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The Ultimate How to Move to Australia from America Guide

The Ultimate How to Move
to Australia from America
Guide

Moving to Australia from America? Our Ultimate How to Move to Australia from America Guide covers absolutely everything you need to know about moving from Australia to America.

With in-depth information and valuable resources from how to apply for a visa to how to import common household items, from what the Australian health care and education systems are like, to how to decide where to live, our Moving to Australia from America Guide will help you and your family have a safe, seamless, and stress-free move to Australia.

Chock-full of important international moving tips, as well as insights into Australian customs and culture, including everything from table manners, commonly used words, holidays and food, to the sports Australians like to play and watch, our Moving from America to Australia Guide will also assist you and your family assimilate into day-to-day life quickly and easily on arrival.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to Australia as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas move experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to Australia from America.

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Australians to Australia safely, seamlessly and stress-free

UniGroup Worldwide International Movers moving Americans to Australia safely, seamlessly and stress-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Ultimate How to Move to Australia from America Guide by clicking the links within the Contents section below
  • Read our accompanying step-by-step Complete How to Move to Australia from America Checklist, a foolproof list of easy-to-follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to Australia.

BASIC INFO TO KNOW WHEN MOVING TO AUSTRALIA

Nationality

Australian

National Holidays

New Year's Day, 1 January Australia Day, 26 January Good Friday, Date fluctuates Easter Monday, Date fluctuates Anzac Day, 25 April Christmas Day, 25 December Boxing Day, 26 December

Financial Year

1 July - 30 June

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy (federal parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a commonwealth realm

Currency

Australian dollar (AUD)

International Dialling Code

61

Country Domain Code

.au

Road Traffic

Drives on the left

Electricity

220/240V, 50Hz. Plug Type I

Emergency Numbers

000: General Emergencies 112 or 000: Mobile phones 132 500: State Emergency Service 106: National relay service 131 444: Non-emergency police 101: Fire 1800 333 000: Crime Stoppers 1800 123 400: Threats to national security

Time Zone

There are three time zones – Eastern (GMT+10), Central (GMT+9.5) and Western (GMT+8)

HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA

Settlers from Southeast Asia arrived in Australia at least 40,000 years before the first Europeans began exploring. Until 1770, when Captian James Cook took possession of the east coast, no formal territorial claims had been made. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, six colonies were created and in 1901, they became the Commonwealth of Australia. Due to economic reforms adopted in the 1980s, Australia has become an internationally competitive market economy. An aging population, environmental issues and infrastructural burdens are just some of the long-term concerns. Australia’s dry conditions also make it particularly vulnerable to climate change challenges.

POPULATION

Population

22,992,654

Population Growth Rate

1.05%

Median Age

total: 38.6 years
male: 37.8 years
female: 39.4 years

Life Expectancy

82.2 years

GEOGRAPHY

Location

Australia

Geographic Coordinates

27 00 S, 133 00 E

Area

total: 7,741,220km2
land: 7,682,300km2
water: 58,920km2

Geography

Although Australia is the world’s smallest continent, it is the sixth-largest country in the world as well as the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere. Consisting of no land borders, Australia’s most densely populated areas can be found along the eastern and south-eastern costs. A sea breeze known as the “Fremantle Doctor” has also given the city of Perth, which is situated on the west coast, the reputation of having the most consistent winds in the world.

Capital

Canberra geographic coordinates: 35 16 S, 149 08 E

Major Urban Areas and Population

Sydney 4.505 Million; Melbourne 4.203 Million; Brisbane 2.202 Million; Perth 1.861 Million; Adelaide 1.256 Million; Canberra 423,000

CLIMATE

Overall, Australia generally has a dry climate. The south and east experience moderate conditions while the north has more tropical conditions.

ECONOMY

2017 sees Australia facing a range of growth restrictions due to decades of continuous growth, low unemployment rates and a stable financial system. The services sector accounts for around 70% of the country’s GDP and 75% of jobs. The country was barely affected by the global financial crisis and the banking system has remained under control. Over the last few years, Australia has experienced a dramatic increase in trade but it is being affected by declining commodity prices. Australia has placed very few restrictions on the import of goods and services, a process that has increased economic growth and flexibility.

GDP Per Capita

$48,800 USD

Taxes and Other Revenues

33.5% of GDP

CULTURE

Languages Spoken

English Mandarin Arabic Cantonese Vietnamese

Major Ethnic Groups

English Australian Irish Scottish Chinese

NATIONAL IDENTITY

National Flag

National Anthem

"Advance Australia Fair"

National Symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation, Kangaroo, Emu

National Colours

Green, gold

AUSTRALIA's COUNTRY RANKING

Quality of Life

Ranked 2nd of 80 countries

Cost of Living

Ranked 6th of 104 countries

Education System

Ranked 2nd of 187 countries

Healthcare System

Ranked 32nd of 190 countries

Happiness of Residents

Ranked 9th of 155 countries

Crime Rate

Ranked 63rd of 117 countries

Suitability for Green Living

Ranked 13th of 180 countries

How Much Does It Cost to Move to Australia?

Calculating moving to Australia costs Calculating moving to Australia costs

The cost of moving to Australia from America comprises of a number of expenses, each with their own variables. The largest components will likely be the shipping of your household belongings and the relocation of you family. Beyond that, there are additional costs for visas, storage, insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Household Goods to Australia?

The cost of shipping your belongings can vary dramatically depending on the volume you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, how and from where you ship it. For example, a sparsely furnished two to three bedroom home shipped by LCL (Less than Container Load) or Groupage sea freight from the east coast of Australia to Sydney or Melbourne could cost AU$2,000-$3,000, whereas a heavily furnished four bedroom home shipped by FCL (Full Container Load) sea freight from and to the same ports may cost twice that. Furthermore, the cost would increase if you’re moving from or to an inland city or you’re shipping antiques, a piano, wine, expensive, or bulky items that may require custom crating or packing. And if you’re in hurry to ship your belongings to Australia, the same size homes could easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars to ship by air freight.

Given all these variables, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a detailed quote from an experienced, reputable international movers like UniGroup Worldwide International Movers.

For more information on the different types of sea and air freight, their respective advantages, disadvantages and how to calculate their costs, read our in-depth guide, What is the Best Way to Move Overseas? Best Air & Sea Freight Options.

How Much Does It Cost to Relocate Your Family to Australia?

The average cost of an economy class ticket from the to the east coast of Australia is between per person. So, relocating a family of four from America to Australia can be between and in airfares alone.

Additionally, if you are bringing any pets, there will be costs for their flight and any health checks or vaccinations required, as well as possible quarantine charges on arrival. Roughly, a cat or medium-sized dog would cost between to join you.

In addition to the cost of shipping your household goods, there are several other expenses involved in moving to Australia, from visa application fees and temporary accommodation through to travel for yourself and your family.

How Much Does an Australian Visa Cost?

Everyone that applies for an Australian visa must pay a non-refundable, non-transferable visa application fee. This visa application fee must be paid regardless of whether a visa is issued or not. The type of visa for which you apply determines the fee amount:

For more information, visit How to Apply for an Australian Visa.

What Other Costs are Involved in Moving to Australia?

There are several other costs involved in moving to Australia, including:

  • Storage: If you are not moving to Australia permanently and opt to leave some of your household goods in America, you may need to organize and pay for short or long-term storage
  • Insurance: When moving to Australia, you may need to invest in several different types of insurance, including moving insurance, international health insurance and travel insurance
  • Temporary accommodation: If you plan on searching for a new family home once you arrive in Australia, you will need some form of temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. On average, a hotel room in Australia costs between AU$150 and AU$200 per night, with a serviced apartment costing on average between AU$1,000 and AU$1,300 per week. So, if you need temporary accommodation for one month, the cost could exceed AU$5,000.

How to Apply for an Australian Visa

Applying for a Australian visa Applying for a Australian visa

An Australian citizen who wishes to know how to move to Australia, must generally obtain an Australian visa first. All Australian  nationals require a visitor’s visa, known as an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to visit Australia. The ETA allows foreign nationals to visit Australia for up to three months to conduct business-related activities, such as looking for employment. Any form of paid employment is illegal without obtaining a workers’ visa. Follow each of the steps below to help ensure you receive your Australian visa quickly and hassle free.

Select an Australian Visa Category

Determine which Australian visa category applies to you:

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has a handy comparison table that outlines the duration, sponsorship requirements, skill requirements and other eligibility criteria for all visas.

Compile Australian Visa Documentation

To apply for an Australian visa, you need to supply a range of supporting documentation. Begin compiling this documentation as soon as possible to avoid delays:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic records
  • Police check report
  • Previous passports
  • Recent passport photograph
  • Tax returns for the last three years
  • Bank statements for the last six months
  • Medical examination reports.

How to Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization

Electronically linked to your passport, an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) gives you authorization to enter Australia. It is for short-term stays for tourism or business visitor activities, such as attending a conference, making business enquiries or for contractual negotiations. As such, it may be beneficial to first apply for an ETA when securing employment in Australia or searching for houses and schools for any children accompanying you on your relocation.

Keep in mind that an ETA is not a work visa. If you want to work in Australia, you can use the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Visa Finder to search for a visa that is suitable for you.

How to Apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

To apply for an ETA, you will need to:

  • Be outside of Australia
  • Complete the online application form. When filling out the application form, ensure that the details you supply match exactly with the details on your passport
  • Pay the processing fee of AU$20.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Conditions

Once granted, ensure you comply with all ETA conditions:

  • An ETA is valid for 12 months
  • You can enter Australia multiple times, for up to three months at a time
  • You can only study for period of three months
  • You cannot travel if you have tuberculosis
  • You must not have any criminal convictions that attracted a sentence of 12 months or more, regardless of whether you served the sentence
  • You must not engage in employment or any form of income-generating activity, but you may enquire about business activities and engage in business-related discussions.

For further information, read the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

What is the Australian Visa ‘Points Test’?

For almost all Australian Workers Visa categories, you will need to satisfy the ‘Points Test’. The test awards visa applicants points for various elements of human capital and (for some visa subclasses) business performance. The number of points you need to pass the ‘Points Test’ depends on the visa you apply for.

Points are awarded for criteria such as:

  • Skills assessment: You must have a valid skills assessment issued prior to being issued an invitation to apply for a visa. A valid skills assessment must be issued by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation. Learn more about skills assessment and assessing authorities
  • English language requirement: To submit an eligible Expression of Interest (EOI) for points tested skilled migration visas, you must meet the English language requirement. You will need to have undertaken an English language test no more than 36 months prior to being issued an invitation to apply for a visa
  • Age: You can receive up to 30 points based on your age on the day on which you first applied for a visa. For many visa subclasses, if you are aged over 55 years you will not be eligible for any age points
  • Qualifications: You will receive points for your highest qualification only
  • Skilled employment: Points will be awarded for skilled employment experience if in the 10 years before you apply for a visa, you completed at least 20 hours or more of work per week in your nominated occupation
  • Experience in business or investment: This is particularly relevant for the Investment, Business Owner and Entrepreneurs Visa categories. You can receive up to 15 points if you have a demonstrated history of relevant business or investment experience for a specified amount of time
  • Net personal and business assets: Again, this is particularly relevant for the Investment, Business Owner and Entrepreneurs Visa categories. In each of the two financial years before you apply, you and your partner must have held net business and personal assets of at least AU$800,000 to obtain any points.

For further information, visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Control’s Points Table.

How to Apply for a Workers Visa

If you are applying under a Workers Visa Category, follow the steps below for the smoothest, most stress-free application process possible.

How to Apply for a Skilled Migration Visa

To apply for a skilled migration visa, you will need to:

How to Apply for a Nominated or Sponsored Work Visa

Employers can sponsor or nominate workers to remain in Australia on either a temporary or permanent basis. There are a number of subclasses of visas within this category, all with slightly different eligibility requirements and application processes:

  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457): If you would like to be sponsored by an employer from between one day to four years, you may be eligible for this visa. To apply for this visa, you will need to:
    • Be nominated by an approved sponsor to work in an occupation on the list of eligible skilled occupations
    • Meet the skill requirements as well as any registration and licensing licencing obligations for the nominated occupation
    • Speak a certain level of English.
  • Permanent Employer Sponsored Program: Employers in Australia can sponsor skilled workers to remain in Australia on a permanent basis through the Employer Nomination Scheme. There are two visa subclasses for permanent employees:
    • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186): To apply for this visa, you will need to:
      • Have worked for the same employer under the subclass 457 visa for at least two years
      • Be under the age of 50 at the time of application
      • Possess the requisite skills and qualifications
      • Speak a certain level of English
      • Meet the health and character requirements
      • Meet any other requirements applicable to the stream in which you apply.
    • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187): The requirements for this visa subclass are the same as above, except that you must be nominated by an approved Australian employer for a job in regional Australia (anywhere except the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong or Melbourne).

