Arriving at the airport

Immigration and customs

Australia has strict rules on what you can and cannot bring in to Australia. You should have already received the Customs and Immigration booklet that outlines prohibited items and other information. The Australian Quarantine website contains further information on what you cannot bring into Australia e.g. food items. Please ensure you read this website carefully before travelling to Australia as there are heavy fines for carrying prohibited items into Australia.

On the aircraft, you will be given an Incoming Passenger Card to complete. Make sure you complete this card correctly (instructions will be given to you) and declare all goods as requested. Declare any items you are unsure about on your way through customs after you arrive at the airport, and seek the advice of the customs official if unsure. There are bins in the baggage collection area where you can discard prohibited items before going through Customs.

4 stages to follow when you arrive

Immigration In the International Terminal there are queues for holders of Australian passports and holders of other passports. An Immigration Officer will welcome you to Melbourne and examine your passport and the completed Incoming Passenger Card. The Immigration Officer may ask you questions before stamping your passport. It is illegal to use a camera, video camera or mobile phone in these areas of the airport.
Baggage After passing through immigration, check the computer screens for the carousel number from which to collect your luggage. Luggage trolleys are available in the baggage collection area. Report any missing luggage at the QANTAS counter
Quarantine If you are unsure whether an item you are carrying is permitted or prohibited, declare it on the Incoming Passenger Card when you arrive in Australia and discuss it with a quarantine official. Be prepared to throw away prohibited items
Customs The next stage is Australian Customs. If you have goods to declare you should enter thered route. If you have nothing to declare, you may enter the green route. The green route takes you immediately through customs to the public section of the terminal. The Customs and Quarantine areas are regularly patrolled by staff with detector dogs. Should you be selected for a random check, you will be asked questions about what you have brought with you and your luggage may be opened, x-rayed and inspected. You may ask for an interpreter if you feel this is necessary and if there are any problems, you may ask officials to contact the Institute’s emergency 24 hour number 0411245800

For further information visit the Customs website

Changing money

You are advised to bring the equivalent of at least AUD$500 in cash with you into Australia. The best option is to change money into Australian currency while still in your home country – this will make your arrival process much smoother.

Melbourne Airport Terminals have foreign currency outlets where money and travellers cheques can be exchanged. However, if you are arriving late at night or early in the morning, the counter may be closed. For more information on currency exchange services, visit Currency Exchange site on the Melbourne airport website

Major Banks also provides money exchange services, however they are closed on weekends. You can find money exchange booths that are open 7 days a week in the Melbourne CBD.

Transport from the airport

SkyBus offers an express bus service from the airport to the city centre. This service operates 24/7, including all public holidays. Buses run from every 10 minutes throughout the day

  • $19 Adult – one way – Return $37

Tickets can be purchased on arrival at the bus stop or purchased online at

On arrival at Southern Cross Station in the city, SkyBus provides a complimentary hotel transfer service, subject to availability, during the following hours:

  • 0600-2200 Monday to Friday; 0730-1730 Saturday and Sunday, (excluding Christmas day).

For more information visit


Taxis are available from the ground floor level of Melbourne Airport, outside Terminal 2 (T2 – International) and both domestic terminals (Terminal 1 – T1 and Terminal 3 – T3). Expect a taxi fare of around A$80 to A$85 for a return trip between the CBD and Melbourne Airport.

A $2.00 taxi parking fee applies at Melbourne Airport. This $2.00 per vehicle fee only applies to passengers leaving Melbourne Airport from a taxi rank. A $3.00 per vehicle pre-booked taxi fee also applies for passengers catching a limousine or taxi from the premium parking area opposite T2.

The Victorian Government urges travellers to be aware of unlicensed or illegal taxi and chauffeur drivers, also known as touters, operating at Melbourne Airport. If you are approached by someone offering to assist you with transport needs, you should decline the invitation and report the incident to the Victorian Taxi Directorate on +61 3 9320 4300 or (toll free) 1800 638 802.

Chauffeur services from Melbourne Airport must be pre-booked before your arrival.

Taxi fares in Victoria

Taxi fare estimator

On arrival checklist

  • Contact home
  • Attend orientation
  • Establishing accommodation
  • Information on how to establish your accommodation, including connecting utilities such as telephone, gas and electricity, and places to buy furniture and other household goods.

Settling in

What to expect

There may be valuable learning in experiencing and understanding a way of life different from yours. It may surprise you to discover that you will learn things about your own culture that you may not have thought about before. Your travels to Australia may not only broaden your viewpoint, but also to mature personally and to understand yourself better. As time goes on you will become more familiar with your new environment and you will feel more confident, develop new friends and manage social and professional interactions more comfortably. Your study will be more effective and you will gain a sense of really benefiting from the experience. Some students get to this phase quite quickly but for some it takes longer. Don’t worry! Use the strategies suggested and the services provided to assist you to make the necessary adjustments.

The following comments may help you to further understand some of the things that you may be experiencing:

  • When you first arrive in Australia, you will probably feel excited and keen to learn.
  • A little later on, you may start to feel homesick and stressed. This can happen because of language and communication barriers, workload and being away from familiar support networks such as friends and family.
  • You may also feel frustrated and confused about your new cultural setting and your own cultural identity.
  • Eventually you will feel more comfortable in your new environment, more confident and relaxed about handling life as you begin to become familiar with Australian customs.
  • Finally, you will feel back to your old self – confident and able to enjoy and understand Australian culture while also valuing your own culture.
  • If you find that the process of cultural adjustment is adversely affecting you., come and speak with Student Support Officer.

Culture shock

Culture shock is the expected confrontation with the unfamiliar.

When you arrive in a new country, you may experience a wide variety of feelings and reactions as you adapt to the new environment and culture. Some people may feel confused, nervous, irritable, uncertain or dependent on others. For other people, the period of time immediately after their arrival is filled with excitement and adventure – however after this wears off the challenge of adjusting to life and study in a new culture can be exhausting. This may lead to feelings of frustration and anxiety. If you do experience these things, then you are probably experiencing what is called culture shock

Coming to Australia from another country exposes you to many new things which may include such things as: the buildings look different and so does the landscape, the food is not what you are used to and the people look, speak and act differently from the people at home. You may not be able to speak with other people as confidently. If you feel lonely, you may miss your family and friends more than you expected. All these feelings and emotions may mean lead you to start questioning your decision to come to Australia. Was it the right decision?

Tips to assist you adjust to a new culture

Coping with culture shock requires a special effort, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. During the first weeks and months in a new country, it is common to experience some degree of culture shock – it is a normal response to a drastic change in your physical, social and cultural environment. The following comments will help you understand what you may be experiencing and suggest some ways of coping more effectively with your new situation. Below are some tips that may assist you in your transition to a new culture:

  • Think positively – be willing to learn, be open minded and light hearted
  • Listen, watch, observe and reflect. Examine your expectations and preconceived stereotypes
  • Stay in touch with family and friends and keep up with events at home
  • Keep a diary of your experiences
  • Allow yourself sufficient time to adjust
  • Do some familiar activities, especially the things you are good at
  • Get involved in an social and recreational activities that will help you to meet people and to make new friends
  • Introduce yourself to other people and students in your courses – keep in contact with the people you meet
  • Remember what you would have done at home to relax and do something similar
  • Use English language as much as possible; read the local newspaper and watch television, listen to the radio and try to speak English as much as you can: the more you use the language the more you will improve
  • Take advantage of the services and orientations offered by NIT
  • Set small goals that you can achieve every day
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are unsure what to do or what is expected of you
  • Get plenty of exercise, eat well, and drink plenty of water
  • Keep your sense of humor and believe in yourself!