Trusted Experts and Services
I’ve created a directory of professionals to help you move to Australia. These are a mixture of services I’ve used myself and also services and businesses that I know and trust. As the site is new, keep checking back as I’m going to be adding lots more to this list over the next few months.
I sometimes receive a referral fee if you choose to follow my recommendation (at no extra cost to you). This is just one of the ways my site makes an income – so by buying through my links you’re helping me continue running this site and helping to keep this community going (I like to be transparent!) But please know that nobody is making it on to this page that I wouldn’t trust with my own money!
I’m really excited to introduce you to Veronika Hurbis of Sort Out My Visa. I spoke to lots of different agents and struggled to find somebody I could trust with our application, until I found Sort Out My Visa.
Although our situation was complicated, Sort Out My Visa made it smooth and simple and it took just a few weeks to get our visa approved.
I honestly can’t recommend Veronika’s service highly enough – she gives honest advice without any pressure to part with money until you’re ready, and she’s one of those rare agents that goes above and beyond to help you start your new life abroad.
Veronika is a Registered Australian Migration Agent (MARA: 0301155) based in the UK so she’s on the same timezone as you which makes everything a lot easier. And as she’s from Australia, she can answer lots of your lifestyle questions too.
I’ve referred many people on to her over the last 18 months and have heard great feedback from each of them, so I know that she’ll look after you.
Contact Veronika today for a FREE visa assessment (Initial inquiry will be cc’ed to Smart Steps to Australia)
Like all good services, it’s good to appointment people who’ve been recommended to you. Anish Prasad was recommended to us by some UK friends who’d just bought their first home in Australia. He’d been recommended to them by an Australian friend. We were nervous about buying a house in Australia as we didn’t understand how it worked, but Anish was great at explaining it all. He helped us work out the best mortgage for our needs and was always at the end of the phone, plus he responded quickly to emails whenever we had questions. He’s the person I’ll call if ever we’re looking to buy another property.
Anish has access to over 700 products across 35 lenders, and he knows them well so can match you to the deal and lender that suits you best. He was APF Mortgage Broker of the Year in 2014 and 2015, and he’s experienced at dealing with clients all over Australia, including those who have recently moved from overseas.
He doesn’t charge you for his service or advice – his earns commission from the lenders if and when you take out a mortgage through him. It’s well worth touching base with him now if you’re wondering about your eligibility for a mortgage when you land in Australia.
Contact Anish today for a FREE mortgage review (Initial inquiry will be cc’ed to Smart Steps to Australia)
I’ve tried a lot of different currency brokers over the last two years. The first time was to move our money over to Australia after our house sale, and now I regularly move money between my UK and Australian bank account to pay bills or transfer income from my freelance work and book sales. I found many of them a hassle and kept trying different companies each time until I discovered Currency Fair last year. Now they’re the only transfer company I use because their system is so straightforward and it’s cheap – the two most important things!
The three expat bankers who set it up wanted to create a user friendly system that gives ordinary people access to the same great exchange rate usually reserved for banks and those transferring millions. If you’re looking to move your money over, definitely take a look at them. I personally love how jargon-free their website is – moving money doesn’t have to be rocket science and you don’t have to spend ages on the phone like I did with my first few transfers with other companies. It can all be done online in a few clicks.
Car Hire in Australia
Car Hire in Australia
Choose from the most convenient pick-up location, narrow down the extras (air con, automatic transmission etc.) and clearly see the results. After searching on lots of other sites, I found this one refreshingly easy to use and the car hire companies come with a review rating so you can be sure to pick a firm that other people have found reliable. You can hire your extras like car seats and additional drivers and pay for these when you collect the car. Manage your booking online or over the phone 24-hours a day.
Booking your hire car in Australia literally just takes two minutes on this site, so it’s really easy way to tick something off your to-do list.
Skyscanner will help you find cheap flights to Australia by comparing millions of flights to find you the cheapest deal, fast. When you find your perfect flight to Australia, you click through to the airline site to make your booking direct. This means there are no hidden charges or fees added by a middle man. It also makes it much easier to manage your flight are you are dealing directly with the airline.