How to Apply for an Investment Visa

The Investment Visa includes five streams:

  • Business Innovation stream: For people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government
  • Investor stream: For people who want to make a designated investment of at least AU$1.5million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government
  • Significant Investor stream: For people who are willing to invest at least AU$5 million into complying significant investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian Government
  • Premium Investor stream: For people who are willing to invest at least AU$15 million into complying premium investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian Government
  • Entrepreneur stream: For people who have a funding agreement from a third party for at least AU$200,000 to undertake a complying entrepreneur activity that is proposed to lead to either the commercialization of a product or service in Australia or the development of a business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.

The eligibility criteria for each Investor Visa stream is different. For more information, check:

There are also four different types of Investor Visa subclasses. Visit the links below to apply for the subclass that best suits your circumstances:

How to Apply for a Business Owner Visa

To apply for a Business Owner’s Visa, visit the links below to apply for the subclass that applies to you:

How to Apply for an Entrepreneurs Visa

If you have an innovative idea for a new product, service, or business and have third party funding from a specified source to undertake entrepreneurial activity in Australia, the Entrepreneur stream of the Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 188) might be an visa option for you.

How to Apply for a Tax File Number

Applying for a Tax File Number Applying for a Tax File Number

When moving to Australia from America, you will need to apply for your Tax File Number (TFN) once you have arrived in Australia, and have been granted the relevant visa.

You can apply for a tax file number online if you meet these three conditions:

  • You are a foreign passport holder, permanent migrant or temporary visitor
  • You are already in Australia
  • Your visa is one of the following:
    • A permanent migrant visa
    • A visa with work rights
    • An overseas student visa
    • A visa that allows you to stay in Australian indefinitely.

You can apply online using the Australian Taxation Office’s online application form.

Once complete, the Australian Taxation Office will post your TFN to the Australian address you include in your application form within 28 days.

What is a Tax File Number?

A TFN is your personal reference number for Australia’s taxation and superannuation systems. It is the Australian equivalent of a Social Security Number. Your TFN is yours for life—you retain the same TFN even if you change your name, change jobs or move overseas or interstate. It is not compulsory in Australia to have a TFN. However, without one, you will pay a much higher rate of tax. In addition, you will not be able to access Government benefits or the public health care system.

How to Decide Where to Live in Australia

Deciding where to live in Australia Deciding where to live in Australia

If you’re not moving from America to Australia to a specific location for work, you’ll need to decide where to live. From low crime rates to superior quality health and education systems, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you to call home. Given the sheer size of Australia, geography, climate and weather can also play a large part in your decision. Unemployment rates, average salary and the cost of living are also likely to influence the location of your new home.

To help you decide where in Australia will best suit both your needs and those of your family, some of the most important factors are outlined below.

What is the Unemployment Rate in Australia?

Unemployment rates vary around Australia; it’s important that you investigate the employment rate in your preferred location to ensure the job market is stable so that it will provide you with the necessary employment opportunities. The Australian Department of Labor publishes unemployment rates by state on an annual basis.

What is the Average Salary in Australia?

The average Australian salary is approximately AU$78,800 per annum. However, given the sheer size of the country, a better factor to consider when choosing where to live in Australia is the local average salary, which provides a good indication of your likely earning potential. Living in Australia publishes average annual salaries by Australian state.

What is the Cost of Living in Australia?

The average cost of living varies greatly from state-to-state even city-to-city in Australia. Investigate the average cost of living in your preferred locations so that you can budget accordingly.

The following list provides an idea of the average prices you can expect to pay for products and services in Sydney, Australia’s most expensive city (although, keep in mind that these prices will vary based on both location and provider):

  • Monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city center: A$2,600
  • A dozen eggs: AU$6
  • 1 litre of milk: AU$1.50
  • Loaf of bread: AU$2.85
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: AU$10
  • A cappuccino: AU$4
  • Three course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): AU$80
  • Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable): AU$70
  • Monthly utilities (gas, power and water) for a small apartment: AU$200
  • Petrol (per litre): AU$1.28.

What is the Crime Rate in Australia?

Obviously, you want your family to live in a safe neighborhood. Just how safe a neighborhood is varies from state-to-state even city-to-city. So, before you decide where to live in Australia, review Roy Morgan’s report on the best and worst suburbs in each Australian state for crime.

What is the Quality and Availability of Health Care Like in Australia?

If you or your family members become ill, you need peace of mind that you’ll have access to quality local health care. The standard of health care is excellent in capital cities and major towns. However, some regional and rural areas of Australia are isolated and medical care may be scarce. Review the Australia Government’s information on health care systems by state to help you determine where to live in Australia.

For more information, visit What is the Health Care System Like in Australia?

What is the Quality of Schools Like in Australia?

If children will be accompanying you when you move to Australia, you need reassurance that their education will be of the highest quality. Better Education provides school rankings at a primary, secondary and Year 12 level. A recent report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporate (ABC) discusses the best providers of education by state.

For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Australia?

What is Population Wellbeing and the Standard of Living Like in Australia?

Australia performs very well in many measures of population wellbeing when compared to most other countries in the OECD Better Life Index. Australia ranks particularly well in areas such as civic engagement, income, environment, health, housing, education, jobs, social connections and subjective wellbeing.

However, when it comes to deciding on a place to live, you really need an understanding of what local population wellbeing is like. The Australian State of the Environment Report provides information on population wellbeing in each metropolitan area.

What is Tolerance and Diversity Like in Australia?

If you or any member of your family belong to a minority group, general levels of societal tolerance and diversity are important factors. As in any country, some cities and states of Australia are more socially accepting of cultural, racial, religious and sexual differences. However, there are stringent federal laws that provide protection against abuse based on race, religion and sexuality.

What is the Average Commute Time in Australia?

When deciding on where to live in Australia, the average commute time can be an important consideration, particularly if you plan to drive to and from work every day. You can check your average commute time for all local areas in this report by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development on average commute times throughout Australian capital cities.

What is the Climate Like in Australia?

Australia has an incredibly varied climate, ranging from the tropical north to the dry, arid center, through to temperate regions on the south-east coast. Before committing to a climate that you’re not likely to enjoy, research the climate of your preferred location to ensure it suits your lifestyle.

What is the Geography of Australia Like?

Due to its size, Australia has an enormous variety in geography. There are flat tablelands in northern Queensland, thick rainforests in Victoria, alpine regions on the border of Victoria and New South Wales and endless desert in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia. Be sure you know what sort of geography (and therefore outdoor recreational activities) is predominant in your new home before you decide to move there.

What is the Weather in Australia?

Be sure you understand what the weather is like in the area where you intend to move to. For instance:

  • Northern Australia: Due to the tropical climate, the temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, usually remaining steady around 30°C to 35°C 86 °F to 95°F. There are two seasons in Northern Australia: a wet season and a dry season. Heavy rainfall and monsoons are common between December and March, making for humid and uncomfortable conditions
  • Central Australia: Referred to in Australia as ‘the Outback’, central Australia is mostly desert. As such, this area is dry and arid, with extreme differences in temperature between day and night. Temperatures can be as high as 40°C 104°F during the day and then drop to below freezing at night
  • The Southern Coast: This area has the most comfortable climate, with the cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane located at this latitude. Winters are mild and summers are hot. While this is the most temperate region of Australia, expats still need to be prepared for long, hot summers and heatwaves, where 40°C 104°F temperatures can persist for up to a week.

What are the Most Popular Cities to Move to in Australia?

For more information on the most popular Australian cities in which to live, visit:

When is the Best Time to Move to Australia?

Deciding when to move to Australia Deciding when to move to Australia

Timing your relocation to Australia is essential in setting yourself up for a successful move. When it comes to planning the timing of your move you need to take a number of variables into account, with the most important being the local weather and holiday seasons.

Consider the Weather

If possible, time your move to Australia so that you don’t need to cope with scorching sun or torrential tropical rain. So, if you’re moving to the north, try to move during the dry season and avoid moving to any part of Australia during the peak of summer, which is January to February. The weather varies enormously around Australia:

  • Northern Australia: Due to the tropical climate, the temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, usually remaining steady around 30°C to 35°C 86 °F to 95°F There are two seasons in Northern Australia: a wet season and a dry season. Heavy rainfall and monsoons are common between December and March, making for humid and uncomfortable conditions
  • Central Australia: Referred to in Australia as ‘the Outback’, central Australia is mostly desert. As such, this area is dry and arid, with extreme differences in temperature between day and night, where temperatures can be as high as 40°C 104°F during the day and then drop to below freezing at night
  • The Southern Coast: This area has the most comfortable climate, with the cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane located at this latitude. Winters are mild and summers are hot. While this is the most temperate region of Australia, expats still need to be prepared for long, hot summers and heatwaves, where 40°C 104°F temperatures can persist for up to a week.

Consider the Holiday Seasons

Moving during holiday seasons in any country is generally more expensive. So, keep in mind that Australians generally have one longer summer holiday from December to February.

If possible, avoid the following holiday seasons in Australia:

  • All federal public holidays
  • Summer holidays: Five to six weeks from mid-December
  • Term One break: Two weeks at Easter (March to April)
  • Term Two break: Two weeks from late June to early July
  • Term Three break: Two weeks in September.

School holiday dates vary from state-to-state, so be sure to confirm the exact dates for the state you are moving to.

What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Australia?

Types of schools in Australia, and how to choose one Types of schools in Australia, and how to choose one

In the Australian education system:

  • Education is compulsory between the ages of six and 16
  • In most Australian schools, education is divided into three levels:
    • Primary School: This stage runs for seven to eight years, beginning with kindergarten or prep (at age five or six) until Year six or seven (at age 12 or 13)
    • Secondary School: This stage lasts for three to four years, beginning with Year seven or eight (at age 12 or 13) to Year 10 (at age 16 or 17)
    • Senior Secondary School: This takes students through their final years of secondary school, usually Years 11 and 12 (at the age of 16 to 18). This level of study prepares students for tertiary education.
  • Australian public schools teach according to a national curriculum. However, the uptake of this curriculum by various states has been slow; there are some differences in curriculum and outcomes
  • Australian schools observe four terms with one longer break over Christmas. The terms are usually:
    • Term One: Late January to April (or Easter)
    • Term Two: Late April to late June
    • Term Three: Mid-July to mid-September
    • Term Four: Early October to mid-December.
  • School holiday dates vary from state-to-state, so be sure to confirm the exact dates for the state you are moving to.

What Types of Schools are there in Australia?

There are a range of schools for Australians to send their children to upon arriving in Australia. From well-resourced public schools to prestigious private schools, expats will be able to provide their children with a quality education during their stay in Australia.

Kindergarten or Day Care

Parents who need care for their toddler can send them to a local kindergarten or day care center. These facilities offer child minding, as well as education services for young children, with most Australian children attending some form of kindergarten or daycare. Kindergartens are run and managed differently from state-to-state, with most Australian states offering a government-funded kindergarten program in the year before children commence school (at age four). For further information, it is best to check with your local state’s education department:

Public Schools

Australia enjoys a world-class public education system. Public schools are so well resourced that Australia has become an education destination. Approximately two-thirds of the local population and most foreign nationals opt to put their children through public education.

While there are no fees associated with public schooling, parents still have to pay for textbooks, stationery, uniforms and some extra-curricular activities. However, keep in mind that if you hold a temporary residency visa, you may need to pay a fixed tuition fee that is set by the state or territory in which you’re residing.

Admission to public schools is allocated based on where you live, so that your children attend the school closest to your home, (i.e., children attend the school in the school zone in which they live). As such, you may wish to choose where you live based on where the best performing public schools are located.

Private Schools

A private school is an independent school funded by school fees and private organizations or individuals (rather than by government organizations).

Generally, the standard of education at private schools is higher than that of public schools. As private schools do not have to conform with government regulations, teachers have more flexibility and can customize curriculum. In Australia, many private schools are affiliated with a specific religion and will incorporate religious instruction into the curriculum.

Unlike public schools, private schools do not require that you live in a particular area, but do require paid tuition. This often makes them expensive and highly competitive to gain entrance to. However, the higher fees also mean that facilities, extra-curricular activities and support for students with special needs are generally of a higher standard than public schools.

International Schools

There aren’t as many international schools in Australia as there are in other countries, mainly because many public and private schools offer the International Baccalaureate exam. Waiting lists for international schools can be long and the fees can be expensive. Find your local International Baccalaureate school here.

What Types of Tertiary Education are there in Australia?

Tertiary education in Australia is of a very high standard. International students make up a significant cohort in universities, with Australia being a popular destination for students throughout Asia who are seeking to undertake studies instructed in English. There are two main types of tertiary education institutions in Australia: Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and universities.

If you’re relocating to Australia with older children, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Australian tertiary education system, including the types of education available. This will help you to narrow down your child’s choices and develop an education plan. Detailed information on the types of tertiary education institutions available in Australia are outlined below.

