Arriving in Australia


Arriving in Darwin

Before you fly

Before you leave your home, there are some important things you can do to prepare, to ensure your arrival in Australia is as smooth as possible.

When should I arrive?

We recommend booking a flight as early as possible and arrive a few weeks before enrolment. This gives you time to arrange suitable accommodation and to adjust to life in Darwin. You should arrive to Australia no later than 1 week before your course starts, so you don’t miss the Orientation week organised for you.

Travel insurance

We advise you to purchase travel insurance when you book your flights to Australia. Your travel insurance should cover you for two or three days after you arrive in Australia, in case you experience delays. Your travel agent should be able to help you organise this.

Money

It is a good idea to arrive with some Australian money. Around A$250 in cash is a good amount to start with.

We recommend that you do not travel with large amounts of cash for your safety. Note that if you bring A$10,000 or more in cash to Australia (or equivalent in foreign currency), you must declare it to Australian customs when you arrive. You can find more information about declaring currency on the Australian Border Force website.

It is also helpful to have a credit card for emergencies. The most common credit cards used in Australia are Visa and MasterCard. Some businesses also accept American Express and Diners Club credit cards.

Darwin International Airport

On the plane, you will be given an incoming passenger card. You will need to fill in your flight details and customs information.

When you arrive at the airport, you will need your passport and incoming passenger card for the entry control point.

When you have passed through the entry control point, you will collect your baggage and exit the terminal via customs and quarantine.

Quarantine, Customs and goods to declare

Australian customs and quarantine regulations restrict you from bringing certain items into Australia, and you must declare some items on your incoming passenger card.

If you are carrying any restricted or quarantine items, including food, medication, wooden material, plant material or animal products, you must declare them. Alternatively, you can place them in the quarantine bins when you arrive at the airport.

To declare an item, tick 'yes' on your incoming passenger card.

If you are unsure about an item you are carrying, declare it by ticking 'yes'.

Luggage is screened using a combination of specially trained dogs, x-ray machines and bag inspections on arrival in Australia. If you do not declare any restricted or quarantine items, or if you make a false declaration, you risk severe penalties.

For more information about what to declare, visit the Australian Border Force website and Australian Department of Agriculture website.

Free airport collection

CDU organises free airport pickup from Darwin International Airport during peak arrival periods (February and July). You will have received an Airport Arrival Form from our admissions team – please ensure this is completed and returned to international@cdu.edu.au at least 72 hours before your arrival. If this form is returned later than 72 hours prior to your arrival, collection will be subject to staff availability and is not guaranteed. Once your collection is organised, an email will be sent to you as confirmation.

If you are staying at Charles Darwin University's on-campus accommodation, International House Darwin, you will be dropped at the main office. During office hours an IHD staff member will always be available to welcome you and show you to your room. If you are arriving out of office hours there is a telephone to call the resident leader on duty located outside the reception office near the main carpark. The resident leader will meet you and show you to your accommodation.

Taxis

Taking taxi is affordable for travelling around Darwin. Taxis are available from the taxi rank which is located directly in front of the Terminal.

Approximate taxi fares: Darwin International Airport to the city: app A$30.

Try this Taxi Fare Calculator to get your estimate taxi fare cost.

Airport shuttle

Darwin Airport Link operates an affordable on-demand airport shuttle service between Darwin International Airport, and Darwin surrounds & suburbs. It is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and it offers fixed transfer fares starting from $15.00 one-way. For full details and booking, please visit Darwin Airport Link.

Back to top

Arriving in Melbourne

Before you fly

Before you leave your home, there are some important things you can do to prepare, to ensure your arrival in Australia is as smooth as possible.

When should I arrive?

We recommend booking a flight as early as possible and arrive a few weeks before enrolment. This gives you time to arrange suitable accommodation and to adjust to life in Melbourne. You should arrive to Australia no later than 1 week before your course starts, so you don’t miss the Orientation week organised for you.

