Moving from New Zealand to Australia

There are plenty of good reasons to move to Australia. Whether you are seeking warmer weather, seemingly endless beaches, higher wages, or lower cost of living, you are likely to find it in the expansive nation across the Tasman. While the visa process is fairly simple, there are a number of things to consider to ensure your move to Australia goes smoothly.

Special Category Visas (SCV)

One of the simple reasons that many Kiwis make the move across the ditch is because they can! New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) upon arrival which allows them to live and work in Australia indefinitely. However, while an SCV allows you to stay in Australia as long as you like, it does not entitle you to social benefits like welfare payments, student loans, etc. It does, however, give you access to family tax benefits, parental leave pay, and Medicare. SCVs are completely free and without time restrictions. Visit the Australian home affairs website for more information.

Valid New Zealand passport

You require a valid New Zealand passport to move to Australia. Your passport is essential for being granted the SCV. If your passport is out of date, you have changed your name or you do not have a valid passport, you can get or renew a passport online.

Biosecurity & border fees

Australia enforces strict biosecurity regulations on all goods brought into the country. While most household goods and personal effects are permissible to bring in, it is important that you declare any item that originated from an animal or plant, contains animal or plant parts or has been in contact with animals, plants, water, food or soil.

The following items cannot be brought it as personal effects:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live plants, bulbs, tubers, corms and cuttings
  • prohibited and restricted seeds​
  • unidentified seeds (including spices)
  • khapra beetle high-risk plant products
  • live animals (including pets) that require an import permit
  • biological products including some plant based, herbal medications
  • unprocessed goods of plant or animal origin
  • soiled goods, or goods containing organic residues
  • goods knowingly infested with pests or a disease.

If you do wish to import any such items, you may be required to pay some up-front fees for the biosecurity process. This includes for the creation of a manual entry, documentation screening charges and the inspection itself. Bringing in banned substances, or failing to declare items on the restricted list can result in heavy fines. Details on importing personal effects and household goods into Australia can be found here.

Getting your stuff there: Sea & Air Freight

The length of time for international moving services from New Zealand to Australia will depend on the type of service you choose, the locations you are transporting between and your budget. Total times for sending items between the countries are subject to change with busy times of year, as well as regional and international restrictions. There is a wide range of choices, from air freight to sea freight, shared containers and sole use containers.

Sea freight

Sea freight is an excellent choice for those prioritising cost above all else. You can save a lot on your overall moving costs if you’re willing to wait a little longer, or plan further in advance for your shipment. When looking at sea freight, you have two main options to choose between: a Shared Container and a Sole Use Container.

Shared Container

By splitting the space of a container, you also split the costs. The upside is you don’t pay for any unused space which makes this the most financially frugal option available for getting your belongings from New Zealand to Australia. This is an ideal choice for those looking to reduce the costs of their move and who are not too concerned about time. Shared Containers are also the slowest of the options, so you can expect it to take between 10 and 12 weeks to reach its final destination. These times include the shipping times as well as delivery to your home. This means you should either be willing to spend time in your new home without these items, or send it early enough to arrive when you do.

Sole Use Container

For many people the Sole Use Container is the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ between shared containers and sea freight. The timing and costs are somewhere between the two. There are a lot of benefits of getting your own container, such as the ability to pack without the worry of other people’s items getting in the way. This option generally takes between 5 and 7 weeks in total to get from your home in New Zealand to your new one in Australia.

Air freight

Choosing the Air Freight option for sending your items from New Zealand to Australia means getting it there a LOT faster and not having to spend so much time without your important belongings. This is a perfect choice for anyone wanting minimal disruption to their life to help with the transition to their new home in a new country. This is also a good option for those with a bigger moving budget or on a company sponsored move, because this option is the most expensive one. We can arrange your air freight for international movers to Australia, so get in touch with our move consultants to learn more about your air freight options.


You can bring cats or dogs with you to Australia from New Zealand without an import permit. However there are some conditions that you must meet in order to do so. You must get a health certification for your cats and/or dogs that is done by a registered veterinarian. They must be older than 8 weeks and not more than 40 days pregnant. The health certificate must also be approved by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. You must have this certificate with you when you travel and ensure you notify the relevant regional office for animal imports at least three days prior to your arrival. All information about the requirements and process for importing cats or dogs into Australia can be found here.

Motor vehicles

You can bring your car with you from New Zealand, however it is important that your vehicle meets all of the requirements and that you apply for all of the necessary documentation. You can find all of the information for importing and registering your car here.

Earning an income

Once you’ve made the move to Australia, you’re going to want to be able to receive an income. To do so you need to get a Tax File Number (TFN) as soon as you arrive. This process is not too complicated, but it’s an essential step to getting settled in your new country.

Apply online for a tax file number 


Under the SCV, New Zealand citizens are eligible to receive access to Australian healthcare. This provides the opportunity for cheaper visits to the doctor and subsidised medicines. This is all done through the Medicare programme.

How to enrol in Medicare if you’re a New Zealand citizen 

Driving in Australia

Once you’ve settled in, you’re quickly going to need to consider things like travel and driving. Luckily your New Zealand licence is valid for three months in Australia. After that time though, you have to get yourself an Australian licence. The rules and regulations vary between each state, so it’s important you familiarise yourself with the relevant state system.

Driver licensing authorities in Australia 

Move to Australia with ease

As part of the worldwide Allied Network, we have over 40 locations across Australia, covering every state, city and regional hub. Our experienced moving consultants are equipped with the local knowledge and resources, exactly where you need them. Once you’ve completed your journey, we will be waiting on the other side to ensure that your entire moving process goes off without a hitch. Additionally, if you require any further assistance once you’re in your new home, simply reach out to our local staff in your new neighbourhood.

A helping hand

While the visa system might be easy for New Zealanders moving to Australia, there is a lot to keep in mind to ensure your move goes smoothly. We’ve been helping families and individuals successfully make the move across the ditch for years. Reach out to our moving consultants to find out how we can make the process easier for you or get started straight away with a free quote.