Finding a new home in a new country is an exciting part of the adventure. Arranging temporary accommodation in Australia before you arrive could allow you the time you need to find a home that is just right for you.
Whether you are planning to rent or buy a home in Australia, deciding on a location is the first step. You might like to consider the following factors:
RentingThe rental market can be quite competitive in some areas, so it may be worth doing your research before you arrive. Some of the internet sites for rentals are:
BuyingSome of the internet sites for buying a home include:
Get to know the real estate agents in the area where you would like to buy. If you let them know what sort of property you are searching for, they may be able to show you homes before they are advertised to the general public.
Student accommodationThere is a wide variety of student accommodation available to suit all budgets and needs, including:
Sharing accommodation with other students is a popular option. Look for advertisements for share accommodation on student noticeboards on campus, student newspapers, local newspapers or websites like Flatmates.com.au
If you're planning to spend your future in Australia, it will help to know a little about its past.
As the British only 'discovered' Australia in 1770, you might consider Australia to be a young nation. But when you uncover the facts about the Indigenous Australians, you might change your mind. In fact, they were thought to have arrived in Australia nearly 50,000 years ago from South East Asia. Find out more about Australia's history.
GeographyWhen you look at Australia on a world map, it looks small. Many tourists often think they will be able to get from the east coast to the west coast in a day's drive.
The reality is that Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, but it also has the lowest population density in the world with only two people per square kilometre.
Learn more about Australia's geography PeoplePeople make a country what it is.
With a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures due to migration and our indigenous Australians, Australia is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse societies in the world today. This has helped forge Australia's unique national identity and helped it become one of the most liveable places in the world.
Get to know Australians. GovernmentIf you are thinking of living in Australia, it's important to know a little bit about how the country is run.
Find out about the Australian Government. PopulationThe most highly populated states are New South Wales and Victoria. Their respective capital cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are the largest cities in Australia.
Australia has the lowest population density in the world. The population is concentrated along the coastal regions of Australia.
See what the Australian population is at this very moment.
New South Wales (NSW) New South Wales is the most populous state in Australia and is known for its breathtaking beaches, world famous landmarks, as well as its exciting mix of natural and cultural diversity.
Some of its main attractions:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) The Australian Capital Territory is home to the nation's capital, Canberra. Here you will learn about Australia's history, its cultural heritage and be able to explore the vast array of national parks and scenic countryside in the ACT.
Victoria (VIC) Victoria is home to Australia's second largest city, Melbourne and is known for its abundance of scenic and cultural attractions. It is also known for its distinct food, arts and sporting culture.
Queensland (QLD) Queensland is often referred to as the "Sunshine state" and there is good reason for this. With some of the most pristine and world renowned coastlines and attractions, Queensland is a must for those who love the great outdoors.
South Australia (SA) South Australia is known for its rich history and natural beauty. From the world renowned wine region of the Barossa valley, to the historical buildings in Adelaide and the famous kangaroo island, there is much to see and do.
Western Australia (WA) Famous for its warm climate, natural beauty and abundance of flora and fauna, Western Australia is also Australia's largest state.
Northern Territory (NT) The Northern Territory is rich in Aboriginal history and untouched natural beauty. Visit iconic World Heritage listed attractions such as Kakadu National Park and Uluru and embrace the Australian outback.
Tasmania (TAS) Situated in the south of Australia, Tasmania is an island and a state. It is known for its World Heritage listed wilderness, its rich culture and history of convicts, miners and whalers.
Find out more about Australia's states and territories.
Get the most up-to-date population figures for each state from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Australian dollar, which divides into 100 cents, is the national currency.
Our bank notes are:
Our gold coins are:
Our silver coins are:
Find out more about our money.
Accessing your money No matter where you go in Australia (or in fact around the world), you will be able to access your money from your Westpac bank account 1 .
You will find Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in all major cities and towns - they are open 24 hours and not only can you use Westpac ATMs, but you can also use St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne ATMs with no cash withdrawal fee.
Most Australian businesses use EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) which means you can use bank card (credit or debit) to pay for services or purchases directly, and in many cases you can withdraw cash at the same time as your purchase.
Find out more about accessing your money.
Tipping You are not expected to tip when you pay a bill in Australia, but it is common for people to do so in restaurants and hotels.
Finding an accountant You may want to use a local Australian accountant to help you with your personal taxes or business.
Find a Chartered Accountant Find a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
Starting your business It doesn't matter which country you are in, there's a lot to know before you start up your own business or take over someone else's. Luckily, in Australia there's also a lot of assistance available. Find out more about starting a business in Australia.
