Between having to navigate an unfamiliar city and campus, making friends, and finding fun places to go with all those new friends, there can be a lot to work out when you first move to Australia. Luckily, the smartphone you have in your pocket/bag/hand right now is an incredibly useful tool after arriving in your new city. Let’s look at some of the best apps that will help you explore your new home.

Google Maps

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and in-built on Android

This one’s been around for a while, but it’s popular for good reason. The classic Google Maps app is an excellent resource for getting around town. Beyond the usual navigation tools, you can also use it to gauge public transport routes, pin places of interest such as your new accommodation/university classrooms/the closest supermarket, and explore specific areas for restaurants, parks, events and things to do.

The Happiest Hour

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and in-built on Android

Do you like eating out? Do you like a bargain? If your answer is yes then you need The Happiest Hour. With thousands of drink and meal specials listed, this handy app will point you in the direction of a great night out with your friends with the added bonus of saving you money.

Runkeeper

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

If you want to take a tour of your new hometown while maintaining your fitness, Runkeeper is the perfect app. You’re able to track workouts, set specific targets (such as a goal weight or pace), and follow personalised routines. Best of all, you can search running/cycling/hiking routes all over the city that have been set up by other app users, meaning you know they’re tried and tested. 

TripAdvisor

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

It’s always best to start exploring your new city with an open mind and find fun spots around town yourself, but sometimes you just need some inspiration. The TripAdvisor app is a good place to start. It offers lists of the best ‘Things To Do’ for just about anywhere in the world, along with restaurants and places to stay. On the TripAdvisor app, you can also find official websites for specific places, plus opening times, maps and contact details.

Instagram

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

While Instagram is fantastic for spending a few hours looking at pretty pictures, it’s also a great way to check out a particular place from a visitor’s point of view. For example, you can use your geo-location to search nearby places or specific hashtags to see other people’s experiences. Heard wonderful things about a specific restaurant? Find its location on Instagram and take a look for yourself. Looking to impress friends back home? Search your city’s hashtag and see what picturesque spots you can hunt down for the perfect Instagram shot!

Meetup

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

Your new education provider will be holding some great orientation sessions for international students so you’ll be able to meet people straight away. Most institutions also have great clubs and associations to join to explore your interests. However, it’s a really good idea to branch out from the bubble of school and meet some locals. The Meetup app is designed to promote local groups and classes of every possible activity you can imagine. Some of the most popular meetups include language exchanges, where you can practise your English or learn a new language, but you’ll also find film clubs, social sports meetups, meditation sessions, hula-hooping classes, running groups, painting workshops etc.

UNiDAYS

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

When you’re a student, it’s important to save money wherever you can. UNiDAYS lists all the best discounts offered by various retailers around Australia, covering categories including technology, fashion, fitness, food, travel and more. The UNiDAYS app will lead you straight to the best shopping spots in your city, saving you time, energy and money that can be better used for exploring!

XE Currency

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

Less about exploring and more about making sure you know how much your explorations will cost, this simple currency conversion app will come in very handy. It’s great for when you want to check the current exchange rate and assess the price of something in your home currency versus Australian currency.

Google Translate

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

The Google Translate app is a convenient way of interpreting speech and written words. With a huge selection of languages and dialects to choose from, you can simply type in the words you’d like to translate, handwrite them (especially good for languages with letters not available on a traditional QWERTY keyboard), or, coolest of all, take a picture of where something is written (like a sign) and the app will tell you what it says in the language you’re more familiar with.

Songkick

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

To experience the music scene in your new city, download the Songkick app and get a comprehensive listing of all kinds of concerts around town. With everything from big music festivals to intimate local gigs and orchestra to RnB, a night off from study to enjoy some tunes with your new friends is the perfect way to integrate yourself into the local culture. You can also track your favourite artists and receive an instant notification if they take their tour to Australia.

Aircamp

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Android

If you want to explore outside the city during your time studying in Australia, you can use Aircamp to assess the best destination options. An Australian-made app, Aircamp provides maps, information, ratings, reviews and photos of various campsites and caravan parks around Australia. You can also search for locations based on their features (barbecue areas, showers, or swimming access, for example) and whether they’re free – great if you’re travelling on a serious budget!


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