Landed a job or looking to move Down Under? Before you pack up and head over, you might want to take a look-and-see trip. Here are seven reasons it would be wise for you to visit Australia before you make it permanent.

Map of australia with moving boxes

1. You’ll be able to familiarise yourself with your new city

A look-and-see or pre-location visit gives you the chance to familiarise yourself and your family with the city or country environment you’re moving into.  

Taking a quick trip to Australia is a great way to determine the logistics of your move. You can decide things like which neighbourhood you feel most comfortable in and whether you’ll ship your belongings or purchase new furniture when you arrive.

When getting to know your soon-to-be home you should:

  • Visit available houses and determine the best place to live for you and your family
  • If you’re moving with children, tour local schools and meet with school administrators
  • Experience the local transportation system and find your best commute
  • Learn and navigate cultural differences and etiquette
Visiting and experiencing your new environment first-hand is the best way to be armed with all the information you need before you officially relocate Down Under.

2. It gives you time to get over your fears

What makes a look-and-see trip so beneficial is that it gives everyone involved a glimpse into their life post-move. The unknown can be intimidating, so having this opportunity to see the similarities and differences to your current home can help everyone prepare.

3. You’ll have the opportunity to find a house

Visit available houses and apartments to determine the best living situation for your family.

Before you arrive, research the neighbourhoods that fit your budget. Knowing which areas interest you means less time spent wandering around and more time getting a feel for the area. 

Your instinct might be to purchase a house so that you can put down roots right when you arrive. We’d recommend living in the neighbourhood for at least a year to determine if it’s the right place for your family. 

4. You can find the essentials before you need them

Your look-and-see trip is the perfect excuse to scope out all the places you’ll need to frequent once you live in Australia: your local shopping centre, pharmacy, gym, bank and even entertainment spots.

The more information you can gather now, the more prepared you’ll be.

Opening a bank account

If you are moving to Australia, banks like ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth Bank will allow you to open an account online which will enable you to transfer money into your new Australian bank account. You will only be allowed to make withdrawals from your account once you have completed the customer identification process. This will require you to be physically present in Australia to verify your ownership of the account – you can arrange this while on your pre-location visit. 

5. You’ll be able to test-run your commute

How are you going to get around once in Australia? Will you need to purchase a car when you move, or will you be using public transport indefinitely? 

When you move to a new area it can feel disorienting and frustrating not knowing the quickest routes to and from important places. Research the local transport links and get a feel for traffic flow and the amount of time you might need to allow for travel. 

Knowing how long the commute to and from the office is, or how long the school run will take you in the mornings will also help you when choosing the neighbourhood you want to live in. 

6. It will help your children prepare

If you’re moving with children, an initial visit will help reduce the amount of stress they experience when transitioning to a new school environment. This is a great opportunity for them to get a lay of the land and will help them prepare, fit in and make friends as quickly as possible.

See also: 10 reasons growing up abroad gives your children a head start in life

7. You can get excited about your move

It’s important that you budget in free time during your trip. Much of your look-and-see visit will be filled with meetings, appointments and travel. Plan to give yourself a few extra days to see the sights without having to rush from place to place.

Take in the surroundings and explore your new neighbourhood as a family. You can discover your new favourite café together and assess your entertainment options too.

The simplest way to put your kids at ease is by getting excited about the move yourself. When they see you’re enthusiastic about the move, they’ll grow more comfortable with the idea.

Travelling for a look-and-see trip on the correct visa

Visitor visa (subclass 600) 

The subclass 600 visa is for individuals who want to visit Australia as a tourist or for business.

You might be using this look-and-see visit to decide if Australia is the right place to migrate to, and while you’re there, you may meet with prospective employers. It’s important that the visa you apply for corresponds to the activities you’re planning to do while visiting. 

Business visitor stream

The Business visitor stream is a temporary visa which enables you to visit Australia for business reasons. The length of your visa is determined on a case-by-case basis but typically you will be allowed to stay for up to three months.

The following are examples of business visitor activities:

  • Making general business or employment enquiries
  • Negotiating, entering into, or reviewing business contracts
  • Taking part in a conference or trade fair without being paid by the organiser

This visa does not allow you to:

  • Work or supply services to an Australian-based organisation or person
  • Sell goods or services to the general public

Tourist stream

If your family is joining on your look-and-see trip they’ll travel under the Visitor visa (subclass 600) Tourist stream. This visitor stream lets you visit Australia as a tourist for purposes other than business or medical treatment. 

To be eligible for this visa stream you must:

  • Meet the health requirements
  • Meet the good character requirements
  • Have enough money to support yourself and dependants while in Australia
  • Plan to remain in Australia temporarily 

Initial entry date (IED)

You might be travelling to Australia because you’ve been granted a permanent visa and you’re inspecting schools, jobs and prospective homes, but you may also be visiting because your visa has an IED requirement.

After receiving your permanent residency or work permit visa grant, one of the most important things you need to do is prepare for condition 8504 – initial entry date. If an initial entry date is a condition attached to your visa you must enter Australia before the date specified in your grant letter.

This date is calculated by adding 12 months to the police and medical checks, using the oldest of these documents as the reference date. This date cannot be changed once set. 

After entering Australia and activating your visa by the initial entry date you can then leave immediately if you need to and return at a more convenient time after you have packed up and closed off everything at home. 

Need assistance with your visa application?

Be sure to seek professional advice before submitting any applications to avoid unnecessary delays. Our Australian-registered immigration agents are authorised to provide you with advice and services about Australian immigration law. 

Do you have any tips for having a successful look-and-see trip? Please share them with us in the comments.

Speak to our team about your visa options at or call us on +61 (0) 38651 4500.

We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you'll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.