How to Move to Australia
If you’re wondering, the answer is no - never in the land of ever did I think I’d move down under. I came for a visit in March of 2018 and was like, “wait a second, there are palm trees here? I had no idea this was a tropical country!” I moved back in May and, as the Aussie’s say, I am happy AS.
If you’re thinking about giving down under a quick go … and you’re under 35 (because last I checked that is the cut off for the working-holiday visa) then just go for it. Note: if you are over 35 you can still come here but you need to be sponsored by a company, or have a three month tourist visa, or apply for a student visa.
Get a visa : you have to apply online for a subclass 417 working-holiday visa here
The visa costs $440 AUD (Australian Dollar is very close to par with the Canadian Dollar). It will allow you to stay in Australia for up to 1 year - You may choose to do 88 days of farming for a second year visa extension. You can only work for one company for 6 months, unless that company is willing to sponsor you for permanent residency, and your occupation must be on the skills needed list. Long story short - they recently have tightened up a lot on immigration because everyone wants to live here.
Pack your bags : When I first came here I had no idea if I was going to stay for more than six months so I brought over two packed bags filled with clothes, random macrame plant hangers, tea towels, Teddy Two (tiny childhood teddy that always lives in my underwear box … now that I type this for the universe to see it sounds weird!) and all my beach towels - actually I just had one. The rest of my stuff is in my trusty 2007 Camry called chip, that’s living in a barn somewhere in southern Ontario waiting for my return to then figure out what I’m doing with my life.
It does actually get kind of “cold” here so you will want a jacket. People wear Canada Goose Down jackets when it’s +17C … ridiculous, but you will acclimatize quickly
Forget half of the stuff you pack, honestly I should have sold so much more before coming here
Phone a friend : Having my bestie and university roomie Jules and her husband Andre here was a huge help getting settled and help me put my feet on the ground. If you don’t have that make sure you get an air b n b for at least two weeks to give you time to land and start to look for a place.
Do not live in Bondi : Do as I say, not as I do. Here’s the deal. EVERYONE wants to live in Bondi, so the rents are ridiculous. And it’s a party, a big party that you can checkout of anytime but you can never leave. Earplugs were essential when I lived in Bondi. Now I’m in Paddington and I listen to birds chirping to wake me up, or my opera singing neighbour. It’s paradise. Yes I’m not right on the water but I can walk to it in 10 minutes.
Plus my friend Duncan said it best - everyone in Bondi is weird. EXCEPT my friends there of course. But it does attract a lot of - let’s just be real here - drug addicts. High functioning, ultra rich and flighty type people. It is a scene. And if you’re here for it, then no better place, but just so you know - I told you so.
So where the heck should I live? : I love Double Bay if you want to be on the sand it has a beautiful beach, or Bronte a beach just south of Bondi is great. Inner city there is Darlinghurst and Potts Point is lovely. I’ve heard good things about Glebe. I have a few friends in Surry Hills - young professional crowd. Basically just explore your options. I used flatmates.com.au and domain.com.au to find my nests.
Move here in the wintertime : People thought I was NUTS moving here in the middle of their “winter” - June. But it was one of my smartest moves ever. I had my choice when it came to rentals, everything was on sale and the city was a lot quieter so I found it easy to get around. I think it also made it easier for me to find work. Australians HATE the cold so everyone leaves for the “winter” - but if you’re Canadian you will be laughing at what they call “winter” - it’s actually a joke. It got down to 12 degrees Celsius one day - that was the coldest and I saw people out in Canada Goose Down jackets - I almost wanted to say to them, “take those off, you don’t deserve it!!!” But that would have been very un-Canadian of me!
Reach out to your People : We live in a world right now that is so beautifully connected - for FREE. Keeping in touch with friends and family back home made the journey over here so much sweeter. Remember, you’re the one that moved - generally I find it is harder for the non-movers then it is the moveie.
Have fun! : And don’t forget the SPF 50 - I buy mine in VATS at Target.