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Institutions

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions provide education and training in vocational studies, in areas such as business, finance, tourism, hospitality, construction, engineering, information technology and community work. TAFE courses result in the award of a diploma and are often attended as an alternative to university or in preparation for university-level studies. For further information, it is best to check with your state’s local TAFE body:

Universities

Universities award Bachelor Degrees, as well as Masters and Doctoral Degrees (PhD). Universities in Australia are similar to universities in America, so students shouldn’t have too much difficulty adjusting. Some universities are referred to as Institutes of Technology, such as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. These institutes are essentially the same as universities and even offer similar courses.

How to Choose a School in Australia

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

  • The Good Schools Guide, which allows you to compare schools across primary and secondary levels
  • My School, which allows you to search the profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools. Find information about schools of interest to you and compare their resources and performance with similar schools across the country
  • The Australian Education Network, which compiles data from a range of reputable sources to provide a complete ranking of Australian universities.

How to Ship Household Goods to Australia

Shipping household goods to Australia Shipping household goods to Australia

If you’re moving to Australia, then a huge part of the process is going to involve shipping your household belongings to Australia and adhering to the associated customs requirements. To ensure that your household items arrive in Australia safe and sound and clear customs as quickly and easily as possible, be sure to follow our advice on the documents required, customs prescriptions and other tips and suggestions below.

Keep the following considerations in mind when shipping your household belongings to Australia:

  • Only certain people qualify to import ‘unaccompanied personal effects’ (which are not subject to taxes and duty) into Australia. These people include:
    • Returning Australian citizens
    • Non-Australian citizens who hold a long stay or permanent residence visa, who are entering Australia to take up residence after residing outside of Australia for at least 12 months.
  • All household goods entering Australia are subject to examination by the Department of Agriculture (DOA). This inspection must be undertaken at official, DOA-approved premises and can delay the arrival of your consignment by up to 14 working days after its arrival in Australia
  • Items of particular interest to the Department of Agriculture include:
    • Items that have come in contact with soil and vegetation, such as bicycles, gardening equipment, sporting equipment, camping equipment and cleaning equipment (like brooms, vacuums and mops). These items must be thoroughly cleaned before shipment and to avoid any possible delays, it may be worth considering whether to ship these items to Australia at all
    • Festive decorations (such as Christmas wreaths) containing dried pinecones, leaves, fruit and vegetables. If imported into Australia, these items will require treatment and may be destroyed. To avoid any possible delays, it may be worth considering whether is it necessary to ship these items to Australia at all.
  • Do not use second hand boxes or bags that have previously been used to carry animal and plant material, such as fruit and vegetable cartons, meat boxes, egg cartons and fertilizer bags
  • Do not use straw, sawdust, wood shavings or any other plant material as packing or filler in moving boxes
  • The Australian Customs Service requires that all arriving cargo be reported before arrival. The arrival of sea freight must be reported to the Australia Customs Service at least 48 hours before it arrives at any Australian port and the impending arrival of any air freight must be reported at least two hours before the shipment arrives. Failure to report cargo arrivals can result in fines from the Australian Customs Service.

What Documents are Required for Shipping Household Goods to Australia?

For the safe shipment and smooth customs clearance of your household goods, you’ll need to ensure that the following documentation is completed as accurately as possible provide:

  • A copy of your Australian visa
  • A copy of your passport
  • Moving to Australia Customs Form B534 Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement
  • A descriptive inventory, keeping in mind that phrases such as ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘contents unknown’ should never be included
  • Ocean Bill of Lading or Air Weigh Bill, which should include:
    • Name of the owner of the goods
    • Address, city, and state of origin
    • Address, city, and state of destination.

If you are shipping items that have been inherited, in addition to the documents listed above, you will also need to supply:

  • A copy of the Will or certified extract of the Will
  • A copy of the death certificate.

For more information about how to ship household goods to Australia, visit Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Vehicles into Australia

Importing vehicles into Australia Importing vehicles into Australia

While you can import some types of cars, trucks, caravans, campervans and motorbikes to Australia, their importation is strictly controlled and there are few concessions on duty and tax payments. There are also strict procedures that must be followed and strict regulations around the registration of vehicles once they have arrived in Australia. As such, it is worth considering whether you need to import a vehicle into Australia at all. If you do decide to bring your vehicle with you, to help ensure that you meet customs requirements and that the clearance of your vehicle is as smooth as possible, follow our advice below.

What is the Personal Import Permit?

The importation of cars into Australia is strictly regulated. The Personal Import Permit is the easiest way for Australians to import their personal car into Australia. To apply for this permit, you need to:

  • Ensure you are eligible:
    • To be eligible, you need to have owned the vehicle for at least 12 months and lived outside of Australia for at least 12 months
    • The vehicle must have been available for your use for the period of 12 months
    • You must be the holder of an Australian permanent residency or hold a temporary residency that would allow you to apply for permanent residency.
  • How to apply:
    • You must apply from outside of Australia
    • You must be of an age to hold a driver’s licence in Australia, which is 18 years old
    • You may only apply for this import permit for one car every five years.
    • You need to provide the following when applying:
      • A document showing the vehicle was purchased in your name
      • Copy of your Australian Driver’s Licence
      • Copy of registration documents pertaining to the vehicle
      • A statement of your travel itinerary, including any travel you engaged in during the 12-month qualifying period
      • A copy of the identity page of your passport; if you hold dual citizenship you must supply a copy of both identity pages
      • A copy of Australian permanent or temporary residency visa
      • Previous applications numbers if you have applied previously.
  • You can submit the application online by visiting the Client Portal
  • You can also take this eligibility quiz to see if you are eligible to import a vehicle.

What Safety and Emission Standards Must be Met?

Before attempting to import any vehicle into Australia, you must ensure that the vehicle meets all safety and emission standards, including:

  • All cars imported into Australia must meet Australian Design Rules (ADR). ADR applies to all aspects of the car, including brakes, headlights, emissions, lighting, noise, and a range of other miscellaneous items
  • The current standards are set by the Australian Government under The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989
  • You can view a list of the complete standards on this page. You should revisit this page frequently to check on any updates or amendments.

What Cleanliness Requirements Must be Met?

To ensure that there are no unforeseen delays in clearing customs and no additional costs incurred to clear your vehicle, ensure that the following cleanliness requirements are met:

  • Used vehicles are subject to a full external and external inspection by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources upon arrival in Australia. Ensure your car is clean and free of any debris or you may be subject to fines, delays or prosecution
  • You must contact the local office at the port of your arrival to arrange an inspection. The local office will provide you with detailed information on the inspection process and required documentation.

What Taxes are Imposed on Vehicle Importation into Australia?

There is a range of duties and taxes that you will need to pay to import your vehicle into Australia. These duties and taxes vary depending on the type of vehicle you wish to import:

  • Motorcycles: All motorcycles are exempt from customs duty and luxury car tax, but do attract the 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Caravans and trailers: You may obtain duty and tax-free admission of one non- motorized caravan or trailer per family every three years, so long as you can prove that:
    • You have come to Australia with the intention of taking up permanent residence
    • The caravan or trailer has been personally owned and used overseas for at least 12 months prior to its importation.
  • Motor vehicles:
    • All motor vehicles are subject to customs duty of 5%
    • All motor vehicles are subject to GST of 10%
    • There is a luxury car tax of 33% for high value vehicles (those valued at over AU$62,000), which is payable on the amount over AU$62,000
    • Vehicles over 30 years of age are exempt from duty so long as the vehicle has not been modified to such an extent that it can be considered a new vehicle
    • Certain free trade agreements may reduce the duty payable in some instances
    • Duty rates and luxury car tax thresholds are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, check with the Australian Border Force.

Further Resources on Importing Vehicles into Australia

For further information, consult the Eight Steps to Import a Vehicle factsheet, provided by the Department for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

For more information about how to import vehicles into Australia, visit Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Pets into Australia

Importing pets into Australia Importing pets into Australia

You can import pet cats and dogs into Australia, so long as they are free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment. However, the importation of birds is strictly prohibited. There are also strict regulations around examinations on arrival and quarantine requirements.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources regulates the importation of pets into Australia and has set specific requirements for importing different types of pets, each of which is outlined in detail below.

How to Import Cats into Australia

You can import your pet cat into Australia, so long as it is free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and it is not deemed harmful to the environment.

Keep in mind that cats coming to Australia from America must be accompanied by a valid import permit, which provides the conditions for importing the cat. The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. Cats must comply with all conditions on the import permit. Failure to comply w​ith the conditions on the import permit may result in the cat being (at your cost):

  • Held longer in post entry quarantine
  • Subject to additional testing
  • Exported
  • Euthanized.

To import your cat into Australia from America, you must:

  • Contact the competent authority in America to find out where you can have all veterinary procedures and testing performed by a government approved veterinarian
  • Confirm that your cat is eligible for importation. For cats to be eligible for import to Australia they must:
    • Have lived continuously in America for at least 180 days before export
    • Not be under any quarantine restrictions at the time of import
    • Not be more than 30 days pregnant or be at a suckling age at the time of export
    • Not be any of the following species:
      • Savannah cat, derived from crossbreeding domestic cat (Felis catus) with serval cat (Felis serval)
      • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
      • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
      • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
  • Ensure that your cat is identifiable by a Trovan, Destron, Avid or other ISO-compatible microchip. The microchip must be scanned at every veterinary visit to ensure the number corresponds with the number on all required documentation. If the microchip cannot be read or the number on the microchip does not correspond with documentation, the cat will be refused entry
  • Ensure that your cat has been vaccinated again rabies and received all other necessary vaccinations to cover the entire post-entry quarantine period, including vaccines for feline enteritis (also known as feline panleucopenia or feline distemper), rhinotracheitis and calicivirus
  • Apply for your import permit by:
    • Submitting the application, payment and supporting documentation online via the Biosecurity Importation Conditions System (BICON)
    • Ensuring no information is missing, as additional charges may apply
    • Allowing 20 working days for the application to be processed
    • The import is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
  • Book quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements, keeping in mind:
    • Your cat must be held at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne
    • Cats must arrive directly to Melbourne International Airport—domestic transfers are not permitted—and must remain on the same plane if transiting through multiple countries
    • Your cat must not travel in the plane cabin
    • Your cat must be held in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) crate that is approved for cats.
  • Arrange for a government approved veterinarian to:
    • Give your cat two internal parasite treatment that protect against nematodes and cestodes. These treatments must be given 14 days apart within 45 days of export
    • Provide a topical treatment against ticks and fleas at least 21 days before export; this protection must be maintained until export takes place.
  • Five days before export:
    • A government approved veterinarian must declare that your cat is free of any clinical signs of infection or contagious disease, as well as external parasites
    • A government approved veterinarian must complete, sign and stamp all pages of your cat’s veterinary health certificate and provide a seal that is to be placed on the cat’s crate at the time of export.
  • Upon arrival in Australia, a member of the Department of Agricultural and Water Resources will collect your cat and move it to the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne.

For further information, visit the Department of Agricultural and Water Resources step-by-step guide to importing cats into Australia.

How to Import Dogs into Australia

You can import your pet dog into Australia, so long as it is free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and it is not deemed harmful to the environment.

Keep in mind that dogs coming to Australia from America must be accompanied by a valid import permit, which provides the conditions for importing the dog. The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. Dogs must comply with all conditions on the import permit. Failure to comply w​ith the conditions on the import permit may result in the dog being (at your cost):

  • Held longer in post entry quarantine
  • Subject to additional testing
  • Exported
  • Euthanized.

To import your dog into Australia from America, you must:

  • Contact the competent authority in America to find out where you can have all veterinary procedures and testing performed by a government approved veterinarian
  • Confirm that your dog is eligible for importation. For dogs to be eligible for import to Australia, they must:
    • Have lived continuously in America for at least 180 days before export
    • Not be under any quarantine restrictions at the time of import
    • Not be more than 30 days pregnant or be at a suckling age at the time of export
    • Not be any of the following species:
      • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak
      • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound
      • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog
      • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog
      • Dogo Argentino
      • Fila Brazileiro
      • Japanese Tosa
      • Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull
      • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario.
  • Ensure that your dog is identifiable by a Trovan, Destron, Avid or other ISO-compatible microchip. The microchip must be scanned at every veterinary visit to ensure the number corresponds with the number on all required documentation. If the microchip cannot be read or the number on the microchip does not correspond with documentation, the dog will be refused entry
  • Ensure that your dog has been vaccinated again rabies and received all other necessary vaccinations to cover the entire post-entry quarantine period, including vaccines for Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola at least 14-days before export, as well as those for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Apply for your import permit by:
    • Submitting the application, payment and supporting documentation online via the Biosecurity Importation Conditions System (BICON)
    • Ensuing no information is missing, as additional charges may apply
    • Allowing 20 working days for the application to be processed
    • The import is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
  • Book quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements, keeping in mind:
    • Your dog must be held at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne
    • Dogs must arrive directly to Melbourne International Airport—domestic transfers are not permitted—and must remain on the same plane if transiting through multiple countries
    • Your dog must not travel in the plane cabin
    • Your dog must be held in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) crate that is approved for a dog.
  • Arrange for a government approved veterinarian to:
    • Provide a topical treatment against ticks and fleas at least 21 days before export
    • Test your dog for Ehrlichia canis by an Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Test (IFAT). Polymerase chain reaction test will not be permitted. A negative result must be produced at a dilution of 1:40
    • If your dog is not desexed, take a blood sample to test against Brucella canis using a rapid slide agglutination test (RSAT), a tube agglutination test (TAT) or an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) within 45 days before the date of export
    • Test your dog for Leishmania infantum within 45 days before the date of export. A negative test result must be produced from an IFAT or enzyme linked immunosorbent assay test
    • Give your dog two internal parasite treatments that protect against nematodes and cestodes. These treatments must be given 14 days apart within 45 days of export.
  • Five days before export:
    • A government approved veterinarian must declare that your dog is free of any clinical signs of infection or contagious disease, as well as external parasites
    • A government approved veterinarian must complete, sign and stamp all pages of your dog’s veterinary health certificate and provide a seal that is to be placed on the dog’s crate at time of export.
  • Upon arrival in Australia, a member of the Department of Agricultural and Water Resources will collect your dog and move it to the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne.

