A Guide to Moving to Australia

sydney opera house

So you may have visited the land Down Under and fallen in love with the place, here is a guide to all the ins and outs of moving to Australia if you do decide make the big leap and relocate.

Of course, you will have to decide where you would like to live. Will it be the trendy and lively city of Sydney, the relaxed way of life in Perth, the serenity of Adelaide or the beautiful Gold Coast among many other places to choose from? Your choice of destination may also be influenced of course by visa options and restrictions as well as friends and family ties.

Visa Options

Deciding to relocate to Australia first starts with looking at visa options and if you are eligible. The main types of visa are working holiday visas (for up to age 30), student visa, skilled migration visas, business / investment visas and family visas.

In terms of skilled migration, each Australian State has its own list and you will need to check the latest Occupations in Demand lists for each region. This list is usually reviewed on an annual basis so you will need to make sure you have the most up to date list. Further information can be found the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection website –

An emigration or visa company can assist you when making your application. Make sure to only use a Migration Agents Registry Authority (MARA) regulated agent ( if you do decide to go down this route.

When you have your visa approved, you will need to validate your visa and also start to plan your relocation. This will involve firstly selling your property / renting out your property / planning your move out of your property. In addition, you will also need to contact an International Moving company if you are planning to take any household or personal effects with you to Oz.

Shipping to Australia

Most International Moving companies suggest that you request a quotation for your move at least three months before your estimated moving date. This will allow enough time to revise your packing list if needed and to secure a packing and loading date or dates. In addition, this timescale allows you to have time to do any research you need to do with regards to moving and shipping companies including asking the company various questions you may have about the process.

If you have a part or full house shipment, you will usually need a Pre-Move Survey Consultation in order for the Moving Company to prepare your quote. The Survey usually involves a Consultant visiting your house to assess the volume of the goods to be shipped. A packing list / inventory will be created during the process and in most cases, a copy provided to you with your quotation.

During the Consultation, the Moving Company will discuss various aspects of the move including transit times, packing methods and shipping options (e.g. sea freight, air freight, sole use container and shared container options). This is also an opportunity to ask any questions you may have with regards to the move.

If you are just shipping a few items or a very small shipment, you should be able to call or e-mail your Moving Company with a list of the items / photographs of the items and get a quote relatively quickly. You can also ask for a House Contents Form which some companies provide in order to calculate the volume of the shipment.

You will need to bear in mind a number of customs and quarantine regulations when shipping to Australia. Each shipment will be inspected by Quarantine officers, particular items of interest are outdoor items where there could be soil / dirt on the items and therefore pose a threat to Australia’s environment (via Foot and Mouth and other diseases for example). Your Moving company should provide you with a list of restricted and prohibited items before your move as well as instructions on the best way of cleaning your outdoor items in preparation for shipping.

In summary, moving to Australia could be the adventure of a lifetime and the start of a brand new life in ‘the lucky country’. Although the visa application and shipping process may take time to prepare for, it should all be worth it when you settle into your new destination and start enjoying the sunshine and blue skies of Australia.


The Top National Parks In Bhutan

bhutanOne of the main reasons that visitors will visit the Kingdom of Bhutan is that it is largely unspoilt by the modern world, and it can boast some of the best scenery in the world.  Nestled in the Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is one of the true gems, but tourism is restricted in order to keep the country as idyllic as possible.  The very best locations in the country have already been preserved in some of the best national parks in the world, and a visit to these natural sites will certainly be worth your time.

Thrumshingla National Park

Located in central Bhutan this is one of the most popular National Parks as it enjoys some fantastic mountain scenery and particularly enjoys some great waterfalls.  Because much of the park is made up of the traditional forests that are to be found across Bhutan, there are many bird species that have flourished in the park, including the brightly colored Satyr Tragopan and the Rufous-Throated Wren-Babbler.

This is probably the most popular national park for tourists in Bhutan because it is easily accessible by road from the capital Thimphu, and it also enjoys a visitor center and trekking opportunities.

Wangchuck Centennial Park

As with all of the national parks to be found in Bhutan, the mountainous terrain plays a big part in the importance of the park, with over 200 species of animals to be found in the area.  The park itself is the largest in Bhutan and was named for the current royal dynasty, and can be found in the northern portion of the country, where a number of the parks are to be found.

The most important reason that the park is in place is the rare species to be found there, with Asian Black Bears and Snow Leopards both being present in the park.

Jigme Dorji National Park

One of the most fascinating national parks in the country is that of Jigme Dorji, where two sacred mountains can be found, namely Mount Jomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake.  The Bhutanese government works alongside the WWF here to preserve many of the species to be found here, including the Bengal Tiger, the Snow Leopard and the Clouded Leopard.  There are also many traditional Himalayan species to be found in the park including the Bharal, which is species of sheep, along with the Dhole, which is a wild dog.

The park is also home to two high altitude fortresses that are among the most important country, namely the Lingshi Dzong and the Gasa Dzong.

