Discovering Australia as your new home

Important : Disclaimer

Getting the job is only part of the story. If you're intending to migrate to Australia, it's probably a good idea if you come and have a look at the country first, and get oriented, as well as scouting out the job opportunities you've found.

It is possible to do everything at breakneck pace, getting a job, putting together the paperwork and migrating. In fact, for business migration and skilled workers, it's pretty easy.

In some cases it involves coming from the other side of the world, and it's not that easy to turn that into a simple process. There's a lot to learn, and the sooner you get familiar with the place, the simpler the move will be.

The country

Australia is very different. It's not Europe, it's not Asia, and it's not North America. It's unique, and it likes it that way. The various parts of Australia are as different from each other as Australia is from the rest of the world.

Not two of the big Australian cities are alike. Brisbane is quite unlike Sydney. Sydney and Melbourne, the two biggest cities, are old rivals, and try to be very unlike each other. Hobart and Adelaide are situated on an Antarctic island and a desert, respectively. Perth is the big new growth center in the west of the country, and is again quite different, sitting next the Indian Ocean on the other side of the big Nullabor Plain from Adelaide. Canberra, the nation's capital, is nothing like any of the others, situated in the mountains between Melbourne and Sydney, with its own territory.

When you first arrive, you'd be advised to stick to travel that you can schedule properly, on principle. Distances in Australia can come as a surprise. In Australia you can drive all day, and not even leave the state. The big cities are hundreds or thousands of kilometres apart, and there are big stretches of road between towns, where you may rarely even see another car.

Driving in Australia is part of the lifestyle, with a homegrown Car Culture, but long distance driving is for those who are used to it.

For visitors, fortunately you can get just about anywhere in Australia by plane in a few hours. You can get to regional centers on the domestic airlines, too. Sydney and Melbourne are only an hour's flight. Sydney to Perth is about 3-4 hours.

Finding your way around

It's just as well Australia has a well developed tourist industry, because it generates a lot of useful information for those wanting to know the basics about Australia. Any internet search will find most of the where, how to get there, prices, and how to find your way around material a visitor needs.

It's advisable to make sure you can find your way around on your own.

People will help if you get lost. But it really is a big place. Australian cities tend to be more like older North American cities, and a lot of the places you'll need to go will be out in the suburbs. That can mean up to 50km away from where you're staying.

Public transport is generally pretty reliable and relatively cheap, despite the grumbling from the locals. Taxis are usually good, but a bit expensive for very long trips over 10km. Again, it's a good idea if you know how to get from A to B and have it all costed.

Resources you'll need:

Make sure you pick up a current street directory, anyway. You'll find your local knowledge soon becomes good, but finding things in other areas can be a nuisance.

Online, there are trip planners for public transport, and some online maps.

Prices for local travel can be kept under control if you know the public transport discount travel system. In Sydney, for example, you can travel all over a whole region every day for a week using a Travel Pass, on trains, buses and ferries, making as many trips as you like, for around AU, which is about 25 euros. That will literally save you a fortune, as well as time standing in line to pay fares, etc.


In Australia, hotels are usually excellent, but they're all geared to tourism, and they charge accordingly. For a bit of peace after your long trip, they're a good idea, but for accommodation for any period of time, you can either rent a flat on a lease, or arrange your stay in advance with a boarding place.

(Note: Keeping your costs under control is easy if you book in advance so you know what you're spending. Trying to find a place at short notice really isn't a good idea, because of the tourist trade and seasonal charges, which can be massively higher.)

Money matters

Health and travel insurance, banking facilities, and everything else you'll need are easily arranged with not much more than a phone call. Most European, Asian and American banks and other financial services have branches or partners in Australia.

Note: To avoid money problems, an online account for money transfers, preferably something like PayPal, is a lot simpler and more secure. You can re-supply yourself with a simple transfer, and not have to worry about credit cards, travelers checks, and other nuisances.

Most important:

Keep an eye on your costs. The last things you need are financial surprises. Make sure you've got some money tucked safely away in case you need it.

Security and personal safety

Identity theft and other atrocities are a relatively minor problem in Australia, but not unknown. Don't get careless. Keep all your identification materials safe, and don't supply identification materials to anybody except those entitled to ask for them, like government agencies or people who legitimately need identification information in the course of their normal business. Otherwise that information is private, by law, and doesn't have to be disclosed.

Crime in Australia isn't anywhere near the levels of the US or Britain. It's advisable, however, to use your common sense and avoid anything which looks risky, or aggressive, or if you're not sure what's going on. Your Australian friends will tell you what to look out for, and where.

Just one basic rule:


If you're from a non-English speaking background, you'll find that wherever you're from, there are community associations which can help you find your way around and familiarize yourself with Australia. Also make sure you can contact your local consulate, particularly if any legal issue arise.

Note, in terms of both money matters and security: If your English isn't good, not up to conversational level, make sure that you get some help and reliable backup when signing anything or spending any significant amount of money. Know what you're signing, and know what you're talking about, in terms of money. Misunderstandings do occur, and they can be expensive.


Australia has a good, if sometimes strained, and expensive, health system.

Make absolutely certain you're:

  • Clear about your health insurance entitlements,
  • What's covered,
  • Your coverage is up to date,
  • Cover is OK in Australia.

Never guess about any of these things. It can cost you a fortune.


Make sure somebody knows what your medical needs are, or that you have a medical bracelet, or some other way of informing medical staff.

People with allergies, diabetes, or any other potentially serious medical condition should also carry appropriate information for use in emergencies.


Got everything organized?

Welcome to Australia!