For further information, visit the Department of Agricultural and Water Resources step-by-step guide to importing dogs into Australia.

How to Import Birds into Australia

The importation of birds into Australia is currently prohibited, with the exception of pigeons from approved countries and household pet birds from New Zealand. For further information, view the Department of Environment’s Live Import List.

For more information about how to import pets into Australia, visit Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Weapons into Australia

Importing weapons into Australia Importing weapons into Australia

You may import some weapons and firearms into Australia, provided that police authorization from the state or territory in which you intend to live is granted. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Control will forward all firearms imported into Australia onto the Australian Police for ballistics and safety inspection. As state regulations vary in Australia, it is recommended that you write to the police department in your intended state or territory for approval prior to shipping weapons or firearms.

The importation of firearms and ammunition is controlled under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations). In special circumstances, you may be granted an import licence. Follow the links below to find the appropriate authority to contact for your import:

What Weapons are Prohibited from Being Imported into Australia?

The following weapons are banned from being imported into Australia:

  • Warfare goods
  • Combat vehicles
  • Daggers
  • Shock devices and parts
  • Acoustic devices
  • Gas/liquid devices
  • Blow-guns and blow-pipes
  • Darts
  • Nunchakus
  • Crossbows and parts
  • Ballistic knives and parts
  • Automatic knives and parts
  • Knuckledusters
  • Gloves with protrusions
  • Concealed blades
  • Sling shots and parts
  • Star knives
  • Sheath knives and parts
  • Push knives
  • Trench knives and parts
  • Throwing blades, knives and axes
  • Non-metallic knives
  • Hand and foot claws
  • Weighted gloves
  • Butterfly knives and parts
  • Shark darts and parts
  • Darts projectors and parts
  • Maces
  • Flails
  • Body armour
  • Extendable batons and parts
  • Laser pointers
  • Anti-personnel sprays.

For more information about how to import weapons into Australia, visit our Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Alcohol into Australia

Importing alcohol into Australia Importing alcohol into Australia

You may import wines and other alcoholic beverages into Australia as part of your household goods shipment, pursuant to federal laws:

  • If the value of the alcohol that you are importing is below AU$1000, you must:
    • Ask your shipping company to complete a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declaration
    • Pay GST, duty and Wine Equalization Tax (WET) if applicable.
  • If the value of the alcohol that you are importing is more than AU$1000, you must:
    • Instruct your shipping company to lodge an Import Declaration
    • Pay GST, duty and Wine Equalization Tax (WET) if applicable.
  • If you carry alcohol on your person, you must declare this alcohol to Border Force officials and pay GST, duty and Wine Equalization Tax (WET) if applicable. You will be given a customs declaration form upon boarding your flight to Australia; the form will include clear instructions as to the amounts of alcohol you need to declare
  • Customs and duty rates vary according to the type of alcohol you’re importing. Visit this page by the Australian Taxation Office for the full list of duties
  • The Wine Equalization Tax (WET) is applied to all wine products at a rate of 29% of value
  • GST is taxed at a rate of 10% of the Value of the Taxable Importation (VoTI), which is the value of the alcoholic products including duties, shipping costs and WET
  • When shipping alcohol to Australia, you must provide a complete list of all bottles with the following information:
    • Alcohol type and style
    • Size of the bottles
    • % of alcohol content per bottle
    • Country of production
    • Value.

For further information, visit the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s information on importing alcohol and tobacco or visit our Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Import Plants into Australia

Importing plants into Australia Importing plants into Australia

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has strict importation regulations in place to protect Australia’s native plant population from disease. If you seek to import plants into Australia, you must adhere to the following process:

  • Check current import conditions and apply for an import permit via BICON
  • Check whether the species you seek to import requires post-arrival quarantine
  • If it does require quarantine, use the Post Entry Biosecurity System (PEBS) to arrange a booking at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine in Melbourne
  • You should only import pants that appear healthy, are free of insects and snails and show no signs of disease to ensure they pass the inspection process. You should also avoid plants that have:
    • Soft or tender new growth
    • Hardened off sections
    • Emerged from dormancy, if they are deciduous
    • Moved into dormancy is they are perennials.
  • After selecting healthy pants, you may need to apply for phytosanitary certificates to accompany your shipment. This requirement will be confirmed in the BICON system
  • Ensure plants are prepared and packed properly to avoid any customs delays, including:
  • Complete and return a Moving to Australia Customs Form Nursery Stock Import Notification at least seven working days prior to arrival of the container
  • Upon arrival, your plants will be inspected, treated (if required) and checked for pest and diseases on post entry growth
  • If your plants are classified as ‘high risk’ they will be taken directly to the government post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility at Mickleham. All other plant material will be taken to your approved arrangement site
  • Your plants will be kept in quarantine for as long as it takes to undergo growth and disease screening and declare them as a non-risk to Australia’s biosecurity
  • You are responsible for all the costs associated with importing and quarantining your consignment of plants
  • If you seek to import a species that is not listed on BICON, you must complete and submit a Moving to Australia Customs Form New Plan Introduction Form. Your submission will be used to conduct a weed risk assessment, which will inform the decision to either allow or disallow the importation of the plant.

For further information, visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ information on how to import plants or visit our Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

How to Find Employment in Australia

Finding employment in Australia Finding employment in Australia

If you’ve already secured a new role (or are moving to Australia for a specific employment opportunity), now is the time to investigate employment options for your partner. Or, if you haven’t secured role, to investigate employment for yourself. Follow our tips for the easiest job seek possible, from using the most popular employment websites and best recruitment agencies in Australia through to how to establish a business in Australia.

What are the Best Employment Websites in Australia?

Some of the major employment websites in Australia are:

What are the Best Recruitment Agencies in Australia?

Alternatively, you may wish to register with a recruitment agency. Some of the major professional recruitment agencies in Australia include:

Some of the major executive recruitment agencies in Australia include:

Self-Employment and Establishing a Business in Australia

If you or your partner are considering self-employment or establishing your own business in Australia, the following resources may be useful:

Further Resources on Employment in Australia

The Australian Government provides a range of resources designed to make securing employment easier:

What is Working in Australia Like?

Working in Australia Working in Australia

Given the size of Australia, it can be difficult to generalize about working in Australia. However, hard work is generally respected and expected. There are many commonalities to working in America: office hours (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5.30pm) are the same, as are expected standards of office etiquette and dress code. Plus, communication style is quite like that in Australia—direct while remaining informal.

How Do Australians Communicate in Business?

Australians are very open and direct in business communication. It may take time to adjust to this style of communication, but it’s important that you never take offence and that you adopt this style of communication. Australians prefer for you to be honest rather than diplomatic to hide your true feelings. Australians are masters at detecting dishonesty and untrue flattery, so be sure to avoid both. You should also adopt a less formal approach to conversation—even senior executives often don’t expect formality in business conversation.

Greetings

A handshake is the most common form of greeting in a business setting. However, it is a not ritual, like it is some other countries. Your handshake should be firm, brief and accompanied by a smile.

It isn’t necessary to address people by their titles and last names. It is expected that you address people by their first name even from the first greeting; everyone will introduce themselves using their first name.

Business Meetings

Business meetings in Australia are much the same as those in America:

  • They take place in an office or meeting room on company premises
  • A few pleasantries will be exchanged, but business is discussed quite quickly
  • Sometimes an agenda will be set ahead of time so that attendees know what is to be discussed and can prepare accordingly
  • Little attention is paid to hierarchy; you should just sit at the first available seat.

Email

Communication via email should be no different than any other form of business communication—it should remain professional at all times. When first contacting a person via email, you should use some degree of formality. As your business relationship progresses, you can adopt a friendlier, more casual tone. Some tips for email communication:

  • Your subject line should be clear, succinct and in line with the content of your email
  • Keep your sentences short, clear and easily understood
  • Include a signature in your email with relevant contact information, such as your return email, cell phone number and landline phone number.

Text Messaging

Business communication via text message is becoming more common in Australia. However, the appropriateness of texting as a business communication method varies from company to company and industry to industry, and it can sometimes even be influenced by regulations.

For instance, a real estate agent and their client may regularly use text messages for communication, particularly as it is an easy communication method to use while on the go. However, a financial advisor may be prohibited from texting clients due to security and privacy concerns.

What are Business Hours in Australia?

Business hours in Australia can vary depending on the industry, location and even company. General business hours include:

  • Banks:
    • Weekdays: Most banks are open from 9am or 10am to 4pm or 5pm, with late hours at some banks on Thursday or Friday evenings
    • Saturdays: Most banks are open from 9am or 10am to 12 midday or 1pm
    • Sundays: Most banks are closed.
  • Corporate Offices: Working hours in Australia are 8am or 9am to 5.00pm or 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, with a half hour to an hour lunch break. However, working over 40 hours per week is not uncommon, with unpaid overtime and weekend work sometimes expected. Some companies also offer ‘flexi-time’, with flexible start and finish times
  • Government: Similar to corporate offices, government offices are generally open from 9am to 5pm. However, hours can vary depending on the services and work being completed
  • Retail Outlets:
    • Weekdays: Most shops open at 9am or 10am and close at 5pm. Many shops, particularly those in large shopping centers in capital cities offer ‘late night’ shopping on Thursdays and Fridays, remaining open until 9pm
    • Saturdays: Most shops open at 9am or 10am and close at 5pm
    • Sundays: Large department stores are generally open on Sundays.

What is the Usual Office Dress Code in Australia?

Dress code will vary from office-to-office and industry-to-industry, often based on factors such as the type of company (progressive start-up versus long-established traditional operation).

Suits are usually worn in corporate environments (usually in a darker color such as black, grey or navy), paired with a shirt and tie for men and leather shoes. For women, a smart suit and dressy shirt teamed with understated jewelry and high-heels is most common.

In the warmer northern states, it is acceptable to wear short-sleeve, open-necked shirts. Most corporate offices relax dress standards during the summer months around the country.

Casual Friday is also a regular occurrence in many offices, where a more corporate dress code is relaxed and employees are encouraged to dress in a smart casual style.

What is Common Office Etiquette in Australia?

Office etiquette in Australia is very similar to that of America. Hard work is expected and respected; high levels of manners and politeness are the norm. While Australians are quite informal in many ways, this informality is always tempered with respect (particularly for more senior management) and political correctness. Australians will also need to understand the fine line between work and play in Australian offices.

Work Ethic

Australians are hard workers and are sought after throughout the world. However, Australians understand the need to enjoy a healthy work-life balance; Australians will enjoy the respect that Australian executives have for their private lives.

The general rule that Australians live by is ‘work hard and play hard’. So, while you’re at work, you need to give it your full attention, but as soon as work is finished, your time is your own.

In many industries, hard work is the only way to advance one’s career. Status and age are not as important; merit, experience and achievements are key to advancement. There is also a strong sense of fairness in the Australian workplace; if someone feels as though you aren’t doing your part, they will inform you of this.

Gifts

In Australia, it is not appropriate to give gifts at business meetings. In fact, some companies forbid their employees from accepting gifts, mainly due to anti-bribery and corruption policies.

In some instances, it may be appropriate to give business associates small gifts (such as chocolates, wine or flowers) when invited to a colleague’s home or as a client's Christmas gift.

Do’s and Don’ts of Business in Australia

To help ensure that you’re successful in the Australian world of business and to avoid any faux pas when you first arrive:

  • Do speak clearly and directly
  • Do greet colleagues and executives using their first name
  • Do adopt an informal mode of conversation
  • Do dress formally for initial meetings and interviews. After this initial meeting, follow the example set by your colleagues
  • Do take the opportunity to socialize with colleagues and clients. Business in Australia is often conducted in a more informal social setting rather than in the office
  • Don't be late for meetings or appointments
  • Don't waste time making small talk
  • Don't use slang to describe social, religious or ethnic groups. Political correctness is important. Don’t risk being rude or offensive.

