Moving to Sydney – a guide for your removal to Australia
What to expect from this removals guide
Moving to Australia is exciting but the thought of transporting your worldly goods to the other side of the world can be stressful! Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
We’re going to take you through the key information you’ll need for moving to Sydney – everything from the removal process itself to what it’s like when you actually arrive.
This guide will cover:
- Why use Nomad International?
- How shipping to Sydney works
- Customs and quarantine in Australia
- Cost of moving to Sydney
- Transporting pets to Sydney
- Shipping a car to Sydney
- About Sydney, New South Wales
There’s a lot of information here so we recommend saving the page and coming back to it in future. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about moving to Sydney or moving anywhere else: we’re happy to help.
Why use Nomad International?
We’re the best choice not only because we have the skill and experience to safely transport your belongings – but because we care about doing a good job for you and helping to take the stress out of the process. Here’s why Nomad International is the ideal partner for your removal to Sydney, Australia…
You’ll benefit from more than 16 years of professional moving experience when you move with us. We’ve moved thousands of happy customers in that time, so we know all there is to know when it comes to moving overseas. There isn’t a road too narrow, a hill too steep or another hurdle we haven’t been able to overcome. We understand the process might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry – we’re here to guide you through it, step-by-step.
We have a specific focus on a small number of countries, and Australia is one of them – a conscious decision which means we can provide a better, more comprehensive service for each of our specialist locations. As mentioned on our Removals to Australia page, we chose Australia because of the background of our team and our local knowledge. With such a specific focus it is really important that we do a great job every time, because word of mouth is so important for us. All of this means you can have even more confidence in using us for your move to Sydney.
We’re a small, dedicated team which means you’ll receive a personal service throughout – all our customers know us individually by name. We care about your experience and this will be evident from the moment you first get in touch with us, right the way through to when the final item is unloaded at your new home.
You’ll have your own Move Manager who’ll communicate with you every step of the way so you’re always in the loop. We’ll treat your possessions like they’re our own so you can rest assured they’ll be well looked after. And there’s nothing our trained team of removals experts don’t know when it comes to packing, moving and problem solving!
As the old saying goes – “you get what you pay for”. It’s true – we offer a premium service to give our customers a premium experience. It’s as simple as that. In addition, we’re members of the British Association of Removers (BAR), the trade body for removals in the UK. We also hold the British Standard BS 8564 in Overseas Moving, which is one of only two internationally-recognised standards in international removals. We had to undergo a rigorous audit process to attain these, and we are audited every year to make sure our standards are very high, so you can be confident you’re in expert hands.
Don’t just take our word for it – here are a selection of testimonials kindly written by our fantastic customers. You’ll also find lots more reviews on Google, on our Facebook page and on our other Greece-focused website.
Get a quote for your removal to Sydney
How shipping to Sydney, Australia works
Here’s an overview of the moving process in five simple steps.
- Packing – we’ll pack everything for you with our professional packing service, or you might prefer to pack some (or all) of your belongings yourself. If we’re packing for you we’ll conduct your collection (Step 2) at the same time
- Collection – we’ll collect your goods ready to be shipped! We’ll do all the lifting of course and our expert team will load everything securely for the journey
- Shipping – your belongings will be safely transported by sea container to your nearest port of arrival in Australia
- Customs clearance – your belongings will go through customs and quarantine on arrival (don’t worry – this is standard procedure for all goods entering Australia)
- Delivery – our partners will deliver your belonging to your new home, placing items safely in their designated rooms. Don’t worry about the location of your new property either. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an apartment ten floors up or if your house is on a road with tight access – we’re used to problem solving and will find a way to deliver your items. Just let us know in advance so we can plan for it
Sea container sizes
There are two ways to transfer your items to Australia – by air freight or sea container. For shipments bigger than a few boxes or items of luggage, sea container shipping is the way to go. The most common container sizes are 20ft or 40ft. There is more detail about this on our Removals to Australia page, but in summary the practical volume of a 20 foot container is 1060 cubic feet or 30 cubic metres, and a 40 foot container holds double this volume.