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

It is the variety of different ecosystems that can be found in this are that make it such an important site, with altitude in the park ranging from 600m above sea level up to nearly 5000m above sea level.  There are a large number of different animal and bird species to be found in the park, including the Rufous-necked Hornbill and the Golden Langur.  However, it is the Black-necked Crane that spends its winter in the park that attracts the most attention.  This has also been a pilot area in terms of developing nature tourism, with guided nature treks being trialled in the park.

Royal Manas National Park

Lying in the south of Bhutan, this park has a different feel to some of the other parks in the country, with a greater diversity of plant life and interesting animals.  The park itself is named after the Manas River that runs through the park, and along with the other waterways it helps to support important species such as the Mahseer, which is a rare migratory fish, the Wild Water Buffalo and the Ganges River Dolphin.  It also has a number of endangered mammals in the park including the Bengal Tiger, the Gaur and the Golden Langur.

Varied Activities on the Gold Coast of Australia


The Gold Coast of Australia is now becoming a popular tourist destination, thanks to many stars who head down under, whenever they are looking for some action on their holidays. I listen to the evening news and am amazed at the number of people who enjoy visiting Australia, especially the beaches on the Gold Coast. Travelers are able to visit varied regions and enjoy their holidays down under. This is probably why many tourists are heading to this part of Australia to enjoy their vacations.

In my opinion, Surfer’s Paradise is one of the best locations for vacations. This place is for tourists who want to have fun and enjoy the beaches and take active part in thrilling water sports. There is a lot to see and do and many people love the bustling atmosphere of this tourist destination. Some people, who prefer a romantic getaway, would prefer to go somewhere quieter to spend more time with each other.

Broadbeach is another beautiful region in the Gold Coast where one can find many eating places and shops. The accommodation is on the shore, which makes it very alluring for people, who are used to places like the Surfer’s Paradise. Here, there is not as much activity as Surfer’s Paradise and people can find time to be alone, if they prefer this sort of vacation. For those interested in sporting activities, there is enough to keep them occupied so that they have fun at the same time.

In Broadbeach, one has more space to move around and this may be due to the fact that it does not receive as much publicity as Surfer’s Paradise. It is possible to move around at a less active pace here. There is plenty to do if you wish to be active or you can move around at your own sedate pace.

The weather on the Gold Coast is by far the greatest reasons for people heading to this tourist destination. You can take a vacation any part of the year in this part of the world.  Make it a point to include the Surfer’s Paradise or Broadbeach on your wish list when you plan to take your next holiday. Apartments and hotels are easy to find. Just type in the details and you will be flooded with places to stay on the Gold Coast.

I enjoy visiting the Gold Coast as the weather all around is superb for undertaking various activities. I find the accommodation very comfortable and have not yet regretted taking my vacation in Australia.

Enjoyable Family Vacation in Australia


Our last holiday in Australia was a mecca to some of the most beautiful cities in the state. We visited the culture capital of Victoria and the state capital, Melbourne, which is the largest city in Australia. Melbourne is sophisticated and boasts of excellent architecture, displays of sculptures and conducts many events that are world-class.

Tourists are greeted with many restaurants and cafes when down under, and look forward to sampling the cuisine. As a connoisseur of food, I visited the Queen Victoria Market, where I was able to pick up a variety of ingredients for cooking up gourmet dishes. I enjoyed the evening at the Crown Melbourne casino, where I was astounded by the mere magnificence of the water feature that was displayed in the foyer!

The Yarra River runs through Melbourne and provides water to many vineyards in this region. We took a day trip to the Phillip Island which is a 90 minute drive from Melbourne. My children had a whale of a time sampling the chocolates and getting their energy levels up at the Paddys Chocolate Factory after being entertained for hours on end with optical illusions, puzzles and mazes at A Maze’N Things. My wife and I led stroll around the conservation area to look at the koalas, sea lions and the amazing variety of birds around.
great alpine road

We unanimously agreed that the drive down the Great Alpine Road after breakfast was a memorable treat and a great experience. This scenic road runs 308 kilometers and is well sealed and accessible throughout the year. This route starts from the North east at Wangaratta to Bairnsdale. Though we could complete this trip in about four and a half hours, we decided to make a stop and have lunch, after which we tried to catch fish while the children spent the afternoon cycling in the area.

We took in several cultural events and visited the theatre and art museums when we were there. We had scheduled our trip for November and since we were around for the first Tuesday in the month, I even placed a small wager at the racing event that is popularly known as the Melbourne Cup.

Our family voted Australia as one of the best tourist destinations in the world and confirmed that they had great fun during the entire trip. We enjoyed visiting this wine country and found several good bed and breakfast places that tourists could stay and explore the surroundings. The scenery was breathtaking, the rides enjoyable and the tours well conducted.

Enjoy Any One of the Cheap flights to Australia

sydney opera house

The best time to vacation in Australia is when the various airlines vie with each other with special promotional offers. The airfares to Australia during the low season, which is generally from May, August right through middle of September, are low as compared to other long flights to Asia and Eastern Europe.

