Packing for Australia
Maria Venter – South Africans to Oz
When it comes to packing for Australia which includes your household goods and personal belongings (via sea or air), we have five handy hints and lots of information for you:
1) Clean everything!
Your household goods will be inspected when they arrive in Aus so make sure any items that have been in contact with soil, food, animals or animal products are thoroughly cleaned and dried.
The items usually at fault are golfing shoes and clubs, hiking boots, gumboots, garden tools, camping equipment, wood working tools and any other outdoor equipment.
Frank shipped a table saw to Perth and was fined $400.00 because the Bio inspectors found some sawdust stuck in the corners of the machine. Ouch!
2) Inspect timber for any signs of insect infestation
This may resemble sawdust-like powder, fresh holes, chew marks or tunnels in the timber. If these signs are found the item of furniture must be treated or left behind!
If you choose the treatment option, remember to keep the certificate verifying treatment to show authorities.
3) Secure all loose items
This includes items such as kitchen utensils, take extra care wrapping your precious glassware.
4) Label everything!
Label each box correctly to identify boxes containing medical goods, dangerous goods, or any goods that may compromise the safety of people handling your goods.
5) Make a list!
Prepare a master list of all your personal effects contained in each box that you are shipping.
This list will be required by authorities in Australia and will be handy when it comes to unpacking on the other side.
Some items that the Department of Agriculture will not permit to be imported:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Prohibited and protected seeds
- Unidentified seeds, which can include some foods and spices
- 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 items or items containing organic residue
- Items knowingly infested with pests or a disease
If in doubt, please check the most up to date information at:
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/travelling/moving-immigrating where they also have a list of common items of biosecurity concern.
If you are still unsure go to: Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) to determine if your goods are allowed into Australia.
Think Carefully about which household goods will finally make it into those boxes.
I recommend that you only bring what is really necessary or of sentimental value and sell or donate the rest.
Once you start earning Aussie Dollars you can buy clothes pretty cheaply for the family.
The other good news is that Australia uses the same voltage as South Africa (240v) unlike USA and Canada that uses 110v.
When packing for Australia, electronics and appliances can be brought with you.
It is important to remember that any wiring or plumbing work will need to be replaced or installed by a qualified electrician or plumber in this country which can be costly.
No matter where you go you will need to change all your plugs, including the ones on your extension cords, which if they use moulded plugs, cannot be used in your new country.
Check to see if your washing machines tumble dryers etc can be serviced overseas.
Any warranties or guarantees are usually not valid outside SA. For these reasons, it may be easier replacing your SA electronic goods with Australian versions once you get here.
Many rental properties have a stove, oven and dishwasher already installed.
Good quality furniture can be expensive here, but you can pick up great second hand bargains on eBay and Gumtree or if bought new, most stores have an arrangement where you can pay them off.
There is also the option of picking up free goods off the side of the road on kerbside bulk collection days.
I have a friend who brought over all her heavy curtains. 6 years later they were still sitting in a box, as they were the wrong length and colour for their new home in Australia.
Also many rentals have blinds instead of curtains.
Shipping is expensive so pack lightly and the money your save on shipping can be used to buy new replacements for the items left behind.
Importing Valuables into Australia
If you are coming as a permanent resident, you can bring pre-owned items of value into Australia tax/duty free. However, conditions may apply.
If you have kept the receipts of purchase, you should bring them.
Allowable valuables include the following:
- jewellery (e.g. wedding rings, necklaces, earrings, etc)
- antiques and family heirlooms
- works of art
Valuables should be assessed by professional valuers in your country of origin.
Don’t forget to insure the items against loss or damage during shipping.
You must apply for a permit to import works of art, archaeological items, and heritage-listed pieces into Australia. Consult the Australian Customs and Border Protection website for more information.
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can bring into Australia. However, amounts over A$10,000 must be declared.
Don’t bring these when packing for Australia
Generally, firearms and ammunition, drugs, flammable products, ivory, fresh food, meat, plants and pornographic materials are prohibited from importation to most countries.
Some trusted shipping companies you could use to transport your valuables:
It is advisable to get a number of quotes from various freight and shipping companies.
Depending on the company you choose, the average shipping time is 70 days from collection to delivery, door-to-door.
So that’s it in a nutshell. Most people, when packing for Australia, pack to much stuff. Use this opportunity to get rid of the items you have never used, and probably never will!!
If you have only a small amount to ship then check out SendMyBag
Read more about pet shipping here