Moving to Australia, to start a new life can be exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time! You might be feeling lost and confused as to what to do and what not to do when you first move to Australia, but that’s where we come in–to help you prep for your big adventure!

Here is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do in your first week in Australia as either a backpacker or international student; so that your move is as seamless as possible.

  1. Check the Australian weather
    Make sure you pack for all the seasons! Some areas of Australia can be dry and hot, others can be wet and chilly, and some are very hot and very wet! 
  2. Book your accommodation
    Some cities are busier than others depending on the time of the year. Hostels, Hotels and Airbnb’s fill up quickly so to avoid disappointment when you arrive book your accommodation for at least the first week in advance – your jet lagged future self will thank you!
  3. Plan your route
    Have a plan about how you are going to get from the airport to your accommodation. Some cities have trains, airport business or public transport to the major arears. Uber and Taxis are often more expensive but preferred for late night arrivals. Note: If you plan to use public transport you might need to buy a transport card- more ion the below!
  4. Prepare your documents
    Before you board you flight have everything organised, your visa, your travel insurance, your bank details, emergency contact numbers and definitely the address of where you’ll be staying – have these in paper form in case your phone dies!
  5. Set up your phone
    Most places in Australia have WiFi that you can connect to, but this can be intermittent. As you don’t want to be stung with expensive roaming charges make sure your phone is “unlocked” and simply pick up a pre-Paid sim card from a convenience store, phone shop or supermarket when you arrive. Telstra and Optus are the two largest phone providers across Australia. 
  6. Set the Australian Hour.

Check into your accommodation!

First things first! In case you do not have friends or family with whom you can stay for a few days, you should book a temporary accommodation before you arrive in Australia. In case you have booked it in advance, your accommodation provider should be aware of when you are arriving. However you should be prepared to present any form of identification (ideally your passport) when you are checking in.

PRO TIP- Keep a written copy of your accommodation address so that just in case your phone battery dies and you do not remember it by heart, you will never be lost.

Install VEVO and ensure your visa details are correct!

The first thing you should be doing after clearing Immigration and Customs, is to install the VEVO app. Upon installation, the app will ask you for your Visa Grant Number and once entered it will notify you that your student visa is activated and you’re officially Onshore.

Set up your phone!

Although there are lots of phone providers in Australia, OPTUS is one of the most popular choices and has the most coverage across Australia. All you need to do is decide if you want a pre-paid or post-paid phone plan and what inclusions you want in terms of data, calling and texts.


Set up an Australian bank account!

Some banks in Australia give the option to set up an account with them while you’re still at home, such as NAB, Commonwealth, ANZ and Westpac.

If you do this then all you need to do in your first week is to pick up your card from the bank. Or, of course you can go to a bank of your choice when you arrive and open the account from scratch.

When you open your account you will need proof of address and ID documents to hand.

PRO TIP– Before moving to Australia, ensure you carry some cash with you which can be used till the time you receive your bank card.

Check more information about Tax file Number, ABN and Tax rates.

PRO TIP– Before moving to Australia, ensure you carry some cash with you which can be used till the time you receive your bank card.

Things You’ll need to open a bank account:

To open a bank account in Australia, you’ll be required to present your TFN, your postal address and 70 points worth of identification which usually consists of your passport, birth certificate and driver’s license.

Apply for a TFN!

You need to have a TFN (Tax File Number) if you legally wish to work in Australia. As a student, you need to pay 15.5% tax if you earn more than $450 a week; and a TFN will help you get a tax refund on it. All you need to do is go to the ATO Website, fill out a form and your TFN will be sent to you via post within two weeks. Easy peasy!

Purchase a transport card!

As lame as it may sound, arranging a public transport card is one of the first things you should be doing after moving to Australia. However, different cities have different systems are here is a breakdown of which card you need for which city.

Australian Tram

Public Transport in Sydney

Get yourself an OPAL Card at a Woolworths supermarket or a local newsagent. You can top up the card in the store or do it online via the Opal app. However, you can also tap on and off public transport in Sydney using your bank card.

Public Transport in Perth

Visit a Transperth Infocentre or any small Newsagent to get a SmartRider card. You can also top up your cards in the store, online, or through the machines located at most stops.

Public Transport in Melbourne

Mike card Melbourne

You can either buy a physical Myki Card in any 7 Eleven store or get a digital one on your phone, which is perhaps the most efficient way in our opinion! You can top it up via the app, in-store or station ticket offices.

Public Transport in Queensland

You can purchase a TransLink Go Card from either the Airport, or from convenience stores & train stations throughout the city. You can top up the card online, or at any Go Card retailers.


You can either purchase a MetroCard or you can just use your debit or credit card to tap on and off the city’s trams when in Adelaide. You can purchase and top up your metro card through retailers located around the city.

Decorate your room!

We get it! Being away from home can be hard. But personalizing your room is your very first step towards making the journey of moving to Australia a little bit easier. Put up some family pictures to make it feel like home! Just have fun with it and make the room feel like yours!

Get ready for O week!

Now that all the hard stuff is done, it’s time to start having some fun! Some institutions have a dedicated Orientation week (O Week) for new students. It is a week full of parties, local markets, university tours, games and networking. if you have heard from your university about the orientation week, we highly suggest you attend it and get to know your campus, your city and the people you’ll be studying with before the course commences.

Enjoy Australia–Your new home!

Last but not the least, relax and enjoy your new home! Explore and have fun exploring the place you are going to call home for the next few years. Once you’ve moved to Australia, strap on your walking shoes and go tour your city. Find hidden lanes and cosy cafes and make your experience one to remember!

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