Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

Are you one of the many New Zealanders who are moving to Australia?

Australia is one of the main destinations for New Zealanders looking for a change of scenery, better climate, job opportunities/or they want to earn more, be closer to family/friends, a new lifestyle or simply a change because we can move to Australia so easily from NZ.

Check out the below ‘To Do List’ to know what you need to do before you leave and what you need to do once you’re there.

Below is a general list of areas you will need to address when weighing up your potential move to Australia. It covers the big stuff you’ll need to organise when you are thinking/planning an international move.

Moving to Australia Checklist

After you’ve confirmed your flight to Australia and know your departure date, then you are going to need my moving to Australia checklist. It gives you a more detailed list of what you need to do 4 weeks before you move to Australia, two weeks, on move day and handy hints.

The moving to Australia process

Before you leave for Australia:

  1. Start looking for a job! Check out recruitment companies and get the process going.
  2. Find a school for your children. You will need an approximate move date to register your kids.
  3. Find some short-term accommodation. It is highly recommended to give yourself some time to find which suburb suits you and your family best before you buy or rent any real estate in Australia or sign a fixed-term agreement (one year).
  4. Book a moving company to pack and ship your household items. Save yourself time, money and stress.
  5. Set up a bank account before you leave. Then you can pick up your eftpos card as soon as you get there and start living (apply two weeks before you leave for Australia).
  6. Register with a foreign exchange/money transfer provider. They have sharper exchange rates than the banks and lower fees (or none if you register using this link: https://xe.com.
  7. Get your documentation/paperwork ready! You will need character references, 100 points of identification.
  8. One month out, print out our Moving to Australia Checklist (Pre Move Planner).
  9. Sign up for our monthly newsletter (scroll). We stay on top of all news relating to Kiwis living in Australia and send you the things you need to know.
  10. Let everyone that you deal with in NZ know you are moving to Australia:
    – Doctor: advise your doctor you are moving and that when you find a new doctor you will request for your records to be transferred.
    – IRD: they will talk through your individual circumstances and obligations with you.

After you arrive in Australia:

  1. Register with Medicare Australia. You will need to apply in person in a Medicare Office. Please remember to take your passport.
  2. Get a TFN (Australian Tax File Number). You are not able to apply from NZ. You can apply online here: https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/tax-file-number/apply-for-a-tfn/foreign-passport-holders,-permanent-migrants-and-temporary-visitors—tfn-application/.
  3. Look for a rental property. Read this post to make sure you are prepared for the Australian rental market.
  4. Converting your NZ driving licence to an Australian licence. Find out how here.
  5. Buy a home in Australia.
  6. Look into becoming an Australian Permanent Resident and then Australia Citizen.

Good luck with your move and please feel free to ask any questions you have in the comment section at the bottom of each post.

Looking for something in particular?

I think I’ve written a post about everything moving to Australia related. So if you’re looking for something in particular use the search field (scroll) and type in a keyword or two.

In the list of posts, you should easily be able to find the answers to what you’re looking for. And if you don’t, ask me a question in the comment field at the bottom of each post and I’ll get back to you with the answer or the research I’ve done to help you out.

Some posts that might interest you

Below are my top 20 most visited posts:

  1. Buying a house in Australia
  2. Driving and Licences in Australia
  3. Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension?
  4. Are New Zealand citizens eligible for Australia’s First Home Owners Grant?
  5. Moving to Australia FAQ (make sure you read the comments)
  6. Australian Tax – what you need to know
  7. Having a baby in Australia
  8. Moving money to Australia from New Zealand
  9. Which city to move to in Australia
  10. Medicare Australia
  11. Open an Australian Bank Account
  12. Moving to Australia Checklist
  13. Become an Australian Permanent Resident then Australia Citizen
  14. Foreign Exchange/Money Transfer
  15. Do you have to pay tax on money transferred from overseas?
  16. A better life across the ditch
  17. Australian Health Care System
  18. SCV Visa Exclusions
  19. Moving Company to Australia
  20. Moving back to New Zealand

Good luck with your move to the lucky country and remember, I’m here to help.

Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!

59 Comments

  1. Philip Hollings

    February 3, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but someone told me you must sell your house in NZ before you move and get a job in Australia otherwise you will subject to Australian tax laws and have to pay tax in Australia on the sale of your NZ property. Is this correct?

    Reply
  2. Lulu

    November 24, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    We’re planning to move to WA with 3 large dogs (60-70kg), so if we waited until we moved over to buy a house the chances of rent a house with these dogs is slim, and not preferable for us if we can avoid it. Do you have any suggestions – eg, could we fly over a month or so beforehand and purchase a property, or do you have to stay in the country for a certain amount of time after.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 24, 2023 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Lulu,
      Thanks for your comment.
      My brother in-law went over early and purchased a property for the family to move into. He then returned to NZ and went back with the family. I believe he was in the country to sign the agreement and back when it settled.
      Unfortunately I’m not sure about the legality of returning to NZ and then going back, so you should check with your lawyer, as I am not qualified to advise you on this.
      However, if you then move into the home when you return and do not rent it out etc, I do not see it being a problem, as you will once again have an SCV
      Sorry I can’t give you an exact answer.

      Reply
  3. Charles Perera

    November 6, 2023 at 2:34 am

    I am going to move to Perth, Australia from Wellington New Zealand in December 2023. Can I bring the cars I have been using for over a year in New Zealand to Australia without being liable to pay GST and duty?
    Also if we bring other used household items hope we will not have to pay any tax. Is it worth bringing these in.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 6, 2023 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Charles,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Regarding shipping your car to Australia, you will need to apply for an import permit and pay tax (import GST) and import duty. I recommend you get a no-obligation quote from AutoHub so you can make an educated decision on whether it’s worth shipping your car to Australia: https://www.autohub.co/import-car-nz-to-australia-shipping/?cf_id=66653.
      Personal and household effects may be imported into Australia free of Customs Duty and GST (Goods Services Tax), provided they have been owned and used for a period of at least twelve months prior to their departure for Australia and the owner of the goods is eligible to live in Australia.
      I recommend you get a quote through my website for moving your personal effects to Australia with you. There is a great tool to estimate the total volume you will need (calculate the volume), where you an select what furniture items you have and then summit to receive up to 5 free quotes: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/moving-company-to-australia/.
      Hope the above helps.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  4. Rose

    October 30, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    HI,
    Our family, like many, is considering a move to the warmer climate of the Sunshine Coast.
    I am 62 and my husband is 61 so my query relates to the receipt of our NZ Superannuation later on. I am finding it hard to get some basic information on how the system works if living in Australia and some friends have told us it’s not even possible now.!
    Any information or links to the correct information pages would be appreciated. We are more than happy to work for a few more years to reach the Australian qualifying age if need be but just need to know it’s feasible even to consider a move.
    Thanks so much for your help.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 30, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Rose,
      I’m glad you got in touch, as it is even easier for New Zealanders to move to Australia now, because after you have been living in Australia for four years you can apply to become an Australian citizen.
      However, even if you decided you didn’t want to become a citizen, you would still be eligible for the Australian Age Pension when you turn 66.5 years old. Here is my post that includes everything I know about New Zealanders getting the Australia Age Pension: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-age-pension/.
      Regards to your KiwiSaver, if you have one, this can either be transferred to an Australian Super or left in NZ. Here’s some info: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/kiwisaver-for-your-home-deposit/.
      Anything else you are wondering about, I recommend you use the search function on my site to find answers, or email me back and I will send you the relevant link.
      Thanks

      Reply
  5. Rohit Gupta

    October 25, 2023 at 12:59 am

    Some people say that you should take your car over. As you want get much here when selling it and 2nd hand cars are more expensive there. But I am not sure. So far, I know

    1. You can not take hybrids or EVs
    2. You have to have owned it for 12 months.
    3. I have a quote of NZD6720 for freight and quarantine for a Honda CRV
    4. Then I am told that there will be a duty, percentage unknown

    So, it can’t be worthwhile taking the car.

