20 Things I Wish Someone Told me Before Moving to Australia

things to know before moving to australia

Have you ever thought of moving to Australia to live the life down under as a backpacker or a working holidaymaker?

Many prospective backpackers are daunted by the prospect of travelling to Australia unsure of how they will settle into a new country and culture.

So to help you out with the big move, we’ve put together this useful guide which is chock-full of handy info about moving down under.

Without further ado, here are 20 things you may not know about Australia.

1. Speaking the Lingo

For those of you who may never have watched Australian soaps such as ‘Home and Away’ or ‘Neighbours’, you may not be aware that Australians often use a different sort of ‘twang’ compared to other nationalities.

In fact, it’s safe to say that Australia has added a unique twist to the English language!

For example, Aussies often like to shorten words to two syllables that in ‘y’ or an ‘ie’- such as mozzies(mosquitoes), barby(barbeque), brekky(breakfast).

3. Look into the Tax System and how it operates

Sure tax is boring. And it’s probably the last thing you would want to think about when embarking on an exciting Aussie backpacker trip.

But, by doing some research before you go, you can save yourself a lot of hassle down the line. In fact, being an Australian tax-whizz can also be worth your while financially!

Thousands of working holidaymakers in Australia are entitled to a tax refund every year.

The first thing you should do upon arrival in Australia is to get a Tax Filing Number (TFN). If you do not supply your TFN to your employer when you start a new job they must withhold a higher tax rate of 45% from your wages regardless of your level of income.

It’s also important to know that you will likely have to start a Superannuation pension fund even if you don’t intend to retire in Australia.

If you’re over 18 and earn more than $450 per month then your employer must pay 9.5% of your earnings into a super fund on your behalf.

For everything you need to know about the Australian tax system check out this guide.

4. You need a lot of money before moving to Australia but you may have a large Income

According to the ABS (The Australian Bureau of Statistics), the average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults in Australia in May 2019 was $1,634.

If you don’t have a job however you must allow for the cost of living in Australia which can be very expensive. Sydney and Melbourne currently rank as the fifth and sixth most expensive cities in the world.

The average living cost in Australia for one person is $2,835 per month, while average living expenses for a couple is $4,118 per month.

5. Decide how long you are planning on staying and where you are staying

Decide how long you are planning to stay and where you will work.  The Australian Government announced in 2019 that working holidaymakers can now stay in Australia for three years if they complete at least six months of rural agricultural work.

So, if you would like to stay in Australia for three years you should think carefully about where you will complete your agricultural work.

6. Ensure you are with a reliable mobile network

Broadband in Australia is not always good, The reason for this is because they do not have a National Broadband Network, Australia is so big and there is a huge amount of the outback to cover.

In the cities, you will have adequate broadband but out in the countryside, you may have difficulties receiving connection.

7. Bank Transfers

Bank-to-bank transfers can sometimes cost a lot of money, so it is recommended to check out the fees first.

Visa First also offers a useful banking and money transfer service.  Our team will open your Australian bank account (before you have even arrived down under).

And you can also use our secure money transfer service to transfer your money to Australia from an account in your home country.  Our safe transfer process is convenient and more cost-efficient than any banking service.

8. The Australians love their sport

Australians love their sport and there is a large emphasis on participation in sport and exercise. Australians have their own unique game – Aussie Rules- which is almost like a mixture between American Football and soccer!

9. You are going to spend more on a night out in Oz than in a lot of other countries

For all you party goers the cost of alcohol is a lot more expensive compared to other countries. Beer ranges from $3.50 -$6.50 while a bottle of wine can cost $12 -$20. This may mean your night out could put a lot of strain on your bank account.

10. Don’t forget you are in a really big country!

So, this means put plenty of fuel in your car- especially if you are taking a day trip to the outback.  You can go miles through the outback without seeing a filling station – and this is one place you do not want to run out of fuel!

If you’re planning on taking a trip to the outback to be mindful of the fact that you may not have any service on your phone.  It’s a good idea to bring a paper map to guide you if you run into any trouble. Ensure to pack food and water as you may not see a shop for a couple of miles out there.

sydney, australia

11. Australian food is quite different!

You will have the opportunity to sample some unique and interesting foods in Australia.

No working holiday trip is complete without trying Tim Tam (perhaps the most famous chocolate), Vegemite (a food spread made from leftover brewer’s yeast with various vegetable and spice additives), Kangaroo and Fairy Bread (white bread that is covered in butter and sprinkles).

They also put beetroot on their beef burgers so be prepared!

12. Hard Rubbish Day

This is something which may be of value to you if you’re short on money.  On Hard Rubbish Day, Australians leave unwanted items like appliances and furniture outside their homes for people walking by to take.  You never know, you might find something useful.

13. Road Signs are different

Road signs in Australia are quite different and you will come across signs you’ve never seen in other countries before. Get to know them before you leave especially if you are planning to drive while you’re there.

PS: Don’t forget that Aussies drive on the left-hand side!

14. Be mindful of the speed limits

The Australian authorities can charge hundreds of dollars for speeding so it’s important to be mindful and obey the speeding limits. However, you can also be fined if you are driving too slowly on major roads. So, be careful!

15. Australia is so big that sometimes travelling is best done by plane

The cheapest airlines for domestic flights are Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia. Like any major airline they have loads of deals so keep an eye out for these.

16. The Australian birds are extremely loud

Australian birds are loud!  Their raucous screeching and squawking are ear-splitting.  When up to 500 at a time congregate to feed on the seeds in the pastures it is overwhelming when they take flight.

They seem to enjoy calling out at the top of their lungs with a shrill piercing cacophony.  Barking Owl, Little Penguin and Australian Southern Cassowary are some of the best known for being the loudest.

17. Australia Day is a big deal

On the 26 January each year, Australians participate and celebrate everything good about Australia.  And did you know that over 16,000 Australians become citizens on Australia Day.

Be sure to make the most of the festivities!

18. Summer Bay

If you like ‘Home and Away’, make sure to visit Summer Bay where the soap is set. Summer Bay is located on Palm Beach (the most Northern Beach of Sydney), you can enjoy the beach and the Pier where many scenes in the soap take place.

19. Healthcare is universal

Healthcare (Medicare) is free in Australia and you can use it as long as you have permanent residency. If you are lucky enough to come from the UK or New Zealand, you will also have access as a temporary visitor. However, taking out ambulance insurance is recommended as this is not covered with Medicare.

20. Get a Visa

Finally, you can’t travel to Australia without a proper visa, they won’t even allow you to get on the aeroplane!  The easiest way to apply for an Australian working holiday visa is with Visa First.

There are different types of visas for Australia and one of the first things you will need to check is what visa type you need- Australian eVisitor Visa, Visitor Visa, ETA Visa or other.

The type of visa depends on the length of your stay, the purpose of your travelling and the country you come from.

Visa First’s experienced visa agents will review your personal circumstances and determine which visa type is most suitable for you.

Our Australian visa services cater to a variety of customer needs.No matter if you are a backpacker, tourist or business traveller, we’ve got you covered!

To apply for a Working Holiday Visa you require a valid passport, a completed application form all of which our team of visa experts can help with.

Apply for your Australian visa with Visa First today!

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