Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia

Relocation to Australia

Most migrants to Australia will have some personal possessions that they will want to take with them. The number of possessions may vary from a few cartons (“tea chests”) to filling a 40 foot shipping container.

Being well organised when shipping overseas your valuables is essential if you want to avoid unnecessary stress or potential disaster – how would you feel if all your photographs were water damaged or lost

Moving to Australia: Air or Sea?

Taking anything by air is only really an option if you have a very small amount of possessions (perhaps less than 1 carton) or you can take it on the plane as hand baggage due to the very high cost. Do organise yourself a “survival kit” of important documents or the things that you may immediately need when arriving in Australia.

Overseas Shipping Containers

The majority of migrants rely on overseas shipping containers when moving to Australia. You will need to consider the following.

  • FULL SHIPPING CONTAINER REMOVALS: A normal family of two adults / two children can normally fill their household possessions in a 20 foot shipping container. If you have a lot of possessions, you may need a 40-foot shipping container.
  • SHARED SHIPPING CONTAINER REMOVALS: If you do not have a sufficient quantity of Household Effects to fill an entire shipping container, the overseas moving companies can load your things into a wooden box that is then loaded into a shared container. This may take longer to arrive in Australia than a full shipping container as it depends on how quickly the rest of the shipping container can be filled.

Obtaining a Quote

Get at least 3 quotes. The overseas moving companies should be able to send someone to your home to see what possessions you are shipping and to give you a FREE quote.
Prepare for the quotes, decide beforehand what is to be taken or left behind. Check Australian Customs, e.g. do you want to clean all the soil off your bikes or garden tools as Australian immigration and customs are strict on this. Make sure you ask all the companies for the same service – eg. the same items to ship, door-to-door, full packing/unpacking, with or without insurance.

Insurance can be a significant part of the removal costs (around 3% of the value of items being shipped). Discuss this with the removal companies, and check the fine print. Whether you choose to insure or not it’s your call – they are your possessions!

The quotes will give you an idea of how much shipping container space will be needed. Check what’s included in the quote – eg. packing, transportation, clearance through customs, delivery to your home in Australia, unpacking, and disposal of materials. Check, the costs, and look at what’s included and what will be at extra costs. Check your quote carefully, they will not all be the same, and you can get a “feeling” for their level of service and expertise. Cheapest is not always best!

Finding an overseas moving company

You can find a list of overseas moving companies advertising on this page or in the yellow pages under removals – overseas, check they do international removals, and belong to FIDI with FAIM accreditation and Bar Overseas.


If you are moving on a temporary posting or renting out your house, and you don’t want to ship all your possessions, a good option is to put them into long term secure storage.