    Reply
  6. Steven Grove

    October 8, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    I have been in Perth for two months and I am immigrating to Perth.

    What forms are supposed to be sent to IRD .

    Thank you
    Regards
    Steven Grove

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 10, 2023 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Steven,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Have a read of my Australia Tax post (https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-tax/), lots of good information you will need to know, including the link to the IR886 form that tells the IRD you have left New Zealand.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Enjoy Perth. It’s on the top of my visit list.

      Reply
  7. Daniel

    August 25, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Hi,
    Im 19 years old and I am wanting to move to Melbourne end of next year from NZ. just wondering how much money is a good amount to have saved up before I move?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      August 26, 2023 at 10:24 am

      Hi Daniel,
      Thank you for your comment. Great question!
      How much savings you should have when you move to Australia completely depends on your individual circumstances, lifestyle, expectations and plans. And of course, planning ahead can definitely help reduce costs and stress.
      If you have been flatting/renting, you will have an idea of how much money you need each month for rent, utilities, food and beverage, transport, entertainment, clothing and leisure. Here is a great site that compares the costs of living between NZ and Australian cities: https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/interactives/costofliving/compare/auckland-vs-melbourne/.
      Where are you planning on living when you arrive? Family/friends or paid? AirBnB room or hostel? I don’t recommend securing a rental/flat until you have found work, as Australia is HUGE compared to NZ and you want to live close to where you work, not travel an hour or two a day. Check out this post for accommodation options: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/renting-and-accommodation-in-australia/.
      Have you already secured a job or do you need to survive until you find one? Have you checked out job hunting sites and got an idea of placements in your industry, potential income and turnaround of recruitment listings (e.g. two weeks until close – https://www.seek.com.au/)? This will give you an idea of how long it might take you to find a job. Then add a few weeks before you get paid. Doing this exercise will also give you a list of companies/recruitment companies you can send your CV to. Being proactive shows a good work ethic.
      There is also a lot of Australian recruitment happening from NZ at the moment, so you’ve got a great chance of securing a job before you leave, which will remove a lot of uncertainty and the need for more savings.
      So get your CV up to date and all the other documentation you are going to need: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/jobs-in-australia/ and https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/documentation-needed-when-moving-to-australia/.
      Personally, I’ve got family I can beg if I find myself in need, but if you don’t then you also need to take that into consideration, because the Australian government will not help you.
      Spend some time researching how your life in Australia might look, as everyone has different expectations/standards and calculate your living costs. Calculate that by how long it might take you to find a job and an extra two weeks to be paid.
      A safe amount would be six weeks of living costs saved.
      Make sure you transfer your money through a foreign exchange provider like XE, so you get the best conversion rate and no additional fees: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/moving-money-to-australia-from-new-zealand/.
      Are you planning on having a holiday first? Melbourne is a very cool place and if you don’t know a lot of people then spending some time getting to know the city is also a great idea for quality of life. Discover where you might like to live, somewhere that suits your lifestyle, e.g. outdoors, entertaining, cheap.
      Lastly, when you arrive, talk to anyone and everyone. Go into bars all over the city and talk to Australians. They love a good chat with randoms! Super friendly people.
      Hope the above helps.

      Reply
  8. Amna

    July 13, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    Hi, I want to find out if a child has disabilities (autism level 3) and she is newzealand citizen,Does she get support in Australia?

    Reply
  9. Andrei

    May 7, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Hi there!

    Thanks for your help in the past.
    We have arrived in Australia in QLD, and expecting a baby in October this year, I’m currently employed and my wife is pregnant

    Just wondering if parental pay would change also with the law change happening in July?
    Is there anything that would be of use to look up?

