This page has been designed to allow migrants share tips and tricks they wish they knew before arriving in Australia.
This could be any thing from what is not easily available here and how to access it to the road rules and the secret costs of buying a car.
If you have any tips regarding what you wish you knew before moving to Australia, add it to the form below!
Before you Leave
”Take out one way travel insurance for when you come over, we didn’t realise how long it takes to get Medicare, it took us around 6 weeks to get approved for Medicare so if your anything like me and accident prone or see a doctor on a regular basis and don’t want to pay then travel insurance would be very handy to have.Brodie
”Travel adapters - We decided to bring a few electricals with us from the UK, we never thought it would be a problem and brought around 8 travel adaptors thinking we’ll just plug them in and use them with the adapters only to find after about 3/4 weeks after moving we’d blown all bar two of our adapters and the other two we dread to touch as otherwise they won’t work. I really recommend either buying Australian plug attachments for Laptop, Macs phone charges etc in the UK before you come or buy new electricals after arriving.Brodie
”Car seats - if you have young kids I highly recommend checking out the car seat safety rules here as they differ from that in the UK, children aren’t allowed to sit in the front of the car unless all other rear seats are full and car seats over here have tethers which have to be used, if you have no idea how to tether a car seat like we didn’t it’s worth looking it up before you get here.Brodie
”If you bring a move cube (highly recommend you do) pack way more than you think you'll need, we sold and gave away majority of our belongings and thought we would buy everything new here but you tend to miss the things you no longer have.Brodie
”One thing I would definitely recommend is to go to your GP in the UK and get your medical file either printed or emailed to you, so that you can bring this and give to your new GP as they have no information or medical file on you. Also do not forget the children's red books, proof of immunizations will be need before starting school and day care.Leigh
”Stock up on all prescriptions with you before you leave, not all medicine is the same here. Have enough prescriptions to last you enough time to get settled and signed up to a new doctor's surgery.Leigh
”If you are looking to go into a rental when you first arrive, try and get some rental references from previous rentals so that you can provide some sort of personal preference to the real estate. Some agents will ask for 3-6months rent in advance if you are unable to provide a reference or have not yet secure jobs.Leigh
”Don’t throw away your winter coat thinking you won’t need it! You definitely will when the temperatures drop in the winter.Katherine
”When packing your suitcases remember to put in your kids Red books from the doctors. Most childcare places and schools will ask for vaccination records. Also if you are eligible for child subsidy your child may need extra jabs to be in accordance with Australian criteria.Katherine
”I'm really glad that I bought some British powerboards so that I could put an aussie plug on them and reduce the need for adaptors. Check state rules for rewiring, it has to be done by professionals in some states).Chris
”I'd like to have been more prepared for how some services are affected by changing region (like Google play, Microsoft, Outlook)...Chris
”Shipping a car- factor in servicing and parts. There’s a shortage for them everywhere, and European brands are more expensive and take a lot longer for parts.Tom
”Make sure you take lots of photos and store them in an album on your phone - you will enjoy looking back at them.Jacob
”Make a note/create a spreadsheet of special dates like family birthdays - you will be so busy you may forget things.Tom
”I wish I brought more plug adapters.Anna
Once you Arrive
”Proof of address - The first thing you’ll probably want to set up is your tax file number this can then be used as proof of address for you, the other thing I would recommend is putting half of the utilities in the house into each of your names as when you go to change your drivers license over you need so many forms of ID. All of the utilities were in my husbands name so I found it difficult to find enough proof of residence documents initially.Brodie
”Buying a Car - If you’re buying a car something we didn’t know is that you pay stamp duty on your car when you change it into your name so just be aware, whatever you pay for your car you’re going to be paying a portion stamp duty on top of that. Rego is also something you have to have, it’s basically instead of a MOT you mostly pay for it yearly but can do less if wanted, it covers your third party insurance and worth checking how much it is to pay before you buy a car.Brodie
