We highly recommend that you open a local bank account for the period of your studies. It is free to set up an account from the UK and Study Options can help you do it. Before you leave you can then transfer any money that you will need immediately for your fees, rental deposit and food. Using your local bank card as soon as you arrive means you will not have to worry about exchange rates, commission or your UK bank charging you for any transactions, especially when dealing with large amounts such as those for your college fees.
However, keep your UK account open as it is the easiest and cheapest way for relatives to send you money in emergencies while you are away.
Open a bank account in Australia or New Zealand before you leave the UK
This will save you a lot of hassle and some unpleasantly chunky bank charges when you first arrive!
Working and paying tax
If you or any of your dependents/travel companions plan on working while you are in Australia or New Zealand, you will need to make sure you have a local tax number. In Australia this known as a Tax File Number (TFN) and in New Zealand it is an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number. You can get the relevant forms at any PostShop in New Zealand (visit the IRD's website to find out more) or via the Australian Tax Office's website.
Can I buy a house?
New Zealand places no restrictions on buying property as a student visa holder. A good website to start your search is www.realestate.co.nz.