How long does sea container shipping take?
The most common UK ports for departure to Sydney are Felixstowe, London Gateway and Southampton. Depending on the route of the vessel, shipping to Sydney typically takes between 39 and 45 days, but some routes can take up to 55 days.
You’ll also need to factor in the type of shipment (more on this in the next section), the time from collection until departure (a few days usually), the time required for customs clearance and quarantine on arrival in Sydney and the time for delivery to your home. While there can be delays at ports or out at sea, Australian customs is the most important variable in determining the overall duration.
Overall we recommend allowing approximately 8-10 weeks from door-to-door.
Full container versus part load shipping
Full Container Load or “FCL” is when you have an entire shipping container to yourself – i.e. your goods only. “Part load”, also known as “Less than Container Load,” “LCL” or “groupage” means your belongings are combined with other people’s goods.
Which shipping container is right for you?
FCL shipping tends to be quicker. That’s because no-one else is sharing the container with you, so you aren’t waiting for the space to “fill up” before it can depart. LCL shipping takes longer (because you have to wait for the container to be sufficiently full before it can go). You can expect it to take an extra couple of weeks compared to FCL container shipping. Shared containers can also cause slightly longer delays on arrival in Australia because of the risk that someone else in your container causes a problem with customs or quarantine, thereby delaying clearance of the whole container.
LCL shipping also tends to be the more cost-effective option, but it’s not always significantly cheaper versus FCL shipping, because it depends on the volume of your belongings. We can provide a quote for both options so you can make a fully informed decision.
If you’d like to talk through the above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Packing for your move to Sydney
Your belongings have a long journey ahead of them – they’ll be travelling by road, by sea and by road again. So, it’s particularly important they’re packed properly – good packing is the most important factor in ensuring your goods arrive safely.
Given the nature of travelling such a long way and the necessity of handling the goods several times, it’s standard practice for all furniture and large appliances to be “export wrapped” for transport. This means wrapping them in a heavy-duty version of bubble wrap (called Furniguard of Furnisoft) to protect them on the journey.
Our professional team can wrap and pack everything for you, saving you the time and effort of doing all of this yourself. It also gives you the peace of mind that everything has been professionally packed. From an insurance point of view as it gives insurers more confidence that everything will be safe in transit, which means they won’t impose the same insurance limits they impose if you’re packing and wrapping yourself.
Many people do still choose to do their own packing though, and if this is the case we are happy to give you as much advice as you need – don’t hesitate to ask! We can even show you some videos we made a few years ago on our other website about how to pack for yourself. Don’t forget to use double-walled boxes rather than cheap single-walled ones, as it really makes a difference especially for long journeys. It’s easy to find cheap boxes but if they collapse there is no point in using them.
If you do decide to do the packing yourself, it’s important (for Australia in particular) that you don’t use second-hand boxes that have previously contained any kind of food. Also, don’t use any wood-related products (like sawdust, wood shavings or any other plant-based material) as filler for your packing because of quarantine restrictions (we cover the reasons behind this in the next section).
If you need any packing advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re more than happy to help.
Get a quote for shipping to Australia
Customs and quarantine in Australia
Australia is particularly strict with customs and quarantine, so you do have to take this seriously and prepare for it. This is because Australia’s ecosystem is vulnerable, so these strict measures are in place to protect and preserve the environment. Any goods coming into the country pose the risk of carrying pests and diseases and must undergo biosecurity control before they can be released.
Generally, you can’t take:
- Live plants
- Perishables, like food
- Flammable products, like lighter fluid and gas canisters
You also need to make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned and dried any items that have come into contact with food, plants (including soil), water or animals before you pack them. This includes:
- Any used equipment, machinery, outdoor furniture and camping equipment
- Animal and pet care items
- Waste items including vacuum cleaners, brooms and bins
- Kitchen items including appliances
- Sports equipment, especially if it’s been used outside or on fresh water
- Any farm-related items
- Carpets, mats, etc.
