10 tips for moving to Australia

TransferWise content team
05.10.16
4 minute read

Planning a move to Australia? Congratulations. With the beach life and good times calling it can be easy to forget some of the simple things. Like getting a Visa. And how you'll get your money over there.

We spoke to Alex, a recently relocated Brit in Australia for his top tips:

The sun was beaming down on a packed south London beer garden. It was a Sunday. Everyone had work the next day, but no one cared. The sun was out for one of the four days a year we get treated to it which meant all the normal rules were out the window.

There were sports teams swapping ‘war stories’ over post-match pints, old friends catching up over an oversized game of Connect 4, friendly rivals falling out over a heated game of drunken table tennis. The BBQ was firing on all cylinders and so were the Londoners who were treating themselves to the chargrilled meat it was cooking.

Life was good, and there was one reason for it – The sunshine.

It was on this summery Sunday that I, a London-based advertising manager, had my life-changing epiphany –

“Why don’t we all move to somewhere where the sun shines everyday so we can all enjoy this crazed merriment all the time? Where every day is #SundayFunday?”

For months I berated my friends with my new found fact of life. Imploring them to come to the realisation that I had. I heard the same retorts – ‘Family’, ‘friends’, ‘careers’. “Pssssssh,” I would say, “who really needs family friends or a career when you have the sun…”.

Until one day, a friend who had had enough of my chat, dared me to practice what I was preaching and move to sunny Sydney in Australia. And so, mainly to annoy him and prove a point (the foundation of most British male friendships), I did.

Visa granted, Aussie recruiters emailed, flights booked and off I went.

And there was my first mistake.

1. Don't skimp on a 24 hour flight.

long haul flight

When booking flights across the world, make sure your airliner has in-flight entertainment.

Don’t be like me, who thought he’d game the system by finding the cheapest flight on Skyscanner. I was full of regret once I stepped on to that Philippine Airlines flight and saw no TV screens on the back of seats.

This is when I discovered how truly slow time can move when you’re doing nothing, and have nothing to do.


2. Border bliss.

Australia visa

Obtaining an Australian visa is alarmingly easy (as a Brit). For me it was processed and granted in under a minute.

As a Londoner this shocked me so much I had to triple check everything to ensure I hadn’t been scammed.

Once you’ve landed it takes a total of five minutes to get through border control due to the streamlined process they have in place.

A silver lining for your gruelling* 24 hour flight (*see tip 1).


3. Avoid the backpackers, find the locals.

backpacker

If you’re staying longer term look at flatmates.com.au and look to move in with people who are local Aussies or are just longer term residents.

Why? Hostels are fun but the friends you make there will be fleeting as they soon leave to continue their travels. Actual Australia dwellers won’t travel away (permanently) and have that local knowledge about the best restaurants/bars/travel tips/areas that backpackers don’t.


####4: Play to the city's strengths.

bronte beach, sydney

Live by the beach.

The majority of people moving from the UK will not have had readily available access to a beach, let alone a decent one. Play to your city's strengths and straddle beach life with a city job (unless you’re moving across to work for Bondi Beach Rescue, then even better)


5. Escalator chaos.

escalator chaos

This is a big one, almost cancelled my visa upon discovering it…

Aussies stand on the left and walk on the right on escalators.

They also have wooden escalators. just let it go, I had to.


6. SWEARING

swear word

There’s a lot more swearing, even when people aren’t angry, especially when people aren’t angry.

F*ck it, just accept it.


7. YOLO – eat out more

supermarket

Australia is a lot bigger country with far less people in it.

So distributing food across this vast land costs a lot more with a lot less profit. Which means booze and groceries are expensive, but don’t worry, just eat out more, YOLO right?


8. Woolworths is back in your life.

woolworths australia

Woolworths lives on down under.

It’ s basically the Sainsbury’s of Australia. Woolies will never die, get your groceries from there.


9. TransferWise.

Open an account before you get to Oz, Westpac have a good Expat set-up programme you can complete before moving across.

And then transfer your money with TransferWise, you’ll save ‘heaps’ of money compared to using your bank. But then try and avoid realising how much money you lost because of Brexit, unfortunately TransferWise can’t help with that.

Thank you 52%, thanks a lot.


10. Take a coat.

australia rain

Guess what… It does rain in Sydney some times.

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