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Arriving in Australia

A big trip is always exciting, but it can also be stressful. Know what to expect on your arrival so you're feeling prepared.

Arriving at the airport

Melbourne has two main airports

The airport you choose will depend on the airline you fly and the campus at which you are studying.

Melbourne International Airport is Melbourne’s largest airport and is located 30 minutes from the centre of the city. Most international flights land at Melbourne Airport, as do many domestic flights.

Find out more about Melbourne International Airport

Avalon Airport is located 30 minutes from Geelong and you can fly there on some Air Asia flights, as well as domestic airlines.

Find out more about Avalon Airport

When booking your flight to Melbourne, we suggest you arrive at least two weeks before your Orientation program. That way you’ll have plenty of time to adapt, settle in and see a bit of the city and surrounding areas before you start your studies at Deakin College.

On the flight

Declaring items to customs

While you are on the flight to Australia, you will be asked to fill out an Incoming Passenger Card. This is to be presented when you go through customs and immigration.

You will need your passport and flight details to fill out this card. It’s important to remember that it is a legally binding document, so you must fill it in honestly and correctly. If you have trouble understanding the form, the flight attendants will be happy to help you.

You must tick ‘yes’ if you are carrying any food, animal products, wooden items or plant material. Any food that you may have had with you for the flight can be thrown away in the quarantine bins once you land.

If you have currency with a value of more than $AUD10,000 with you, you need to declare it.

View a sample of the Australian Incoming Passenger card

Porhuy Chhay image

Porhuy Chhay

“I got to connect to a lot of people and indulge myself to different cultures by being part of the student committee. I really like the environment and free support services that Deakin College offers which I find highly beneficial for my studies.”


Foundation Program

Cambodian student

Going through customs

Following Australia’s quarantine laws

Once you have collected your luggage from the baggage carousel, you must pass through customs before exiting to the arrival hall. You have the choice of going through the green lanes (nothing to declare) and the red lanes (something to declare).

We have strict quarantine laws in Australia to protect the country from the importation of diseases and pests. While you may want to bring some of your favourite foods from home, there are several items that you’re not allowed to bring into Australia.

You must declare:

  • any items made from wood, plant and animal material
  • any fresh food or egg products even in powder form, including dried or packet food
  • all food items (including cans, jars and processed foods).

If you’re in doubt about whether or not to declare an item, it is safer to declare it. You won’t get into trouble for declaring a prohibited item; you simply won’t be able to bring it into Australia.

Find out more about Australian quarantine laws for travellers

Airport assistance

Help resources you can find at the airport

Once you’ve passed through customs and immigration, you will go through into the arrivals hall. This moment may feel a little frightening but there are plenty of resources to help you.

In the arrivals hall you will find the Traveller’s Information Service. Just look for the big blue ‘i’.

The staff are very friendly and will help provide you with any information you need including maps and brochures on the city and surrounding areas.

Book your airport pickup

We love welcoming our new international students, which is why we offer a free airport pick-up service from either Melbourne or Avalon airports.

For students under the age of 18 staying in a homestay, your homestay provider will arrange your airport pickup service. Once you’ve received your student visa,  please contact your homestay provider and share your flight details by emailing both the homestay company and Deakin College at

If you’ve booked the Deakin College free pick-up service, our driver will be there to meet you.

Book your free airport transfer with your flight number, date, and student ID (found on your Letter of Offer and Confirmation of Enrolment).

Make sure you book at least three business days before your flight. You should receive a confirmation email once your booking is complete. This email will include arrival instructions.

If you can’t find your driver 30 minutes after you’ve cleared customs, phone Togoto on: 0409 503 646.

If you have any questions relating to your airport pick-up request, please email

Currency exchange

Find exchange desks and ATMs at the airport

While it’s a good idea to arrive with some Australian currency, there will be plenty of currency exchange desks and ATMs at the airport when you arrive. The Traveller’s Information Service at the airport can direct you to the best place to get foreign exchange.

Once you’ve arrived in Melbourne, most banks will be able to exchange your foreign currency or travellers cheques.

Contact your loved ones

Let your family know you’ve arrived safely!

In all the excitement of landing in Australia, it’s important to remember to contact your family and let them know you’ve arrived safely. They’ll be thinking about you!

The staff at the airport Student Welcome desk will provide you with a local SIM card. There is WiFi at the airport and many locations with free Internet in and around Melbourne.

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