”Medicare - Medicare is basically NHS over here there are a few loopholes in it though. If you want to see a doctor and use full Medicare then you need to see a bulk billing doctors, this means it’ll all be covered by Medicare if not you’ll be changed a portion of your bill, the other thing if you’re from Wales where all doctors and prescriptions are free is that you have to pay for your prescriptions here. Medicare will back date any treatment that you have had to make payments for from the day you put in your application but you must keep all receipts for this.Brodie
”The 3 month wobble is real, I think that's when reality really set in for us when it was no longer holiday mode when everything was still new and exciting to explore it was the crash of real life, jobs, making new friends and sorting out kindy and daycare for our children that makes you miss the UK and everything you had set up. My main miss was the easiness and familiarity of the UK we'd grown up there owned a home my eldest was in nursery you knew what to expect where as we are still learning here. It wore off after about a week and we don't have any intentions to move back to the UK as our life here is so much better than it ever could be in the UK but doesn't mean you won't miss it.Brodie
”I cannot stress this enough don't buy the first cars you see, up your budget as cheap cars here tend to mean issues! Jeep is not a well known brand here so I personally would stay clear as it can take up to 12 weeks to get the parts imported from America (speaking from experience and a $10,000 lesson) You will need cars here as everything's a lot further than it is in the UK don't waste money thinking you can get a bargain like you can in the UK. You really do pay for what you get here.Brodie
”I wish I'd known what the parking signs meant (2P, 3P, etc). I now know this means the amount of hours you can park for!Barry
”You are allowed to drive on your UK licence for up to 3 months after your official arrival, so you do have some time to complete the process. However, stating that having an Australian driver’s licence will significantly assist when setting up all your other aspects of Australian life.Michelle B
”When you arrive, most schools or Kindys will ask to see the Childrens immunisation records. Just because your up to date in the UK doesn’t mean they are up to date in Australia. All 3 of my children are having 2 extra jabs in order to be able to continue Kindy. Apparently they also check records when starting high school and if you want to claim child care subsidy they also need to be in line with Aus immunisation guidelines. It’s been different persuading a 6 year old to go for these ! Be prepared !Katherine
”Wish I’d known about Spring being Magpie swooping season. They can get quite protective of the chicks and may attack if threatened. Approach slowly and avoid eye contact.Lisa
”Grab a coffee, shower, get some air - try to stay up till bedtime - this will help you get into routine quicker.Tom
”Bistro granules are available in the international section of most supermarkets.Jane
”When you land pick up a cheap SIM card from the airport.Anna
”Apply for your Medicare asap and a bank account. You will need them for ID.Anna
Everything is done online, (you will need to print out the medicare form but you can do this at a local library.)
”Everything has an app to download and they ask you for lots of forms of identification. Pasport, phone number, address, driving licence. It's a case of catch 22 you need a bank card to get your driving license and over here in WA it's very slow post.Anna
”If you have a Google account you will need to change your settings to Australia before you download any apps.Anna
”Christmas in Australia!Leigh
It takes a little while to adjust to Christmas and 40 degree heat and listening to Christmas music in the supermarket whilst wearing thongs buying BBQ grub. I will always miss the dark snuggly evenings of winter with the comfort food, buying a real Christmas tree and doing Christmas events how I remember, but I also love that Christmas time now means we get to go out and enjoy the season more as we have the warmer weather to enjoy. Being on a beach on Christmas day with a cold one is definitely our new tradition!
”Halloween in Australia!Leigh
I don't think Australia does Halloween quite like the UK, we are used to going out in darkness and a lot more people going all out at Halloween. It felt a little strange going out and getting into the Halloween spirit when we were needing to wear sunglasses as it was warm and sunny! None the less we still enjoyed Halloween, just be prepared to be going out in daylight and a little less spooky!
