apply for a work visa. During the year I was also looking for a company that is willing to sponsor me. 

Long travel for a job interview.

1 Year of my Training and Research Visa
During my days off and in my free time I always look online for a company that is willing to sponsor me. Together with other friends we also tried to travel to other cities walked in different restaurants submitting our CV hoping to be sponsored for a job. There was no luck because competition is tight in the city, there are many applicants in the city that don't need sponsorship, they are usually the locals, the people on student visas, and the dependent of the main visa holders.  That is the reason why I focus on submitting my CV to different companies in Regional Australia. I got the Job in Port Stephens and I am still here.

During my 457 Visa
During the three years, I was balancing my situation whether to just finish my 4 years visa and go back to the Philippines after, or apply for a permanent residency visa to stay here. There was no pressure on me because I am confident of going back to the Philippines and start a new life there but at the same time I was also preparing myself for possible more years of stay in Australia because life is so good here... and so I was also preparing the requirements for visa application (I took English test IELTS).  I said to myself that I am going to DIY my Visa application in case I am going to apply for a permanent residency visa. 
During this time my Australian qualification is already expired (Commercial cookery Cert 3). and because of that my only option is to apply for Temporary Resident Visa, transition Stream subclass 186. This visa doesn't require me a "new skill assessment" or "Australian Qualification" (Commercial Cookery Cert 3) because I have been working in the same employer for at least two with my Subclass 457 Visa. 

CoVid 19 Visa Situation
Seeing the pandemic situation in my home country and in other countries, made me easy to decide of staying here in Australia.  I asked my employer if they are willing to sponsor me for permanent residency. They acknowledge my request and they explained the procedure saying that I need to wait because they needed to go through the legal process of making sure that no locals (Australians) apply for my position. They basically need to post a job vacancy for a period of time for an Australian to apply for my job position. Plus other sponsorship stuff.
I waited a couple of months until HR confirmed that they are going to sponsor me for permanent residency. They asked me If I have a lawyer, or agent that I want to take care of processing my Visa application. I decide to have the same migration agency, the one that they refer to process my previous Visa. 
I submitted the following as a requirement for  Subclass186 Visa applications.
  • Passport copy
  • Current visa copy
  • New job offer letter
  • English test result copy (IELTS)
  • Australia Police Clearance
  • Dubai Police Clearance
  • Income statement from ATO
I also submitted the same requirements in my previous visa like 
  • My birth certificate
  • Employment certificates
  • School credentials
Submitted also filled up immigration forms stating my employment history, education, and countries been to as I can remember in the period of 10 years.

It was March 2021 When my Subclass 186 Visa was lodge to the immigration. I received my HapID or the medical test referral from the immigration. The medical cost is about $400.

My Visa has expired.
My Subclass 457 Visa validity was 4 years and it is expired on the second week of March 2021. Basically, if you are in Australia and you apply for a new visa, Australian immigration is going to issue a bridging visa. That bridging visa will let you stay legally when your visa expired while waiting for the result of the new visa application. 

The first week of June 2021 when I received my Subclass 186 Visa approval. 

*The communication between me and my employer's HR, the migration agency is all through emails. The visa validity, updates can also be accessed through the Australian immigration VEVO website.


Jabra Elite 75T replaces my Bone Conduction Earphone for my daily music on my bike.

Using my Jabra Elite 75T

I got new Earbuds or earphones. I bought it to replaces my broken "bone conduction earphone" that I am using for my daily bike ride. I am normally listening to music when I am on my bike and I am actually singing along with the music while driving relax and easy.  
With my previous bone conduction earphone, I can still hear the environment (the cars, the birds, etc) while listening to the music because the bone conduction earphone is not directly in the ears. I do have my wired apple earphone that comes with my iPhone but having it while on my bike is not good. Having a wired earphone is uncomfortable and unsafe looking at other people's eyes.

I didn't know earbuds or headphone has a feature like this.
Active Noise Cancellation - Listening to music with Active Noise Cancellation ON while on the bike I can still hear the wind but it is noticeably separated from the music that I am playing, which means the music is still loud and clear. And when I am not on the bike it is just so quiet...just the music. 
Hear Through - The purpose of this "Hear Through" feature is to hear both the music that you are playing and to also hear the sound around you. It is for safety.  Having this feature ON will make you hear the sound of the coming car, the bark of the dog, and everything around you. The sound comes not natural as it is captured by the earbuds mic (sounded like recorded)