Travel insurance

We advise you to purchase travel insurance when you book your flights to Australia. Your travel insurance should cover you for two or three days after you arrive in Australia, in case you experience delays. Your travel agent should be able to help you organise this.

Money

It is a good idea to arrive with some Australian money. Around A$250 in cash is a good amount to start with. 

We recommend that you do not travel with large amounts of cash for your safety. Note that if you bring A$10,000 or more in cash to Australia (or equivalent in foreign currency), you must declare it to Australian customs when you arrive. You can find more information about declaring currency on the Australian Border Force website.

It is also helpful to have a credit card for emergencies. The most common credit cards used in Australia are Visa and MasterCard. American Express and Diners Club credit cards are also accepted by some businesses. 

Melbourne airports

Melbourne has two major airports:

Melbourne Airport is a 25-minute drive from the Melbourne city centre. All international flights and most domestic flights to Melbourne arrive here. The domestic and international terminals are located in the same building.

Avalon Airport is a 45-minute drive from the Melbourne city centre. Some domestic flights to Melbourne arrive here.

International arrivals

If you arrive in Melbourne on an international flight, you will arrive at Melbourne Airport

On the plane, you will be given an incoming passenger card. You will need to fill in your flight details and customs information. 

When you arrive at the airport, you will need your passport and incoming passenger card for the entry control point.

When you have passed through the entry control point, you will collect your baggage and exit the terminal via customs and quarantine.

Quarantine, Customs and goods to declare

Australian customs and quarantine regulations restrict you from bringing certain items into Australia, and you must declare some items on your incoming passenger card. 

If you are carrying any restricted or quarantine items, including food, medication, wooden material, plant material or animal products, you must declare them. Alternatively, you can place them in the quarantine bins when you arrive at the airport. 

To declare an item, tick 'yes' on your incoming passenger card. 

If you are unsure about an item you are carrying, declare it by ticking 'yes'. 

All luggage is screened using a combination of specially trained dogs, x-ray machines and bag inspections on arrival in Australia. If you do not declare any restricted or quarantine items, or if you make a false declaration, you risk severe penalties. 

For more information about what to declare, visit the Australian Border Force website and Australian Department of Agriculture website.

Student welcome desk service

If you’re an international student who will be living or studying in Melbourne, the City of Melbourne’s Student Welcome Desk at Melbourne Airport is your one-stop shop for information and advice.

The desk is located at Travellers Information Service, International Arrivals Hall, Ground Floor, Terminal 2, Melbourne Airport.

  1. Information on temporary accommodation options
  2. Transport options from the airport to central Melbourne or your educational institution
  3. General information you may need upon arrival
  4. free welcome pack with information on:  

For more information about the welcome desk program, please go to the Student Welcome Desk webpage.

Bus

SkyBus is a bus service that connects Melbourne Airport with Southern Cross Station in the Melbourne city centre. 

It departs from the domestic and international terminals and costs about A$19 each way. For more information, please visit http://melbourneairport.com.au/to-from-the-airport/skybus/overview.html  

Taxis

Most Melbourne taxis are yellow. You can find taxis at both Melbourne airports.

Approximate taxi fares:

  • Melbourne Airport to city: A$70
  • Avalon Airport to city: A$110

Additional charges may apply for airport taxis or for using tollways. For more information please visit http://melbourneairport.com.au/to-from-the-airport/taxis/overview.html

Try this Taxi Fare Calculator to get your estimate taxi fare cost.

Back to top

Arriving in Sydney

Before you fly

Before you leave your home, there are some important things you can do to prepare, to ensure your arrival in Australia is as smooth as possible.

When should I arrive?

We recommend booking a flight as early as possible and arrive a few weeks before enrolment. This gives you time to arrange suitable accommodation and to adjust to life in Sydney. You should arrive to Australia no later than 1 week before your course starts, so you don’t miss the Orientation week organised for you.

Travel insurance

We advise you to purchase travel insurance when you book your flights to Australia. Your travel insurance should cover you for two or three days after you arrive in Australia, in case you experience delays. Your travel agent should be able to help you organise this.