    Thanks so much for your help
    Andrei & Chloe

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 11, 2023 at 10:25 am

      Hi Andrei & Chloe,
      Thanks for your comment.
      From 1 July 2023, your child’s date of birth or adoption affects Parental Leave Pay. This includes who can get it, how much you get and when you get paid.
      However, you may need to wait 2 years before you can get Parental Leave Pay. Read more about exemptions to the newly arrived resident’s waiting period.
      Here is the information you are looking for: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/parental-leave-pay-for-child-born-or-adopted-from-1-july-2023.
      You should contact CenterLink and discuss your situation with them.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Thanks

      Reply
  10. Sefa

    March 9, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    Hi, I’m only 19 and planning to move to Sydney from NZ. Just wondering if you’ve got any tips for accommodation when I get there? Can I rent out an apartment straight away and start working? Or do I have to stay at an airbnb or something like that to get started first?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 10, 2023 at 10:15 am

      Hi Sefa,
      There isn’t one answer for everyone regarding renting and working when you first arrive in Australia. It depends on how much money you have saved before you leave, where in Sydney you are planning on moving too, what type of accommodation you are looking for, what industry you are looking for work in, how good your CV and references are… etc.
      Here are some posts you should read. You can ask me further questions at the bottom of each post:
      – Moving to Australia process – in this post I cover what you need to do before you leave and after you arrive.
      – Renting and accommodation in Australia – there are a lot of accommodation options. It would probably be easier to go into something temporary (AirBnB) until you find a job. Then you can find a flat or rental close to work.
      – Jobs in Australia – start looking at the types of jobs you are interested in asap. Then you will know exactly what to expect after you arrive. How much money you will potentially be making, CV requirements, job availability and turn around.
      – Documentation needed – make sure you have all your documentation sorted before you leave.
      Make sure you open a bank account approx two weeks before you leave. TFN and Medicare as soon as you arrive in Australia. If you are taking some money with you, register for an online foreign exchange company, as they save you money.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  11. Ross Munro

    February 25, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    Hi JJ
    We are looking into moving to Perth from New Zealand. We have two children with 4 grandchildren already there and they have been there for over 10 years and are currently going through the citizenship process.
    The family are wanting us to move over to join them. We are both NZ citizens and I am on the NZ Super aged 68, my wife is aged 59.
    We would intend to sell up in NZ and purchase a home in Perth. We understand that the pension is asset tested in Australia so we will have roughly $500,000.00 in the bank after purchasing another home and various other essentials to continue life in Australia. We have been doing a lot of reading but just need clarification to help us make wise decisions.

    Our questions to start with are:
    Will I get a pension in Australia and what if my wife continues to work.
    What status do we need to acquire in Australia once there, that may be necessary to help gain any benefits?
    What benefits would we be intitled to?
    What are, if any, stand down periods for such benefits (medical care & pension etc)
    Does it make any difference to have money in an Australian account when purchasing property in AU rather than buying from NZ. Do we still get stung with duty or any kind of taxes?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Kind regards
    Ross and Margaret

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 27, 2023 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Ross and Margaret,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Regarding the Australian pension, I’ve run your assets through the Age Pension Calculator and got the below age pension estimate:
      Asset Test – $500,000
      Income Test – $9,378 (deemed annual income from financial investments)
      Age Pension Estimate:
      Per Person per fortnight – $652.30
      Per Couple per fortnight – $1,304.60
      Per Person per year – $16,960
      Per Couple per year – $33,920
      Have a read of my Australian Age Pension post, as it should answer all your questions: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-age-pension/.
      Yes, you will still get the pension if your wife continues to work. Here is a good post: https://retirementessentials.com.au/a-younger-partner/.
      Here is a list of the Australia benefits/payments and the newly arrived resident’s waiting period for each: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-visa/#Newly-arrived-residents-waiting-period.
      I highly recommend waiting until you are in Australia before buying property. It will save you a lot of tax and you will be eligible for different Australian Government schemes like the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) and possible stamp duty waiver. Have a read of my Buying a house in Australia post: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/buying-a-house-in-australia/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  12. Martin White

