What to Know Before Shipping Your Household Belongings to Australia

by | Jul 12, 2017 | Packing & Shipping

This is a sponsored guest post, even so, I think it's is very relative to anyone who is thinking of shipping anything to Australia.

Three Things to Know Before Shipping Household Items to Australia

So, you’ve made the big decision to move to Australia.

Once you begin getting the wheels into motion and make arrangements for your lifestyle change, potentially the most stressful thing, apart from stepping on the plane, will be shipping your household to Australia.

A quick and easy way to remove that stress is to invest in the services of a reliable and reputable international shipping company.

1. Hire a reputable international moving company.

Your international moving company will endeavor to safeguard your belongings and deliver on time, and with a minimum of fuss. They’ll do the hard work, packing and wrapping your precious belongings into a container and safely deliver them to you in Australia.

Choosing a reputable international moving company is definitely the way to go – especially when your belongings are being sent halfway around the world – you want someone you can trust! Keep an eye out for your movers (or removalists, as movers are called in Australia) accreditations.

Choose a company where they carry the FAIM logo; the highest quality assurance standard recognized internationally. Routine audits are performed to ensure quality standards are upheld.

FIDI is another internationally recognized organization that accredits movers around the world to work together. This means a London based company can liaise with an Australian based company to ensure moves are carried out with full teams and proper equipment in both countries.

Experiencing a successful international relocation is highly attributed to experience. Removal companies who have been in the industry for 80 years or more are the way to go! Professional, highly-trained removalists know how to care for your move every step of the way.

2. Understand what you cannot take with you to Australia.

Avoid packing items that will be confiscated, or hold up your goods in quarantine unnecessarily. This means those small items of food, animal, and plant materials finding their way into your vacuum, lawnmower, or even garden tools.

Australia tries really hard to keep its unique environment and agricultural industries are free from pests. The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) carries a high level of physical inspection on incoming personal and household goods to Australia.

When shipping your household to Australia, it isn’t recommended to include foodstuffs in your container. As mentioned, try and remove any traces of soil or other foreign matter from items such as vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, golf clubs, garden tools, wheelbarrows, etc. prior to the big move.

If you desperately need to move these types of items with you to Australia, they will need to be declared for inspection on arrival to Australia. Some products may require treatment to make them safe. Others posing pest and disease you will need to say goodbye to!

They WILL BE seized and destroyed by AQIS. Your international moving company will be able to guide you on what items you cannot ship, but it pays to be prepared and know for yourself.

Goods to be declared.

List of items that need to be declared for when you're packing up your house:

  • Seeds and nuts – commercially packaged seeds, seed ornaments, nuts out of shell such as salted nuts, in foil or roasted.
  • Plant products – straw packaging, wooden articles, artefacts, handicrafts and curios – includes wreaths and decorations made of cereal or grain.
  • Animal products – includes any items made with rawhide, such as drums, shields, artefacts, dog chews; and any treated skins, hides, furs, hair or feathers.
  • Dried fruit and vegetables
  • Herbs and spices of any kind – includes herbal medicines and remedies, tonics, teas
  • Biscuits, cakes and confectionery – includes chocolate, sweets, crisps, nuts, pretzels
  • Noodles and rice – includes processed and instant meals
  • Teas, coffees, and milk based drinks
  • Bamboo, cane or rattan basket ware and mats – including coconut carvings, cane baskets
  • Wooden articles – includes painted and lacquered items
  • Fresh flowers and leis & dried flower arrangements

3. How long your shipment will take until it arrives in Australia.

This will really depend on where in the world you are moving from!

As an example, if you’re shipping a full dedicated container from the US, this can take between 6-8 weeks to arrive in Australia, while the more cost-effective method of a shared container can take anywhere between 10-12 weeks.

Consult your international moving company for exact time frames.

About the Author: This article was contributed by Alex Bulmer. Alex works with Wridgways Moving Company. Believe me, he knows a lot about shipping and relocating to Australia. That's what they do all day long.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Ready to Get Started with Your Move to Australia?

Australia Moving Checklist Download

Australia Moving Checklist

39 pages, packed full of resources you need to kick start your move to Australia. Plus invite-only access to my Private Facebook Group with over 2,200 members. The group is a great place to get answers to all your questions, from visa applications to moving with pets and schools. Join us!
Transferring Money to Australia from Overseas

Lock-In Your Exchange Rate

Did you know the Australian dollar is a commodity currency? This means the value of the Australian dollar is linked to the price of iron ore and other Australian exports. It also means that it's HIGHLY VOLATILE! When a good rate comes along, you need to be ready to jump on it and lock-in that exchange rate.
International Moving Companies

Have You Started Packing Yet?

