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Moving From UK To Australia – Our Personal Experience

In September 2021, our family undertook the mammoth task of moving from UK to Australia. In any normal circumstances, this would be no mean feat. But our timing meant it was right in the middle of a global pandemic!  What does that mean in reality? Everything was much more difficult, more expensive, more stressful and more time consuming than it would be in ‘normal‘ circumstances.

moving from UK to Australia
All our belongings arriving in Perth, Western Australia

Thankfully for us, we enlisted the help of PSS International Removals to assist with the process. There were several hiccups along the way (essentially knock on effects from the pandemic), but I honestly don’t know what we would have done without their assistance. So, lets take a detailed look at our experience and what it entailed when moving from UK to Australia.

Disclosure: PSS International Removals kindly offered a discount on our final bill for moving from UK to Australia, in exchange for content documenting our experience.  All opinions are my own and an honest reflection on the process of international removalists.

The Process of Moving from UK to Australia

We discovered PSS International Removals the same way we do everything else these days – a Google search! But after asking around we also realised that several other expats we knew had also used their services when moving from UK to Australia.

Get a Quote

The first step in the process of moving from UK to Australia was to obtain an accurate quote. A friendly representative from PSS International, Ross, attended our property to assess what belongings we had to allow him to provide a quote. It was right in the middle of the York Ebor Festival, we had friends staying with us and there was stuff absolutely everywhere! But he was ever the professional, ignoring the chaos, and told us we could easily fit everything in a 20ft container.

He assessed which fragile items would be required to be put into a special crate to protect them when moving from UK to Australia. We also looked over the car and determined it was feasible to ship it. The quote was received in our inbox the very same day!

moving from UK to Australia
Ross from PSS International Removals

Lock It In

After PSS International answered our queries, we agreed to the quote, paid a deposit and the dates were locked in for moving from UK to Australia. Due to the current state of the world, there were naturally a few complications along the way!

  • Everything was originally planned to be loaded into the container at our home. However, due to a worldwide shortage of containers, the packed boxes were taken to the warehouse and loaded into a container a few days later instead. This also meant the car had to be collected separately as opposed to being driven into the back of the container at our house.
  • PSS International gave us the option of 2 different shipping companies. One was more expensive but offered greater reliability and was due to arrive into Australia much earlier.
moving from UK to Australia
Home sweet home. York, UK

Time to pack up

Before we knew it, it was time to pack up our life after almost 5 years in York! The fantastic thing about the service provided by PSS International is that they:

  • Provide all the boxes and packing materials;
  • Pack up absolutely everything, down to every single wine glass. No heavy lifting from us;
  • Labelled all boxes and prepared a complete inventory list for shipping;
  • Are so, so quick! I honestly cannot believe the speed at which the removalists packed everything up. It would have taken us weeks ourselves.

In approximately 3 half days, all our worldly possessions were packed and gone. All we needed to do was put aside the things to pack in our suitcases for our own journey. It couldn’t have been any easier when moving from UK to Australia!

moving from UK to Australia
Mid-way through the packing up of all our belongings

I will say that we had done a little bit of ground work for moving from UK to Australia before the PSS International team arrived … the control freaks that we are meant that we couldn’t help ourselves. But it was mainly grouping things together such as books, ornaments, linens etc. so that we vaguely knew where things would be when it came to unpacking.

As mentioned above, due to the inability to load the container at our house, the car was collected separately by a courier and taken to the PSS International warehouse for loading into the container with our belongings.

Moving from UK to Australia
Car being collected in York, UK

A few things to note …

In preparation for moving from UK to Australia, there are a few things we were required to do.

  • Separate what was going in the container and what was travelling with us in our luggage.
  • Due to the strict Australian quarantine rules, it was very important that everything was cleaned thoroughly. This included shoes, garden equipment, bikes etc.
  • We were given a list of prohibited items and we needed to ensure that these were not packed.
  • All items were required to be removed from the walls by us to avoid PSS International accidently causing damage.
  • We had to compile a list of all of our things for insurance purposes and add a value for each. The more specific you are with the list, the better it will be for you (in the unlikely circumstances you need to make a claim).
  • Complete all of the import / export documentation. This sounds very onerous but PSS International supplied the forms, provided assistance where required and took care of submitting documents to the relevant authorities on our behalf.

Once everything was taken care of, all that was left to do was eagerly await the arrival of our belongings in Australia. Meanwhile we had the stressful task of flying to and quarantining in Western Australia as well as transporting the dogs to Australia.

Moving from UK to Australia
Heathrow Airport prior to our flight to Australia

Bon Voyage!

On the 2nd October we received email confirmation and photos that our consignment had successfully been loaded and departed the UK. We were given the container number and details of a website to allow us to vaguely keep track of the container and vessel it was on.

Moving from UK to Australia
40ft container loaded, ready for transport to Australia

Original Due Date …

Once our container had taken to the seas, we were given a contact in Perth from Keys The Moving Solution who kept us up to date with our shipment.

Our shipment was originally due into Fremantle mid-November, but these dates were quickly quashed. Unfortunately there are currently worldwide shipping delays and it is predicted that this will continue to worsen in 2022.  There were several delays along the way, but we were kept informed and able to track the progress online to some extent.

Finally, the container arrived into Fremantle Port on 8th January 2022 which was about a 7 week delay. We couldn’t help ourselves but drive to Fremantle and spy the ship that weekend – after several months of waiting it felt too good to be true.

