Moving to Australia: What to Bring With You.

At some point I stopped counting, but I would imagine if I hadn’t then this post would be called Moving to Australia: Part 23. If you haven’t read any of the other entries in this series and you’re serious about moving to Australia, you can start at the beginning which is called An Idea.

If you are one of the lucky people and you’ve booked your ticket to come to the lucky country, then you will also need to book some removal men. I have touched on this subject before but not in the sort of depth that it deserves.

So what do you bring with you? There are two approaches.

MoverThe first is when you convince yourself that Australia is a very long way away, some of your stuff is getting a bit old anyway and it would be far easier to dump some of it, have a garage sale, try to sell some of your things with the house or give some of it away to family and friends. This way your removal expenses will be a little cheaper and you won’t have so much stuff to pack and unpack.

Then, all you need to do when you get to Australia is by some more stuff.

Or the second way is to take everything.

The beauty of the second system is there is nothing to decide, you are going to take the lot! There are some exceptions and I’ll come to those in a moment, but as for fridges, TVs, settees, beds, tables and chairs etc, it’s all going with you.



Anything that is likely to need specialist treatment over in Australia in order to get past AQIS, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Primarily they do not like anything that has been in the garden or more particularly close to the soil.

So forget your lawnmower, garden tools and all of your garden furniture, especially if it is made out of wood. But you don’t have to exclude everything. We had a chiminea and a round metal table with four metal chairs that were both wedding presents. So we didn’t want to leave those behind. We also had several large garden pots some of which cost £40 or £50 apparently. Yes, I was shocked too!

The answer was to borrow one of those jet wash machines and hook it up with some detergent and give these goods a thorough power spray. You are then requested to declare these items and explain the cleaning procedure that you have been through. All the items we cleaned this way came through customs without any problems. Well almost.

Australian customs picked out one of the garden pots, and then one pair of grey striped sneakers, one pair of blue/black hiking boots and a deck chair. We could either pay $176 to have them all treated before their release or we could give customs permission to destroy them.

We decided to let them ditch the shoes but we paid for the garden pot and the deck chair.

We were advised by somebody not to bring our television out as it wouldn’t work and it didn’t! But it only costs around $50 to buy a set top box to get it up and running again. But I probably wouldn’t bring the video or DVD recorder. They will not tune in to Australian TV stations.

That said, your DVD players will be fine and although your VHS video recorder will not record, it will still be able to play any tapes you already have. So take that into consideration.

Walk in wardrobes are quite common in most Australian homes so you may want to leave your stand-alone wardrobe behind. Having said that, we bought ours with us and it has come in very handy.

Any other exceptions? Yes, the kitchen sink and your car.

The Removal Company

We chose Pickford’s after getting several quotes. All the prices we received were quite similar so we went with Pickford’s because at the least we had heard of them. We had no regrets making that decision. Personally, I thought they did an excellent job!

The paperwork can be a bit of a pain, so the best thing to do with that is give it to the wife! (Well, I got away with it).

They did all the packing for us and when they turned up they were like locusts! About five of them stormed into our house and everything began to disappear into boxes at lightning speed. Be sure to set aside everything you want to take on the aeroplane (don’t forget you get a double baggage allowance) before they arrive, otherwise it will be in the box and taped up before you can say “have you seen my….?”

We had a 40 foot container……….

Our Container begins it's journey

Our Container begins it’s journey as my wife and daughter watch

…………..because we were told all of our stuff wouldn’t fit on a 20 footer. When it was loaded up it was about three quarters full. We had 239 “items” of which just over 200 were boxes and the rest were goods in bubble wrap.

The total cost door to door was £5,458.00 and we chose to pay an additional £652.84 for insurance. Some items did get damaged but true to their word, the insurance paid out. Not only did they pay out, but they paid us the cost of a new replacement for each damaged item. We had to jump through a few hoops to get it, (getting written quotations, filling in lots of forms and providing photographs) but there was really no more hassle than that.

So for a little more than £6,100 we had bought everything with us. So I prefer the “bring everything” approach. It’s easier and cheaper to unpack what you already own than it is to go out shopping for lots of new gear.

Visa Assessment Service

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sherrin Ball January 28, 2022, 11:23 am |

    The efforts to clean boots, garden kit and every other ”Fee” generating scheme just makes me laugh when covid viruses float in and out of Oz like a Submarine fitted with a Flyscreen door.
    All the same Bob a very good read of your huge efforts to migrating to a somewhat weird and stange place, especially after all the Lockdowns and the Nuremberg Code breaking Laws. I thing what the world has seen recently of Austrlia will tarnish the once ”Ultra Brand” for ever. Best of luck moving forward in the world’s worst Police State.

    • BobinOz January 31, 2022, 4:54 pm |

      World’s worst police state? You can’t expect anybody to take you seriously when you make a ridiculous claim like that.

  • Simon May 13, 2019, 2:01 am |

    Hey Guys
    So, was thinking about bringing stuff in – We have hiking boots etc; which will be packed into a box and sent over separately. Do these need to be declared somewhere and could the Authorities then decide to pull these out and ask us as per above on treatment etc? I guess i could get them cleaned here (UK) somehow?

    • Margaret Crawford May 13, 2019, 8:58 am |

      Hi Simon
      We bushwalking all over the world and provided we declare our boots and walking poles and demonstrate that they have been cleaned there is never a problem.
      It is clinging dirt that carries microorganisms which are a concern.
      We just scrub our boots and poles ourselves with a nail brush and ordinary disinfectant.
      So yes you should declare but provided ordinary clean there should not be a problem.