No, not yet? Still got several months to go? Ok, but have you at least started thinking about what you're taking? Maybe even started a list? The truth is you don’t need to know what's going with you before getting your shipping quote. Why? Scheduling a shipment to Australia can take as long as 6 months.
Moving to Australia Banking for Expats

Open Your Bank Account

In 5 minutes or less, you can open both a checking and savings account BEFORE you move to Australia. There are only 3 things you need to get started.
1. Your passport and visa details.
2. Know where you're going to live.
3. Be arriving within the next 3 months.
*This link will take you to Commonwealth Bank of Australia's special accounts for newly arriving expats and migrants. Commonwealth Bank is a sponsoring partner of Sydney Moving Guide.

About the Author

Guest Author

This is post was written by a guest author. If you are interested in contributing to Sydney Moving Guide please read through my terms and conditions.

Related Posts

Looking for Something Specific?


  1. Priya

    Hope you are doing well. We are relocating to Melbourne Australia from Phoenix Arizona. Would like to ship only few items like clothes books n few kitchen items. Which is the chepeast one? I am not particular about time frame. Please advise . thankyou.

    • Lauren

      I would still suggest getting a quote from an international shipping company. Sending boxes by post will be much more and if you’re not in a hurry then a shipping company can fit in your smaller shipment with a larger one also going to Australia. You’ll be sharing part of a container in this case. You might want to also consider using something like Send My Bag if you’re sending a couple of large suitcases worth or less than 5 book boxes. But in that case, it’ll take about a week and if you don’t have a place to live lined up or you’re still in mandatory hotel quarantine in Australia, that might be too soon. You could leave it with a friend or family member then arrange for it to be picked up after you’re done with quarantine. But I would start with a quote from a shipping company then compare with Send My Bag. Or maybe you could send the books and kitchen items with the shipping company and the clothes with Send My Bag.

  2. Al

    Hi Lauren

    I am considering shipping some items to Australia from the Netherlands. The size is less than a container load, but is heavy, so I am thinking of having the items placed in a wooden crate, possibly pine.

    I have heard that wood can be a bio issue during the import examination by AQIS.

    Do you have any info on this? Is it best to use something other than a wooden crate? If so, what do you suggest?



    • Lauren

      As long as the wood is commercially treated, it should be fine. It’s untreated or “reclaimed” wood that you need to be careful of. I would suggest talking to a few shipping companies first. The company we used made lift vans (aka plywood crates) for all our boxes and household items. Then the lift vans where pack in the container for shipping to Australia. It could be that the shippers will make a plywood crate for your shipment as well as use pallets. They would also be able to help with what kind of wood to use. Don’t want you to go through all the trouble of making a wood crate only to find out that they are going to re-pack it anyway.

  3. Bridget Price

    Hi Lauren,

    I am thinking of moving our small apartment from Mexico City, Mexico to Sydney, Australia. I have been trying to source quotes, as I am taking about a bedroom worth of goods, however I am not getting anything lower than 8000 USD, which seems extreme to me. Can you give me any guidance on this matter?


    • Lauren

      $8000 USD!! That’s crazy. Have you tried reverse engineering your move? So contact shippers in Australia instead of the other way around. Here’s a link to a few in Australia to start with. You can also try my shipping quote form here that will get you in touch with shipper in your area, but it sounds like you’ve already done that. Are you shipping furniture and boxes? Or just boxes? It’s also the worst time for personal shipping from almost anywhere because of the pandemic. Try a couple of the shipping companies in Australia and let me know how you go. If that doesn’t work out then I can try and contact my shipping brokers and see if they have any other ideas.

  4. Tazina Frank

    Hi Lauren, thanks for being so helpful with moving to Australia. My husband and I are Australian and have lived in the UK for 13 years. We were planning to move to Portugal this month but …. the virus…. With that planned however, we packed all our belongings into boxes ourselves, very securely, and they’re in a storage facility here in the UK. But we may decide to move back to Australia instead! If we do, I wondered if it’s a requirement that we have our belongings re-packed by a professional company, rather than them being able to take the boxes as they are that we packed ourselves? We have an inventory of what’s inside each box. Are you able to advise about this at all please? If not do you know who I could ask? Thank you very much! Warm wishes, Tazina

    • Lauren

      Hi Tazina, We’ve had dreams of moving to Portugal too after visiting a few years ago. We stayed in Porto just over three weeks and didn’t want to leave. Not to dissuade you from moving back to Australia, but there’s a good network of expats in Portugal especially from the UK. The logistics of moving might be difficult right now, but if you’re not pressed for time do a quick search on Facebook for expats in Portugal, there are several active groups. I’m in a Porto Expats group on Facebook that I like to check out every once in a while when I have dreams of moving or see an episode of House Hunters International in Portugal.

      For packing, you can definitely self pack, that’s what we did. The problem is using second hand boxes. Department of Agriculture is very strict and recommends not using second hand boxes that may have been used for any animal, plant, soil, sawdust, wood shavings, straw, or egg cartons. We were told when we shipping our stuff to Australia to not even take the chance and use all new boxes.

      As for labeling:

      If second hand boxes are being used, ensure that any previous labelling on your packing boxes is covered or removed completely. Make sure you use a permanent marker/felt pen to write on boxes (sticky labels can fall off in transit). Department of Agriculture

      Hope that helps.

      All the best,


Leave a Reply