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A tropical city located in North Queensland, Cairns has achieved worldwide prominence for its tourist attractions, the most notable stemming from the city’s status as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. There’s an abundance of heritage sites in the city and the way of life is nothing short of remarkable. It’s little wonder why many Kiwis seem to choose Cairns over the much more well-known Sydney and Melbourne.

If you want to explore outside of your home bubble and start a new life in Cairns, then you’re already aware of what step comes next: moving. While this is a reality check from the excitement of anticipation, you can still enjoy the countdown if you have prepared yourself correctly and have chosen AusMove to deal with your transition.

Move to Cairns from New Zealand with a Trusted Company

Leaving your roots and settling into a new territory can be difficult. Even though you are embarking on a new adventure, gaining new experience, starting fresh and finding new things to look forward to, you could easily encounter some hurdles along the way that will bring challenges you hadn’t even thought of. This is why you should always make the right arrangements before you head out. With an experienced moving company helping you with all the logistics, rest assured you’ll get the most out of your fresh start and settle down how you ideally should.\

Lagoon Esplanade Cairns 2015

Lagoon Esplanade, Cairns

Why Choose Ausmove for Your Cairns Move

With AusMove, you’ll be getting a moving company that has years of experience moving New Zealand families to Australia. We have done this for 25 years and are proud to be the only 100% New Zealand-owned moving company in the field. Our world class experts and services will see to it that you settle in Cairns with ease. We’ll always ensure you’re moving the right way and our professionals will give you all the advice you need to make a successful move happen.

Why You Should Move to Cairns

If you’re looking to live in a city that has the Great Barrier reef as its backyard and is home to other amazing places like Crater Lakes and waterfalls, as well as Daintree National Heritage Park, then Cairns is your answer. The nightlife in the city is nothing short of amazing and the beaches are superb as well, so you might want to look at these places when deciding on accommodation.

General Things to Consider When Moving to Cairns

If you’re going to visit, or live in, Cairns, there are lots of questions you should be asking yourself and there are things that you should make your peace with. For starters, you won’t be able to enjoy all the rights you do as a New Zealander in New Zealand - even with your Special Category Visa.

You should consider if the city’s weather will suit you, make preparations for the hot summers, and you should also take the time to learn how to drive and navigate the city.

Cairns History

The city was named after the iconic Queensland Governor, Sir William Cairns, in 1876, after previously being called Battle Camp for four years. Cairns was formed as a frontier town to facilitate the Gold Rush at that time but has since expanded to offer a lot more.

Cairns Church Milngavie

Milngavie Church, Cairns


Cairns is currently ranked as the 5th largest city in Queensland with more than 160,000 people calling it home. According to reports, the Cairns region has experienced a 2.3% annual population growth rate over the past 10 years and it houses two thirds of the population of Tropical North Queensland.


Australia is known to offer one of the best services in the world when it comes to healthcare, and Cairns is no exception to this. There are great public and private healthcare institutions in the city, all with highly-qualified and experienced medical practitioners. You’ll be treated under Medicare for emergencies but may not get access to subsidised medical fees, which is a benefit reserved for Australian citizens and Permanent Resident Visa holders.


The economic situation in Cairns is decent. The city accounts for 2.7% of Queensland’s Gross State Product, with a Gross Regional Product of $8.41 billion. The region’s economy is experiencing prosperous times thanks to contributions from sectors like Tourism, Health, Marine Industries, Agriculture, and Technology.


Cairns experiences dry and mild winters and humid and hot summers. You should note, though, that the summers can get even hotter than you may imagine, so air conditioning in your property is a must.

Crime rate

The crime rate in Cairns depends on where you stay. That being said, there have been cases of car thefts, break-ins and other such crimes in recent times. Cairns is not considered a dangerous city, however.

Notable places

Cairns is packed with many fabulous and fantastic places that have made the city the fourth most visited international tourist centre in Australia. Some of the places that should catch your eye include:

  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Crater Lakes
  • Barron Gorge National Park
  • Cairns Esplanade
  • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
  • Palm Cove
  • Cairns Aquarium

the blue reef

The Blue Reef, Great Barrier, Cairns

Best Suburbs in Cairns

Some of the best suburbs in Cairns include:

  • Whitfield
  • Edge Hill
  • Redlynch
  • North Point Smithfield
  • Northern Beaches
  • Brinsmead
  • Edmonton

Quick Guide for Moving to Cairns from New Zealand

Before you move to Cairns, please ensure you’re armed with the right amount of information so that settling down isn’t unnecessarily difficult. Here are some things you should know when you move:

Immigration requirements

As a Kiwi, you won’t need to go through the normal visa application process if you’re moving to Cairns. All you have to do is make sure you have your NZ passport and qualify for a Special Category Visa (SCV), which will let you gain immediate entry and have the basic rights to work, study, and/or live in the city. Your kids should have their NZ child visas too. However, remember that you won’t be able to access certain benefits that are reserved for Australian citizens and permanent resident visa holders.