Money

It is a good idea to arrive with some Australian money. Around A$250 in cash is a good amount to start with. 

We recommend that you do not travel with large amounts of cash for your safety. Note that if you bring A$10,000 or more in cash to Australia (or equivalent in foreign currency), you must declare it to Australian customs when you arrive. You can find more information about declaring currency on the Australian Border Force website.

It is also helpful to have a credit card for emergencies. The most common credit cards used in Australia are Visa and MasterCard. American Express and Diners Club credit cards are also accepted by some businesses. 

Sydney Airport

If you arrive in Sydney on an international flight, you will arrive at Sydney Airport. 

On the plane, you will be given an incoming passenger card. You will need to fill in your flight details and customs information. 

When you arrive at the airport, you will need your passport and incoming passenger card for the entry control point.

When you have passed through the entry control point, you will collect your baggage and exit the terminal via customs and quarantine.

Quarantine, Customs and goods to declare

Australian customs and quarantine regulations restrict you from bringing certain items into Australia, and you must declare some items on your incoming passenger card. 

If you are carrying any restricted or quarantine items, including food, medication, wooden material, plant material or animal products, you must declare them. Alternatively, you can place them in the quarantine bins when you arrive at the airport. 

To declare an item, tick 'yes' on your incoming passenger card. 

If you are unsure about an item you are carrying, declare it by ticking 'yes'. 

All luggage is screened using a combination of specially trained dogs, x-ray machines and bag inspections on arrival in Australia. If you do not declare any restricted or quarantine items, or if you make a false declaration, you risk severe penalties. 

For more information about what to declare, visit the Australian Border Force website and Australian Department of Agriculture website.

Student welcome desk service

When you arrive at Sydney International Airport, you will be able to visit the International Student Welcome Desk. The Welcome Desk is staffed by student volunteers who will be able to help you with general information and provide you with guides and maps for Sydney.

The Welcome Desk is located in Terminal 1, opposite Arrival Hall A. For detailed information on the location please view the Sydney Airport International Student Welcome Desk Map. Open 7am-11am and 6pm-10pm, 7 days a week during semester intakes and weekends at other periods.

Transport

You can take the train or bus from Sydney Airport to your desired location.

Please remember to purchase an adult ticket, as international students are not eligible for student transport concession, and fines apply. You can find more details on the use of trains and buses at the Transport NSW Information Page.

Train

Train is probably the easiest transport option in between the airport and the city. A single ticket can be purchased for A$17. Airport Link is a fast and convenient way to reach the centre of Sydney. Trains run approximately every 10 minutes and the journey to the city takes only 13 minutes. For more information please visit http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/go/by-train.aspx.

Bus

There are many bus services that operate to and from Sydney Airport. See the options below to determine which service best suits your needs.

For more information, please visit http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/go/buses-limousines-and-shuttles.aspx.  

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport. The taxi stand is located outside the international terminal.

Taxis

The cost can vary between A$15 and A$70 depending on where you travel to (or more if you are travelling beyond the inner city area). Try this Taxi Fare Calculator to get your estimate taxi fare cost from the airport to your address.

Back to top

Life in Darwin

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory; the tropical north of Australia. With a population of around 130,000 people, it's one of the smallest capital cities in Australia. Darwin is a fast growing metropolitan city with a rich history and a multicultural community.

The city is famous for its beautiful beaches, markets, and tropical weather. Despite the small population, there are plenty of things to do in and around the city. For an up to date guide on what’s on, you can visit the following sites:

The average temperature in the dry season is 32 degrees Celsius and sunny, with beautiful breezes. In the wet season, the temperature is around 33 Celsius, with high levels of humidity and frequent thunderstorms. Current weather information can be found at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Darwin is a very unique climate. We draw thousands of tourists every year from all over the world to see our wonderful sights, and experience beautiful warm temperatures every day of the year. The culture of Darwin is very unique, and is very climate driven. We are a very multicultural city, with various religious and ethnic groups.

In the Dry Season, there are multicultural festivals every weekend, outdoor concerts, markets and outdoor films every night. For more information on iconic NT events, visit Tourism NT.