What are Common Customs and Social Norms in Australia?

Customs and social norms in Australia Customs and social norms in Australia

If you’re an Australian moving to Australia, you’ll need to understand local Australian customs and common cultural differences to help you and your family assimilate more easily into Australian culture. Luckily, you can follow our in-depth guide below that takes you through everything from Australia’s ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ and mateship, through to metric versus imperial conversions and words commonly used in Australia (but not in America).

What is ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’?

Australians do not respond well to arrogance or boasting about personal achievements. Australians are very humble and often downplay their own successes. They will often attack people that they feel are acting in an overtly arrogant manner. This is referred to as ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’—Australians like to ‘chop down the tallest poppy in the field’.

What is the ‘Fair Go’?

The ‘Fair Go’ refers to the inherent sense of egalitarianism that exists throughout all aspects of Australian society. It means that everyone is deserving of equal rights and opportunities and that everyone should contribute equally to society. This sense of egalitarianism manifests in several ways, such as the lack of formal hierarchies in workplaces through to the fact that Australians don’t sit in the back seat of taxis.

What is Australian Mateship?

A ‘mate’ is a close friend. Australians place huge value in loyalty to their friends and family. You will notice this comradery in several settings—in a business setting, colleagues quickly become close friends that look after each other. Expats will notice that ‘workmates’ go out of their way to ensure they have settled into their new job.

What is Religion Like in Australia?

Christianity is the most common religion in Australia, with 52% of the population identifying themselves as Christian in the 2016 Census. Many more faiths are practiced in Australia, with Islam at 2.6% of the population and Buddhism at 2.4% as the two next most common religions reported after Christianity.

However, Australia is becoming more and more secular, with religion playing very little part in the political or social environment. Almost 30% of Australians reported in the 2016 Census that they had no religion at all.

It is rare for Australians to be intolerant of other religions, although people may be less tolerant in rural areas.

Most Australians believe in the freedom and equality to practice the religion of one’s own choosing. It is rare for Australians to be intolerant of religious groups particularly in the capital cities. However, some people in regional and rural areas may be more conservative. Furthermore, to avoid offending anyone, it’s best not to bring up religion at social events (unless you know the other guests very well).

What is Considered Good Manners in Australia?

Much like in America, good manners and politeness are important in Australia. To ensure that you exhibit good manners when you arrive in Australia, follow our list of tips:

  • If someone does something nice for you, thank them
  • Hold the door open for people behind you; never let it slam in their face
  • Respect your elders
  • Always say “excuse me” if you’ve interrupted or bumped into someone
  • Try to help other people if they need it, such as a person carrying a pram up and down stairs on their own or someone picking up dropped shopping
  • Keep the volume of your voice down in public; try not to shout or argue
  • Punctuality is important in Australia, with many people finding it rude and disrespectful to arrive either late or too early to a social event or appointment
  • Australians queue for everything and will even risk missing their train or bus through the fear of pushing in
  • Personal hygiene is very important in Australia, particularly in the summer months when temperatures soar. So, be sure to maintain good habits when it comes to showering; use deodorant and brush your teeth
  • Do not greet everyone you meet, particularly in big cities like Melbourne and Sydney; you will come across as annoying
  • Do not stop in the middle of a busy street, particularly in big cities like Melbourne and Sydney; you’re likely to get bumped into or knocked over
  • Do not stare at other people
  • Do not stand too close to other people; give them ample personal space
  • Do not ask personal questions (such as their age, religion, political stance or how much money they make) of someone you have only just met.

What is Considered Good Table Manners in Australia?

Table manners are important in Australia. So, to ensure you make a good impression at your first dinner party or your first meal out a restaurant, follow these handy tips and tricks on good table manners:

  • Eat politely and chew with your mouth closed
  • Never talk with your mouth full
  • Try not to make too much noise; do not slurp or loudly munch or crunch
  • If something on the table is out of reach, politely ask someone to pass it to you
  • Lift food up to your mouth, rather than bending over to eat it
  • Place a napkin on your lap when eating
  • If in a group, wait until everyone has been served before you start eating
  • Keep your elbows in when cutting food
  • Always use cutlery when eating; never pick up food in your hands, expect in rare exceptions to the rule, such as fried chicken and corn on the cob.

Australians follow the continental style of eating, which means that the knife is held in the right hand and the fork is held in the left hand throughout the meal. If possible, try to adopt this style of eating— switching utensils from hand-to-hand when you eat may be considered rude by some Australians.

There are some behaviors that should be avoided when eating in Australia, including:

  • Burping at the table
  • Picking your teeth at the table
  • Licking your fingers at the table
  • Placing your elbows on the table
  • Smoking at the table
  • Speaking with your mouth full.

How Do Australians Communicate?

Australians communicate very directly and honestly. While at first this may seem rude or brusque to some people, they rarely mean to be offensive. To help ensure you’re neither offended nor offend others when you first arrive in Australia, follow these rules:

  • Australians have a unique sense of humor that can seem a little inappropriate for expats. While Australian humor is quite bawdy, this is simply the local custom and is never meant to cause offense
  • Words that are considered curse words or swear words are a normal part of the Australian vernacular and are used in all settings. Take your cues from those around you to determine what sort of language is appropriate and acceptable
  • When speaking, it is important to make and maintain eye contact
  • Some topics of conversation such as religion, politics and the treatment of Australia’s indigenous people and refugees should be avoided at social gatherings until you know the other guests well. Safe topics of conversation include sports, hobbies, travel and one’s children
  • In general, Australians maintain a social acceptable ‘buffer’ of personal space between one another during social gatherings.

What is the Difference Between Metric and Imperial Units of Measurement?

Australia uses the metric system, rather than the imperial system that is used in the United States.

The Metric system is an internationally agreed system of measurement. Based on the mètre des Archives and the kilogramme des Archives introduced by the French in 1799, the metric system uses the units of meter, kilogram and second.

The Imperial system is based on the old British system of measurement (as ordered by the king, hence the name Imperial). The units of measurement in the Imperial system are yards, miles, feet, inches, pounds, ounces and gallons.

Units of Measurement

Units of measurement in the Imperial system versus those in the Metric system include:

  • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
  • 1 meter = 3.28 feet
  • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
  • 1 gallon = 3.78 liters
  • 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.

Some tips and tricks to help remember how to convert units of measurement include:

  • Converting miles to kilometres: Five miles is equivalent to 8 kilometres (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1 kilometre equals 0.62137119 miles). To convert miles to kilometres, the easiest way is to: divide the number of miles by five, subtract the answer from the number of miles, and then double the number. For instance:
    • 100 miles ÷ 5 = 20
    • 100 – 20 = 80
    • 80 x 2 = 160km.
  • Converting pounds to kilograms: 2.2 pounds is equivalent to 1 kilogram (this is an easier conversion to remember than 1lb equals 0.45359237 kilograms). To convert pounds to kilograms, halve the number of pounds, then subtract one tenth of the result. For instance:
    • 100lbs ÷ 2 = 50
    • 50 - 5 = 45kg.
  • Converting gallons to litres: One litre equals 1.8 imperial pints; there are eight pints in a gallon. Therefore, one gallon equals 4.55 litres. To convert gallons to litres, multiple the number of gallons by nine, then halve the answer. For instance:
    • 100 gallons x 9 = 900
    • 900 ÷ 2 = 450 litres.
  • Converting inches to centimetres: One inch is equivalent to 2.54cm. So, to convert inches to centimetres, you simply need to multiply by 2.45. For instance: 100 inches x 2.45 = 245 cm
  • Converting feet to metres: There are 3.28 feet in a metre. So, to convert feet to metres, take your measurement (in feet) and divide it by 3.28. For instance: 100 feet ÷ 3.28 = 30.48 metres.

Temperature

In Australia, temperatures are expressed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (as in America). A few key temperatures to remember:

  • 0°C = 32°F (freezing)
  • 21°C = 70°F (comfortable)
  • 38°C = 100°F (uncomfortable).

Do Australians Use Different Words to Americans?

Australians speak a unique form of English and it can take some time for Australians to understand exactly what is being said. While the words are always based in English, the frequent use of slang and colloquialisms can make it difficult to keep track. Australians tend to shorten words, so if you can’t understand a word, try to add some syllables to it and you may get to the meaning.

In addition, in Australia, Queen’s English is used rather than American English. This means that sometimes the same words are spelt differently. Peruse our lists of words below to help ensure you know which words to use, as well as how to spell them, when you arrive in Australia.

American Words Versus Australian Words

There are many words that are specific to the Australian vernacular. To avoid confusion in day-to-day conversation, try substituting the following American words for their Australian counterparts:

  • “trunk” versus “boot”
  • “cell phone” versus “mobile phone”
  • “gas” versus “petrol”
  • “bell pepper” versus “capsicum”
  • “Fall” versus “Autumn”
  • “root” versus “barrack”
  • “restroom” versus “bathroom”
  • “nightstand” versus “bedside table”
  • “ballpoint” versus “biro”
  • “trailer trash” or “redneck” versus “bogan”
  • “pail” versus “bucket”
  • “downtown” versus “CBD”
  • “drapes” versus “curtains”
  • “comforter” or “duvet” versus “doona”
  • “apartment” versus “flat”
  • “sidewalk” or “pavement” versus “footpath”
  • “bi-weekly” or “every other week” versus “fortnightly”
  • “bangs” versus “fringe”
  • “vacation” versus “holiday”
  • “pitcher” versus “jug”
  • “elevator” versus “lift”
  • “elementary school” versus “primary school”
  • “college” versus “uni”
  • “sweater” versus “jumper”
  • “realtor” versus “real estate agent”
  • “lobby” versus “reception”
  • “eraser” versus “rubber”
  • “shopping cart” versus “shopping trolley”
  • “check the box” versus “tick the box”
  • “jacuzzi” versus “spa”
  • “faucet” versus “tap”
  • “flashlight” versus “torch”
  • “porch” versus “verandah”
  • “billfold” versus “wallet”
  • “clap board” versus “weatherboard”
  • “diapers” versus “nappies”
  • “cookies” versus “biscuits”
  • “stroller” versus “pusher”.

Common Australian Slang, Phrases and Words

Australians frequently use slang and colloquialisms, which can make it difficult to understand what it being said. Australians tend to shorten words, so if you can’t understand a word, try to add some syllables to it and you may get to the meaning. Try substituting some of the following colloquialisms into conversation to sound like a real Australian local:

  • “arvo” means “afternoon”
  • “barbie” means “barbeque”
  • “bottle-o” means “liquor store”
  • “choccas” means “very full”
  • “no worries” means “you’re welcome”
  • “fair dinkum” means “genuine, true”
  • “mozzie” means “mosquito”
  • “stinkin” means “hot”
  • “freezin” means “cold”
  • “rippa” means “really good”
  • “servo” means “petrol station”
  • “she’ll be right” means “everything will be ok”
  • “g’day” means “Hello” or literally “good day”
  • “how’re ya going” means “how are you?”
  • “sickie” means “sick day from work”
  • “sook” means “to sulk”
  • “tradie” means “tradesmen”
  • “cheers” means a variety of things, including “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, as well as being the word to raise a toast
  • “bludger” means “lazy person”
  • “whopper” means “something surprisingly large”
  • “yobbo” means “loud or stupid person”
  • “wuss” means “spoilsport” or “someone afraid to have a go”
  • “tinne” means “a can of beer”
  • “shonky” means “poor quality”
  • “smoko” means “a short break at work”
  • “sangas” means “sandwiches”
  • “ta” means “thank you”
  • “snags” means “sausages”.

Australian Pronunciation and Accents

Australians have quite a different accent to Americans Singaporeans British expats. As such, it can take a little getting used to when you first arrive. A few tips and tricks to keep in mind include:

  • Often, you do not hear the letter ‘r’ pronounced, particularly:
    • In the middle of words, such as ‘work’, which becomes ‘wrk’
    • At the end of words, such as ‘mother’, which becomes ‘matha’
    • At the end of a word that is followed by a word that starts with a vowel. For example: ‘mother and father’, which becomes either ‘motheren fatha’ or ‘matha n fatha’.
  • The letter ‘a’ is pronounced in a relaxed fashion, sounding more like ‘ah’ than ‘a’. For example, instead of ‘can't’, Australians say ‘kah-nt’, and instead of ‘aunt’, Australians say ‘ah-nt’
  • If the letter ‘g’ falls at the end of a word, Australians often drop the ‘g’, particularly in an informal setting. For example, ‘running’ becomes ‘runnin’, ‘thinking’ becomes ‘thinkin’, and ‘eating’ becomes ‘eatin’
  • If the letter ‘t’ falls at the end of word, Australians replace the hard ‘t’ sound with a short, guttural noise, like the voice has been cut short
  • Australians often raise their voice to a higher pitch at the end of every sentence, regardless of whether they’re asking a question or not.

