Moving to Australia – What Can I Take?

Last updated on February 1st, 2024

Migrants to Australia have a lot on their minds when they move. What should I pack? What’s the weather like? How do I get around? One question that often comes up is: what can I bring with me from my home country? 

While there are definitely some things that you will need, there are also some items that you could leave at home. In this post, we will take a look at what you can and cannot bring with you to Australia.

More specifically, you will learn what prescription medicines you can bring or how you can bring prescription medicines into Australia, what influences your shipping and which items are best left behind.

Today’s information has come from my own decade of moving people as well as  GPs and removalist teams. Basically, it’s trusted advice from those in the know.

But first, here’s a little note of caution when asking on social media.

Social Media: when can it help?

I see the question all too often on Social Media, “How much does it cost to send a container from my town to Australia?”

Great question, but brace yourself because you are going to get a variety of answers!

The thing with social media is:

  • Not everyone has the same priorities as you
  • Not everyone lives as far from the harbour as you
  • Not everyone needs as much special packing of artwork or TVs as you have.  
  • Not all removalist companies are accredited and those that are, charge a higher premium.

You cannot compare removals quotes. I could list at least ten differences between your quote and someone just five km away from you.

Also, have you noticed the delays in shipping around the globe? Just in case you haven’t, some shipping routes have increased in price by as much as 300% – another reason you can’t compare prices with someone you met online.

When I am project managing an entire relocation and I obtain three quotes, for the same client at the same home, even those quotes can vary vastly. You would be better off reading our blog on removals quotes comparison, book a consultation with me to review your quotes or read my book – there is an entire chapter dedicated to saving money on your removals.

What to bring and what not to bring

Mattresses - don’t bring

There are many reasons I don’t recommend shipping your mattresses over. One, mattresses in Australia are a unique size. If you bring your mattresses, you have to bring a whole lot of supply of linen too.

Two, as I said, there’s been a lot of delays in shipping. Many people cannot wait 3-6 months for their mattress to arrive, so they choose to leave it behind and buy new ones upon arrival. 

Three, it takes up a tremendous amount of space in a container. And it might be a few years old already, which you’ll have to replace anyway.

Bed frames - it depends

If you have a king-size bed that you’re bringing to Australia, preferably it should be in a bed frame that dismantles. Many internal staircases, especially in townhouses, the solid, large king base can’t get up the stairs. If your king base is the split of two single beds, you will be ok.

Bookshelves - don’t bring

Another thing not to put into a container would be bookshelves. Bookshelves can go unnoticed in a home sometimes. They can take up a lot of space in your container, but they’re very cheap to replace here.

Other items you should not bring

Most rental properties, depending on your budget, come with a dishwasher, so definitely leave that behind. Rentals will also have the window furnishing, curtains or blinds across the window. 

While I am telling you about all these things to leave behind, remember Personnel Relocations can set you up with an Arrival Starter Pack, which includes mattresses, pillows, linen and first-night meal essentials so you can recover from your jet lag. Enquire with us.

Medicines - bring with caution

I asked one of our GPs what are the common mistakes she sees.

“I cannot believe that people have spent thousands of dollars getting all their prescription medicines because they thought they couldn’t get it here.”

Our medical system here is very, very good. It’s very comprehensive and once you’re in the system, you are very well looked after. 

Your prescription medicine might have a different name, but the ingredients can be matched here. So bring only three months’ worth of prescription medicines with you and kee them in their packaging.

One more tip if you have special medical needs, you should be aware that the first step in Australia is to register with a general practitioner (GP). You cannot consult with a specialist without a GP referring you. Specialist appointments can take time.

Your GP is in the driving seat here. They will say, “Okay you need this and you need that” and they will refer you. 

When you go and meet your GP for the first time, take those prescription medicines with you. They’ll be able to understand what the ingredients are in those and they’ll be able to say well this is the alternative we have here in Australia. Many of your medicines will be available to you on Medicare, our healthcare system at a subsidised rate. 

It’s also good to carry the written script from the doctor from your home country with you at all times.

You can’t bring medicines for somebody else, especially prescription medicines.

Medical History - bring

Don’t forget, around 6-8 weeks before you fly, go to your doctor and ask for your medical history from your doctors. If you need a relocation checklist, click here.

Vaccination records - bring

Vaccination records now more than ever are vital, especially for children.

Don’t put these records in your shipping container. Please put them in that little box that’s going to come with you on the aeroplane. The immunisation certificates or in the UK you have the little red book–bring them with you, you will need them shortly after arrival.

Top tips from our removals team

  • The day prior to packing make sure you take your passport and any other important information and put it in your bag well away from the packing team.
  • Get the professionals to pack for you. The actual packing is not a significant portion of your removal costs. If you actually value your goods enough to bring them to Australia, make sure they arrive in one piece.
  • Check the rules on what you can and cannot take in different states, not just Australia wide. Western Australia, in particular, has serious rules surrounding food, religious items, books, electronics, pornography and just about anything else. And I see this question often.

If you are reading this, rather than watching the video, there is a section missing here, where I have taken questions from the audience on particular items to ship, medicines in Australia, bulk-billing and private practice doctors. Please watch the video if you would like to see the Q&A.

So, what should you bring to Australia? And what can you leave behind? The answer is different for everyone, but hopefully our guide has given you a few ideas.

If still feeling overwhelmed, our team of experts are here to help. We’ll take a look at your unique situation and make some recommendations tailored specifically for you- all you need to do is get in touch.

Don’t let the stress of packing keep you up at night- enquire today and let us take care of everything for you.


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