In Wet Season, locals experience a touch of ‘mango madness’ in the humidity. While there are less local events, this is when nature springs to life with the waterfalls, rivers and local trees coming alive with colour- the perfect time to get out of the city and go exploring.

There are several options for transport in Darwin, including an extensive bus system that services most suburbs from the inner city to Palmerston. As a student, you can purchase $1 tickets for three hours of travel, or a $20 weekly pass. For full timetable details and bus maps, please visit the NT Government website - Public transport and cycling.

Charles Darwin University runs scheduled daily shuttle buses from our Casuarina campus to our Palmerston and Waterfront campuses. Check the bus timetables for current bus schedules.

Darwin Airport Link operates an affordable on-demand airport shuttle service between Darwin International Airport, and Darwin surrounds & suburbs. It is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and it offers fixed transfer fares starting from $15.00 one-way. For full details and booking, please visit Darwin Airport Link.

Depending on where you choose to live, rent in Darwin may be quite expensive compared to other Australian cities, with a share house averaging around $200 - $250 per week for a room, often not including the cost of utilities such as electricity. For more information on accommodation options, visit finding accommodation.

In the Wet Season, cyclones may occur in Darwin. These are not a common occurrence, however it is important to be prepared, just in case. Cyclone safety is an important part of living in Darwin, and all residents are expected to have a cyclone plan in place; this includes knowing where you will go in the event of a cyclone, and having a cyclone pack ready, including bottled water, packaged food, a torch and other essential items. More information on how to prepare a cyclone pack can be found at the Northern Territory Emergency Services. In the case of a cyclone, Charles Darwin University will close.

Back to top

Life in Melbourne

Melbourne is a large, vibrant city that is home to almost five million people. It is located in the south of Australia, and is the capital city of Victoria. Melbourne is famous for being a picturesque city with a rich cultural background, with plenty of arts, theatre and festivals to keep you occupied all year long.

For an up-to-date guide about what’s on, you can visit the following sites:

The four distinct seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring bring vastly different weather and climate to the area, it is important to come prepared for the season you are arriving into. Current weather information can be found at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

  • Summer (December to February) brings an average temperature of 25 degree Celsius, with long and sunny days
  • Autumn (March – May) is a little cooler, with an average temperature of 20 Celsius and cool evenings
  • Winter (June – August) is the coldest season, with average temperatures of 14 Celsius and lots of wind and rain
  • Spring (September- November) is similar to autumn, with an average temperature of 20 Celsius and cool evenings

Melbourne offers a very broad range of public transport options, including train, tram and bus lines in and around the city and outer suburbs. Public transport is accessed through a system known as 'Myki' – you load up your card with money before you go, and 'tap on', so the trip is automatically charged.

Share accommodation in Melbourne varies in price depending on the suburb but is likely to cost around $150 - $200 per week. Websites like Gumtree, Domain and realestate.com.au can be good places to start when looking for accommodation.

For an informative look into life in Melbourne as an international student, visit Insider Guides and download their International Student Guide to Melbourne.

Back to top

Life in Sydney

Sydney is a large, metropolitan city with a population about five million people. Sydney is located on the east coast of Australia, in New South Wales. Sydney is famous for being a bustling, multicultural city, home to many of Australia's most famous icons.

For an up-to-date guide on what’s on, you can visit the following sites:

With four distinct seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring bringing vastly different weather and climate to the area, it is important to come prepared for the season you are arriving into:

  • Summer (December to February) brings an average temperature of 25 Celsius, with long and sunny days
  • Autumn (March – May) is a little cooler, with an average temperature of 22 Celsius and cool evenings
  • Winter (June – August) is the coldest season, with average temperatures of 16 Celsius and lots of wind and rain
  • Spring (September- November) is similar to autumn, with an average temperature of 22 Celsius and cool evenings

Current weather information can be found at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Sydney has a large range of public transport options available, including trains and buses. Public transport is accessible through Opal cards, which you can top up with money before you travel.