”Post - The postage system over here is painfully slow, another reason WA is often known as Wait Awhile, going from same day delivery with Amazon to 2-3 weeks waiting for things does take some getting used to. If you miss the delivery then you usually have to travel to the nearest depot to pick as there’s no redelivery here.Brodie
”Driving - they are very big on speed limits here, everyone drives in whatever lane they like (should be keep left unless over taking) and undertaking is very common, if it’s a bank holiday and you get caught speeding they will give you double demerits (speeding points) and most importantly is nobody can drive well in the rain here!Brodie
”Calpol - If you have kids you probably swear by Calpol, if you ask a pharmacist for this they will look at you funny, there’s no Calpol here it’s just kids Paracetamol.Brodie
”Mcdonalds - There is NO curry Sauce in McDonald’s ! They do have Aioli everywhere though which is great!Brodie
”Amazon upto 2-3 weeks waiting for things. does take some getting used to. If you miss the delivery then you usually have to travel to the nearest depot to pick as there’s no redelivery here.Brodie
”We really wish we'd planned to move in the summer we thought it would be a good idea to get used to the weather here through the winter and get used to the heat but you surprisingly acclimatize rather quickly and even 15 degrees here now feels freezing, and 30 degrees is as hot as it used to be in the UK. Perth is surprisingly wetter than you would imagine in the winter and can get a bit depressing as everything is outdoor based but the summers here tend to make up for it !Brodie
”Playdates in the house just don't seem to be a thing here, If you ask someone to come over for a cuppa they kind of look at you funny, play dates consist of going out to parks where there's a local coffee shop/van to grab a coffee from and let the kids play.Brodie
”You will need a small mortgage to buy paint here, its mental money for a tub a paint compared to the UK, for a 4ltr tub cost me $108 the other day I nearly had a heart attack at the check out, needless to say I made full use of the Dinosaur green I brought and painted whatever rooms I could with it.Brodie
”Rentals are not only hard to get these days but seem to be a lot of rules surrounding them such as you cant paint and cant put things on the walls etc. I highly recommend getting one that you like the décor of as unless you check with your landlord before you take it that you can paint etc. you'll be stuck for however long your there with wall colours you cant change and nothing on the walls.Brodie
”Measurements are different here, miles are kilometers, stone and pound are KG and height is measured in cm not ft and inches.Brodie
”In the UK the biggest problem was the weather, if it rained, we stayed indoors or we ended up spending lots of money finding indoor activities, we didn’t live that close to a beach so only got to have beach days a handful of times. All year round, you get to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Winter's do get cold, but it's mostly dry. I find we lead a healthier lifestyle here than we did in the UK.Leigh
So like in the UK they have parent and children rooms just here in Aus there next level the rooms here have breast feeding chairs with privacy curtains for feeding, A kitchen with a microwave for heating up bottles or baby food, toddler sized toilets for children, they have a contained play pen for toddlers to play in while change your baby and some even have a TV they are so well though out for parents and most importantly they are clean and so well maintained unlike the Uk.
”Australia is so big it has different time zones! Some states have daylight savings some don’t! Each state is a bit like it’s own country. Takes some time getting used to.Lisa
”Your first Christmas will be completely different. It’s going to be hot, so think about ditching the full on roast. Instead, bbq, seafood, salad, fruit and pav! We go to the beach in the afternoon on Xmas day, meet mates, bbq some snags and watch the sun set!Lisa
”Aussies love malls! Shopping centres are everywhere here! You can go the chemist, bank, clothes shopping, get a Pedi and do your weekly food shop all under one roof!Emma
”Western Australia does not observe daylight saving. Our clocks always stay the same.Emma D
The sun rises at 5 am and sets at 7:30 in peak summer
The sun rises at 7:15am and sets at 5:30pm in peak winter.
Although the sun sets early in the summer, it’s still so warm to enjoy being outdoors.
”When buying bed sheets to fit your bed in oz follow the simple rule of buy 1 size bigger.
Always buy the correct size fitted sheet but go one size up for the duvet. If you have a single bed get a king single. If you have a queen buy a King Duvet. They are also called Doonas if you are looking for them online!Tullie
”You soon get used to using the bbq to cook most things. In the UK having a BBQ is normally such a fuss, cooking too much and making a big occasion of it. Here it's where we just generally cook. Family dinners, parties, Christmas. We cook roasts and pizzas and most veggies on it too.Lisa
Aussie version of Wotsits.