Australia is a beautiful and welcoming country, but moving to a new place can be daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone. Building a social life and making friends is an essential part of settling into a new place. Here are my personal tips on how to make friends in Australia, both online and offline, including tips for how to make friends in Australia both before you land and after you arrive.
Why It’s Important To Make New Friends In Australia When You Arrive
Making new friends locally when you arrive in Australia to live is crucial for several reasons.
Firstly, it helps you to acclimate to your new surroundings more quickly and comfortably. Local friends can provide you with valuable information about the area, including where to find the best restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. They can also introduce you to the local culture, customs, and traditions, which can help you to better understand and appreciate your new home.
Secondly, making new friends can provide you with a support system, particularly if you’re feeling homesick or lonely. Having people to talk to and spend time with can help to alleviate these feelings and make you feel more connected to your new community.
Finally, making new friends can lead to a multitude of new opportunities, whether it be career-related or personal. You could find your dream job or your new BFF – you just never know who’s around the corner!
Overall, making new local friends is essential for a successful and fulfilling transition to a happy life in Australia.
How To Make Friends In Australia Online
One of the easiest ways to make friends in Australia is through social media platforms.
Join local Facebook groups, such as my Facebook group for South Africans In Perth, Aussiekaners or Expats In Perth – Australia WA, to find people who are in a similar situation.
Many of these Facebook groups arrange in person meet ups, so not only can you get in touch with new people online, but you can then arrange to meet them in real life too.
Pre-Covid I hosted several meet ups and events which were always well attended, from picnics and bbqs in local parks to sit down ladies afternoon tea events at my local South African café.
Meetup is another excellent platform that you can use to find and meet people with similar interests. You can join groups based on your hobbies or interests, such as hiking, cooking, or art, and attend events organised by the group.
How to Make Friends In Australia In Person
Joining a sports club is an excellent way to make new friends. Whether you’re into cricket, hockey, rugby, or tennis, there are plenty of clubs across Australia to choose from. Just Google your favourite sport and your local area and I’m sure you’ll find a club not far from you to check out. Having a common interest like a specific sport can help you click with new friends quicker.
Parenting groups are also great for meeting new people, especially if you have younger children. There are heaps of baby and toddler groups for those not yet in full time school where you can meet other parents and carers during the day.
For families with older children who are attending school, consider joining your school parent committee to get involved, and make sure you attend school events to meet other parents.
Volunteering is another way to meet new people and start to build a social circle. People who volunteer often have a shared passion for helping others and the causes they support and can be a great inroad to meet people with similar values and passions as you.
Making Friends Before You Arrive In Australia
If you’re planning to move to Australia, you can try to make connections before you arrive. It is harder to do from afar but sowing the seeds before you arrive can help make for a softer landing when you do arrive.
Join online groups or forums for expats, where you can ask questions about your upcoming move and get advice.
You can also reach out to people that you might know (either in person or via a friend or family member) who already live in Australia and ask for their advice and tips. This will help you feel more confident when you arrive to meet these people that have helped you along the way and give you a head start in building your social life.
Making Friends Once You Are Living in Australia
The golden rule of making friends in Australia is that you should never turn down an invitation for at least the first 12 months. Whether it’s an invitation from a colleague, neighbour, or someone you’ve met at a social event, feel the fear and just say yes. You never know who you might meet or where it might lead!
We said yes to heaps of gatherings and met people through other people – it was so helpful to us to cast a wide net, as it’s impossible to like and get on with everyone, so the more people you meet the better the chance of finding someone you can be friends with long term!
Tips for Families
If you’re moving to Australia with your family, joining parents groups or attending school events is an excellent way to meet other parents. You can also consider joining local family-friendly clubs or organisations, such as a youth sports league or hobby/skills programs either for kids or as a family.
Something as simple as heading to the park for a play can help you meet other families with children of a similar age too. Most kids are quite fearless when it comes to striking up a conversation with another child and that can often be a way to meet other parents and families. The kids play together while the parents chat and before you know it, you’ve swapped numbers and arranged a playdate.
There are some good online sites like Babycenter you can join too where you can connect with other families and also meet them in person if you both agree to it. I used some online forums at first when we arrived and it did help me just to be able to talk to other people instead of being stuck at home with a small human all day! These days it’s probably easier to just join local Facebook groups but these forums can give you an alternative, especially if you aren’t on social media.
Tips for Couples
Making friends as a couple with no children can be challenging, especially when you move to a new country like Australia. However, there are a few key tips that can help you meet new people and build meaningful relationships.
First, consider joining social groups or clubs that align with your joint interests, such as hiking, book clubs, or wine tasting groups. This can help you meet like-minded individuals who share your hobbies and passions.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and attend social events, such as parties or gatherings hosted by your co-workers or neighbours. Be open and friendly, and try to initiate conversations with others.
Finally, consider volunteering in your community. Not only is it a great way to give back, but it can also help you meet new people and make friends who share your values and interests.
With time and effort, you can establish a strong social network in Australia as a couple without children.
Tips for Singles
Moving to a new country can be an exciting yet challenging experience, especially if you’re a single person trying to make new friends.
Here are some key tips on how to make friends in Australia as a single:
Join social groups or clubs that align with your interests, such as hiking, photography, or book clubs. This will allow you to meet people with similar interests and passions.
Attend community events and festivals, such as cultural or music events, which can be a great way to immerse yourself in Australian culture and meet new people.
Use social media platforms such as Meetup, Facebook groups, and online forums to connect with people and find events or groups in your area.
Volunteer for local community organisations or charities. This can be a great way to meet new people while giving back to the community.
Be open and friendly, and don’t be afraid to initiate conversations with people you meet. Australians are known for being friendly and approachable, so don’t be shy in reaching out to others.
Tips for Children
If you have children, join your local parent groups or get your children involved in school activities, sports and special events. This can help them build friendships with other children who have similar interests.
You can also enrol your children in local sports clubs or after-school activities, which is an excellent way for them to make new friends who love doing the same activities and sports as they do.
Obviously if they are at the right age to attend pre-school or school, this will be the best way for your children to meet new people and make new friends.
Tips for Over 60s
Making new friends can be a daunting task at any age, but particularly so as one gets older. However, there are several ways to make new friends when you move to Australia, even if you are of an older generation.
One of the best ways to meet new people is to join a social club or group for seniors that interests you. This could be something like a monthly book club, local gardening club, community theatre, or a community service organisation which interests you. Many local libraries offer talks on interesting topics as well as helpful workshops and classes so join your local library to keep up to date with what they offer.
Volunteering is also a great way to meet like-minded people and make a positive impact in your community. Working in one of Australia’s many charity shops is a great and easy way to volunteer as they always need an extra pair of hands.
Another option is to take classes or attend workshops on topics that interest you, such as cooking, art, or fitness.
Lastly, consider attending local events and markets, which can be a great way to meet new people while also experiencing the culture of your new home.
Remember to be open-minded, approachable, and genuine when meeting new people, and you will be well on your way to making new friends and building a support system in your new community.
To sum it all up, no matter what your age or personality type, making friends and building a social life in Australia is often essential to feeling at home in a new place. Whether you prefer online or offline methods, there are plenty of ways to meet new people and build meaningful relationships. Just remember my golden rule: always say yes to invitations, and be open to trying new things. Good luck!