After spending the year there myself, I have compiled my top tips for your Working Holiday in Australia! Hopefully they will ease your stresses, help your planning and save you some money!
Do it yourself.
My best tip for your working holiday in Australia, and likely to save you a lot of money! I’m not talking about going solo, by all means take a friend! However, there are countless companies out there ready to take away the “stresses” of your working holiday in Australia, and also a huge chunk of your bank balance. They offer to get your visa, set up your bank account, help you find a job, even get you a sim card. Sounds good? Well, it is I guess, but you can save money by doing it all yourself! Overwhelmed? I have written you step by step instructions on what you need to sort out and where to do it! I met a guy in Brisbane who had paid for one of these “packages” and was promised a job, he paid a load of money and ended up in the same hostel as me, probably paying more for it, and you guessed it….never got a job.
Look for a job in person.
Following on from above, don’t stress about finding a job before you get there. Australia is HUGE, how do you know where you want to work? I would strongly recommend travelling a little, seeing different places and figuring out where you would like to be. When I first arrived, it seemed every backpacker in Australia was in Sydney looking for a job. That is a lot of competition, and also I really didn’t want to stay in Sydney, it wasn’t the Australia I imagined. I made my way north and found an amazing job on the coast, so I would say it’s worth waiting it out for the right job in the right place!
Seems obvious, but I was shocked by how many people I met who had come with very little money expecting to find a job straight away. Sometimes they found something, other times they were stuck in the same hostel for months, paying off their accommodation by cleaning and not really doing much else. The government states you should have “sufficient funds” on your arrival, commonly said to be $5000 AUD, and I am inclined to agree with that from experience. It also gives you the freedom to travel a little, meet potential employers, and not just take the first job that comes up. And please, don’t forget insurance! You may have a reciprocal agreement with Australia which covers you for emergencies, but you wont be covered for lost items, delayed flights or even repatriation.
Don’t book everything in advance.
On my trip to Fraser Island, I met a girl who paid more than double what I did, for the exact same trip. I also met a couple whose greyhound passes cost hundreds more than they saw advertised in the actual whop in Sydney. Why? They booked before they got to the country. It’s true, in high season things start to book up, but plans change and why restrict yourself by planning your whole itinerary? I met many people who had their whole east coast done as a package, and were gutted because they wanted an extra week in certain places. I am not against travel agents, and used Peter Pans to book my Fraser Island and Whitsundays, but I did so less than a week before the trips. Oh, and I always ask for a discount!
Australia is big.
Really big…think the whole of Europe and you’re on the right kind of lines. Don’t underestimate the sheer size of it, and how far apart major cities really are. Flying from one side to the other is around 5 hours! When travelling, you need to factor this in so you don’t rush through all the sites, and spend more time on a bus than on a beach! Which brings me to my next point….
Buy a car.
Personally, I think the best way to see Australia is by car. Greyhound goes to a few major cities and attractions, and that’s great if your on a strict time limit, but for living and really seeing the country, you can’t beat a car. I am from the UK, and found both insurance and petrol in Australia to be cheaper than at home. If your car is big enough to sleep in, then go for it! I spent 3 months sleeping in mine, and met the best people. Everyday was an adventure, driving along coastal roads, enjoying secluded beaches with breath taking views, and setting up camp at free sites with other backpackers every night!
Get your farm work done as soon as you can.
Chances are you will arrive in Australia and fall in love with the country, as most people do. If you’re a UK citizen you get a year long working holiday visa pretty easily, but to do a second year you must complete 3 months of regional work. As soon as you know you want to do this, start looking! There are heaps of farm work scams out there, and it can be very difficult to find a legitimate job. Plus, find a good one and you will complete your 3 months, save a whole load of money, and make friends that you can then travel with! Remember, keep all paperwork, receipts, bus tickets, pay slips….basically everything you can that proves you have done the work!
Get off the beaten track…and meet Australians!
It may sound strange, but it can actually feel a little like your traipsing through Europe, but a bit hotter, whilst heading up the east coast. It’s a route saturated with backpackers, which is great fun… but a whole year of constantly meeting fellow travellers and answering the same questions over and over again, it gets a little tedious. Also, the bigger cities are much more expensive! So spending less time there and more in the smaller town will save you some dollars. If in Sydney, money can seem to just disappear, so check out this guide on budget friendly ways to explore Sydney! Doing your farm work is a great way to meet real Aussies, and experience the culture. Aussies are so chill it’s insane, and if I learned anything from the lovely Australian I met it’s to slow down, enjoy life and not worry about things like work!
Don’t lose sight of why you came!
Wages are high in Australia, and working every hour under the sun can be tempting, but don’t forget why you came to Australia in the first place. It is a great place to earn money for more travel, but don’t leave without ever having seen Fraser island, or Uluru, or the Great Barrier Reef, just because you didn’t want to spend the money!
Once you get to Australia, and have had a look at the price tags on food in Coles and Woolworths, you will be close to tears when you see that orange and blue sign, a beacon of hope to all backpackers. Grab an empty box and go wild.
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