10 Insider Tips for Adapting to Life in Australia

We asked our relocation consultants for tips they wish all movers to Australia knew. Their recommendations are too good not to share.

Whether you’re preparing to move to Australia or have just landed, these tips from our relocation consultants, who have years of experience moving and helping others move, can help you transition smoothly.

These strategies will help you adapt to your new life in Australia and allow you to embrace Australia’s many opportunities and experiences.

How to adjust to life in Australia

1. Research based on your lifestyle habits and needs

Moving to a new city is an exciting opportunity to discover new places and experiences. But before you pack your bags, “research based on your lifestyle habits and needs,” says Cherie, one of your Sydney consultants.

Don’t base it on the pretty pictures on a website. Instead, understand what truly matters to you and your family. Here’s how to do it (Based on Cherie’s tips when her family had to move many times over. She’s lived in Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia):

  1. Define your priorities. What kind of environment do you thrive in? Bustling city life, quiet suburbs, or something in between? Consider factors like noise levels, access to green spaces, and proximity to amenities.
  2. Map out your needs. Think about your daily routine. Does your commute time matter? Do you need good schools for your children? Do you require specific facilities, like parks, libraries, or community centres?
  3. Explore your options. Research different neighbourhoods and suburbs, considering their demographics, housing options, and local offerings. Council websites and community forums are great resources.

Meredith adds, “When looking for properties, you’ll get an idea of what you can get for your budget. Often, you’ll have to compromise when choosing a location. Decide what’s non-negotiable and where you’re flexible.”

2. Choose a footy team

One of the biggest worries families have when moving to Australia is how their kids will adjust. But if you’re landing in Melbourne, here’s a tip: choosing a “footy” (Aussie football) team can be a game-changer.

“My main advice for people moving to Melbourne is to choose a footy team, especially if they have children attending school! For kids, it will make fitting into a new school and making friends easier in this sports-crazy town,” suggests Meredith, our Melbourne-based consultant.

This might sound surprising, but hear us out. Footy is practically a religion here, and supporting a local team is a fantastic way for kids to connect with their peers, learn the lingo, and get a taste of Aussie culture. Plus, the atmosphere at games is electric – perfect for making memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Whether your little ones are sporty or not, consider picking a team. You might just be surprised at how quickly they feel right at home.

3. Explore and don’t judge a place by its door

Another Melbourne consultant, Diana, shares this secret for newcomers to the city: “Don’t ever be put off by a boring-looking door. You can find some of Melbourne’s best cafes, bars, shops and houses behind there.”

Beyond doors, Diana suggests, “Join groups, explore the city and surrounds. Melbourne is so diverse–beaches, mountains and snow close by. Day trips offer so much. The city itself is fabulous. I try and stay overnight in the city once a year. You get a different perspective as a holidaymaker in your city.”

Karen, one of our Brisbane consultants, agrees. “Allow yourself time to explore as Brisbane has many different areas and suburbs with something to suit everyone,” she suggests.

4. Join Facebook groups and communities

Feeling nervous about making friends in a new place? Veronica, one of our consultants in Melbourne, shares a practical tip: 

“Join Facebook groups and communities based on your interests! There’s a group for everything, from walking and sports to crafts and cooking. It’s a great way to connect with locals who share your passions and start building new friendships.”

She explains the benefits, too: “When you join these groups, you start meeting locals and be able to make connections and friendships, which is important when you start a new life in an unknown place.”

Carol agrees, highlighting the usefulness of Facebook communities. “Facebook groups are great for any questions you may have.”

“Following your suburb Facebook page is how you hear what’s happening around you and get to know your suburb neighbours,” Cherie adds.

Carol and Cherie are both Sydney-based consultants.

