Moving to Australia is something many Kiwis think about at one time or other. It’s a big decision, and one of the major headaches it involves is the problem of how to get all your things across the ditch.

Fortunately, there are shipping companies who specialise in moving house contents to Australia. The tips below will help you choose a company that will ship your goods safely and at a competitive price.

Decide What You’re Taking

Sounds pretty obvious, but when you start thinking about what you want to take, you may well find there are things that aren’t worth the cost of transporting. A clapped-out fridge, for instance, will probably cost you more to ship than it’s worth.

Make a list of all major items you intend to ship. Try, too, to quantify the amount of clothing, books and smaller items you want to take with you. The more accurately you do this, the more accurate a quote your shipping company will be able to supply.


Shipping is a very competitive business. Get at least three written quotes. Don’t rely on the online cost calculators some shipping companies provide, these only give a general idea at best. Get a representative of the company to visit your home and show him exactly what items you’ll be shipping. That way you’ll get a far clearer idea of what you’ll actually have to pay.


Does the company pack for you, or do they require you to pack everything in cartons yourself prior to pick-up? If they operate a self-pack service, do they supply packing materials and is the cost of these included in the quote?

Many companies will pack everything themselves, down to the last teaspoon. If the company you choose does this, ask if their employees are security checked.


Your possessions are going to be loaded into a container, put on a ship, sailed across the Tasman and unloaded at the other end. In such a journey there’s always the possibility of theft or damage. Insurance can help you mitigate the risk.

Your shipping company will almost certainly offer insurance, but be sure to check what it actually covers and don’t forget to factor it into the total price of your move. Shipping insurance generally costs between 2% – 4% of the total insured value of your goods and can easily add another thousand dollars to your bill.

Check that the insurance the shipping company provides is underwritten by a reputable insurance company.

Extra Charges

Leave yourself a financial buffer to cover extra charges. These might include fumigation and quarantine costs in Australia and storage charges if you are not able to take delivery of your goods when they arrive.

Plan Ahead

Shipping house contents to the east coast of Australia from New Zealand takes around 5 – 7 weeks. Factor this delay into your plans – it might mean living in an empty house for a month or so.

Door to Door

Does the shipping company provide a door-to-door service, or will you have to organise a moving company to pick up your goods when they arrive at the port in Australia.

If a door-to-door service is provided, check that you have the flexibility to change your destination address while your possessions are still in transit – oftentimes you won’t know exactly where you’re going to live before you get there and start house hunting.

How Will You Pay

Many people plan to pay their shipping company by credit card, but beware – shipping companies often charge a levy for credit card payments, sometimes as much as 3% of your total bill!

Company Relations

Planning your move will be easier if you have a single point of contact with the shipping company. An attentive representative can answer your questions as they arise and provide reassuring advice about the shipping process.


Make sure the shipping company advises you on all necessary paperwork. You’ll have to fill out an Australian customs declaration and you may also have to complete an insurance proposal and a booking confirmation form.

Shipping a houseful of possessions to a new country is a stressful endeavour and you’ll probably worry right up until the day they’re delivered safely to your now home. Doing your research, getting several quotes and asking the right questions, however, can keep that worry to manageable proportions and help ensure your possessions actually do arrive intact and undamaged.

How to Ship Your House Contents to Australia, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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  1. Yes, it’s a busy process moving countries on your own and requires a lot of planning. Definitely agree with getting quotes for shipping! Organising bank transfers is also something worth considering.

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