The more prepared you are, the better. Unfortunately, any problems at customs could significantly delay the moving process. For full guidance on how to prepare take a look at the Australian Government website.
Cost of moving to Sydney
There are lots of sources on the internet that provide a table of approximate costs for shipping to every destination around the world. But these lists have a few problems:
- They usually only refer to the cost of the sea container movement, while ignoring the costs of:
- Road haulage of the container to and from the ports
- Customs clearance and quarantine
- Packing and wrapping
- The removal team to do the carrying, loading, unloading and carrying again into the right rooms at your new home
- Even the container shipping prices are often incorrect
Costs can vary enormously depending on the quantity of goods and the nature of the removal. While smaller shipments will be in the region of hundreds of pounds, full container load shipments will be in the mid-thousands of pounds.
Generally, complexity adds cost – so if your removal is straightforward (in terms of access, packing, distance from the ports in both countries, and the distance our removals team are carrying everything) then the price will be lower. Increasing the volume of the removal, increasing the distances, and increasing the complexity of the packing and crating will naturally increase the cost.
The important thing is that you choose a removals company who won’t let you down. From small baggage shipments to the relocation of large country homes, Nomad International will take the greatest care in moving your goods to Sydney and making the process efficient and stress-free. Get an accurate quote today.
Transporting pets to Sydney
It’s natural to have concerns about your pets’ wellbeing when it comes to transporting them safely to your new home, especially when it’s such a long distance. We work with specialist pet transporters who organise the process by air freight, keeping pets’ best interests at heart. We understand the importance of this and we can put you in touch with the right people. Please get in touch for more information.
Shipping a car to Sydney
Our customers frequently ask us – “can I ship my car to Sydney?” The basic principles are that you can import a car into Australia as long as:
- You’re migrating (or returning) to Australia
- You’ve owned the car for at least the last 12 months and used it for your own personal transportation during this period
- The car is safe and roadworthy
- You haven’t already done this with another car in the past 5 years
Because British cars are right-hand drive like Australian ones, there’s far less hassle than there would be for left-hand drive cars.
Australia has a “luxury car tax”, which when combined with GST and import duty makes it quite difficult to turn a profit on moving a car to Australia, but moving a mid-range family car below the luxury car tax threshold, as part of your relocation to Australia, should not trigger an excessive tax bill.
We’ve got a lot more detail on this topic on our Removals to Australia page!
But in summary we can collect your vehicle from anywhere in the UK and ship it to your home in New South Wales for you. As long as you follow all of the Australian government’s rules you won’t have any problems.
Buying and selling homes can be complicated and sometimes you might not be ready to receive your belongings straight away. No problem, we can store your belongings in our secure warehouse for as long as you need and ship them when you’re ready. You can store any quantity of items with us for any length of time, both in the UK and Sydney. Just ask us for a quote for storage and we’ll be happy to help. Find out more on our Storage page.
About Sydney, Australia
If you’re moving to Sydney you don’t need us to tell you about Bondi Beach or Manly (or even the much nicer beaches nearby that the locals go to!). No doubt you already know all about the beautiful harbour, Sydney’s amazing parks and you’re probably already planning visits to the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Byron Bay. We’re here to provide more practical advice on what it’s actually like to live in Sydney.
Life in Sydney
Sydney is Australia’s largest city with just over 5 million people. Australia is a highly “urbanised” country, meaning that 98% of its people live in cities, unlike the UK where smaller villages and towns are more prevalent. With so much of the country’s activity and economy focused in only a small number of large cities, proximity to the “big smoke” is even more important to Australians than it is in other western countries, and in Australia, Sydney is the biggest smoke of them all. This makes Sydney an exciting place to live as it feels like the de facto capital of the country and the focus of most international attention. But as with all massive cities, living in Sydney isn’t without its challenges.