Approximate transit time to Cairns from New Zealand

There are varying transit times when it comes to moving your things to Cairns and each will depend on individual factors. If you’re going for shared containers, then they won’t be shipped until they are full. Sole containers ship quicker but will also depend on where your things are to be picked up from in New Zealand and where they’ll be shipped to in Cairns. Remember, however, that we’ll do everything to make sure your things are moved as planned.

Packing Your Belongings

This is one part of your move that can be very sensitive. There’s a lot involved in packing when going to another country that makes things more complicated than when moving nationally. You have to ensure things are done the right way to avoid ridiculously high charges with customs and the quarantine service in Australia. If you’re not sure about how you want to get things done, then we can get you the help you need. You can also just leave your packing to us, to save unnecessary expenses, because we know just how to get everything done.

Moving boxes Large

Storing Your Belongings

Storage is another essential part of moving, as you may not be sure of how permanent your move to Cairns will be, so you may want to keep certain things secured in New Zealand meanwhile. We can help you do this as we have the right facilities for the job. If your things get to Australia and you haven’t arrived or found a permanent place to stay yet, we also have world class facilities in the country that can keep your belongings secured until you need them. You can give us a call now to find out more about our storage services.

Insuring Your Belongings

To keep your belongings safe in case any unexpected events occur, it’s important that you get them insured. While we hope that nothing bad happens to them, you’ll want to stay protected. If you don’t know how to go about insurance, we can guide you on how to find the best coverage available.

Australian customs

To get through Australian customs without any issues, you have to make sure you’re not bringing in any banned or contraband items. Some or all of your belongings may be refused entry if you can’t prove that you’ve owned them for at least 12 months. Also, bringing in cigarettes, alcohol, and commercial commodities means you’ll have to pay tax or import duties on them. We can further advise you on what other belongings may be refused entry.

Australian quarantine

The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) is responsible for handling assessments of certain goods to ensure pest-infested items or other dangerous substances don’t make it into the country. There are seriously high charges that come with fumigating any of your belongings that may be infected, while some may just be destroyed outright. Before you leave, always ensure you treat your household belongings, such as furniture and lawnmowers, properly to avoid these charges.

Disadvantages of Moving to Cairns from New Zealand

Cairns is known for its blazing hot summers which makes air conditioning vital if you don’t want to feel the burn, even in your home.

Though not common, a bad cyclone did happen in Cairns back in 2011 - which may be a concern. The city is situated in an area where cyclones are always a possibility.

There is also a high incidence of drink driving in the city, so watch out for potentially drunk drivers when you’re on the road.

Shipping your vehicles from New Zealand to Cairns

You can ship your car or motorcycle to Cairns if you want either to come with you. However, you should understand that moving with your vehicle will come with a fee depending on its size and condition. First, you may need an import permit due to the strict regulation that is followed in the Australia vehicle industry and there’s a chance you may have to pay GST or import duty on your car.

Your automobile will also undergo thorough examination by the quarantine service and if it fails this safety inspection it will be steam cleaned, which will cost you a hefty amount of money. So, we recommend that you properly get every part of your car cleaned, especially the engine bay and wheel arches, to avoid going through this issue.

Settling down

To kick off your new life in Cairn, you have to get settled first. Settling down easily will depend on how your overall journey turned out. If there are complications in your move, then this will mean running around to get things fixed before you can finally lay your head down to rest. You won’t have to go through any of this if you let us handle your move, as we’ll take care of all the heavy lifting for you.

House hunting

Getting a home in Cairns can be a fair bit easier than other high-priced cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Though the property market is competitive, you can find something worthwhile if you know where to look and have the proper guidance. You can find houses of different prices based on the area you want to move to in Cairns. In Cairns City, the median price of houses stands at $454,255, while the median rent price is currently at $365 per week. You should note that you may be required to bring certain documents when applying for rented accommodation in the region.

Finding a job

As a Kiwi, you’re sure to find a job when you move to Cairns, but what may not be so certain is the kind of job you’ll land or when you will land it. But you can try to find one from New Zealand before your move. With websites like Seek and CareerOne, you can check out some of the open vacancies in the region that you’re suited for.