  • Bob October 7, 2018, 12:48 am |

    Hi Bob, I’m soon to become a BobinOz as well! I’ve followed your site for quite a few years and it has great info and stories. Thanks! I’ve been granted a permanent visa and will be moving in the next year from Canada. We already have a small place in Brisbane. We now have to decide what to get rid of and what, if anything we should bring as unaccompanied goods. Do you know if there is a time limit on when unaccompanied goods can travel to Australia? I don’t see that info anywhere on the Aus gov’t websites. I’m thinking we will sparsely furnish our place after we arrive and then decide after 9 months what we really want to bring (it’s just my wife and I and we’ll be retired). I’m thinking we don’t need a lot and certainly don’t want to clutter up a new place as badly as the one we have now. Getting rid of stuff is a real pain!! We’ll bring our golf clubs on the plane, but I’m really having a difficult time figuring out the cost/benefit of getting a small container. It seems to me the price of a lot of things in Oz have become more attuned to world prices in the last 10 years- cheap Ikea furniture is an example. It looks like some inexpensive items can also be found on Gumtree. My electronics won’t work, but my higher end speakers might be something I could ship and I would miss. Do you know if we can ship stuff to Oz over a year after we have arrived?

    • BobinOz October 8, 2018, 5:43 pm |

      That’s all this country needs, another BobinOz 🙂

      Anyway, yes, I think you are right, prices have gone a long way toward falling in line over the last 10 years, and we do have IKEA as well. If you Google “Sending your belongings as unaccompanied goods”, you will find the government’s page on the subject, it should come top. You are looking for their homeaffairs website.

      It doesn’t say anything anywhere about a time limit, and it does appear to state exactly what all the rules are to bring in unaccompanied goods. So I think you’ll be okay.

      Might be worth checking with an International moving company though, you can click on the Britannia banner in the above article if you want to do that. I think you can even get a quarter of a container and I’m sure that would be cheap enough to make it worthwhile bringing some of the things like those high-end speakers that you would really rather keep. For example, beds are quite expensive here, so if yours are still good, I would strongly consider shipping them over.

      Hope you get to love Brisbane is much as I do.

  • Wendy September 13, 2017, 9:19 am |

    Oh I forgot to say also that I have been told not to take beds as Australia has different size beds and mattresses !!! So presumably if you have a bed base and you need to get a new mattress then there might be a problem. Is that right or have they got it wrong?

    • BobinOz September 14, 2017, 8:34 pm |

      Ah, I’ve written about beds as well, check out the following post…

      We brought our beds with us, haven’t had any problems, the mattress sizes are slightly different but only by a couple of inches. We have bought a new mattress since moving here and it does fit okay on our UK base, which was a king-size bed and the mattress we replaced it with is called a queen here.

      I think it’s worth bringing your bed with you, they are much more expensive here, as you will see when you read the article.

  • Wendy September 13, 2017, 9:11 am |

    Hi Bob, thanks so much for your websites and all the helpful info. you share. You mentioned your trainers being rejected due to contact with UK soil. Was that because they still had remnants of earth on them. How strange it is that when you enter Aus. as a tourist they don’t seem to check any shoes in your luggage or on your feet. Well, not that I recall anyway.
    I have a question that is probably a bit vague. We are planning to join all the rest of our family in Oz. We’ve been in UK for 30 years but on NZ passports. Therefore will enter on NZ SCV visa. We will be retiring in Oz and understand that our pension will be frozen at the amount it is when we depart. (Thanks for that UK). Are you able to advise us as to how easy it is likely to be to live on our UK pension in Oz. We won’t have mortgage to pay. I realise this is a tricky one but after at least a thousand ( well perhaps not) ‘phone calls throughout the small hours of the night to attempt to find accurate info. out from Centrelink etc., I wonder if you or any of you contributors can help with this. I guess because we will be on such a fixed income I feel concerned that it might be inadequate. Any help/advice will be very much appreciated. Again, thanks for such a good site.

    • BobinOz September 14, 2017, 8:28 pm |

      Yes, the pensions thing is a real pain, I’ve written about it before…

      It’s difficult to say whether you will have enough to survive on your pension here, especially as you haven’t mentioned how much you will be getting 🙂 The problem is though, the longer you live the more insignificant that pension will become and the harder it will be to get by.

      If you check out the article above, you’ll see that a woman who retired in 1974 and came to Australia is still getting just £6.12 per week pension as it is frozen. I can assure you, you cannot survive in Australia on £6.12 per week.

      Here’s another post I did that you might find useful…

      All up though, it’s really difficult to put a number on how much you would need to get by, especially as I don’t know whether you would qualify for state health services or not. Medical bills can be massive if you have to pay privately or even get private medical insurance, which never covers everything.

      I think you will need to look at your budget very carefully, then decide from there. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

      As for my trainers, no, I didn’t clean them very well, that was the problem. If you clean stuff thoroughly, you shouldn’t have a problem bringing them through.

    • Margaret Crawford May 13, 2019, 9:10 am |

      Actually regarding the tourist shoes it is questioned whether there is soil attached to any article anyone is bringing in. The customs declaration everyone entering Australia fills out specifically asks about any object which has soil contamination.
      Quarantine is something every thinking Australian takes seriously.

