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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 and to find my nests.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. Have fun! : And don’t forget the SPF 50 - I buy mine in VATS at Target.