We have been in Aus for nearly 3 weeks now, Perth for 2 and then here in Adelaide since last Tuesday night. It was a nightmare of a time for us before the move, as we had to keep prepping the house for viewings, which we had an offer on at the 11th hour and accepted.
One obvious thing I will say is, plan and plan well ahead especially with house selling and the shipping container, what a mare.
If your house is leasehold, then buy the freehold ASAP as we were advised by the solicitor not to put the house on the market until the price was agreed and the transfer was going through. Allow 3 months for that and then assume your house may be on the market for 3 months or more. That set us back about 2 or 3 months. Also because we (and maybe foolishly) didn't want prospective buyers to know we were emigrating we couldn't start with the packing everything up etc and we needed to make the place presentable etc.
Our lawnmower got packed on the container and I never realised til after oops and I did ask several times for it not to go. Luckily the company will cover the cost. Couple of other things I'm nervous about but that's my own fault. Keep on top of what you are and are not taking its easy to miss something.
A couple of things we never read in the advice, is you need to inform HMRC that you are leaving the country. I think it was form P85 for PAYE and I think you need to inform them for NI too. Think the site was http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportchanges
You don't need 2 years on your passport when you enter the country. I called the UK passport office and the person I spoke to said not that he's aware of and to just renew my passport when there is 6 months left on it. Obviously don't travel if you only have 6 months left. Also, the magazine with the advice says under the 12 months to go section "make sure you have 2 years left on your passport" then says "contact your chosen agent". Not aware the rules have changed for new Visas and I assume this is because the 175 was taking up to 2 years to come through. I'm here with less than 2 years on my passport.
You don't need to do anything with your UK license or contact DVLA. Service SA will send your license back to them when you change to an SA license and inform DVLA.
I would recommend Singapore airlines and if you're going straight through do the transit hotel if you are n the 10 stop over, well worth it.
Hiring a car.....the excess reduction fee is mega expensive eecially with Europcar, but we needed a child seat and I think there aren't too many that have them. Check out Budget they seem a little cheaper, and if you aren't fussy about the car look at aussiecarrentals.com.au I think it is. The cars are pretty battered or old but ok for a short period and they will drop it off at the airport for you. It is expensive to get it out of the carpark though if it's at night though.
Adelaide drivers like the right hand lane, but driving isn't that bad. Not been to the notorious roundabout yet so not had fun with that otherwise driving is ok and islands are fine
We've found with food shopping that IGA or Foodland are cheaper than Coles or Woolworths. Not sure what others opinions are, but we find it ok on price. If you love ketchup, then Fountain is a good price and ahem nicer than Heinz too. You won't be buying much if any of your old brands... You're in a new country embrace the change :-)
We love Perth, but since arriving in Adelaide we are really starting to love it here too and now thinking if I can get a half decent job we may well be able to settle here and really call it home. Everything you need is so close by and the people seem nice and friendly enough plus it seems there is a great ex-pat community here too. The houses are cheaper and I am suspecting the wages aren't too far behind. Only thing that scares me is so many damn spiders and not getting a job it seems slow at the moment and that's what the agencies are saying too.
Last of all, I've never seen my little girl so happy. She can go to the beach and play in the sea but she also has Mum AND Dad all the time at the moment too. Taking her to the beach to see her smile is all worth it to me and that is one big bonus to me and the ultimate reason for being here....well that and Liz and I wanted to come here too as we loved Aus so much in 2009. I can honestly say the people are great so many have said welcome to Australia. You never say that to anyone in the UK. Normally it's why the hell did you come here :-)
Sorry for all the waffle hopefully some of this is of use and not teaching to suck eggs.