  • Laura April 20, 2017, 2:26 am |

    I bought my other half a table tennis table for his birthday, but it’s never been opened because we decided it was easier to leave it packed and wrapped up and only open it once we get to Australia. Hence it has, rather obviously even to the untrained eye, not been ‘used’. Is this going to cause problems with customs? Should we hastily unpack it, play a few rounds, and then stick it all back in the box before shipping?! :O

    • Mark April 20, 2017, 7:18 am |

      The shipping company will wrap it up or box it up anyway I would not overly worry…. I bought a brand new lawnmower and vacuum cleaner with us I had owned them around 14 months even had teh receipts just in case as both were still boxed Customs decided to inspect both of these ,,,they are the things apparently they look for with leaves grass and dust etc respectively, both were cleared fine, be guided with your shipping company… Alternatively they can be bought here for around 300 Au $ brand new pro versions More houses have the room here for one.

      • Laura April 20, 2017, 11:41 pm |

        Thanks for your reply, Mark. As it stands, the table tennis table hasn’t even been put together and is presumably in lots of little bits inside the box. (I seem to remember from reviews that it would take two people a couple of hours to put together!) I only bought it in January (before I’d looked into the rules) so I won’t have had it a year before we move to Oz in September. I suspect if we leave it behind we won’t be able to justify spending money on another one – we’ll be too busy trying to find the money to buy a car, pay the rent and replace our discarded furniture!

        I will ask the shipping company if they fancy smuggling it through for me. 🙂

        Thanks again.

        • Mark April 21, 2017, 5:47 am |

          Dont leave it then especially if you are imminently leaving Just send it with you only say if asked.. I was never asked about our new looking stuff Plus you can import up to $1000 Au of goods into Australia free of duty Eg I have just bought some items from Amazon UK £220 on the price The VAT was removed so down to about 186.00 comes in free of duty into AU….Id bring as much as you can with you…I ma glad our shipper said oh you can take that and that ,,in fact I regret selling a few things The containers are bigger than your home stuff laid out looks, so a good shipper will say you have the room Furniture can be pricey here in stores so haggle.or rather say going ti look around and let them come down..

  • louise mckay February 14, 2017, 4:58 am |

    Hey Bob,
    Just wondering if you know of any reasonable furnished rentals or companies to use around Kenmore area of Brisbane? Lived in this area for a couple of years previously. Moving back over after being back in the U.K for a while and I can’t find any reasonably priced places. Don’t really want to ship furniture early to arrive on time as we need our furniture whilst here in the UK. but the price of furnished rentals that I am finding on the Internet are so expensive. Any help, gratefully received.

    • BobinOz February 14, 2017, 8:35 pm |

      Yes, I’m afraid furnished rentals here are more often than not short-term holiday accommodation, the sort of thing you will see on Airbnb. If you can find one and you want to book it for a month, for example, and especially if it’s out of season, it’s worth negotiating on the rate.

      It might also be worth you looking into short-term furniture rental, Google will help with that. I believe there are companies around that will rent you the basics while you wait for your furniture to turn up. That might be a better option.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone to recommend to you though.

  • Vidushi Mathur December 29, 2016, 5:14 pm |

    Hi Bob..
    I have been following your post ever since we have applied for our PR. I am currently based in Muscat Oman. Me and my husband will be moving to Australia in April most probably. I wanted to know what all house hold items and kitchen utensils i should bring from home . Is it allowed to bring a grinder or a sandwich maker in a suitcase?
    Do we have to buy new utensils??

    • BobinOz December 30, 2016, 5:50 pm |

      Yes, you can bring your kitchen utensils, there are no restrictions on that as far as I am aware. Just make sure they are all clean, which I’m sure they would be. Hope that helps and good luck with your move, Bob

  • Sinead holt August 21, 2016, 7:49 am |

    My family will be hopefully moving to the sunshine coast by next August. I am curious about shipping address for our stuff if we do take everything. More than likely we will have to stay in a holiday rental for a few weeks until we find somewhere to rent permanently, but what if it takes longer than expected – where do we send our stuff to. Will it be there within 2 weeks, or can the removal company store until we have an address.
    Also, if we decide not to bring our stuff where is good to get a whole lot for the home?
    I love the site btw, thanks.

    • BobinOz August 21, 2016, 8:50 pm |

      I always advise bringing all your stuff, buying replacements for everything when you get here can be very costly and time-consuming. Shipping your furniture, providing what you have got is in reasonably good condition, is the best way to go.

      As for what you do with it when you get here, speak to your removal company, they will almost certainly be able to store it for you. You will probably have to pay a weekly or monthly fee for this, another reason why it’s a good idea to speak to them so that you know what you are in for. Good luck with your move, Bob

  • malik muhammad zaheer July 26, 2016, 11:18 am |

    Excllent, very useful full.

  • Phil Collins June 16, 2016, 5:36 pm |


    I am 50 and moving to Sydney in September from the UK. I will work in the CBD for Sydney Trains. Where would you suggest to live? I was thinking of renting a room just as easier to make friends rather than cost. I was also thinking of only bringing my clothes and mountain bikes. I was tempted to bring my cars but wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. One of them is modified so I would hate to put it back to normal.

    • BobinOz June 17, 2016, 6:49 pm |

      I can’t help you with where to live, I don’t know Sydney well enough. Hopefully somebody else will help you out although you would be better off asking this question on my page about Sydney. Check the comments on that page as well, lots of chat about the suburbs.

      I think you will find the import taxes and the cost of transport as well as the cost of a possible safety check on your car will make importing it a bit too expensive. I know a few people that have looked into it and none of them ended up bringing their cars, so it’s probably best left behind.

  • Andrew Ramsden May 26, 2016, 5:02 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    We have been following your blog for a few years now and find it really useful.
    I have now become a resident and starting my new job at the end of June.
    I will be bringing my belongings out in a container, can you tell me would I have to pay duty on any NEW items that where in the container , they are solely for my own use for my new house
    Best wishes

    • BobinOz May 26, 2016, 7:00 pm |

      Thanks Andrew, glad to hear you have found my website useful.