Recognition of NZ qualifications

You shouldn’t be worried about qualification issues when looking for a job in Cairns, as you’re covered by the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition agreement between New Zealand and Australia. What this means is that if you’ve received an educational qualification in New Zealand through a university, or polytechnic degree or a professional license, then you can get a job in Australia without any additional examinations - although getting a job will still be subject to assessment and interviews.


As a New Zealand citizen, you’ll be able to study in Australia without a student visa. Your SCV covers this and also means you would pay domestic tuition fees rather than those for international students. However, you may not be able to receive student loans in the country without being a citizen of Australia or a permanent residence visa holder.

St Marys University College Cairns

St. Marys University College

Finding a school for your kids in Cairns

If your move includes taking your children with you, then they can study in Cairns as long as you live there. Make sure they have obtained their child visa, if they’re below 16, before they move with you. We can point you in the right direction concerning the ideal schools for your kids in Cairns when you give us a call.

Living in Cairns permanently

If you’re making the commitment to live in Cairns permanently, then make the effort to put all arrangements in place and take care of all your pending business in New Zealand before you leave. When you get to Australia, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship later to enjoy benefits such as voting, healthcare and social security, which you won’t be able to access as a Special Category Visa Holder.

Cost of moving to Cairns

Your move to Cairns will, of course, cost something. However, the cost of your move will be determined by individual factors as well as personal preferences. You may choose to go for air freight, a sole container, or a shared container. What’s more, your location in New Zealand and your Cairn destination will also be factors.

Get a quote for your move

We can assure you that there’s an ideal price plan for you and your family regardless of where your destination is. Our pricing policy is designed to reflect our competitiveness and understanding of New Zealanders. Give us a call today and we can generate a quote that suits you.

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How to simplify your Cairns Move

Moving away from New Zealand can be a complicated process. Though you’ll be going to a country where it’s relatively easy to resettle due to certain similarities and an abundance of Kiwis already residing there, there are things that can negatively affect your move if not taken care of. If you want to simplify your move to Cairns, here are some things you can do:

  • Make up your mind on when to go and prepare months in advance
  • Put all your outstanding business to bed before you move – this may include pensions, passport issues, tax debts and so on
  • Get a competent moving company to help transfer your belongings and give them all the details they require
  • Set up a bank account in Australia and get some money moved with a renown foreign exchange
  • You can look for a job from home before you move
  • Research the real estate market in Cairns and procure a place to stay so that things can be made easy for your moving company.

Choosing a Moving Company to help with your Cairns Move

Moving across the sea is no easy feat, so you should never settle for lower quality when you look for a moving company to handle the moving of your belongings. AusMove has been in the business for more than 20 years and we have a strong reputation to our name. With our services, you can get peace of mind that your belongings will reach your doorstep in Cairn just as planned and without fuss.


How to prepare for moving to Cairns?

You should make sure you have no outstanding regulatory issues in New Zealand before you start preparing for your move to Cairns. We recommend that you start preparing months in advance and also contact your movers early for advice on the whole process.

What is the cost of living in Cairns?

The cost of living in Cairns is 13% cheaper than that of Melbourne and 7% cheaper than Brisbane. For rent, the median price stands at $365 per week and you may be able to live on a monthly budget of about $2800 without family and rent.

What are the difficulties you'll face when you are moving to Cairns?

If you don’t have professional movers helping you, you’ll certainly face multiple difficulties. However, you can avert these problems by getting a reliable company like AusMove to help you out.

What are the things to like about Cairns?

There’s so much to like about the region - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Things to love about Cairns include:

  • The Cairns Boardwalk
  • The amazing weather
  • The Tropical Rainforest and Kuranda Village
  • The wonderful nightlife
  • The crocodiles
  • The sea turtles
  • Rainforest treks

What are the bad things about Cairns?

Apart from the very busy CBD and, maybe, the rain showers, there’s no reason to avoid Cairns.

What are the top things to do in Cairns?

You can:

  • Enjoy the thrill of the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk
  • Visit the Flecker Botanical Gardens
  • Go jet skiing, skydiving, yachting or snorkelling
  • Check out the Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Park
  • Go to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Mossman Gorge Centre
  • Go white-water rafting
  • And so much more

Is Cairns a good place to live with a family?

Yes, Cairns can be a really good place to stay with your entire family. There’s everything a family could possibly want and you can blend right in with the locals.

Door to Door Service is standard for Ausmove

We work exclusively with one of Australia's oldest and largest removalists which allows us to provide a seamless door to door service to anywhere Australia (including Cairns - of course) . Our service includes full Customs and Quarantine clearances in Australia and delivery to your new aussie home.

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Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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