    December 1, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    Good day,
    My wife and I are both NZ citizens in receipt of NZ Superannuation and are contemplating purchasing a house in an “over 50s lifestyle village” in Queensland.
    The houses in question are being offered in terms of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 whereby purchaser owns the building but occupies the land section on a ground rent basis. (We understand that this arrangement is quite common in Australia and is tried and tested?)
    Our intention is that for the next few years we would occupy the house in the winter months as we find the NZ winter too cold. We would retain our current house in NZ, and, if we spend less than 26 weeks per year out of NZ, our superannuation payments would continue here.
    Our ultimate intention would probably be to move to Australia permanently.
    From your postings on Australia taxes we understand that, in order to avoid Australian Capital Gains tax on any future sale of the NZ house, we should enter Australia as Temporary Residents rather than on the SCV normally issued to NZ citizens. Obviously we would want legal/accounting confirmation of the process but our initial query is whether we could enter into a contract to purchase a house as such a Temporary Resident?
    I do recall reading one of your newsletters advising of a Melbourne company of accountants who could apparently advise on and organise such a Temporary Residence visa but have misplaced their name etc. Could you please advise and any other recommendations as to reliable and suitably qualified accountants either in Australia or NZ who would be familiar with the process? (We got a nasty tax shock from the NZ IRD when immigrating to this country twenty or so years ago.)
    Many thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      December 5, 2022 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Martin,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Please note, I am not an immigration specialist or accountant and can only advise you from the information I find online.
      I’m glad you have been reading my newsletters. The article you are referring to is from Beyond Accountancy about being a temporary residence for tax purposes: https://beyondaccountancy.com.au/something-every-kiwi-in-australia-needs-to-know/.
      Beyond Accountancy have very good independent reviews and you should definitely contact them to see if they would be your accountant in Australia. They would be able to answer some of your questions.
      Regarding buying a house in Australia, New Zealanders buying property from outside of Australia need to pay an additional Foreign Transfer Duty of 7-8% depending on which state the purchase is made in.
      For example, the foreign duty on a $750,000 home in Queensland is $52,500, bringing the total cost up to $802,500 excluding stamp duty.
      Foreign duty varies by each state. There is no foreign duty in the Northern Territory.
      This is a good post for you to read: https://unohomeloans.com.au/can-new-zealand-citizens-buy-property-in-australia-here-is-everything-you-need-to-know/.
      Regarding visa, you would still move to Australia on the automatic SCV. This does not impact whether you become a temporary resident for tax purposes.
      I do recommend you talk to Work and Income about your plans to live close to six months in Australia and the rest of the time in NZ. I’m sure they have a lot of people who do this because of the impacts of the colder weather on quality of life.
      I hope I answered all your questions.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  13. Lovena Walker

    August 7, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Hello 🙂
    Thankyou for this wonderful page, wow, it has given me so much information.
    I wonder if you know the process for pensions, once you hit 67 can you get the Australian aged pension?
    We are looking at moving by the end of next year. Job searching now. I am 52, hubby is 62

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      August 9, 2022 at 11:24 am

      Hi Lovena,
      Thank you for your comment and kind words.
      New Zealanders who are 66 and 6 months or older and live in Australia should be eligible for an Australian age pension. As long as they meet the resident, income, and asset eligibility criteria.
      You can read everything I have discovered so far about the Australian age pension in this post: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-age-pension/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  14. Sharna

    March 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Hi I’m Sharna& I’m moving to perth WA in May. I would just like to know if you know how I can get proof of the address that I am going to be living at in Australia.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 2, 2022 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Sharna,
      Thank you for your comment.
      This is a common problem as you cannot get proof of address until you receive either a bill or bank statement at your new Australia address, which won’t happen until after you arrive.
      What did you need it for?
      I will be able to help you once I have more information.
      Thanks

      Reply

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