      I don’t really know the full details of this, but I can tell you that when we moved here we were required to fill in a form to declare anything we were bringing in that was less than 12 months old.

      My suspicion is that if the new items you are bringing in exceed a certain amount in value, then they may attract some kind of import tax. You should be able to clear this up with your removal company. Good luck, Bob

  • Johan beyleveld April 14, 2016, 3:11 am |

    Good day I am moving from south Africa to australia what is better take all my furniture or sell all of them and buy new ones that side

    • BobinOz April 14, 2016, 4:51 pm |

      If you like the furniture you have, I’d bring it all with you, it will work out much cheaper in the long run.

  • Michelle April 5, 2016, 6:07 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Me, the Hub and our 2 young kids are set to move to Brisbane from the UK in May this year, so this is very helpful! Just wondering- is there anything you desperately missed that you left in your container and you wished you packed in your luggage? What should we definately remember to take with us in our luggage. We’re taking sheets and a blow up bed, car seat for one child, important documents.. Anything else?

    • BobinOz April 5, 2016, 9:02 pm |

      Good question, but in reality there were so many things that we desperately missed that simply could not have come with us as luggage. When we came here, with a one-way ticket we were allowed double luggage on the plane, but it’s still not enough.

      We bought a barbecue when we got here, I was using the carboard box it came in as a coffee table. My daughter desperately missed her toys, we had brought some, but you can’t bring them all.

      Me, personally, I really missed my toolbox. If I could have brought one thing that I didn’t, it would have been that. There we were in an empty house, no furniture or anything, and I was doing decorating from top to bottom and fixing the things that were broken.

      It’s a perfect time to do that kind of work, with no furniture in the house, absolutely nothing to get in the way whilst I was doing the painting and decorating.

      Except, all my tools were back in the UK and I had to buy new ones on an as needed basis. The funny thing was for me, when our furniture did eventually turn up, I was thinking ‘Dang it, I could have done with that taking another couple of weeks, I’ve not quite finished decorating yet and the last thing I want is a shed load of furniture turning up and getting in the way.’

      By the way, forget your car seat for the child, only child seats that comply with Australian specifications can be used here, I’m pretty sure yours won’t.

      Also, people do have garage sales here, it’s a cheap way to pick up toys for the kids and a coffee table that isn’t made of cardboard.

      • Michelle April 19, 2016, 6:32 am |

        Hi Bob,
        Thanks for your reply, very helpful. We will now definitely take some tools and will ditch the car seat idea.

        My kids are 4 and 2 so have a while til they go to school there. We’ll be living on one wage until my visa is sorted so am wondering if there is anything like childrens centre’s (which we have in the uk) which have free playgroups? Or free/ affordable preschool nurseries for my older one? Think your children may be older so not sure if you’ll be able to answer this one.. Can’t seem to find much on the Internet.

        • BobinOz April 19, 2016, 5:33 pm |

          Yes, my daughter is 12 now, but she was only three when we got here and she did go to a kindergarten a couple of days a week back then. Whether or not you need to pay depends on the kind of visa you’re on and your situation, but it’s not a subject I know a great deal about.

          I know somebody who does though, and you can read about that on the following page…

          Hope that helps, Bob

  • Julie March 31, 2016, 9:39 pm |

    Hi Bob. Does weight play a factor at all in the shipping costs? We have a treadmill, rowing machine and cross trainer which are quite heavy and would be very expensive to replace. Would we be better taking them with us?

    • BobinOz April 1, 2016, 6:50 pm |

      No, I’m pretty sure weight doesn’t come into at all, it’s container space, so it’s more to do with size than weight. If you can get all your stuff into the container and include your training equipment, then yes, I would definitely bring them.

  • Sau January 28, 2016, 2:37 am |


    Thank you for very useful article. I just wanted to ask if quarantine laws permit transfer of wooden furniture to Australia.



    • BobinOz January 28, 2016, 8:33 pm |

      No, quarantine have no problem with most wooden furniture. We brought through plenty of wooden items, for example a Mexican unit, a wooden bed frame, wooden shelving units and wooden storage boxes. No problem at all.

      Don’t bring wooden garden furniture though, they won’t like that.

      • Sau January 29, 2016, 2:06 pm |

        Thanks for the reply.

        • Sau February 21, 2016, 1:20 am |


          Is there some web link or information available to check the import duty on new furniture in Australia? The information I got says its ~15%. But I am not sure about it. Could some body please confirm?

          Thank you for the help.



          • BobinOz February 22, 2016, 6:26 pm |

            I’m not sure either; does anybody know the answer to this?

  • Sonia Saraiva October 1, 2015, 9:19 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    I´m moving to Adelaide (from Portugal) in November, I read in your blog that you get a double baggage allowance? How does it work?

    Thanks for your help,

    • BobinOz October 2, 2015, 1:14 pm |

      Yes, we got double baggage allowance, but I do think it does depend on the airline and you will have to ask. When we booked eight years ago, we asked for the double allowance and we were given it I think simply on the basis that it was a one-way ticket.

      All I can suggest is that you phone around the various airlines to get quotes and also to ask for that double allowance to see what they say. Good luck, Bob

  • Amanda October 24, 2014, 7:27 pm |

    Incredible article! I am going to live in Australia because of my work and I didn’t know what exactly to expect. Thanks a lot for sharing this! Regards!

    • BobinOz October 24, 2014, 10:02 pm |

      Thanks, glad it helped.

  • Caroline August 7, 2014, 1:09 am |

    Hi Chris, you’re welcome, let me know if you have any further questions.
    Many thanks

  • christine August 7, 2014, 12:26 am |

    Thank you so much, Caroline. That is really useful and very reassuring.

