Moving from overseas
There is so much to love about Australia's uniqueness, but there are some things you should know about!
In Victoria we adjust our clocks forward one hour in the summer months to lengthen our daylight. Learn more about daylight savings.
Public holidays in Geelong can mean shop opening hours are limited. Employers in Victoria have some choice in which holidays they take. For example, they can choose between Geelong Cup and Melbourne Cup. View the full list of public holidays on the Victorian State Government's Public Holidays page.
Geelong provides open opportunities to practice your faith. Visit our Community Directory - Religious and Beliefs Section to find a church or community for you.
General Trading hours
Trading hours can vary from centre to centre, but usually shopping and business services are available from 9am – 5pm weekdays. In larger centres shopping is extended to 7 days a week. See banks and ATMs for specific times.
Banks and ATMs
Banking hours are from 9:30am-4:30pm Monday to Friday. Usually, banks aren’t open on weekends.
Post Office locations
Australia Post is our only postal service. Geelong has post offices right across the region. The Australia Post website has a great tool to find a post office in your area. Courier services are also available through a number of companies, offering more specific postal options.
Vic Roads are the managing body to issue you a Victorian drivers licence. A Victorian drivers licence can be used interstate. Please be aware that the road laws vary from state to state; for example: speeds limits. If you are in Victoria on a temporary visa, you can drive on your overseas licence provided your overseas licence is in English. If you intend to stay in Victoria permanently, you will have to apply for a Victorian licence.
Newspapers, television (TV) and radio: Geelong’s main newspaper is the Geelong Advertiser. Our radio includes access to Melbourne stations as well as four locally broadcast stations. In terms of TV, we receive stations broadcast from Melbourne.
The City of Greater Geelong provides services to residents such as waste collection, pet registration and permit applications. Visit the services area of our website or call our customer service line to learn more. You can always visit any of our Customer Service Centres as well.
A huge part of the Geelong culture is enjoying the water. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches as well as great public pools but care must be taken to make it a safe and fun time! Safe swimming areas are provided at all of our major beaches, remember to swim between the flags at the beach. Visit Surf Life Saving for more tips and a list of patrolled beaches.
Australian Government Structure
Australia is administered by three tiers of government- Federal, State and Local. Our Prime Minister, operates at the Federal level. Our state of Victoria is operated by the Victorian Premier which has responsibilities such as managing education services . Beneath the state level sits local councils. Our council, the City of Greater Geelong manages local laws and plans our city's future direction.
The State of Victoria provides funding and regulates the public and private school systems. The Federal Government helps fund the public universities, but is not involved in setting curriculum. Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model:
Read more about education in Geelong.
- Pre-school (also known as Kindergarten) in Australia is relatively unregulated, and is not compulsory. Pre-school is offered to three- to five-year-olds. Families are elligable for government education support for kindergarten in the year before a child is due to attend primary school.
- Primary education (5-12 years)
- Secondary education (13-18 years)
- Tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE Colleges)
Shops by Type
In Australia, our four main supermarkets are Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi. Each provides a full range of grocery items. Our department stores are Myer, Big W, Kmart and Target. For hardware, visit Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware.
To find the closest to your home, visit Google maps and search the store you are looking for. In both Corio and Waurn Ponds, you will find a Homemaker Centre, for your do-it-yourself home projects.
Also, remember that in Australia we refer to our general stores as ‘milk bars’.
Parking in Australia
Remember that we park on the left hand side of the road, unlike many other parts of the world where you can choose either.
It is common to see ‘2P’ or ‘3P ticket’ on our parking signs. The number in front of the ‘P’ indicates the amount of hours you can park in this space. For example, you can park for 2 hours in a ‘2P’ park. ‘Ticket’ means you need to buy a ticket to park there. On Sunday parking is free; please refer to the signs for Sunday time limits.
Finding somewhere to live
On arrival, you will likely choose to rent a unit or house until you are familiar with the region. It is important to understand your budget. Geelong has a very good cost of living position compared to Melbourne. Try website suburb guides such as realestate.com.au or Domain to find the areas applicable to your budget.
Cost of Living
In Geelong, you can expect to pay:
- $3-5 for a coffee
- $12-$16 for a movie ticket
- $1.30-$1.70 per litre for unleaded petrol
- $3.80 for an all day bus ticket
- $0 to enjoy our beautiful beaches!
Please note these are quoted in Australian Dollars. Use xe.com to calculate this into your local currency.
Tax File Number
In Australia the Federal Government issues TFN’s, which allows management of business and employment taxation contributions. Find out more about TFN's on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) TFN page for further info.
Australian Tax Office
The ATO manages Australia’s tax system and issues Tax File Numbers. Their helpful team can assist you with tax related enquiries.
Remember 000. It is your number to call if you need an ambulance, police support or the fire department. Membership to Ambulance Victoria provides you cover in the case that you require an ambulance. Without this cover, a trip to the hospital could cost $2000 or more.
Buying a car
Although you will be able to travel where you need to with public transport, owning a car will be convenient. There are a number of websites where you can search for new or used cars. There are also several car dealerships in Geelong.
Insurances to consider
- Car Insurance: to protect both your car and others in the case of an accident.
- Home insurance: to protect your home in case of a fire or burglary.
- Private Health insurance: to give you priority access to surgeons and discount off health care.
- Content insurance: protection for your belongings.
- Disability insurance: income protection in the case where a disability means you cannot work.
- Mortgage insurance: required if you’re borrowing more than 80% of the property value.
Keep in mind that Australia operates on 240v/50Hz power. Although you don’t need to understand what this means, you do need to check that the appliances you bring into Australia will function on 240v/50Hz. This will generally be found on their power supplies.