5. Join a library

Don’t have social media? That’s alright. Steph, our Adelaide-based consultant, offers this hidden gem for newcomers like you: 

“Join the library and partake in activities. The activities range from seeing a show, visiting a restaurant, signing up for networking groups, and looking up recruiters to make appointments. It allowed me access to local how-to’s, ask questions, use printers, delve into knowledge, and have a space to be when the weather was inclement for walks in parks. I also found meeting recruiters kept me focused; online job marketplaces only give you one side of the story.”

6. Use council websites

Finding your feet in a new city can feel overwhelming, so Carol offers a handy tip: 

“Get to know people who live in your local community through common shared interests such as mothers or sporting groups. These people will become your Aussie family. Council websites provide a wealth of information about local services.”

Meredith expands on this, saying, “With regard to resources and support when moving to a new place, I would say tap into your local council and city websites to see what is on offer in your area.”

7. Ask the locals

Sometimes, the best advice doesn’t come from guidebooks or websites. It comes straight from the source – the locals! 

As our Perth consultant, Riana, says, “I got tremendous value out of speaking to someone who knew and understood the local property market, and based on the advice I received, our family could make informed decisions and adjust our property expectations.”

8. Use a relocation consultant

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming. That’s where relocation consultants come in, as highlighted by Karen’s (one of our Brisbane consultants) advice: “Use your consultant and don’t be afraid of asking ‘too many questions’!”

Veronica, who experienced both self-organised moves and assisted relocations, shares her insights. “The stress factor was definitely less with a relocation agent,” she says. “I was helped by a relocation agency when we moved to Australia, which was very helpful. A big part of the stress is finding a house and seeing different suburbs, coming with young children and with a husband who was constantly away for work. The relocation agent made that part stress-free for me.”

For Riana, relocation consultant advice is invaluable. “It helped to weigh up professional advice against some of the popular opinions that flooded social media,” she says.

9. Be kind to yourself

Moving can also be a rollercoaster of emotions and adjustments. That’s where Riana’s advice rings true: “Be kind to yourself.”

Remember, this is a transition, not a race, so she adds, “Prepare yourself for some disarray for the first few months. Prioritise your needs and focus on meeting those needs over a reasonable period.” 

Also, don’t get so caught up in the settling-in process that you forget to appreciate the adventure itself. As Riana suggests, “Take in nature. It can get very hot in the summer, so make the most of the beautiful beach surroundings.”

If you’re starting to doubt your decision to move, Stephs suggests “focusing on staying social to curb any doubts about relocating.”

10. Remember: It’s OK not to be OK

Moving is a significant change, and it’s expected to experience a range of emotions – excitement, joy, anxiety, loneliness, and frustration. Judith, our Central Coast consultant, offers a comforting reminder: “If from time to time you find your emotions are a bit wobbly with all the newness, that’s just fine. You’ll discover some wonderful qualities, both in your new environment and yourself.”

She also suggests “participating in hobbies and sports and anything you enjoy to meet other like-minded people and begin creating those connections that bring warmth and friendship into your life.”

Moving to Australia is an exciting adventure, and while it may come with challenges, Judith reminds us that it’s also an opportunity to “choose who you want to be and how you want to show up for yourself.” 

So embrace the journey, be kind to yourself, and remember that it’s okay not to be okay – but you’ll ultimately find your way to thrive in your new home.

We’ve created a Moving Emotions Series packed with practical tips and expert advice to guide your international assignees through the mental and emotional ups and downs. 

In these sessions, they will learn:

  • Coping mechanisms. Learn practical tools to manage stress, anxiety, and homesickness.
  • Building resilience. Develop the inner strength to adapt and thrive in your new environment.
  • Creating connections. Discover ways to build meaningful relationships with locals and fellow expats.
  • And much more!

Follow our Facebook page to learn more.

Besides our webinar series,  we’ve also partnered with experienced mental health coaches who can offer personalised guidance and strategies. We understand that everyone’s journey is unique, and sometimes they might need a little extra support.

Our premium relocation package includes access to these expert coaches, ensuring a holistic and supportive experience throughout their move.

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