  • Caroline August 6, 2014, 10:43 pm |

    Hi Christine,

    With regards to your query, you should be able to import used household goods and effects into Australia on a 12 month visa and customs clearance should be as normal. Used effects are classed as items which have been owned and used for at least 12 months.

    Hope that helps, let me know if you need any further information.

    Many thanks

  • Christine July 29, 2014, 6:59 am |

    Hello Bob. We are currently waiting for our contributory parent visa and have found out that our son & his wife are expecting an addition to their family in February. We have therefore decided to apply for a 12 month visa E600 family stream and wait for our visa in Australia. What we want to know (shippers we have contacted don’t seem sure) is if we can ship our furniture without our permanent visa. I have found the customs website which says we can take furniture, cutlery crockery etc but not our clothes without the permanent visa!! Anyone know why clothes cannot be taken as unaccompanied personal effects. We know we can ship but don’t want to incur GST. Any ideas?

    • BobinOz July 29, 2014, 5:27 pm |

      First off, congratulations 🙂 I’m not surprised you want to join your son and his wife as soon as possible.

      As for your question, I don’t know the answer, but I can kind of understand the restrictions on stuff you can ship without a permanent visa. When people start bringing all their personal clothes on a holiday visa, customs and immigration probably get rather nervous that it’s not a holiday at all, more likely a holidaymaker intent on staying permanently somehow.

      I am guessing on that one though.

      I have a shipping expert I work with here, Caroline, I’ll see if she can help.

      Thanks, Bob

  • Hilary Guest May 9, 2014, 10:16 pm |

    Hi David

    That made me laugh and reminded me of my currrent situation here in Blighty. Surrounded by 15 boxes plus bike box which have gone all the way to Sydney, spent several months in self-storage in the city at £100pm and then come all the way back again! Plus more boxes in long-term storage for the past couple of years here in UK, at £50pm ready to leap onto a container ship the moment I give the signal. Has cost so much I could have re-purchased my meagre possessions ten times over by now. I’ve had to switch off from thinking about it and just put it down to being part of the process of migrating. Hopefully, I and all the boxes will be reunited happily in the next few months on aussie soil, for the second attempt!

    The best made plans of mice and men eh…

    All the best with that 20ft container load, Hilary

    • David Fletcher May 10, 2014, 8:52 am |

      Hi Hilary

      Damn I am started to feel a bit better now thanks 😉

      I hope all goes well for you this time and you are reunited with your belongings it will be like Christmas 🙂


      • Hilary Guest May 12, 2014, 1:40 am |

        Thanks David – here’s hoping I still like everything that’s in the boxes. It’s been a long time…..!


  • David Fletcher May 9, 2014, 7:48 am |

    Hi Bob,

    We are just going through the container nightmare quotes again ( moved from UK to NZ now to OZ fingers crossed).
    I have so far fallen to the floor several times at the cost to move a 20ft Container across the Tasman. So far the cheapest quote we have had is over £300 ($600NZD) more than it cost us to bring a 20ft container from Blighty back in 2010!!!!

    I think a major Garage sale is on the cards


    • BobinOz May 9, 2014, 10:13 pm |

      Yeah, the Tasman is a bit choppy and rather cold 🙂

      Seriously though, that is ridiculous isn’t it? I’m not sure a garage sale is the answer though, you’ll be sorry when you get here and have to buy everything all over again at new prices.

      Cheers, Bob

      • David Fletcher May 10, 2014, 8:54 am |

        We are looking at probably selling everything that is over 3 years old as prob ready to start breaking down anyways then a shopping trip, you would be surprised how much cheaper stuff is on OZ compared to NZ


        • BobinOz May 11, 2014, 9:32 pm |

          Well, yes, I suppose that makes sense. New Zealand is an even smaller market than Australia so I suppose it makes sense that stuff is more expensive there.

  • Caroline Mason February 27, 2014, 7:42 pm |

    Hi Rosanne,

    It’s usually fine to take tools with you but we recommend that they are spotlessly clean as Bob mentioned, making sure they are free from all visible dirt / residue.

    You can clean them with water or you can also use a clean oily rag to make sure they are clean e.g. using WD40 if you are worried about your tools going rusty.

    With regards to removals from Ireland, we are based in the UK so suggest contacting a FIDI registered mover (, FIDI is an organisation of quality international moving companies.

    Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions at all.


  • Rosanne February 17, 2014, 2:51 am |

    Hi folks,
    Just wondering has anyone shipped tools over to Oz and what would be customs take on carpentry/joinery tools which would obviously have been in contact with timber, albeit dead timber, in Éire( Ireland). Does company featured on this blog do removals from Ireland?
    Appreciate any feed back and advice.
    Thanks, Rosanne

    • BobinOz February 17, 2014, 8:02 pm |

      Just my view Rosanne, but I reckon if those tools are clean enough, it might be a good idea to blast them with a jet wash, I’m sure they will get through okay.

      I have sent an email to my contact in the removal company, but I did get an out of office reply back. Hopefully she will be able to give you a more accurate answer when she returns next week.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Rosanne February 17, 2014, 8:13 pm |

        Cheers Bob,
        Efficient as always. Blog is a lifeline, full of so much useful and practical information.
        No doubt will be in touch again soon,

  • Rosa November 28, 2013, 3:30 am |

    Hi Bob. I’m moving to Victoria in the New Year. Do airlines still offer double baggage on one way tickets? I can’t seem to get any information,
    Your blog is great and has already answered loads of my questions as well as being upbeat and entertaining. Many thanks!