Share accommodation in Sydney can vary in prices depending on the suburb but is likely to cost around $180 - $220 per week. Websites like Gumtree, Domain and realestate.com.au can be good places to start when looking for accommodation.

For an informative look into life in Sydney as an international student, visit Insider Guides and download their International Student Guide to Sydney.

Back to top

Getting involved

Once you have safely arrived in Australia and organised your accommodation, an important part of setting up your life here is getting involved in the local and student community. Below are some tips to assist you in making friends and creating networks in Australia which include:

  • familiarising yourself with your new home and suburb, the campus that you will be studying at, and surrounding city
  • using every opportunity to practise your English
  • joining local sporting, hobby or interest groups
  • connecting with other students or families from your home country - look up your local multicultural groups and join in their next meeting

Back to top

Staying informed

When you are in Australia, you may find it useful to stay up-to-date with current news and events. You can access local and global news online or in print through national media websites such as ABC National, SBS and The Australian. Alternatively, you can find state relevant news at the following sites:

Back to top

Working in Australia

Working in Australia can be a great cultural experience, and can be an opportunity for you to improve your language and social skills.

It is important as an international student to maintain a healthy work-study balance, and always remain within your allowed 40 hours per fortnight, if you are a student visa holder.

It is very important to remember it is illegal to work prior to starting your first day of classes.

Finding work in Australia can be achieved though many different channels. You can contact Equity Services for careers and employment advice, as well as assistance with your resume. You may find it helpful to look at websites such as:

As an international student, you must remember that you have the same rights to a fair workplace as any other employee. You must always be aware of your work rights. If you feel that you are being exploited or treated unfairly, you can contact Fair Work Australia, or your local Ombudsman.

At the time of your employment, it is very important that you make yourself aware of your rights in the workplace, and the correct wages for your area and age, as well as penalty and weekend rates. It is the law in Australia to treat employees fairly and equally, and to pay employees according to the wages set by the industry.

As an international student, despite your restricted working hours, you have the same rights to a fair and safe working place as any other person. You should also receive the same level of pay as any other employee in this position.

If you do not feel that you are being treated fairly, you can:

  • discuss your concerns with your employer if you feel comfortable to do so. Ask for copies of your pay slips, and ask to see the outline of their pay grades for employees, to ensure you are being paid correctly for your age and position.
  • enquire with your employer about penalty rates if you work weekends or public holidays. Also enquire about uniform entitlements, or any other additional payments you should be receiving.
  • search online for industry relevant information on salary information, ie. the NT hospitality industry pay standard.
  • contact Fair Work Australia or Ombudsman. Search for your local office, and speak to their team. Gather evidence, such as payslips and any evidence of communication with your employer to discuss this.

You should not be afraid of speaking with the Ombudsman, as there is no issue with checking on your work rights.

Commonly, students may fear speaking to these agencies due to their student visa, or because they may be paid in cash or have worked overtime. It is important that you remain within your legal working hours, and work legally. If you are being exploited however, you should always go to the Ombudsman to discuss your case.

Back to top

Culture shock

Cultural shock is the feeling of being out of place, in an environment that is unfamiliar to you. As an international student, you are likely to experience this after the initial excitement of moving to a new country has worn off and you are faced with the reality of often living in a new place with no family or friends, and people who do not speak the same language as you.

This can be a very difficult thing to cope with, and it can cause enormous amounts of stress in your life. It is very important to recognise why you are feeling this and to develop methods of handling this.

You may find it helpful to speak regularly with your family and friends from home, or set goals to improve your language. It may also help you to try and develop a sense of 'cultural awareness' and an understanding of how to openly communication with people in the world around you. Here is a short video to help you understand this.

If you are struggling, we encourage you to have a chat to our International Student support team or our free and confidential counselling services.

Back to top

Emergency Services

Australia is serviced nation-wide by the Police, Ambulance Service and the Fire Department. In the case of an emergency, you should call 000 for assistance. If you are on a mobile phone, you can dial 112.

Back to top