You can also use Skyscanner to book hotels and car hires.
Check out the cheapest flights to Australia at Skyscanner
Temporary Accommodation in Australia
Home and Away
Home and Away is a collection of international holiday homes. Just input your destination and you will see a wide collection of holiday homes priced in UK £ (or if you prefer to check in AUD$ you can change the currency at the top of the screen). The site connects travellers like yourself, with homeowners and provides a safe and secure platform to secure your stay. It gives you way more freedom that booking into a hotel, and you will save money on paying resort prices by booking with private owners.
Just input your destination and you’ll see a wide collection of holiday homes priced in UK £ (or if you prefer to check in AUD$ you can change the currency at the top of the screen). The site connects travellers like yourself, with homeowners and provides a safe and secure platform to secure your stay. It gives you way more freedom that booking into a hotel, and you will save money on paying resort prices by booking with private owners.
Hotels.com is a fantastic hotel comparison site to search for temporary accommodation in Australia. It’s not only packed with hotel deals – you will also find serviced apartments, suites and units in Australia – so you can find larger, self-catering holiday accommodation that will be well-suited as your arrival accommodation.
I love that you can see the Trip Advisor rating and overview right on the page without needing to click through. It clearly lists the nightly price and cancellation policy and there is a handy map view so you can see how close it is to the suburbs you want to explore. You can easily narrow down the search by using the price per night slider and the star ratings too. It’s a really handy site and one that I personally use when researching trips within Australia too.
There are often some real bargains to be had on this site!
Check out the top hotel deals at Hotels.com
House Swap Website
Home Exchange is for those of you who want to visit Australia for a recce before you decide whether to move, those of you who are in Australia planning a trip back to the UK (and maybe don’t want to stay in a crowded house with family) or for those of you already in Australia wanting to explore other parts of the country. It can also be something to suggest family members try out when they’re coming to visit so everyone gets their own space!
Home Exchange is a house swap website where you can switch up your home with somebody else to get the ultimate holiday. There are some stunning properties available (seriously stunning!) and you never know what you might find or who might want to switch with you. 12 months membership is $150USD. That one fee covers as many trips as you want to make during that time, so essentially you could find you could take many trips for the price of one night in a hotel.
Visit Homeexchange.com to start browsing for your next house swap.
Guide Books and Research
Lonely Planet guide books are great for doing research before you move to Australia, as well when you get here and want to explore further.
The main ‘Australia’ guide book gives you a useful overview of the whole country as well as providing details on things like public transport, customs (such as tipping) and information on things like the postal service which all new migrants will find useful. There are also maps you can buy, and travel guides aimed at specific cities or regions.
Yes, you can find out all of the information you need on Google, but there is something incredible about owning a battered guidebook with underlined sections and notes in the margin. It’s also a great way to look forward to your adventures to come when you’re planning your move – it helps you keep your eyes on your end goal!
Deals on Travel, Attractions and Eating Out
Deals on Travel, Attractions and Eating Out
If you’re used to using Groupon in the UK, then you’re going to love discovering the discounts that are available in Australia!
Groupon is packed with everything from attraction deals, hotel discounts, holidays, restaurants and spa treatments through to practical things like pest control, air conditioning cleaning services and lawn mowing.
It’s a fabulous way enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about splurging your cash!
Start shopping at Groupon Australia
One Way Travel Insurance
One Way Travel Insurance
When we moved to Australia, I decided to take out one-way travel insurance to ensure we were covered for our journey to Australia, and for our first few weeks in the country. I knew we’d be so busy and wouldn’t have time to think about whether we needed private health cover when there were issues like schools, cars and houses to sort out. I also wanted to be covered for our belongings and things like flight cancellations, luggage delays and any emergencies that came up. Regular travel insurance doesn’t cover moving abroad, so you need to take out a special one-way policy. This means you can make a claim in your new country instead of needing to return to the UK to claim, and it also means that if you need to be repatriated you will be taken to your final destination rather than the UK.
DUInsure gave us peace of mind, it was really easy to organise and it was surprisingly a lot cheaper than I expected.