Queen’s English Versus American English

As Queen’s English is used in Australia, there are many words that are spelt differently to America. While it is unlikely that these differences in spelling will cause miscommunication, to help you assimilate Australian culture more readily, try substituting the following Queen’s English spelling variants for their American English counterparts:

  • “aeroplane” versus “airplane”
  • “aeon” versus “eon”
  • “aluminium” versus “aluminum”
  • “anaesthesia” versus “anesthesia”
  • “analogue” versus “analog”
  • “baulk” versus “balk”
  • “categorise” versus “categorize”
  • “catalogue” versus “catalog”
  • “centre” versus “center”
  • “colour” versus “color”
  • “cosy” versus “cozy”
  • “cypher” versus “cipher”
  • “defence” versus “defense”
  • “enrol” versus “enroll”
  • “fibre” versus “fiber”
  • “grey” versus “gray”
  • “goal” versus “jail”
  • “glamour” versus “glamor”
  • “grovelled” versus “groveled”
  • “harbour” versus “harbor”
  • “honour” versus “honor”
  • “humour” versus “humor”
  • “levelled” versus “leveled”
  • “manoeuvre” versus “maneuver”
  • “offence” versus “offense”
  • “omlette” versus “omelet”
  • “organise” versus “organize”
  • “paediatric” versus “pediatric”
  • “plough” versus “plow”
  • “realise” versus “realize”
  • “rumour” versus “rumor”
  • “savoury” versus “savory”
  • “sceptic” versus “skeptic”
  • “sterilise” versus “sterilize”
  • “utilise” versus “utilize”
  • “vapour” versus “vapor”
  • “yoghurt” versus “yogurt”.

What is a Credit Rating?

Maintaining a good credit rating is important in Australia, as it influences loan and credit card applications. There are three major credit bureaus in Australia (Equifax, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet), which collect credit rating information. Several factors affect your credit score, some of which include:

  • The number of credit accounts you hold
  • The amount owed on your credit accounts
  • Your total available credit limit
  • Your total debt
  • Your promptness in paying bills
  • Payment or credit issues, such as bankruptcy, loan defaults and foreclosures.

What are the Most Popular Sports to Play and Watch in Australia?

Most popular sports to play and watch in Australia Most popular sports to play and watch in Australia

It could be argued that sport is the central national passion of Australia. Australians love playing and are natural athletes, proven by their frequent placing in the top five of medal winners at the Olympic Games despite a relatively small population. Australians also love watching sport. Throughout the year, sporting grounds and arenas are filled with the roar of fanatical spectators.

The four main professional-level sports in Australia are Australian Rules Football (AFL), Rugby League, cricket and soccer.

Australian Rules Football (AFL)

Australia’s national sport is a frenetic contest of skill, strength and pace. It may seem like mayhem to the uninitiated viewer but once you have a grip on the rules, it is one of the most exciting games on earth, full of big hits, high marks, impossible goals and fierce contests. The AFL governs the top national competition, featuring 18 teams that battle it out for the premiership between April and September. The MCG or ‘The G’, as it is known by locals, is a national icon and a sacred place of sport. Watching an AFL game in the 120,000-capacity colosseum is a must-do for any visitor to Melbourne.

National Rugby League (NRL)

Queensland and New South Wales are different from all other parts of Australia in that their favored sport is Rugby League (rather than AFL). Rugby League is a variant of rugby union. The National Rugby League (NRL) is the top national competition, with the season running from April to September. The key event of the rugby league year is the State of Origin, where representatives from Queensland (known as the Maroons) and New South Wales (known as the Blues) battle for state pride over a three-match series.

Cricket

The national Australian cricket team is the most successful team of all time across the major formats of the game, having been crowned World Champions five times. The most popular national league is the Big Bash Twenty20 series that runs over the summer period and attracts international stars. Another key fixture is the Boxing Day Test, which is held at the MCG every year.

Soccer

It has taken some time for soccer to gain popularity in Australia, but it has experienced enormous growth thanks to immigrant communities that have brought their love for ‘the world game’ with them. The A-League is the premier competition, featuring 10 teams that play over a season lasting from October until April.

Other Sports in Australia

Apart from the four main professional-level sports, there is also significant interest in sports such as tennis, car racing and basketball. In fact, Australia hosts some of the largest international sporting events in the world, including the Australian Open tennis grand slam event in January, as well as the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in March. Around the coastal areas, surfing is a way of life and a key part of the local culture.

Playing Sport in Australia

It won't be difficult to join a local sporting team. The best place to start is at a local private club or even through your child’s school. Private clubs have teams to suit all ages and levels, so even if you’re a beginner you’ll be able to find a place in an Australian rules, basketball, rugby, soccer or cricket team.

Fitness in Australia

In addition to sports, physical fitness is a popular pastime; joining a gym is an excellent way to meet new people. Most suburbs and towns have local fitness places. Some of the larger private gyms include:

If you want to exercise for free, take advantage of jogging, bike paths and outdoor fitness areas. You can also use the sporting facilities of some local schools on weekends.

If you live near the coast or near water, water sports are an essential part of the local culture and a great way to keep fit.

What Holidays and Traditions are Celebrated in Australia?

Celebrating holidays and traditions in Australia Celebrating holidays and traditions in Australia

There are many different types of holidays and traditions celebrated in Australia, from religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter through to cultural celebrations such as Australia Day, as well as more general school holidays. Read our guide below so that you understand the meaning behind each tradition, as well as how and when they are celebrated.

When are the School Holidays in Australia?

Australian schools observe four terms, with one longer break over Christmas. The school holidays are usually:

  • Summer holidays: Five to six weeks from mid-December
  • Term One break: Two weeks at Easter (March to April)
  • Term Two break: Two weeks from late June to early July
  • Term Three break: Two weeks in September.

School holiday dates vary from state-to-state so be sure to confirm the exact dates for the state you are moving to.

When are the Public Holidays in Australia?

Australia observes several federal public holidays, each of which is outlined below. If a federal public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it may be moved to the first available weekday.

New Year’s Day (1 January)

New Year’s Day celebrates the beginning of the new calendar year. Generally, people attend large parties on the night of 31 December, ringing in the New Year at midnight.

Australia Day (26 January)

Australia’s national holiday has become more and more controversial over recent years because it marks the beginning of European settlement in 1788—a sad day for the indigenous Australian population. Many people celebrate by holding large barbecues, while protests to change the date are also common. Young people tune into radio station Triple J to listen to the Hottest 100, which is a listener-voted selection of the best 100 songs of the year.

Easter (March to April: First Sunday After the First Full Moon After the Vernal Equinox)

The period from Good Friday to Easter Monday is a public holiday in Australia. It celebrates the death and the subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. While Christianity is the main religion in Australia, the country is becoming increasingly secularized. As such, many Australians use the four-day weekend as an opportunity to go on holiday before winter sets in.

ANZAC Day (25 April)

ANZAC Day is an opportunity for Australians to pay their respects to the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the country. The day commemorates the landing of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps in Gallipoli in 1915. However, in modern times ANZAC Day is used to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers in all wars.

Queen’s Birthday (12 June)

Australia’s head of state is the Queen of England. As such, Australians receive a public holiday to celebrate her birthday.

Christmas Day (25 December)

Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and, as Christianity is the most widespread religion in Australia, it is the biggest holiday of the year. Most businesses are closed on Christmas Day and many on Christmas Eve as well.

Most people decorate their homes with Christmas lights and Christmas trees; children believe that Santa Claus will visit their home and bring them gifts, so long as they have been well behaved.

Boxing Day (26 December)

The day after Christmas Day is also a national public holiday, which Australians use to relax and recover from the festivities of Christmas. It is the day of the famous Australia Day cricket test, so many Australians spend the day glued to the television and holding their own games of backyard cricket throughout the day. Plus, many shops hold ‘Boxing Day Sales’, which attract huge crowds and even queues of people waiting to be let into the shopping centers.

Labor Day (Date Varies by State)

All Australian states celebrate Labor Day, although the day varies by name and date throughout states. The day is used to celebrate the rights of workers. Some associations use the day to hold marches and protests. The strength of the union movement in Australia makes this an import day in the Australian calendar.

State and Territory Specific Public Holidays

It is important to keep in mind that some of Australia’s individual states and territories celebrate different public holidays. For instance:

  • Picnic Day (1st Monday in August – Northern Territory Only): The idea of this public holiday is to foster quality time for workers to spend with their families. Many people use this time for leisure activities and hobbies
  • Grand Final Eve (Last Friday in September – Victoria Only): Such is the importance of the Australian Football League (AFL) in Victoria that the entire state has a public holiday on the eve of the Grand Final. A parade is held throughout Melbourne’s CBD and the streets are a buzz with excitement for the biggest day of the AFL season
  • Family and Community Day (1st Monday of September school holidays – Australian Capital Territory Only): The idea of this public holiday is to foster quality time for workers to spend with their families. It is strongly supported by the territory’s government and the unions who work together to organize and promote community events
  • Melbourne Cup Day (1st Tuesday in November – Victoria Only): The race that stops the nation is one of the biggest horse races in the world. Victorians have a public holiday for Melbourne Cup Day; the entire country tunes in to see who will finish first at the end of the 3,200m (3,500 yard) race.

Other Australian Holidays and Festivals

In addition to federal public holidays, there are various other holidays, festivals and celebrations observed by the Australian population, each of which is outlined below.

Valentine’s Day (14 February)

Much the same as Valentine’s Day in America, this festival is celebrated in memory of St Valentine. Lovers exchange gifts and cards, often anonymously.

St Patrick’s Day (17 March)

Again, as in America, St Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture, remembering the Christian Saint Patrick, who is one of Ireland’s patron saints. 30% of Australians are from an Irish heritage, and the Irish played an important part in creating modern Australia, making this day an important celebration.

Passover (14th Day of the First Month of the Jewish Year)

Passover is a Jewish tradition, which lasts for eight days and celebrates the survivals of the Jews in Egypt. The tradition is marked with ritual dinners called Seder. While Passover is not a federal public holiday, most Jewish companies close during this period.

Mother’s Day (Second Sunday in May)

Just like Mother’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their mother, often buying presents and gifts.

Father’s Day (First Sunday in September)

Once again, just like Father’s Day in America, children of all ages use this day to show their appreciation for their father, often buying presents and gifts.

Halloween (31 October)

Halloween does not hold nearly the same popularity in Australia as it does in America, but some young children still go ‘Trick or Treating’ in the capital cities. On this festival, children dress up in their Favorite costume (often scary creatures, like ghosts, vampires and witches, or the latest movie character) and go ‘Trick or Treating’. At each house, children ask for candy and if they don’t receive any, then they threaten the occupants with a trick—usually something like egging their house.

What is Food and Drink Culture Like in Australia?

The eating and drinking culture of Australia The eating and drinking culture of Australia

A key way to experience the culture of a new country is through their food and beverages, and Australia is no different. Not only does Australia have its own unique foods and drinks, it also offers a range of culturally diverse options due to its rich cultural heritage. You’ll also need to be aware of some cultural norms when it comes to food and drink in Australia, such as expectations around tipping and the legal drinking age.

Does Australia Have a National Dish?

The diversity of the cultures that make up Australia means that culinary offerings are extremely diverse. It can be difficult to pinpoint Australian specialties, as the food scene is changing every day, with trends quickly fluctuating. However, the following foods are examples of unique Australian foods:

  • Meat pies
  • Sausages in bread
  • Chicken Parmigiana
  • Potato cake
  • Kangaroo steak
  • Pavlova
  • Macadamia nuts
  • ANZAC biscuits
  • Weet-Bix
  • Lamingtons
  • Balmain bugs
  • Prawn cocktail
  • Vanilla slice.

You'll also find regional varieties of drinks throughout Australia. The Queensland towns of Buderim and Bundaberg produce the best ginger beer in the world. Australia has a thriving micro-brewery industry, while the wine regions of Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia all produce internationally-respected varietals.

What are Restaurants Like in Australia?

In larger Australian cities, you can find cuisines from all over the world. In Sydney and Melbourne, you can essentially pick a country and find a restaurant offering cuisine from that area thanks to the incredible mix of culture. Even small country towns will have a Thai or a Chinese restaurant.

For traditional local food, you should go to a pub. Unlike other parts of the world, pubs in Australia are well-respected eating establishments, particularly given the rise in popularity of ‘Gastro Pubs’ that serve gourmet food. The classic Australia pub meal is a ‘pot and a parma’. This is a pot of beer with a Chicken Parmigiana (a chicken schnitzel, covered in Napoli sauce, with ham and melted cheese).

Standard dining etiquette is observed in Australia; don't speak too loudly, don't place your elbows on the table, don't burp don't speak with your mouth full.

