As a result, you’ll enjoy a full range of climates in both countries. If you love the heat and prefer a milder winter, a northern spot like Brisbane, Australia will do the trick, as would a spot in south Florida like Miami. If you prefer something a bit cooler and a bit less humid, a city like Melbourne, Australia might be perfect, as would Seattle, Washington. Or, if you’re an adventurer who loves to explore, both countries have wide swaths of desert land that offer plenty of solitude and stunning landscapes.
In other words, both Australia and the US offer a full roster of options so you can find the climate that fits your fancy.
Most Popular Destinations for Australia–US Moves
Curious where the majority of people move to? Below, you’ll find our lists of the most popular destinations in both Australia and the US:
- Melbourne, Victoria
- Sydney, New South Wales
- Brisbane, Queensland
- Perth, Western Australia
- Adelaide, South Australia
- New York, NY
- Los Angeles, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Houston, TX
- Phoenix, AZ
#3: Two Words: Road Trip!
In addition to offering diverse climates, both countries’ sprawling landscapes come with another perk: road trips.
Australia features plenty of breathtaking landscapes to explore by car. We’re partial to driving up to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane, ourselves. To get some inspiration, check out a couple of excellent itineraries from the Tourism Australia website.
Americans’ love of their cars has been well documented, and you’ll find that most of the country is easy to travel by road. (As opposed to Australia’s stunning and forbidding Outback, whose remote areas must be navigated with extreme care!) You’ll find gas stations, rest stops, and smooth highways throughout the country for a convenient and comfortable journey. Check out some of the more popular routes on the Road Trip U.S.A. website.
Driving Tip: Don't Be Afraid to Go Old School
In more remote areas of the US and Australia, you may encounter some cellular dead zones. Wherever you’re headed, it’s a good idea to have a paper map for backup. That way, if you lose cell coverage, you’ll have the tools you need to continue your journey without a hitch.
#4: You’ll Need to Switch Sides
While we’re on the topic of driving, it’s important to note that drivers may initially find themselves disoriented after their move. After all, Australians drive on the left side of the road, and Americans drive on the right.
If you’re a driver making the switch, we guarantee that you’ll accidentally try to get into the passenger side at least once after you move to your new country. You’ll also probably hit the windshield wipers when you’re reaching for the turn signal/indicator. (They’re reversed in left-drive and right-drive cars.)
Additionally, turns will be tricky. In America, left turns will take a little bit of extra concentration until Aussie drivers get the knack of things. In Australia, American drivers will likely struggle with their first few right turns.
With a little practice, though, driving on the other side of the road will start to feel natural. Just take it slow—especially in parking lots, where it’s easy to revert back to the side of the road you’re used to.
Be Especially Careful When Crossing the Street
Even pedestrians need to take care! The lanes will be reversed from what you’re used to, so you may accidentally look the wrong way before crossing a street. US residents are used to looking left first. However, in Australia, you’ll need to look right first.
You’ll see reminders of which way to look in many spots in Australia. However, you won’t see many of those reminders in the US, so take extra care.
If you’re ever confused, there’s no harm in looking both ways before you step out!
One more note: Jaywalking is a serious no-no in Australia. In many parts of the US—New York especially—it’s pretty much a sport. However, jaywalking in Australia comes with significant fines. Make sure you only cross at designated areas, which come in zebra, pelican, and toucan varieties in Australia.
#5: Duty-Free Entry Is Possible for Both Countries
Both the US and Australia offer duty-free entry pathways for household goods. This can save you a lot of money, so you’ll want to get the paperwork and procedures right.
If You’re Moving to the United States:
Household items—including furniture, carpets, paintings, tableware, books, libraries, artwork, and other usual household furnishings and effects—can clear duty-free, as long as they:
- Were used abroad for not less than one year.
- Are not intended for any other person or for sale.
For more information, see the US Customs & Border Patrol website.
If You’re Moving to Australia:
Unaccompanied personal effects (UPE) may be imported exempt from customs duties and GST for those who meet a certain set of criteria. The Australian Border Force calls this a UPE concession, and it’s available to those who:
- Arrive as a passenger or crew member of a ship or aircraft.
- Arrive from a place outside Australia.
- Meet permanent residency requirements—i.e., are an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa, or hold a special category visa that allows for the UPE concession.
The household items you’re importing must be personal property intended for your use in Australia. For some items, they must have been owned and used by you before arrival. Note that certain items—like motor vehicles, alcohol, and tobacco—are not eligible for the UPE concession.
For more information, see the Australian Border Force website.
If you’re using a professional moving company for your relocation, they’ll assist you with preparing the paperwork and documentation you need for clearance.
#6: Be Prepared for Opposite Seasons
For many US residents, the December holiday season is inextricably linked with winter—cooler temperatures and, in some places, even snow. However, if you move to Australia, you’ll be in for something completely different in December.
Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, December brings the start of summer. Rather than bundling up in blankets in front of a fire on Christmas Day, you might instead head to the beach to catch some sun.
If the holiday season is one of your anchors, this might take some getting used to. However, if you approach the upside-down season with playfulness (snowmen made out of sand, anyone?), you may be able to embrace the differences, rather than resenting them.
#7: You’ll Need to Learn Some New Words
Some international moves require you to learn a new language. For Australia–US moves, that’s not quite the case, since English is the dominant language in both countries.
However, you’ll have to navigate a new set of accents—and, maybe more importantly, you’ll also need to learn some new vocabulary. The Aussies are famous for their slang. In fact, you might even feel like you’re learning a whole new language in Australia.
To ease your transition, we’ve put some examples below to get you started! (We also included some American-isms to help Aussies moving to the US!)
|Tylenol or acetaminophen
||No paying attention
||“Ta. or “Cheers.”
|“Sure thing.” / “You’re welcome.”
||“Good on you.”
|“And there you have it.”
||“Bob’s your uncle.”
|“How are you?”
||“How ya going?”
Of course, you’ll learn more slang as you get acclimated, and you’ll probably have a few funny mix-ups before you get fully acclimated. Either way, reveling in language differences can be a fun way to explore the culture of your new home.
#8: Your Coffee Order Will Need Some Adjustment, Too
If you’re an American moving to Australia, and you’re looking forward to your beloved Starbucks, prepare to be disappointed.