Moving from UK to Australia
Kota Laris docked in Fremantle, Western Australia

Quarantine Inspection

We had not realised prior to shipment that Australian Customs required up to 15 business days to clear the container. But to my relief after just a few days, I received a phone call to advise that they could deliver the container the following day!

The only item which was confiscated from our shipment was a bag of soil, which must have been in the bottom of a tub in the garage and was not spotted by the PSS International packing crew. This was disposed of, at a cost of $80.

We were also not aware that there would be Quarantine Inspection Fees on top of what we had already paid to ship the consignment, for both the personal belongings and the vehicle. So, that was an unexpected surprise prior to the ship docking.

Rules and procedures for bringing goods into every country vary widely and change often.  Thankfully, PSS International can assist with up-to-date customs information for your specific destination.

Delivery Day!

Personal belongings

Arguably better than Christmas day itself – the day our things arrived at our new home in Australia! A whopping 180 boxes and articles in total. The team from Keys The Moving Solutions were so efficient and all our belongings were unloaded from the truck in 2 hours. One person stayed behind after the truck was unloaded and assisted me with whatever I required unpacking. The service of moving from UK to Australia included all boxes being unpacked to counter top and everything being reassembled.

I made sure that my daughter’s bedroom was made up, that all the boxes were in (roughly) the correct room and that the brown paper was removed from all the big furniture items.  Apart from that, we were happy to take care of the remainder of the unpacking ourselves at our own leisure.

moving from UK to Australia

I’m very pleased to report that there were only a few minor damages incurred whilst moving from UK to Australia. A smashed vase, a dented bin and a chipped sideboard. I have been forwarded the documentation to make a claim, but in the scheme of things I think this is a great result. I was totally expecting half of my wine and champagne glasses to be broken!

Oh and one of the best parts of the service of moving from UK to Australia – they returned at a later date to collect ALL of the paper and boxes for recycling. If you have ever moved house, you know how much of a total win this is!

moving from UK to Australia
All our belongings in our new home in Perth, Western Australia

Vehicle

The car took longer to clear customs than the furniture and personal belongings. It was also required to undergo a deep clean of some areas due to a pesky bee and some pollen that hitched a ride to Australia.  Again, this was at a further cost to us.

The car was delivered on a flat bed truck to the house a couple of weeks later. We were then required to independently register, license and insure the vehicle before being allowed to drive it on West Australian roads.

moving from UK to Australia
From York to Perth, she made it!

The Cost of Moving from UK to Australia

So, I hear you asking – how much did it cost moving from UK to Australia? It was certainly not a cheap exercise.

All up, our total bill was approximately £13K. This was for a 40ft container which held all of our belongings in our home, plus our vehicle.

The fees included insurance (which was calculated at 1.5% of the total value of the goods and vehicle), wooden crates for fragile items as well as the premium for the more expensive shipping company, in the hope that the goods would arrive sooner.

This cost, however, does not include the quarantine inspection fees in Australia, cleaning fees or the import duty due for the vehicle.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that pricing is currently inflated due to the pandemic and worldwide shipping congestion.

Do I think it was worth packing up everything when moving from UK to Australia? I think the answer is probably yes.  We have not had to buy a lot on arrival, and we will sell anything that doesn’t fit in our new home. Besides, we were short on time to actually sell anything prior to our departure.

moving from UK to Australia
Packing up our lives in York

My Advice

What have I learnt and what would my advice be for anyone moving from UK to Australia?

  • Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time for the relocation.
  • Some things will not travel well and are best left behind. Things like some toiletries and my essential oil diffuser have gone straight in the bin. And anything flammable could not be packed as its prohibited.
  • You will need adapters for all of your electrical appliances, and not all of them will work e.g. fridges.
  • Take your valuables and any important documentation with you. Also, think ahead about what documentation you will need to establish your new life in Australia. Get life insurance quotes immediately after the move. You can begin your search before deciding to move, but with plenty of options available, it’ll be easier to compare plans with an agent who can provide accurate life insurance quotes.
  • Maximize the use of your luggage allowance for your flight. In hindsight we wish we had packed some extra belongings such as kids scooter, golf clubs and more clothes.
  • Expect the unexpected for fees and charges. It is inevitable that things will creep up that you hadn’t factored in, and are normally completely out of your control. For example, fees related to inspection, storage, cleaning, import taxes etc.
  • Alcohol and wine incur duties and most food is generally prohibited to be brought into Australia. I recommend enjoying it all before moving from UK to Australia!

So, do you think you are up for the challenge of moving from UK to Australia? If so, I cannot recommend PSS International Removals highly enough for the service they offer. And if you have any questions, I’m here to help! Australia is waiting for you x

moving from UK to Australia
Dunsborough Beach, Western Australia

About PSS International Removals

PSS International Removals are one of the UK’s leading specialist Personal Shipping Services assisting people moving from UK to Australia. They pride themselves on providing a high level of service and expertise for expats and families moving overseas.

All their staff and packers are specifically trained in international removals and shipping – many have lived abroad at some time in their lives and so have first-hand experience of the pressures of moving overseas.

When you choose PSS to help with moving from UK to Australia, you can be assured that they will do everything they can to remove the stress so you can focus on starting your new life in a new country.

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Inspiring and Informing Your Family Wanderlust
Aussie Mama Living in York, UK
Lover of Coffee, Champagne and A Little Luxe

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