    • BobinOz November 28, 2013, 8:21 pm |

      I don’t know actually Rosa, I only did the one-way flight once 🙂 That was in 2007 and we certainly got double baggage on that occasion. I think you may have to make a phone call.

      Glad you have enjoy my blog as well, hope you enjoy Victoria too.


  • Steve October 17, 2013, 4:05 pm |

    Thanks for the response Bob.

    Well we made it through the quarantine inspection. I chose to be my own ‘customs broker’ as the only quote we received was almost $3K. My charges were closer to $1,500 – mostly the depot charge.

    I have to give kudos to my wife for an excellent packing job and to the depot people for not damaging anything while unpacking. We had minimal damage on a few items that was not of any real consequence. The only issue AQIS had was with a plastic Christmas wreath we hadn’t realized had real pinecones attached!

    We both agreed, if we ever do a big move like this again we’re either using crates or selling everything and starting fresh! We’re very glad to have all our ‘stuff’ but it’s been very costly to bring it all over!

    Thanks again for the blog and keep up the good work!

    • BobinOz October 17, 2013, 10:14 pm |

      You tried to smuggle in real pinecones!! Have you any idea how dangerous it would be if pinecones were introduced into this country?? 🙂

      Glad you got it all sorted out, not sure how much stuff you’ve got, but selling everything and starting all over isn’t a good plan, crates aren’t bad though.

      Cheers Steve, hope you settle in and enjoy it here is much as I do.


  • Steve October 8, 2013, 11:03 am |

    Hi Bob – my wife has been following your blog ever since we decided to make the move “back” to OZ. I grew up here but left to do uni in the US and ended up working there for about 15 years after, getting married, etc etc.
    We have just moved to Brisbane 2 months ago and our container is finally here. I am finding it a real hassle to get our container through customs/quarantine. They are (of course) planning an inspection however I am unable to attend the inspection due to ‘safety reasons’. Did you have the same experience?
    Also, it sounds like you had way more stuff even than we did (just a 20ft with about 92 items on our packing list)… did quarantine have to pull out and inspect every single thing? Just curious.
    Thx and awesome blog! I appreciate all the insight…

    • BobinOz October 8, 2013, 1:41 pm |

      Hi Steve

      Welcome back, I hope you and your wife enjoy Brisbane is much as I do.

      As for customs, I didn’t really have any problems although I didn’t actually request to attend the inspection, I just let them get on with it. As the article says, there were just three things they didn’t like, all items that had come into contact with soil. When our goods did finally arrive, we didn’t really see evidence that everything had been inspected, but some items had been looked at for sure.

      Whatever their full process is, I don’t know, but I do know there is no way round it.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Caroline Mason September 24, 2013, 12:55 am |

    Hi Bernadette,

    We offer a shared container service to Australia whereby you just pay for what you ship i.e. you pay for the space you take up in the shared container. This is calculated on a per cuft basis so you can ship from as little as a suitcase to a much larger shipment.

    If you would like a quote, feel free to e-mail or contact us.

    Hope this helps.

    Many thanks

    • BobinOz September 24, 2013, 9:10 pm |

      Ah, that changes things Bernadette, so there is a solution if you don’t want to bin everything 🙂 Click on Caroline’s name if you want to get in touch with her, there’s a contact form on her website.

      Thanks Caroline for the info, Bob

    • Rebecca Jenkins October 19, 2016, 9:25 pm |

      Hi caroline, could you please contact me so I can discuss a container please.
      Thanks, Rebecca

    • Sinead holt October 19, 2016, 10:53 pm |

      I would be looking for this type of service, could you send me details so I can contact you caroline. Thanks

  • Bernadette Davies September 22, 2013, 1:18 am |

    Hi Bob!

    Me, my husband and 10 month old baby are looking to move to Oz… We don’t own a house and currently rent a furnished (tiny) house we only own a couple of bits of furniture – literally just my little boys cot and wardrobe and probably only own enough stuff to fill a transit van… how would you suggest moving this? Seems a bit OTT to rent one of those large containers… even a quarter of one seems excessive! Living in a tiny 2 bed terrace means we’ve learned to not hang on to too much stuff…


    • BobinOz September 23, 2013, 5:43 pm |

      Hi Bernadette

      Well, as you know, you can rent a quarter of a container, but as you say, even that seems a lot for what you have got and will probably cost you £2000 or more. I think you need to have a serious look at what you do have and how much of it you really want to keep.

      It really depends on what you have got there, but it might possibly be the case where you simply sell what you have and start new when you get here.

      Thanks, Bob

  • Julita September 1, 2013, 5:11 am |

    Hi Bob.
    Great website! So much useful informations.
    ‘Australian customs picked out one of the garden pots, and then one pair of grey striped sneakers, one pair of blue/black hiking boots and a deck chair’.
    What was wrong with the sneakers, boots and chair?
    Why not to take car with you?
    Cheers Julita

    • BobinOz September 2, 2013, 1:44 pm |

      Hi Julita

      Thanks, glad you like my website 🙂

      They do not like items that have come into contact with UK soil and these items obviously had been. As for the car, it’s just too expensive a process once you have paid for the transport, import taxes, and all the other costs involved.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Thiago Oliveira May 28, 2013, 10:33 pm |

    Hi Bob!

    Your website is great! Thanks for all the time you dedicated to share your experience and help us out!!

    My wife and I, together with our 9-month little boy, are planning to move to Brisbane in Jan. We are Brazilians, living in Kuwait for 5 years and we got the visa a couple of years back but decided to extend the stay here for professional reasons.