The most noticeable of these is the price of property in Sydney. A sustained property boom has seen real estate values rise substantially in recent years (from already high levels). This comparison shows that property in London is still more expensive than Sydney… but only just.
As a result, people often live a long way from the city and commute in for work, just like in London. If you’re retired this won’t bother you of course, but if you’re still a long way from retirement and you have a “city” job, be prepared to spend a reasonable amount of your earnings on your rent or mortgage if you plan to live close to the city.
Just like in other Australian cities, sport and the outdoors are important to Sydneysiders. Sydney’s weather is considered “humid subtropical” which means warm for most of the year and a little wetter than most other Australian cities, but still with a lot more sunny days than anywhere in Britain.
Also like other Australian cities, Sydney is very cosmopolitan, has a strong “coffee culture” and great food, although both of these can be on the expensive side. Sydney is Australia’s fashion capital as well as its banking capital (Australia’s most successful investment bank, Macquarie, is headquartered here). By far the most glamorous of Australian cities, Sydney has a reputation for being a little “snobby”, but maybe that’s just because the other cities are jealous!
Where to live in Sydney
- Sydney is very popular with Brits and you’ll run into other expats no matter where you choose to live, but unlike Perth, Sydney doesn’t have enclaves where just about everyone seems to be British
- If you know where you will be working it will be easier to choose where to live because you can plan your commute. Locations with good train links (or “express bus” links) are important if you will be working in the central business district (CBD).
- The eastern suburbs are the most glamorous, and therefore the most expensive – everywhere from Double Bay along the harbour all the way to Bondi. These places are a relatively quick commute to the city but it will cost you an arm and a leg for an apartment here, never mind a family home
- The “northern beaches” from Manly heading north are the next most glamorous – homes can be larger here but you pay a premium for proximity to the beach. There is no train line from the further northern beaches so commuting to the CBD is quite difficult, but if you work locally (or are retired) this is a beautiful part of Sydney, and very popular with British expats
- The “inner west” suburbs from Glebe through Newtown to Leichhardt and Ashfield are popular with young families. Relatively quick access to the city, with a little more space than the central and eastern suburbs, means a good combination for working couples. Property is still not cheap here though
- Further west you can find much larger homes for your money, either towards Paramatta in the west or Liverpool in the south west. These places are a longer commute but both have good train lines
- The southern suburbs along the south side of Botany Bay, such as Cronulla, present good value while being close to the beach and with reasonable access to the CBD via train links
Healthcare, education and cost of living in Sydney
Australia has an excellent healthcare system and British nationals are entitled to free healthcare here. There are some important differences to keep in mind, and we cover these in detail on our Removals to Australia page. In particular, while healthcare is free in Australia there is a dual public and private system, so most GP surgeries will charge for appointments, for example. But overall it is considered one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
Education standards are also very high in Australia generally, and Sydney is no exception with excellent schools and internationally recognised universities. We cover this in more depth on our Removals to Australia page, but with schools the key differences to the UK are that private schools are less expensive in Sydney (because they are all operated as not-for-profit foundations rather than businesses), and there is not as much variation in the quality of public school education as there is in the UK. Choosing the right school still matters, but the difference between best and worst is nowhere near as great as in the UK. Nurseries (called “day care” centres in Australia) are expensive, just as they are in the UK. The Australian Government subsidises the cost of childcare, but the system is quite complex so the calculation of how much you will receive is on a case-by-case basis, and you do have to be a permanent resident to receive it.
The cost of living in Sydney has risen sharply in recent years, and has overtaken both London and New York on a global comparison scale. Buying a home in Sydney is likely to be more expensive per square foot than the equivalent size property in the UK (excluding London, although Sydney is catching up), but overall it exceeds even London and is one of the top 10 most expensive places in the world to live. This is worth bearing in mind, but most people who move to Sydney do so for the quality of life, not just the cost of living.