How to Find a Restaurant in Australia

There is no standard restaurant rating system in Australia, although newspapers and magazine regularly print reviews. There is also the Good Food Guide, which provides various annual rankings, from the best restaurants through to the best ‘cheap eats’. The easiest way to find restaurants and view their ratings is by visiting review websites:

How to Tip in Australia

Tipping is never expected in Australia. Australia has one of the highest minimum wages in the world. As such, all restaurant employees are on a reasonably good wage. However, tipping is customary for exceptionally good service. If you feel like tipping, 10% of the total bill is more than enough.

What is the Legal Drinking Age and Restrictions in Australia?

The legal drinking age in Australia is 18. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy, supply or drink alcohol on a licensed premise, even if their parents or guardians are present and have supplied the alcohol.

Although the laws and penalties vary from state-to-state and even city-to-city, it is generally illegal to drink in public places outside licensed premises in Australia. Generally, possession of an open container of alcohol is sufficient proof of public drinking.

Shopping for Food in Australia

The quality of food in Australia is very high. Food is fresh snap frozen at the source shipped by air. As such, food is very safe, with no need to disinfect surfaces–rinsing fruit and vegetables in tap water is sufficient.

The most common means of shopping for food is in large chain supermarkets. These are self-serve, with people pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles. Some of the larger supermarket chains include:

A rising trend in Australia is home delivered meal-kit options, with the major suppliers including:

What is Housing Like in Australia?

Housing in Australia Housing in Australia

If you’re not moving to Australia from America for work or your employer hasn’t secured housing for you, you’ll need investigate potential properties to buy or rent in Australia.

What are the Best Real Estate Websites in Australia?

A good place to start your search is some of the most popular real estate search websites. These will give you an idea of the type of housing available, as well as the average cost. Try:

What is Renting Property Like in Australia?

If you’re planning on renting property, keep in mind:

  • There is no fixed amount for how much rent you will need to pay as a bond or security deposit, so make sure you discuss this with your landlord before signing
  • Your security deposit will be returned to you when you vacate the premises, so long as there has been no damage to the property and all other conditions of your lease are met
  • In some areas, you may be able to inspect multiple properties over the course of a few weeks before committing. However, in busier cities with a competitive rental market like Melbourne and Sydney, you may have to decide immediately
  • Leases are usually for one or two years, with rent either fixed for the entire period or a specific timetable for increases outlined
  • To sub-let your property, you’ll need to ask permission from your landlord or agent. Sub-letting a room without permission can be grounds for immediate eviction
  • If the property is furnished, then you should receive a detailed inventory report of all items, including their condition.

What is Buying Property Like in Australia?

If you’re planning on buying property, keep in mind:

  • Expats will need to pay stamp duty on property they purchase. Stamp duty varies from state to state, so use this calculator to see how much stamp duty you will need to pay on the properties you are investigating
  • Engage the services of a local, reputable real estate agent. Some of the largest estate agents, which have offices in most cities, include:
  • organize inspections of properties that meet your criteria for when you arrive.

What Types of Housing are there in Australia?

Housing types, styles, and even availability vary from state-to-state and even city-to-city. However, some general facts you can expect about housing in Australia include:

  • Housing prices and rent are significantly more expensive in metropolitan areas. Sydney and Melbourne have incredibly expensive property, with high prices even into the outer suburbs
  • Houses generally have several bedrooms and bathrooms, a lounge room and separate living area, a separate kitchen and laundry, and sometimes have a study or media room as well as a garage
  • Houses do not usually come furnished
  • Kitchens in Australian houses usually include a dishwasher and oven, but you will need to purchase a fridge and microwave
  • Laundries in Australian houses usually don’t come with appliances
  • Most houses feature built-in central air conditioning and heating in the more temperature south-east coast.

What are Houses Like in Australia?

There are a number of housing types in Australia:

  • Detached: Free-standing properties that have their own backyards. These yards can range in size from 550m2 right up to more than an acre
  • Townhouse: While these are self-contained, they share a ‘party’ wall with the neighboring property and often share a yard. The upkeep of this yard is paid for by all homeowners via a monthly or quarterly ‘Home Owners Association’ fee
  • Workers’ cottage: Usually from the Victorian-era, these homes are found prominently in inner-city areas
  • Flat: An apartment, usually in a large, multi- story block of flats
  • Studio: A smaller flat with only one room that includes the bedroom, lounge room and kitchen in one open-plan living space
  • Unit: A larger free-standing flat that may have its own backyard and even two levels.

What are Apartments Like in Australia?

Apartments in Australia may be:

  • Occupant-owned
  • Leased from the building owner (or their appointed representative, such as a real estate agent)
  • Strata, where the apartment is purchased, but the building and grounds remain the property of the building owner. Strata owners (or renters) are charged maintenance fees, but must pay their own taxes and mortgage insurance. Strata apartments often include additional facilities such as a gym, pool, sauna and tennis courts.

What is the Best Way to Get Around in Australia?

Getting around in Australia Getting around in Australia

Australia has reasonably well-developed public transport systems in all capital cities. However, if you need to cover large distances or reach remote places, you will need a car. The sheer size of Australia and the sparsity of population mean there are some places where public transport doesn’t exist. However, to move around major cities and towns, even to move between states and popular tourist destinations, there are plenty of public transport options available.

What are the Road Rules When Driving in Australia?

If you plan to drive once you arrive in Australia, there are several different road rules of which you should make yourself aware:

  • Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road. This means that:
    • You’ll need to take extra care when pulling out of intersections, roundabouts and one-way streets
    • The gear stick will be in your left hand
    • The indicators and windscreen wipers will be operated by your left-hand
    • When crossing the street, you need to look right for on-coming traffic.
  • Areas around schools have lower speed limits. In Victoria and New South Wales, you will need to travel at 40km (25 miles) per hour, while in South Australia the speed limit is 25km (15 miles) per hour
  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times
  • It is illegal in all Australia states to drive while intoxicated
  • In many states, it is illegal to text whilst driving, it is also illegal to use phones for any reason (including making calls and for navigation purposes)
  • When driving between major cities, you need to be aware that there can be limited populations outside of major cities and regional towns. This means that you need to ensure you have sufficient petrol to reach your destination, as service stations can be rare. If you’re travelling through the desert or across the Nullabor, make sure you have plenty of water; if your car breaks down, you may need to wait for an extended-period before help arrives
  • The default speed limit outside of urban areas is 100km (60 miles) per hour in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. In Western Australia, it is 110km (68 miles) per hour and 130km (80 miles) per hour in the Northern Territory
  • When driving at night through rural areas, you need to be vigilant for wildlife. Kangaroos, wombats, deer and other animals can cause significant accidents if they are hit. Never drive at high speeds at night in areas with high wildlife populations. These areas will be signposted to make this easier
  • Road rules and variations do vary from state-to-state, so make sure you study the road rules in your area before you start driving.

Can You Drive in Australia with a Foreign Licence?

When moving to Australia from America, you can drive with your Australian  licence for a period of three months. After this, you will need to apply for a licence from your new home state. The rules for driving with an overseas licence and applying for a licence vary from state-to-state. Follow the links below to learn about driver’s licence rules and regulations in your state:

What is Public Transport Like in Australia?

It is possible to travel around Australia with public transport. However, due to the size of the country and infrequency of some connections, it can take a considerable amount of time to travel on public transport. The best way to move around the country is by private car or domestic fights, which are cheap and frequent. Public transport in major cities is usually well developed and an effective means of transport.

Public transport is managed at a state level. So, for detailed information about the public transport systems in your state, visit:

Trains

Rail Australia provides rail links between major cities, with sleeper cars available for overnight travel. However, it takes a long time to travel between Australia’s major cities and services can be usually slow and infrequent.

Buses

Travelling interstate by bus is arguably the cheapest way to travel, but the vast distances you need to cover means travelling by bus can also be very time-consuming. There is no central bus service in Australia, so you’ll need to consult private companies, such as Greyhound.

Railways, Subways and Trams

All of Australia’s capital cities have excellent public transport, made up of a combination of railways, subways, trams and buses. Purchasing multi-day passes, known as ‘Weeklys’ or ‘Monthlys’ make travel far cheaper than paying for singular trips.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis (or ‘cabs’) are common in inner city and suburban areas, as well as within smaller towns. Taxis can be hailed from the side of the street with the wave of a hand or a whistle, at taxi ranks or booked over the phone. While taxis are convenient for travelling short distances, they can be expensive.

A relatively new company, Uber is an app-based ride share cab company, operating out of all capital cities and some regional areas. Using Uber, you can hire a driver to pick you up in their private car and take you to your desired destination. The nearest driver can be at your pickup location within minutes.

What is Air Travel Like in Australia?

The size of Australia, coupled with the competitive prices offered by low-cost airlines, means that many Australians travel throughout by plane. The domestic flight network is extensive, with the major domestic airlines in Australia being:

While air travel is fast, passengers should allow ample time to clear immigration, customs and security, particularly for international flights.

What Items are Prohibited when Shipping Goods to Australia?

Prohibited items when shipping goods to Australia Prohibited items when shipping goods to Australia

Many dangerous or prohibited goods cannot be shipped to Australia. People attempting to import prohibited items into Australia may be subject to a penalty, and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized and that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on prohibited items.

What Items are Prohibited Entry to Australia?

General items prohibited from entry into Australia include:

  • Narcotics, steroids and banned drugs
  • New psychoactive substances
  • Weapons and firearms, as per How to Import Weapons into Australia
  • Suicide devices
  • Fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants and seeds.

What Wildlife Products are Prohibited Entry to Australia?

Wildlife products prohibited from entry into Australia include:

For more information, download our Guide to Moving Dangerous, Prohibited and Restricted Items.

What Items are Restricted When Shipping Goods to Australia?

Restricted items when shipping goods to Australia Restricted items when shipping goods to Australia

When shipping items to Australia, some items are subject to restrictions and will require additional precautions. People attempting to import restricted items into Australia may be subject to a penalty, and the items may be seized by customs officials. To help ensure that your goods are not seized or that your entire shipment is not delayed, follow our guide on restricted items. Items that are restricted when shipping goods to Australia include:

What is the Health Care System Like in Australia?

The healthcare system in Australia The healthcare system in Australia

The Australian health care system is among the best in the world, as evidenced by the fact that Australians enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in the world. The health care system throughout Australia is a hybrid of public and private health care. As a result, most Australians have private health insurance, while also taking advantage of the comprehensive public health benefits that are on offer.

The public health system, known as Medicare, is available to permanent residents but expats moving to Australia on a temporary residency will need to prove that they have the financial ability to pay for private health insurance.

What is Health Insurance Like in Australia?

Private health insurance is a popular option in Australia. There are significant tax advantages available to people that take out private health insurance; because of this there is healthy competition amongst providers.

Expats that do their research will be able to find comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price. The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman is an independent organisation that monitors the activity of private health care providers and ensures that all dealings are in line with national regulations.

What are the Major Australian Health Insurance Providers?

Some of the major health insurance providers in Australia include:

The Australian Government also provides detailed information on private health insurance.

What are Emergency Medical Services Like in Australia?

Regulated by state governments, emergency medical services in Australia must be provided to anyone in need. You should check with your private health provider that you have ambulance coverage. If you are not covered, the cost of an ambulance call-out can be extremely high.

If you have a medical emergency, dial ‘000’ on your phone to request an ambulance (as well as the police and the fire brigade). The operator will dispatch the ambulance as quickly as possible. Paramedics are highly trained to provide excellent care.

Most Australian hospitals have an emergency clinic, so if you have a medical issue that doesn’t require immediate emergency attention, take yourself to the nearest hospital.

How Do Pharmacies and Prescription Medication Work in Australia?

In Australia pharmacies are sometimes known as ‘chemists’ and stock much more than medication, often selling everything from make-up through to travel goods. There are usually several pharmacies located in major cities and towns, although 24-hour pharmacies are usually only located in capital cities.

Pharmacies are also located in supermarkets and large department stores, as well as being attached to hospitals and medical clinics. The presence of a pharmacist is usually indicated by a sign in the shape of a (first aid) cross. Some of the largest national pharmacies are:

International prescriptions will not be filled by Australian pharmacies. You will need to take a copy of your Australian prescription to an Australian doctor and have them write you a local prescription.

How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in Australia?

Electricity, water and gas utilities in Australia Electricity, water and gas utilities in Australia

When moving to Australia, you’ll need to understand how electricity, water and gas utilities work, from the biggest utility companies in the market to connecting your services, as well as whether your Australian appliances and electronics will work in Australia.

How to Connect Your Utilities in Australia

Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities. Some things to keep in mind:

  • There is strong competition between utility providers in Australia, so make sure you do your research to get the best possible price point. There are a number of comparison sites that make comparing providers easy, such as Compare the Market
  • Due to the constant threat of drought, many Australian states, particularly the southern states, have water restrictions in place. Ensure you use water wisely during your stay
  • Water and gas are sometimes included in the price of your rent, so check with your landlord before organizing your own utility connect
  • If you are moving into a block of flats, ask your agent about which companies the other flats are connected with to make the research process easier
  • The biggest electricity utility companies in Australia include:
  • The biggest gas utility companies in Australia include:
  • Water utility companies are privately owned but specific to states and regions. Ask your landlord or estate agent about the company that provides your area with water.