    We would prefer shipping our stuff from Kuwait on early Dec and then leave this country for good – but to Brazil instead! Spend Christmas with our extended families, attend a couple of weddings and then leave to Brisbane on late Jan/early Feb. That means our stuff would probably arrive before we do! We have close friends in Australia that would not hesitate to receive our goods if that’s possible.

    So my questions are:
    (1) Is it possible to let the stuff arrive before we do?
    (2) Do you have any experience/recommendation regarding a storage where we could keep our stuff on the mean time?

    • BobinOz May 29, 2013, 9:15 pm |

      Hi Thiago

      I can’t see anything wrong with your stuff arriving before you do, I would suggest you talk to your shipping agent as they will almost certainly have storage facilities to keep it all safe until you get there.

      Good luck, hope your move goes well. Bob

  • Caroline Mason April 6, 2013, 12:36 am |

    Hi Jayne, from an international removals perspective, it is generally cheaper to ship than to replace. We have a tool on our website where you can compare this (Instant Quote tool) – It is however based on shipping costs from the UK but it may give you an idea. Good luck with the relocation!


  • Jayne April 4, 2013, 9:51 am |

    Hiya Bob, just want to say, love your blog, it has been a godsend for me to get a no s***, Brit approach to moving to Oz. I’m originally from the UK, but have been in the US for 12 years, and we are headed to Brissy in June. I just wondered if anyone on here had any recent ideas/experiences regarding shipping; we’re looking at $10,000+ for a 20ft container, and cannot even bring most of our electrical gear. Would it really cost that much to replace a 3 bed house with half decent, even second hand, stuff?

    • BobinOz April 5, 2013, 12:25 am |

      Hi Jayne, glad you love my blog and that it has been helpful.

      I don’t know what kind of stuff you’re bringing, but my guess is it’s going to be worth the $10,000 to bring it here. What I think you need to do is place a value on the stuff you’re thinking of shipping and then take a look at my page about The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything and price up what it would cost to replace it all.

      There are links on that page to second-hand stuff as well, so that should help also. As you say, you can’t bring all your electrical stuff, so then just maybe starting from scratch for you may be a better option.



      • Jayne April 5, 2013, 1:18 am |

        Thanks Bob, I also have to factor in is the time spent replacing all those items, then also all our familiar ‘home’ things arriving just at the time when the first bout of homesickness kicks in. May help to settle our 3 year old a little quicker, although she asks every day if we’re ‘going to live in Australia today’…I think she’s the only one who’s realised this is actually happening 🙂 Will wait for that last shipping quote to come in and then make the decision.


        • BobinOz April 5, 2013, 10:19 pm |

          It was like Christmas when our stuff turned up, and my three-year-old daughter was so pleased to see all of her old toys and even her furniture. It definitely helped her to settle in, and us too.

          So yes, that is another consideration.


  • Marisa Wright January 22, 2013, 12:40 pm |

    Having moved from the UK to Africa and back again, and from the UK to Oz, I’ve learned the hard way that replacing stuff is always far more expensive than you think.

    The big difficulty is that loading everything into a big container isn’t quite the answer, either. Because it can take months for the container to arrive, and what do you do in the meantime? I found that I ended up having to buy a kettle, toaster, cutlery etc etc to get by till the container arrived, so I spent the money anyway. I think you have to bear that in mind and not bother taking things you’re going to use every day.

    • BobinOz January 25, 2013, 3:23 pm |

      You are right Marisa, those early days waiting for your stuff to turn up can be difficult and maybe you will have to buy one or two items to see you through. I bought a gas barbecue and the cardboard box it came in became our coffee table.

      We boiled water in saucepans and made toast on the oven grill. It was a long six weeks waiting, it’s like Christmas when all of your furniture turns up. If you can beg, borrow or buy some second-hand things to get you by, long-term you will save money.



      • Anna August 4, 2015, 2:28 am |

        So where did you sleep till your beds etc arrived??

        • BobinOz August 4, 2015, 4:48 pm |

          Bought a spare double bed when we got here knowing it wouldn’t go to waste for when we had visitors. Bought a barbecue, used the cardboard box as a coffee table. That sort of thing. We did know some people who lived here as well, so were able to borrow stuff to help get us by.

          I have to say though, I don’t advise buying a house before you get here, it’s not a very clever thing to do and we were lucky to get away with it, but we had been here three times before on holidays and knew exactly where we wanted to live.

          For people who do not know anybody when they arrive here it can be very tricky, it’s even hard to rent a place before you arrive. I do cover the subject a little bit in the following post…

          Hope that helps, Bob

  • carol January 9, 2013, 9:19 pm |

    I am moving from Australia to the uk…

    • BobinOz January 10, 2013, 8:43 pm |

      Ouch! Rather you than me, good luck though!

  • BobinOz January 9, 2013, 8:37 pm |

    Hi Carol

    Caroline certainly answered all your questions about the actual physical removal of your goods, her company is extremely experienced is shipping people’s worldly goods over to Australia, so well worth a look.

    Have a good look around this website as well, there’s lots of information about moving to Australia and if you get any more questions, ask them on a relevant post or page as a comment and we’ll try and help you out.

    Hope everything goes well.



  • Caroline Mason January 9, 2013, 7:11 pm |

    Hi Carol

    I work for a UK International Removals company, John Mason International. If you need any help with regards to arranging shipping for your move or import requirements for the UK, please feel free to get in touch.

    You may have already know this but most people generally start arranging their move around 3 months before they leave. The usual process is that a pre-move survey is arranged with the moving company at your residence. During this process you would point out what you would like to ship, what you don’t want to ship etc. on a room by room basis. An inventory / packing list is then created which is then used to create a quotation for you.