Westpac provides a large range of products and services that can meet the financial needs of your business. You can also speak to a local business banker or consider attending financial education courses to help you establish and grow your business (fees may apply). Learn more about business banking.
Many banking facilities you are used to may be known by a different name here.
These are just some of the terms used by banks and the financial sector in Australia.
Australian Business Number
Automatic Teller Machine, Cash point, Cash Machine
Australia Taxation Office
Bill payments system
BSB Bank/State/Branch code
You will receive one in your account number to identify the branch your account belongs to
A bank's rating of a customer's creditworthiness
A card where you access your own money in a linked account
Paperless bank statements that are available online
All transactions conducted at a Point of Sale terminal
Mortgage, property loan
Banking using a mobile phone
Banking over the internet
A paper book that records bank transactions
Contactless payment system by MasterCard®
Contactless payment system by Visa
Product disclosure statement
Standing order, equal monthly instalments (EMI)
Personal Identification Number
A bank account which earns interest on your money
Pension, provident fund
An international bank identifier for transferring funds
Banking over the phone
Fixed deposits, time deposits
Tax File Number
Current account, bank account
We're here to help you, so if you hear a term that you are not sure of just ask us.
Before you even start looking for a job there are two things you should do:
There are many ways to find a job in Australia.
People you know Sometimes jobs are filled before they are even advertised. If you know people already working in your industry in Australia, ask them if they know of any jobs available. An online networking site like LinkedIn can help you make these connections.
Online A popular medium for job searching in Australia is the internet. You can use these sites to find all kinds of jobs in all kinds of places.
These websites also contain useful information on how to prepare your resume as well as some handy interview techniques.
Transferring skills and qualifications If you are unsure whether the qualifications you hold in your home country will be recognised in Australia, you should check with the immigration website.
Superannuation Australia operates a compulsory superannuation scheme. Superannuation is designed to help people working in Australia provide for their retirement. For most people, when you're employed, a percentage of your salary , must be paid into a super account by your employer salary (as at 1 July 2015 9.5%). The idea is that these regular contributions, over the course of your working life will provide a sum of money to help you pay for your retirement.
Tax Australian workers' pay tax to the Commonwealth Government to fund programs and services such as roads, schools and hospitals.
The amount of tax paid is based on the amount of income you earn. The higher the income, the higher the percentage paid. Your employer is responsible for deducting tax from your income before you are paid.
Before you start working, you'll need a TFN (Tax File Number) which is a unique number that is used to identify your tax records.
The Australian health system is widely regarded as being world-class, in terms of both its effectiveness and efficiency. We have a mixture of private and public health care providers.
Public All Australians have access to free or low-cost medical, optometric and hospital care through a government scheme called Medicare. Medicare provides access to:
To find out more or apply for Medicare, visit their website or phone 13 2011 (within Australia).
Private Australians are also able to choose private health cover. Depending on the type of cover, certain health services not covered by Medicare, are covered in whole or part by private health insurance providers.
Some of the types of health services that you could hold cover for include:
Research about private health care funds and compare policies.
With so much to see and do, you need to be able to get from point A to point B with ease.
Drive yourself If you are a permanent-resident visa holder with a current driver's licence in your country of origin, you are generally allowed to drive for your first three months in Australia. After that, you will need to contact the appropriate authority in the state or territory where you choose to live to find out how to arrange an Australian driver's licence.
Public transport Australia has a public transport system which includes buses, trains, ferries, trams, and light rail. Refer to the links below for information on the public transport available in each state and territory.
The education system in Australia is open to all people. It offers opportunities for all age groups and levels of ability.
This table shows the facilities available by age range and whether or not it is compulsory.
Secondary school/High school
Compulsory until Year 10 (age 15 or 16)
Tertiary education (TAFE, university, community college)
Compulsory education For primary and secondary school, you can choose whether you would like your children to go to a government school (also known as public school) or a non-government school (also known as private school). You might like to consider the curriculum of schools in the area where you plan to live, your financial situation, or perhaps even your religious beliefs.
Government schools Government schools in Australia often provide lower cost education. Most individual schools encourage a voluntary contribution which they use to improve the school's resources and facilities.
Parents are responsible for providing their children with a school uniform, pencils, pens and textbooks.
Non-government schools Non-government school fees vary depending on the school and its location. Most charge fees between $6,000 and $30,000 per year, and they may have a religious affiliation or a particular educational philosophy.
School holidays School terms dates are designated on a state and territory basis. Find out more about the dates of individual state and territory school terms.
