Comprehensive Guide to Moving from New Zealand to Australia

There are numerous Kiwis moving to Australia every year, and the three islands are closely linked and fairly similar culturally.

Australia tends to have more work opportunities, a better climate, and many Kiwis already have relatives living across the Tasman Sea.

When moving, you need to think about getting everything across the chasm between the two lands, and that means a lot of planning, preparation and a bit of help from some friends.

Choosing how to Ship

Getting your belongings across from New Zealand to Australia is pretty simple. If you have a small amount, such as a single apartment full of stuff, you may be able to Airfreight for a few thousand dollars. Anything more than this and you are likely to sea cargo, which tends to take around a week instead of a few days.

The cost of moving a single apartment is somewhere around NZ$700 to NZ$1200, or a little bit more depending on what you are moving. As you move more, you’ll need more space, and you need to choose between a 20ft and a 40ft container if shipping.

You may also be able to share containers with other people and not take the whole space, which is a great way to cut on costs. With sea freight generally costing around a fifth of what it does to airfreight, you’re probably going to want to ship by sea.

By working with a reliable international moving company, you’ll get advice on your specific circumstances and how best to get your items from your New Zealand front door to your Australian front door. If you’re moving to Melbourne, for example, you’ll find some useful guidance at

Insurances, Storage and Transit

When you are shipping overseas, you’re going to have to think more carefully about how you pack your items than if you were travelling to your new destination by road. This means packing professionally yourself or bringing in specialists to do the job for you. Furniture, electrical equipment, vases and glasses, need to be protected, and that means polystyrene, furniture coverings, specialist boxes and white packing paper.

There are always risks in transit and so you need to get insurance cover, which again can be organised at very reasonable fees by your shipping company.

Think about whether you need to take everything with you, and whether you may want to sell some stuff, or put it into storage if you’re coming back to New Zealand in the foreseeable future. There’s no point shipping things that you aren’t going to use, and storage can be relatively affordable. Look at local storage companies in New Zealand, or if you need to store stuff in Australia, then think ahead and get the storage planned.

The transport and logistics process should be fairly smooth and straightforward if you use an agent, but you can equally do all of these things yourself if you have the time, energy, and are willing to do plenty of research.

Getting Your Car over to Australia

Shipping your car is not the same process as moving furniture. You will need some documentation, and to prove that the car meets the criteria for roadworthiness in Australia. You’ll also have taxes payable and prove how long you’ve owned the car in most cases. You may consider selling your car in New Zealand and buying one in Australia, and need to weigh up the pros and cons, cost-benefit of taking it over to Australia.

Get a quote for shipping your car including all the taxes and costs, and then see how much it will cost to replace your car like for like in Australia. That will be the basis of your decision

Getting through Customs

When moving to Brisbane, or anywhere else in Australia, you’ll need to have things cleared by the customs service in Australia. You don’t tend to have to pay any duties or taxes when moving personal items, as long as you have owned them for 12 months before leaving New Zealand. Inherited goods may attract some attention, and so you need to make sure you have the relevant documentation including the will and proof that the person you inherited from has passed.

There are certain things you cannot take to Australia, and you can find a list here. It includes all the obvious things like firearms without a license, banned substances and drugs, organic matter and so on.

There are also some things you might not expect to be on the prohibited list. You can take alcohol and tobacco products as long as they are for your consumption, but you may have to pay duty and tax.

Make sure you have a clear itinerary of what you are taking to make it easier for customs and put anything that is in question somewhere that is easy to access to speed things up.

The Quarantine of Possessions

If you have dirt or residue on golf clubs, on your car, or on any machinery or equipment, then it may be quarantined to ensure that there are no diseases, pests or anything else. The Department of Agriculture in Australia has very stringent rules about protecting agriculture and livestock, and so you may end up with a period of quarantine, or even having your stuff destroyed or sent back to New Zealand.

Have a look at the Department of Agriculture website to find out more, or speak to your specialist moving company.

Shipping to Australia – How Long Does It Take?

Shipments vary in length, and can be as short as a week, but tend to take up to 5 to 8 weeks for larger shipments that need to go through customs and possible quarantine. Plan well in advance and think about carrying your essentials with you, and perhaps doing airfreight of some items.

Don’t Take Everything

If you haven’t used something recently, or have a lot of items that are going to take up space in your new Australia home, then take the opportunity to de-clutter before you travel. This takes a bit of planning and is a great opportunity to sell or trash those items that are no longer part of your life.

Shipping to Australia from New Zealand is a relatively easy process, especially if you use a company that does it on a regular basis. It’s a route that many people take every week, and so there is very little new, and there are very few surprises to be had anymore. Plan properly, and take advice about how long your process will take from your moving agent.

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