Fly out of San Francisco and Los Angeles or from California and take the non-stop flight to reach Australia.

There have been an increase of new airlines and existing airlines have added more flight and services to this route bringing down the cost of flying to Australia further.

Consolidators of airlines offer great deals with cheap flights to Australia. However, you can also avail of a great low fare when you opt to fill a seat at the nth hour or a promotional fare.

The Australian Qantas offer large aircrafts and maximum flights to Australia. Daily flights that go non-stop to Australia are from Los Angeles.  San Francisco does not offer daily flights. With Qantas, there are so many great deals on flights to Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney without any halts on the way. Code-share flights are offered by this Australian company to American Airlines to connect to flights from other cities in the US either from San Francisco or Los Angeles.

The Qantas website offers promotional “free” offers, of a flight to a city in Australia during the low season. You can also avail of the Aussie Air Pass or if you are an Advantage members of American Airlines, earn mileage points and fly to, as well as within Australia, on their Qantas carriers.

Virgin Airlines Group offer their new addition, VAustralia, which flies from Los Angeles non-stop to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Take a connecting flight from any US city on Delta and Virgin America. Some of the VAustralia flights also depart from San Francisco.  However, VAustralia does not offer any special packages or offers within Australia.

Sunset in Melbourne

From 2009, Delta has been flying to Sydney. They have entered a code-sharing agreement with various groups, such as  international flights  with VAustralia, Virgin Airlines Group and Virgin Blue, their sister airline for domestic flights within Australia.

Members of DeltaSkyMiles with Club access can spend transit hours in the luxurious VirginBlue’s airport lounges whenever they fly anywhere within Australia on their VirginBlue aircraft. The other airlines that offer this facility are VAustralia and Delta.

United Airlines flies to Sydney from San Francisco and Los Angeles or connect from many cities in US. This airline goes to Australia but does not fly in Australia and rarely offer any promotional offers.

The other airline that flies from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Down Under is Air New Zealand, via Auckland. Since the traveling time is extended by many hours, their fares are quite competitive.

Several Asian airlines offer multi-stops, to travel to Australia, which tend to work out more expensive. It is cheaper to fly non-stop on VAustralia, Qantas, United or Delta.

If you have no issues with expensive fares and look for luxury and comfort, you may prefer flying east en route to Australia. You can visit Singapore or Dubai to combine a great holiday. Singapore Air has a non-stop daily flight from Newark to Singapore and the Emirates have two non-stop daily flights from JFK. Many non-stop flights are available from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston when you take the various options to vacation in Australia.

Top Things To Do In Australia

There is so much to do when you visit Australia which is home to big cities, beaches, deserts and mountains. You can choose from any of the ten top things to do in Australia that is listed below.

Visit the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge as this is something every traveler to Australia must do. Some tourists enjoy climbing up the Bridge and book well in advance while other may opt to enjoy a night at the opera on terra firma.

Enjoy a scenic drive down the Great Ocean Road which starts from Torquay and runs for 243 km to Warrnambool in Victoria which is the southern state. You are bound to spot a few koalas hanging from trees and enjoy stunning sights such as the rock formation of the Twelve Apostles. The Outback may be difficult to reach from any of the major cities but if you can make a trip to Ayers Rock you will enjoy the journey on the dusty roads that take you to Alice Springs.

Make it a point to include the West Coast of Australia as you will be spellbound by the spectacular scenery. Enjoy snorkeling and discovering reef sharks, manta rays, turtles and perhaps a whale shark if you are lucky when you travel half way down the coast to Exmouth.

Skydiving is very popular for backpackers as it is something most tourists enjoy trying. Feel the adrenalin rush as you jump out of a plane from thousands of feet in the air. There is nothing as thrilling, especially as you get a great bird’s eye view of the stunning landscape.

Accommodation is easy to find in Australia. There are many luxury hotels and various eco retreats where you can find great big beds to rest at night. Melbourne and Sydney abound in five-star hotels though if you look around you will find some great chic eco hotels at affordable prices.

Tourists flock to Sydney to enjoy the large ocean pools that are filled with sea water. These types of pools are found in the far end of Coogee beaches and Bondi, Sydney where you can soak lazily in these pools and watch the water flowing in with the current.

Do not miss the Great Barrier Reef which is the largest in the world and spectacular, whether you see it from above, or below. This reef that spreads for over 2,600 km abounds in diverse marine life that will amaze you and make your trip there worth your while.

Try to include Darwin, which is the capital of the Northern Territories, in your itinerary and visit the Kakadu National Park that lies about 200 kms to the south. You will enjoy a wide spectacle of flora and fauna, including rivers, waterfalls and aboriginal rock art.

Tourists can learn to surf and enjoy a great time soaking up the sun on the beaches. Include this exciting sport as one of the top things to do in Australia. Surfing is a popular pastime with Australians and you can join the other tourists and locals in the sparkling crystal waters.

When looking for budget travel insurance it is often necessary to get online in order to find the best deal. For example Endsleigh can offer you every kind of cover for every kind of trip.