Enrolment When you attend a school to enrol your child, you will be asked to provide some documentation. It is best to contact the school first by telephone to find out exactly which documents they require. Usually, you will need to show the school your visa or entry to Australia documents, proof of your child's date of birth, your child's immunisation records and any other relevant papers you have including school reports relating to their previous education.
Tertiary education Australia's educational institutions are highly regarded in many global indicators. Your qualifications will be recognised and well regarded everywhere you go.
Financial education The Davidson Institute, named after Sir Alfred Davidson, a pioneer of Westpac financial education, offers a range of money management topics for individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and community groups.
Australians one and all Australia is a multicultural nation. In 1945, Australia's population was about seven million people. Since then, more than 6.5 million migrants, including 675,000 refugees, have settled in Australia. Today Australia has a population of over 24 million people, of which 43% were either born overseas or have one parent who was born overseas. Australians of all religious, racial, ethnic and social backgrounds live together in peace. Find out more in the Life in Australia Book.
ShoppingIn major cities large shopping centres are often open seven days a week, with late night shopping on selected days. Most suburbs have local shopping strips, while larger, more densely populated suburbs have large multi-level malls consisting of Australian and international brands.
Size conversions To help you enjoy shopping in your new country, use this size conversion guide for clothes and shoes.
Social customs Understanding Australian social customs will help you to settle in to Australia and respect the usual way Australians behave in their day-to-day lives.
Find out more about some common customs in the Australian Government's Life in Australia Book.
Public holidays There's only one thing Australians love more than holidays - public holidays! Public holidays are a great excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate or commemorate the occasion.
Some public holidays are of national significance, such as Australia Day or Anzac Day. Others are set by the individual states and territories.
Learn about Australian public holidays.
Speaking EnglishEven though Australia's official language is English you will often hear people speaking in other languages when you are out and about. This is one of the beauties of living in a multicultural society.
Being able to speak and understand English will make everyday activities such as shopping, banking, applying for jobs and participating in the community so much easier.
You can enrol in English courses in your home country, or as a new Australian resident, you may be eligible for up to 510 hours of free classes through the Adult English Migrant Program (AMEP).
Find out if you are eligible for this program.
Speaking AustralianEven people from English-speaking countries sometimes say they find it hard to understand what Australians are talking about.
We don't think it is our Aussie accent that is causing the problem; it's more than likely our unique Aussie slang.
Time is the only thing that will help you adjust to the Australian accent. But this guide will help you with some of the more common slang words you may hear.
You might say
Motor Vehicle Accident
Bluebottle (a stinging jellyfish). Also oddly is used to refer to a red headed person or a blue cattle dog
Kind of swimming shorts originally worn by surfers and now common Aussie beach attire
Liquor shop / off-licence
Tight fitting men's swimming costume. Often the source of ridicule especially if worn by a 'polly' (politician)
Bring your own, usually refers to drinks
Cup of tea
Portable icebox (to keep food/drinks cold)
Genuine / the truth
Any form of football
Friend or acquaintance
A cigarette break
To buy someone a drink
Tips on moving to Australia The movingtoaustralia.com.au website provides useful information on moving to Australia. It includes articles on immigration, visas, relocation, healthcare, finding a job, where to live, setting up utilities, getting a mobile phone and other tips.
We are pleased to have partnerships with the following organisations that may be able to help if you are moving to Australia.
The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) is the peak professional association for Australian migration service providers worldwide.
The MIA represents around 5,000 Registered Migration Agents (RMAs) across Australia and overseas. As a proud supporter of Westpac, we encourage you to use an MIA Registered Migration Agent when you require migration assistance or advice.
Search for an MIA Member that speaks your language, specialises in your visa class or is located near you using our online Find an Agent facility today.
Bupa is the largest privately managed health insurer in Australia and we take pride in providing affordable private health insurance. Bupa proudly looks after more than three million members in Australia. We are committed to helping our members understand the Australian healthcare system and to help them choose the cover that's right for them. To find out more about your options if you are migrating to Australia, please visit the Bupa website
Relocating? Please allow your Wridgways professional team of experts to guide and manage your relocation, anywhere worldwide.
Wridgways are your professional relocation, moving and mobility specialists, helping individuals & families relocate anywhere in the world. For information and assistance please visit our website.
Cashkows assists South African migrants to locate and transfer retirement annuities and preservation funds from South Africa to Australia. Other value added services that Cashkows is able to provide in South Africa include cross border tax compliance and advice, transfer of funds within exchange control, financial emigration, inheritances & deceased estates, and PPS portfolio management.
Find a toll free number for your country
We've got plenty of branches with migrant services near you
Ask us a question. We're here to help.