Some people think moving to another country is as easy as clicking your fingers. Although you’ll find pretty much consistent good weather year round waiting for you when you land in Australia, there are a few admin tasks you’ll need to get done in order to have a smooth move without missing any of the important bits. Here are 10 stress free moving to Sydney tips to help you have an easy move to the land down under.
1. Picking the right visa
This can be a tricky one and a question I get asked an awful lot – what visa do you need to enter Australia? There are a few ways to move to Australia and I went down the defacto partner route as my other half is Australian, so make sure you check out the below post:
2. Shipping your belongings over
Did you know I had all of my belongings sat in storage for over 5 years in UK? I put it off for so long because I just didn’t know where to start and I couldn’t find other blogs on the topic to find a good shipping company. It took me that long to get my butt into gear to organise shipping, that I knew I had to write a post about it.
It’s overwhelming and can be a nightmare in knowing where to start with finding a decent shipping company, so don’t worry I got your back with this one. My fear was the thought of my priceless belongings arriving in Australia smashed or broken but I had absolutely no problem what so ever when I booked with Doree Bonner. These guys are excellent and even managed to deliver a huge 6ft glass photo frame in perfect condition which says it all really.
3. Where to stay when you first arrive & mobile phones
If you’re wondering where to stay when you first arrive in Sydney, I’d recommend getting a hotel for the first couple of days in the city to get your bearings at somewhere like QT Hotel and then opt for an airbnb (you can get $50 off your first booking here) until you find the right property to move into. If you’re looking for a cheap backpackers then take a look on Hostel World to find a decent one like YHA in The Rocks (you’ll get a view of the harbour at this one!) or Wake Up Hostel.
For mobile phones, you can just get a free Vodafone SIM when you come into arrivals as they have a stand there. There are many companies to go through like Telstra which is one of the big one’s but I’ve always been with Vodafone and have always been on pre-paid (pay as you go). I pay $40 a month for my phone which is pretty good.
4. Where to live
If you’re wondering which suburb to move to, I’d suggest you take a look at my popular post, Where to live in Sydney. Here, I’ve broken every liveable suburb down and compared them to areas in London as best as I could so you’ll know what to expect. There’s also some tips on how to secure the right property as well.
5. Drivers Licence
Another thing you’ll need to do is sort out your drivers licence. If you hold British driver’s licence, you can just apply for a NSW drivers licence without having to take a test. I had no idea that you have a 3 month window to get your NSW licence when you’re on a PR, and I nearly got a big fine for not doing so. You just need to fill out some forms here. Then you’ll need to find your local Service Centre to take your completed forms in to get it processed. My tip is to get to the Service Centre as soon as they open as you could be waiting for a long time.
6. How To Buy A Car
Petrol is super cheap in Australia compared to UK, it costs me like $45 to fill up my car, which about £20. But, buying a car can be quite pricey and you’ll need a car not only because Sydney transport isn’t the best (don’t think it’s like London) but there’s also so many amazing places to visit outside of the city. It’s much, much quicker to get around in a car and I’d be lost without one here.
My advice in getting the best value for money would be to go through the NRMA. They can help you out with car loans for new and used cars and they also offer a car loan calculator so you’ll know where you stand with how much it’s going to cost. This is invaluable information which I strongly recommend you check out because prices can vary.
Following on from buying a car, you’ll need to know how to use public transport as well. In Sydney, we have the equivalent to London’s oyster card which is called the Opal Card. You’ll need to use this when getting buses or trains although you can still buy single tickets (a bit trickier for some buses that are only pre-paid).
For buses, it can be difficult in knowing what bus goes where so make sure you read my post on how to use buses in Sydney.
8. Getting a job and TFN number
This leads me to the next thing you’ll need to sort out is a TFN number (similar to a National Insurance number in the UK). You’ll need this before you can start a job. Apply for one here. When applying for jobs, check out the post on how to find a good job in Sydney below which include tips from a recruitment company CEO. Otherwise the best place to find a job is on seek.com.au.
9. Bank accounts
If you’re looking for work, you’ll also need to get a bank account set up. The main Australian banks include; WestPac, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ, CitiBank and St George. There’s a HSBC in Australia which is the bank I’ve always been with so I just stayed with them but there’s way more WestPac and Commonwealth ATMs in the city so be careful with ATM fees as they can charge. For instance, because I’m with HSBC, WestPac give me free withdrawals whereas Commonwealth will charge me $2. Here’s a good site to find a bank that suits you best.
You’ll need to apply for a Medicare card when you arrive in Australia. Basically, it’s like the equivalent version to the NHS as you’ll have to pay for doctors appointments otherwise. You’ll need to download some forms and find a medicare centre to take them in. Try to sort this out as soon as they open as you’ll be sat waiting for a couple of hours. Trust me, I’ve been there! When booking a doctors appointment, just make sure you look for bulk-billing (basically means FREE!) doctors and you’ll get all if not most of the money back from the appointment.
So that’s my top 10 moving to Sydney tips. Hope this has helped any of you moving over. Don’t forget to pack winter clothes because believe it or not, it can get really cold here. That’s probably the main thing I hear from other expats is their shock on how cold winter can be. At least the sun is shining for most of it!
If you have anymore questions, please post them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!