Everything You Need To Do Before Your Working Holiday In Australia

Darryl Newby

Posted On 6 September 2018

You’ve seen the fireworks in Sydney on TV, you’ve read the countless blogs on Melbourne’s food culture and you’ve ogled over Chris Hemsworth for way too long. You decide you want to go do a Working Holiday in Australia.

So, where to start? We’re here to help.

Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to do before your Working Holiday in Australia.

Stage One : The Money Side

Price Up Visa, Flight & Insurance

This will give you an idea of your initial main outlay and the amount you’ll need to spend upfront. For flights, you can take a browse on Skyscanner for a ‘guestimate’. For your visa, you can look here. And for insurance, you can get a quote HERE.

Set A Savings Target

To begin with, we recommend landing in Australia with at least $5,000 in your bank. The Australian Government states that this is a requirement of entry. Add this to the above amount, and you’ll have a minimum savings target figure. Saving can be hard but don’t worry, we have some tips for you in this blog HERE.

Identify When You Can Realistically Go

After taking all the above into consideration, work out how long it will take you to hit this savings target and then you can aim for a realistic date. Exciting stuff!

Stage Two: Be Inspired

Excite & Inspire Yourself

When you’re saving, you’re often working as many hours as possible as well as cutting back on the treats and the nights out. This means that you need a new and exciting pastime and watching videos and reading blogs are great ways to get inspired. There are so many out there, but we personally recommend Backpacking Bananas, TravelFreak, Benn_TK, Backpacker Banter, Jones Around The World and Welcome to Travel (specifically the AskTravel series)!

Choose A Starting City

Australia has several great starting cities, each with international airports. But whenever you fly to a new country, we would always recommend starting at the top or the bottom of the main backpacking trail. In Australia, that main trail is the East Coast, so we recommend flying in to either Melbourne or Cairns. Melbourne has a larger airport so flights are generally cheaper, and it happens to be one of the coolest cities in the world.

Stage Three: The Essential Purchases

Organise The Appropriate Visa

Whatever your situation, you’ll need to organise the appropriate visa. In order to find out which visa is best suited for you, head to the Australian Government website. There are two work and travel visas: the working holiday (417) and the work and holiday visa (462) and the difference is simply the country you come from.

If you’re from:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

If you’re from:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Chile
  • China, People’s Republic of
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • ​Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam

Book A Flight

This is it, you’ve decided when you’re going and where you’re going to start your adventure, it’s time to book a flight, it’s all getting very real! As mentioned above, we would recommend jumping on SkyScanner to compare prices, airlines and stops. From there, it’s just a question of what deal suits you best. 

Look At Organising Your First Week

You can’t be this organised for a year in advance, just to land at the airport with nothing planned can you? We recommend organising your first 7-14 days and then arranging the rest on the ground. Leave SOME room for spontaneity, of course. If landing in Melbourne, then Welcome to Melbourne is the perfect Welcome Week. With an airport pickup, 7 nights of accommodation sorted, surfing, wildlife, wine tasting, admin (tax, bank, phone) set up and a group of other legendary travellers, it really does make for a great and easy start!

Buy Your Suitcase / Backpack

Ooooh it’s the age-old backpacking question: suitcase or bag? The biggest first world issue of travelling. If you’re going to spend a lot of your time in cities or doing little travel trips then we’d say suitcase, plus a rucksack you can take on 2/3 day road trips/getaways.

If you’re going to be road tripping and hiking, backpack every time! 

Stage Four: The Practical To Do's

Get Your Driving License In English

Australia’s a stunning country for road trips! If you’re from a country where English is your first language, then you won’t need to do anything. To be sure, check to see if your license says DRIVING LICENCE in English somewhere. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to organise an international driving license to bring with you.

Unlock Your Phone

This really is the simplest thing to organise but that’s why so many people forget to do it! You don’t want to land here, get a local sim and have the hassle of it not working. To avoid that, simply go to your network provider, explain you’re going to Australia and ask them to unlock the phone, easy!

Organise $150 - $300 (Cash) In Australian Dollar

Once getting to Australia we’d recommend transferring your money from your home bank to your new Australian account using this link. Before then though, you’ll need some cash so get some exchanged at your local post office or Bureau de Change. We recommend $150-$300.

Scan & Print Important Documents

At some point you may need a copy of your driving license or passport for a job interview, course application or even a flight. E-mail these things so you have them in your inbox forever. We’re talking driving license, passport, visa, National Insurance Number / Social Security (UK / USA), ID Card, Insurance policy number/documents.

Tell Your Bank You're Going To Australia

Just in case you need your cards from home, tell your bank you’re going to Australia

*We also recommend having a credit card for emergencies

**If you’re travelling to multiple countries then we recommend taking out a multi-currency card such as Wise.

Stage Five: Party, Pack & Transport

Organise & Have A Massive Leaving Party

You’re leaving and people may want to celebrate that…only joking! In all seriousness though, you need a good ol’ going away party. There’s no better drunken emotional ‘I love you, you’re a great friend’ like the one at a leaving party, that and the ‘I’m going to really miss you’ to the person you never even see. By the time you get back people may have moved away, had children (and don’t come out anymore) or…you might not come back? You have to have one!

Pack! We've Made It Simple For You

In terms of clothes Australia is easy, it’s pretty similar to most Western cultures. You can literally bring what you’d normally wear at home plus some more Summer clothes, that easy! Aside from that I’d make sure you have:

  • Printed documents
  • $300 in cash
  • Flip Flops (soon to be called thongs)
  • Electrical Adaptor
  • Unlocked Phone
  • Neck pillow and eye mask for plane sleep 
  • Spare USB charging cable for when you lose yours
  • Headphones

Leave things like shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen etc until your arrival- we’ve got all that stuff here and it takes away the worry of it bursting all over your bag during the flight.

Organise Transport To The Airport

Again, a bit like the phone, people forget this too. How are you getting to the airport? Do you need another flight? Do you need the train then a transfer? Can you get the train directly to the terminal or are you lucky enough to have a relative taking you? Check it all out and organise so you have enough time before your flight.

Written By

Darryl Newby

Travelled to Australia from the UK in 2010 for what was supposed to be a 6 month visit…that didn’t quite go to plan. He now calls Melbourne home, co-founded Welcome to Travel and is a proud dog dad to his pug, Harvey.

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