Will Australian Appliances and Electronics Work in Australia?

Your Australian appliances and other household electronics may not work in Australia due to three potential compatibility issues: the plug, the voltage and the frequency.

The different power plug is easy to overcome with a plug adapter. However, the difference in electricity voltage and frequency can be more challenging. In Australia, electricity is 100 to 110 volts 220 to 240 volts at 50 Hz. In Australia, electricity operates at 220 to 240 volts and at a frequency of 50 Hz.

Generally, many electronic items nowadays (like computers and peripherals) can run on both voltages and frequencies. You just need to check their power labels or manuals for ‘110-240v 50/60Hz’ before plugging them in for the first time in Australia. And if they can’t run on both voltages, there is still a chance they’ll work by purchasing ‘step-down’ voltage transformers. However, these transformers can be costly, bulky, unsightly and inconvenient.

Unfortunately, many Australian appliances, especially those with motors like washing machines and dryers, will not work in Australia. Their motors will struggle with the frequency difference and there’s no practical solution to change electrical frequency. Furthermore, televisions and video and DVD recorders operate in different digital formats and standards, which may also make them incompatible in Australia.

You should therefore thoroughly check the power labels or manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with Australian voltages and frequencies before incurring the cost of shipping over items that might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

How Do Cell Phones and the Internet Work in Australia?

Mobile phones and the internet in Australia Mobile phones and the internet in Australia

There is any number of cell phone and internet providers in Australia, all of which offer a range of different packages at a range of different price points. Be sure to do your research into which package best suits your needs before signing on the dotted line.

Internet services are of a high quality in Australia, although DSL is still more common that cable or wireless connections. Cable connections are generally more expensive, but do come with the added bonus of cable TV. Again, be sure to shop around to get the best deal, paying careful attention to speed download allowances.

The main cell phone providers are:

The main internet providers are:

How to Keep in Touch with Family and Friends Back Home While in Australia

Keeping in touch with family and friends from America Keeping in touch with family and friends from America

Relocating to Australia is an exciting experience, but there's no denying that you'll miss family and friends left behind. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to keep in touch, from cell phone and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps like Skype and WhatsApp, and via the Australia Post.

Phone

To make an international call from Australia, you'll need to dial:

  • The Australian international access code, which is ‘0011'
  • The international country code for the country you wish to call (this is '1' for America)
  • The area code. For example:
    • ‘907’ for Alaska
    • ‘302’ for Delaware
    • ‘808’ for Hawaii
    • ‘208’ for Idaho
    • ‘207’ for Maine
    • ‘406’ for Montant
    • ‘605’ for South Dakota
    • ‘802’ for Vermont
    • ‘307’ for Wyoming.
  • The number of the person you wish to call.

Different carriers will have different international call rates, so make sure you confirm these rates early on.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) Apps

One of the cheapest ways to make an international call from your mobile is to take advantage of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) app, such as:

If you use any of these apps while you're connected to Wi-Fi, you'll save a lot of money. You also won't have to worry about international country codes—just click on the contact and press call. You also have the option of making video calls over Skype, Facebook Messenger and FaceTime, helping you feel more connected to your friends and family.

Internet

Australia enjoys an excellent connection to the internet, so you'll never be far away from a connection point – unless you’re in the middle of the outback. The internet offers you round-the-clock access to the people you miss back home. Email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all allow you to stay connected and you can also use your computer to make international calls via Facebook and Skype.

Most cities throughout Australia will offer free public Wi-Fi access points, so keep an eye out for the Wi-Fi symbol to increase your connectivity.

Postal Service in Australia

Australia Post runs the national postal service, which is reliable and timely for both national and international postage. You can use this tool to calculate the cost of your international postage. Australia Post also offers the following International Postage Guide for America.

What Tax Do I Pay in Australia?

Paying tax in Australia Paying tax in Australia

As with any developed nation, there are several taxes that you’ll be required to pay when living in Australia. These include income tax, sales tax, property tax, excise tax and capital gains tax. So that you understand personal taxation obligations, be sure to read through the in-depth resources below.

What is Income Tax?

Income taxes are applied at a federal level. If you are employed, tax will automatically be taken out of your paycheck as you will be declared a PAYG (Pay As You Go) taxpayer. If you are self-employed or have your own company, you will be responsible for paying your own income tax. Income tax is taxed on a sliding scale, depending on how much you earn per annum (plus the Medicare levy of 2%):

  • 0 – AU$18,200: Nil
  • AU$18,201 – $37,000: 19c for each $1 over AU$18,200
  • AU$37,001 – $87,000: $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over AU$37,000
  • AU$87,001 – $180,000: $19,822 plus 37c for each $1 over AU$87,000
  • AU$180,001 and over: $54,232 plus 45c for each $1 over AU$180,000.

All taxpayers are required to file a tax return at the end of each financial year (30 June). You can either have a tax agent or accountant file this return on your behalf or you can use the Australian Taxation Office’s myTax online lodgement system.

What is Sales Tax?

The sales tax in Australia is known as a Goods and Services Tax (GST). This tax is applied to most goods and services at a flat rate of 10%. There are some goods and services that are exempt from GST, such as most basic food, some medical and health care services, some medicines, some education courses.

What is Capital Gains Tax?

Capital Gains Tax is applied to the transfer of any asset, except for specific exemptions such as the family home. This tax works by having the net gain of the transfer counted as part of your taxable income.

What is Property Tax?

Property tax, collected by local councils, is known locally as ‘council rates’ in Australia. Council rates vary from council to council and are calculated based on the value of your home. Council rates can vary from approximately AU$1,500 per annum, up to AU$3,000 per annum, depending on the location and size of the property.

What is Excise Tax?

Excise taxes are applied at varying rates to petrol, tobacco and alcohol, known locally as ‘sin taxes’.

What to See and Do in Australia?

Things to see and do in Australia Things to see and do in Australia

The great land down-under has long been a popular tourist destination. The largest island in the world and the only continent to consist of a single country, Australia is a place of untouched nature. Moreover, it has one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world and is a modern blend of cultures from all over the world, which has created a dynamic and exciting society. It would be almost impossible to list every sight to see, so the list below should be viewed as a starting point. Make your own discoveries about the natural and cultural wonders that Australia has to offer.

Adelaide

Adelaide, is the gateway to Australia’s premier wine country and an incredible city. Restaurants serve up incredible food featuring local fare and it is the home to The Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide. You can organize tours of the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Clare Valley to taste a few of the drops that have cemented Australia’s position as one of the top wine producers in the world.

Blue Mountains

The eucalypt trees give the entire Blue Mountains range a tinge of blue and the view is breathtaking from the various vantage points located around the range. The highlight is the view of the Three Sisters, which are three rock pillars that seem to keep watch over the mountains. The ranges are close to Sydney, making them a must-visit for anyone relocating there.

Bungle-Bungles

Australia’s complete isolation from the rest of the world means it is covered in things that exist nowhere else. The otherworldly landscape of the Bungle-Bungles, located in the Purnululu National Park in Western Australia, is just one example of Australia’s various oddities. The best way to view these striped domes is to book a scenic flight.

Canberra

Canberra is a planned city that has retained much of its original vegetation, giving it the nickname the ‘bush capital’. It features the Parliament House, which is the highest-arena of government. Other famous landmarks include the Australian Institute of Sport, The Australian War Memorial, The Royal Australian Mint, the National Museum and National Library. The Australian National Botanical Gardens are also a must-see.

Daintree Rainforest

This stretch of rainforest in North Queensland is heritage listed. It is a rare occasion of rainforest meeting reef, the Great Barrier Reef no less. It’s full of opportunities for hiking, four-wheel driving and nature watching. The Cassowary (a particularly beautiful bird) makes its home here. Although be sure not to get too close, because they have been known to kill people.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It is also home to all sorts of wildlife and is probably the best place to see dingoes in their natural environment. The island is made up of dense rainforest, impossibly clear freshwater lakes and endless fishing opportunities. You need a four-wheel drive to cross the island, which features a range of eco-accommodation.

Flinders Ranges

Australia is blessed with a plethora of stunning ranges, but not many visitors make it to these ranges in South Australia. Wilpena Pound is a natural spectacle; it seems impossible that the perfectly-formed amphitheater wasn’t carved by hand. The Flinders Ranges are also a great place to experience Indigenous culture, as local tribes perform traditional dances and give visitors a sample of traditional hunting and cooking methods.

Gold Coast

The melting pot of Australian surf culture, the famed point breaks along this coast have produced some of Australia’s best surfers, including world champions Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning. If you want to experience Aussie surfing culture, there’s no better place than the Gold Coast in Queensland. You can sit and watch the best surfers in the world ply their trade at Snapper Rocks, Kirra and Burleigh Heads.

Great Barrier Reef

The 2,300km (1,429 mile) Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space, but it’s much better to see it underwater. It is literally teeming with life, color, movement and natural wonder. There are too many tourist attractions to name along the reef, so head north and see where you end up.

Great Ocean Road

Home of Victoria’s Surf Coast and the longest-running surf competition in the world at Bells Beach, the Great Ocean Road features kilometers of dramatic cliffs that have been worn away by the pounding surf of the Southern Ocean. The road lasts for 250km and it should be sampled over a couple of days, so you can stop at beaches and take in stunning towns along the way.

Kakadu

Australia has plenty of natural wonders to choose from, but Kakadu’s 20,000km2 (7722 square mile) patch of beauty may just be the jewel in the crown. It is a place of immense spiritual importance to the local Indigenous people and it is full of rock art that is thousands of years old. There are also waterfalls, dramatic cliffs and saltwater crocodiles that will come right up to your boat.

Litchfield Lake

Litchfield Lake is one of the only lakes in the Northern Territory that are safe to swim in. It is a magical place; there’s nothing quite like slipping into the cool waters of the lake to recover from the heat of the ‘Top End’.

Lord Howe Island

This untouched island is heritage listed and its pristine beauty is protected by a limit of 400 visitors being allowed on the island at one time. It’s only a two-hour flight from Sydney and offers endless opportunities for snorkeling, diving, hiking and basking in the splendor of nature.

Melbourne

Melbourne buzzes with life at all hours, and the restaurant scene is the best in the country. It is also the cultural capital of Australia. The effortlessly cool suburbs mix Victorian architecture with street art and hip eating and drinking spots, and there’s still plenty of old-world glamor for those that appreciate the finer things in life like art, museums and theater.

Perth

Possibly the most isolated capital city on earth, Perth is incredible. To the east is endless desert, to the south is the surf and wine region of Margaret River, and to the north are the vast expanses of the Pilbarra and Kimberley regions. Perth is the perfect starting point for all the wonders that Western Australia has to offer, and thanks to the mining boom, it is a destination city.

Snowy Mountains

Despite its reputation as a sun-bleached land, the alpine region around the border of Victoria and New South Wales receives more snow than the European Alps. The Snowy Mountains are incredibly beautiful and perfect for hiking, canoeing and snow sports in the winter. The ranges are also home to Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko, which soars 2,228m (7,309 feet) over the Australian continent.

Sunshine Coast

Just north of the Gold Coast, this stretch of beaches is more relaxed than the Gold Coast. The Sunshine Coast still has plenty of world-class breaks, including the point break at Noosa. It’s impossible to feel stressed here and you might be lucky enough to share the water with a passing pod of dolphins.

Sydney

What Sydney lacks in the effortless cool of Melbourne it makes up for with its stunning natural setting, city-side beaches and glamour. Bondi is probably Australia’s most famous landmark, the  Harbor Bridge is an architectural-gem, and the harbor itself is full of hidden coves, rock pools and endless beauty. The Rocks area is also home to Australia’s first European settlement and it still features cobblestone streets.

Tasmania

A trip to Tasmania is like a step back in time. 500,000 people call this island state home and with its plethora of natural attractions and incredible local good and wine, it’s no wonder. The island is also a historical attraction, thanks to the penal colony at Port Arthur, where some of Australia’s first convicts where housed. MONA is also one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.

The Ghan

This epic trip from the south to north takes your right through the red center of Australia. The train is named after the Afghan cameleers that helped to chart the passage through this seemingly uncrossable land, travelers can move through it in absolute comfort. You’ll take in Alice Springs, Katherine hot springs and Uluru along the way.

Theme Parks on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is the home of Australia’s theme parks. Wet ‘n’ Wild, Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World are fun for adults and children alike. The best part is, these parks are in the same area, so it’s easy to experience them all in the same trip.

Further Resources on What to See and Do in Australia

For further information on what to see and do in Australia, visit:

Disclaimer

We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide Moving cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.