What Not To Do When You Move To Australia

what not to do when you move to australia - sydney cityscape

The internet is full of advice on what to do when you move to Australia – get a TFN, open a bank account, choose a superannuation fund. Even my website has heaps of practical information about embracing your new Aussie life.

But what about the things you shouldn’t do when you move to Australia? The no-nos that will prevent you from settling in, the things you should never do if you want to build a happy and successful life down under?

Here’s my personal list of what NOT to do when you move to Australia.


Seriously, don’t panic. Moving to Australia can feel like the biggest decision of your life.

It’s a complete rollercoaster of emotions – one minute you’re so excited you could pop, and the next minute you feel completely deflated and terrified. That’s completely normal, but try not to let the panic take over.

Ride it out, and make sure you get support from your closest family and friends to get you through the lows.

Trust the process, stick to your plans, and be prepared to be flexible when a curveball undoubtedly comes your way.

Tell Everyone How Things Should Be Done

There’s nothing Aussies can’t stand more than newbies who turn up and start telling them how they used to do things ‘back home’ and that their way is a better way.

It rubs them the wrong way from the start and it will not endear you to anyone, even other expats and immigrants!

Just don’t do it.

Stay In Your Comfort Zone

There’s only one way to integrate and settling into your new Aussie life and that is to get out of your comfort zone.

Get out there, meet new people, and mingle with everyone you possibly can. You just never know who you will meet and who knows who. The next BBQ you go to might just be the place where you find your new bestie!

Don’t stick to only seeing people from other expat groups. The fastest way to settle in Australia is to make an effort with everyone you meet and find your tribe. That’s never done when you stay in your comfort zone.

Keep Converting Back To Your Old Currency

Once you’ve landed on Australian soil, give up converting back to your old currency. It really doesn’t matter if a chocolate bar is triple the price you’re used to or petrol is half the price you’re used to (England I’m looking at you here!).

What matters is how many Aussie dollars you earn each month and how far that goes here.

No good can ever come from converting in your brain, so try not to even think about it.

Be Fussy About Everything

By everything I mean things like what job you accept, where you live, and what car you drive.

Aussies are not bothered by ANY of these things; in fact, they are usually the total opposite of many South Africans. Sure, they might ask you what you do, but they will not look up to or down on you depending on how you reply.

Coming to Australia often means dropping a rung or two on the career ladder – and that’s totally OK! Chances are you’ll be earning more here anyway even if you take a step ‘back’ in your working life. And it probably won’t take long to work your way back up if that’s what you want to do.

But you know what? Many of us move to Australia for a better work life balance and to spend more time with the ones we love most – and sometimes taking a step back in your career can give you just that.

So, choose a lifestyle that works for you and your family – don’t choose a lifestyle based on what others might think of you, because I promise you, they couldn’t care less whether you live in Nedlands or Northam.

Ignore The Rules

Australia is nothing if not full of rules. From driving and parking to paying bills and submitting tax returns. There’s a specific way that things are expected to be done, and it’s really simplest and easiest to get on with paying attention to the rules.

This is often something that grates on South Africans especially, where we come from a land where there is little regard for the simplest of rules like stopping at traffic lights or paying a speeding fine. Because, you know, corruption and crime and all that.

But here, there is order, not chaos. And people are generally pretty compliant with it as it means we live in an organised world. A world where potholes get filled within hours, not months. Tech glitches are sorted in minutes, not weeks. Complaints are addressed, not ignored.

And if that’s the price you pay for safety, security and structure, I for one, think it’s a pretty small one!

And there you have my list of what NOT to do when you move to Australia.

What would you add to this list? Let me and everyone reading this know by adding your comment below!

what not to do when you move to australia

About Author

Helping you move to, settle in, and explore your new home in Australia. Avid reader, beach lover, and horse addict. As someone who has emigrated, not once, not twice, but three times, I know exactly what you’re going through. The ups and downs of emigration are faster than a rollercoaster and I’ve been there – three times!

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