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Moving to Australia checklist

Take the headache out of migration with these checklists and have a smart, stress free move.


You may think the number of things to do before relocating to a new country and home can be long and daunting, but they don’t have to be thanks to these quick and easy checklists.

Coming from someone who has experienced the ‘big migration to another country’ journey, I know that between coming to terms with leaving friends and family behind and closing out work properly so you won’t burn any bridges, there’s a very small window of time to deal with the ‘admin’ stuff. You know the type, they’re the ones that involve anything from redirecting your mail to organising a bank account in your new home country.

I’ll be the first to admit that I left more than a fair share of things in the ‘I’ll figure it out when I land’ pile. Although not a decision I regret, I can honestly say that it can be miles more reassuring and enjoyable if you’ve got all (or at least most) of your migration needs sorted before you land.

So here are some of the more important (and some of the less important) things to consider before waving goodbye at the airport and hopping on that flight that I learned from my experiences abroad. Hopefully, with their help, they’ll make your journey to your new adventure that much smoother.

And yes, even if you are subscribing to the easy-going travellers mentality that I did, it could still be worthwhile to at least give these lists a once-over – because we all forget things in the excitement and nervousness of this life-changing decision.

Things you should do or know to help settle in

  • Invest in sunscreen ‒ you’ll know what I mean when you get here.
  • Tipping is not mandatory, but it is nice.
  • Get a TFN (Tax File Number) for working purposes.
  • Shop around and apply for superannuation (if applicable).
  • Familiarise yourself with the area in general. Know what places to avoid (rough or high criminal activity areas).
  • Know your public holidays ‒ so that you can cash in on long weekends, oh, and know when to celebrate.
  • Know the emergency number for Australia is 000 (or 112 on mobile phones).
  • Understand that our beaches differ from overseas beaches and can be more dangerous in terms of tides, winds, and waves.
  • Understand that ‘no split bills’ is a common occurrence, so be prepared to calculate your ‘cut’ when dining out with friends. Keeping cash on hand is always helpful.
  • Familiarise yourself with the big supermarket brands, and where they generally sit on prices so you won’t be caught out at your local (though decidedly more expensive) supermarket.
  • Know your clothing size in the Australian system: this is very helpful and will avoid embarrassment at the shops.

Common misconceptions about Australia you really should know before you embarrass yourself

  • Dangerous animals = many. Dangerous animals you’ll encounter in the city = very few.
  • No one in the city has a kangaroo or koala for a pet. Or in their backyard.
  • There is no such thing as a drop bear. Or a yowie. We do have Tasmanian devils, however.
  • None of us actually drinks Fosters, we just pawn it off to you because unlike us, you’re willing to drink it.
  • We don’t put shrimps on the barbie. We put PRAWNS on the barbie.
  • Sydney is NOT the capital city of Australia. Three guesses what is.
  • Australia and New Zealand are NOT the same country. We hate each other. No, we don’t. Yeah, we kinda do. No, not really.
  • We have an interesting sense of humour (as you probably guessed from the previous point). Most of the time we’re pretty laid back, so try not to take anything that sounds odd too seriously.
  • Kings Cross in Sydney is VERY different from Kings Cross in London.
  • You don’t have to like vegemite, but you do have to try it. No, not really.

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