Moving to Australia From New Zealand - What you Need to Know

Travel Inspiration

Tammy George

A plane flying from New Zealand to Australia

So you’re all set to make the move from the long white cloud to Australia? There are a few things you should know before you land to make the move that little bit smoother.

How Many New Zealanders Call Australia Home?

When you arrive in Oz, you’ll be in good company. In 2019, there were almost 570,000 New Zealand born nationals living in Australia. New Zealanders make up 7.6% of the overseas-born population and 2.2% of the overall Australian population. New Zealanders are the fourth largest migrant community in Australia, with a median age of 43.6 years. 

Moving from New Zealand to Australia

New Zealand to Australia’s east coast might be a short plane ride (shorter in fact than flying from the west to east coasts of Australia), but there’s a few logistics that you will need to sort out before you arrive or in the first few months after. Take a look at some of the things you will need to consider.   

Health Insurance

Australia has a world-class health care system but it’s expensive if non-residents need hospital care. However, some overseas visitors to Australia who are on a temporary visa qualify for the ‘Reciprocal Health Care Agreement’. The agreement means New Zealand residents are covered for medically necessary treatment in a public hospital. There are limitations however. You won’t be able to choose your own doctor and treatment is only available in a public, not private hospital which can have lengthy waiting lists depending on the treatment you require.  

Also, Medicare doesn’t cover out of hospital services such as ambulance transport, dental, optical or chiropractic, which could see a bill of several hundred dollars. 

Health Cover for New Zealand Visitors

Overseas visitors' health cover means you will be able to choose your own doctor and have treatment in a private hospital with little to no waiting time. 

HIF can provide you with a Visa Compliance Letter if you need to provide it to the Department of Home Affairs as part of your application for an Australian visa.

A New Zealand woman is on the phone with her health insurance after breaking her leg in Australia.

Public Transport

Due to the vastness of the Australian continent (around 29 New Zealand islands fit inside), some public services are provided by each state or territory rather than the commonwealth government. Public transport is one of them. If you don’t intend to buy a car when you arrive in Australia, you may choose to use public transport and the odd taxi or Uber to get around. 

If you’re staying close to the CBD of a major capital city when you first arrive, you’ll find public transport quick and easy to use. Many of the capital cities offer free transport in the CBD to help move around the city. Like most cities in the world, the suburban areas of the city have public transport options but they won’t run as frequently as what’s available in the inner city. If you don’t have a car, it’s best to investigate the public transport options available when deciding where you will live. Most Australians outside the city areas own a car to get around. Only the largest towns in rural areas have good public transport services. 

Below is the main public transport provider for each capital city. The websites have Trip Planners that will tell you how long an average journey will take you. Enter your start and finish destinations and day/time of travel to see how long it will take by car, mixed modes of public transport and to walk.   

Public Transport Services State by State

New South Wales - Transport NSW

Victoria - Public Transport Victoria

Queensland - Translink

South Australia - Adelaide Metro

Western Australia - Transperth

Australian Capital Territory - Transport Canberra

Northern Territory - NT Public Buses

Tasmania - Tasmanian Transport Services

Trains are an easy form of public transport in Australian cities for when you first move from New Zealand.


Like New Zealanders, Australians enjoy a wide range of high quality organic fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, grains, sugar, beer and wine. 

Australian Supermarkets

Australia has four major supermarket retailers that supply fresh food in most states:



Aldi (not available in Tasmania or Northern Territory)

Costco (not available in Tasmania or Northern Territory)

Smaller independent state-based supermarket chains are also available plus independent greengrocers and butchers. 

Australian Discount Stores

If you’re setting up your home and need to a discount retail store for homeware and gardening products, you’ll find everything you need at:


Big W



A New Zealand woman shopping at an Australian grocery store.


The majority of Australians live in their own home or a privately owned rental property. A small number of people live in public housing which the government provides to low income earners for subsidised rent. Since the pandemic, the rental market has been very tight. In some areas, large numbers of prospective tenants turn up at a home open and need to offer well above the asking rent to secure the property. 

Since September 2020, the housing market across the country has seen price rises of up to 25%. With interest rate rises biting in mid 2022, house prices have retreated in most areas. 

The cost of homes and rents varies greatly depending on location. Lower cost housing can be found in the outskirts of the metropolitan areas and in rural areas. Sydney has the most expensive housing and Hobart has the cheapest.

Housing in a suburb of an Australian city, similar to New Zealand.


If you have school-aged children, Australia has public and private schools available at both the primary and high school level. The cost of fees to send a child to a public school in Australia is minimal, particularly in primary school. Most public schools around the country have catchment areas so you will need to show evidence that you rent or own a house in the area before you can enrol your child in a school. 

The fees for sending a child to private school vary greatly. Some of the top private schools in the country charge fees of up to $30,000 per year for high school but there are much cheaper private school options in all states and territories. Most private schools list their fees on their website or you can call for more information.  

Researching Schools

When doing your research into potential schools for your child, check out the website or call the school and ask if they offer tours of the school. There are plenty of things to consider when choosing a school but some parents consider the academic achievement of the school in the national NAPLAN tests when deciding on a school. Each year students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sit the NAPLAN test. You can use the My School website to review school-based results.

Kids walking to their new school in Australia after relocating from New Zealand.

Driving in Australia

New Zealand visitors can drive in Australia on their New Zealand drivers licence for up to three months. After this time you will need to transfer your New Zealand driver’s licence to an Australian one. Each state and territory has its own licensing system.

Drivers Licence Centres State by State

New South Wales - NSW Government

Victoria - Vic Roads

Queensland - Queensland Government

South Australia - SA Government

Western Australia - WA Government

Australian Capital Territory - ACT Government 

Northern Territory - NT Government

Tasmania - Tas Government

Each state and territory has different licence transfer requirements and fees. Some states and territories have slightly different road rules so be sure to familiarise yourself. 

If you intend to bring your car from New Zealand, read the approval process at Importing a Road Vehicle into Australia.

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Car Insurance

If you own a car in Australia and haven’t yet transferred your New Zealand licence, check with your car insurance company that you are still covered while driving on an overseas licence. A hire car doesn’t have the same requirements as a privately owned car.     

Enjoy your move to Oz, we know you’ll love it here! 

We've made organising overseas visitors' health cover as easy and affordable as possible for international visitors, so if you're moving from Australia to New Zealand, take the stress out of sorting out health insurance when you choose HIF.

Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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