    There are a couple of shipping options depending on the volume of household effects you have or are planning to take. As a rule of thumb, the contents of a three bedroom house usually fit into a 20ft container. There are also other options such as a shared container option or a 40ft or 40ft high cube container.

    I hope the above info might help you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


  • Carol January 9, 2013, 6:51 pm |

    Hi bob
    My English hubby wants to move back and buy a business with another uk mate wanting to move back. This means uprooting us all(have a dog and four yr old) from our friends and life here. I do love the uk-i lived there for six years but don’t really want to go. however, He’s not enjoying his job here and has limited options for employment elsewhere in the state as his job is quite specialised. So just in the process of getting info on freight, renting out our house ( will it cover the mortgage??!!) etc. any help you or your readers can I’ve on this process would be brilliant, and ease my anxiety..

  • Gina November 25, 2012, 3:43 am |

    Hi Bob,
    Planning on moving to Melbourne from Los Angeles in June 2013. I have some questions for you, this seems overwhelming for me. I do not want to ship everything but I want to take a dinning room, a family/living room,my bedroom and boxes.

    1. What does “used” personal belongings mean?? Do they HAVE to be used. what If I bought/ received new household and kitchen items (pots/pans/food storage containers) all in original packing boxes, I can not take these??
    2. Does it matter how many boxes a person takes, or once they have a container (for example a 20 footer) u can fill it up as much as u want? or do shipping companies charge by weight?

    • BobinOz November 26, 2012, 3:09 pm |

      Hi Gina

      I think the reasoning behind this is that new goods may be subject to importation tax. I believe there is a limit on how much new stuff you can bring in, but I’m unsure of what that limit might be.

      If you order a 20 foot container then yes, I believe you can fill it up as much as you want, I’m pretty sure it is not linked to the weight.

      Hope that helps


  • BobinOz October 8, 2012, 3:41 pm |

    Hi Teresa

    I see you have already had a professional answer from Michelle at John Mason, they are a highly reputable and experienced international removal company so they certainly know all the rules. Out of interest, we brought over a wooden framed bed and a six-foot wooden Mexican unit, had no problem with either. I wouldn’t bring outdoor wooden furniture though, AQIS didn’t like my deckchair.



  • Michelle Shaw October 5, 2012, 10:16 pm |

    Hi Teresa

    My name is Michelle and I work for the shipping company John Mason international. As long as the wooden furniture has been treated then it shouldn’t cause any problems with AQIS – all shipments will be subject to the basic AQIS examination upon arrival into Australia which will incur fees.

    If you would like to email me – – I can send you some leaflets which may assit you on the kind of items quarantine will be looking out for.

    Kind Regards

    Michelle Shaw
    John Mason International Ltd.

    Call us free on: 0800 169 3425
    Visit our website:

  • Teresa October 5, 2012, 9:24 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    Your site is actually one of the reasons why my husband and I are now moving to Melbourne in January – your advice made it sound like a no brainer!

    We’re now at the ‘planning everything’ stage and one of my first questions to you is about our wooden furniture. I know you say avoid things that have been in the garden but if you read all the AQIS info it makes it sound like any wooden furniture will be subject to inspection, which costs money. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘dummies’ version of information anywhere. Any help would be appreciated!

    I’ll be sure to ask you more questions later. 🙂
    Many Thanks


  • james July 2, 2012, 12:49 am |

    Hi Bob
    Can you use UK Blu-ray players in Australia?
    I’ve got lots of DVD’S recorded on a UK DVD recorder and my camcorder footage on Blu-ray discs using my laptop. Any ideas if these will work on Australian bought Blu-ray players/TV’S?
    Hope you or someone out there can help.

    • BobinOz July 3, 2012, 2:00 pm |

      I think you would need a multi regional player to play UK and Australian Blu-ray discs. Or you might like to search Google for blue ray multi regional hacks, although I’m not sure if you are breaking the law if you hack your own player, but you would certainly invalidate the warranty.

      But then you’re not going to get a flight back to the UK to return it to Currys, are you?

  • hayley April 10, 2012, 1:40 am |

    Hi Bob, my parner and daughter and I are planning to make the move. we are not bringing any furniture but i would like to take several household items and toys. we would not need a 20 ft container as that’s too big- do u know is that the smallest size container? and do you pay by weight?

    • BobinOz April 10, 2012, 10:04 pm |

      Hi Hayley

      I think you can share a container, not sure what the smallest part of one you could buy though. I think you can get a quarter of a container on a shared basis. I don’t think weight comes into it, its volume. Hope that helps.


    • Caroline Mason April 11, 2012, 4:58 am |

      Hi Hayley,

      My name is Caroline from the International shipping company, John Mason International ( If you don’t have enough for a full container, we can offer a shared container service to Australia which is usualy more cost effective for a small shipment. Please feel free to e-mail me at or call 0800 093 2623 if you would like a quote.

      Thank you and kind regards


      Caroline Mason
      John Mason International Ltd
      Tel: 0800 093 2623

  • BobinOz April 15, 2011, 7:54 pm |

    Congrtaulations Terry! Great to hear you got it all sorted and I hope you like Brisbane as much as I do. Glad to have been some sort of help.

    Let me know where in Brisbane you settle and what you think of it.



  • Terry April 15, 2011, 5:33 am |

    Hey Bob, Haven’t written in a while. Your blogs have been very helpful. We are on our way. We will be leaving the USA to Brisbane July 27. We are in the process of sorting out our crap. I think most of our stuff is going to be shipped. We have ordered a 40 foot container and hopefully all will turn out great.
    Thanks for all your help, Terry