I agree, I'm going for a qualification that will benefit me and my family regardless of whether it's on the list when the time comes. Truth be told I don't want to wait for that many years but what other choice do I have if I want to get to Aus?
with regards to New Zealand, I could deal with the cold there knowing it had a means to an end but after some time thinking I don't think it's very practical or fair to move the kids twice in such a short space of time as well as put me and my partner through the move/visas twice.
My quickest route in is through a skilled visa which like you say I'm looking at 5-8 years IF my profession is on the list at that point. In 5 years I will be 33. My auntie and uncle moved out at 37 with four kids (aged 12years to 18 months). The idea of a move isn't going to just evaporate for me. Australia is where my heart is. Believe me I have tried to forget it for the past four years. Before I even seen it for myself I was obsessed with the place, after living there for a year it felt more like home to me than my own town. It took a good 8-10 months to come out of a depression when I had to return to the uk (2months of which I was still in Aus when I knew I my time was running out)
Not with kids.
Getting a visa is the biggest initial hurdle. You can get a qualification in the UK. Takes a few years, then you need some years experience. Before you know it you're 5 - 8 years down the track and the job may not be on the list any more. So I wouldn't do that JUST to get to AU. And do you really want to wait for so many years?
You mentioned new zealand... and you mentioned you hate cold...are you sure that adds up?