After having dreamed of it for a long time, you decided to do Work and Travel in Australia. That’s exciting, right? You are wondering how to best prepare for your trip. Don’t panic, you’ve come to the right place. We guide you through the steps to take before going for Australia with a WHV. Here are all the thing you should know before going to Australia.
What is Work & Travel?
Work and Travel, also called WHV (Working Holiday Visa), is a visa that allows young people to travel and work for a year in Australia. The age limit to benefit is fixed at 30 or 35 years depending on the country in which you reside. The UK has an age limit of 30. A WHV can be renewed twice if you meet all conditions and complete your specified work in Australia.
The Australian government clearly defines the jobs and regions eligible to renew the Working Holiday Visa. Backpackers who wish to renew their visa work mainly in fruit picking. There are many other work sectors open to backpackers, such as fishing, mining, construction, landscaping, etc.
“TRAVEL BECAUSE LIFE IS SHORT AND THE WORLD IS HUGE.”
Many backpackers will tell you that doing Work and Travel in Australia is an experience that changes you forever. This is an opportunity to open up to a different culture, to improve your English, or simply to experience different things and make certain dreams come true.
When to go to Australia?
There are really no good or bad times to go to Australia. Everything depends on your plans once there and also on your situation back home. For example, do you need to finish your exams before you leave or go after a fixed-term contract?
Know that it is sunny and warm in Australia but that there is also winter there. If you want to arrive in the South of the country (in Perth, Melbourne or Sydney) you will need warm clothing if you arrive in the middle of winter (June, July). It is also advisable to avoid the rainy season in the north of the country between November and March.
Beyond that, you will also have to take into account your budget and what you want to do once you arrive in Australia. For example, if you have to work as soon as you arrive and if you plan to work in restaurants/hotels, you will have more difficulty finding a job during the off-peak season (the winter months). If you want to pick fruit or farm work to replenish your pockets and/or secure a second year, then find out about the harvest seasons and the best places to find a job.
How much time do you need to prepare for your trip?
After having discussed it with many travellers who have left for Australia, we find that the time needed widely varies. Some people are very forward-thinking and take it 1 year in advance, others prefer to plan as little as possible and plan 3 months or less.
To have time to prepare everything at your ease, we recommend a period of 6 months. And no matter how long you spread your preparations, the steps will be the same.
What budget do you need to go to Australia?
Firstly, it is essential to estimate your budget to verify that you are financially ready for this adventure. Plan the purchase of your visa, the plane ticket, the subscription to health insurance and also the minimum funds requested by the Australian government which is $5000.
In addition to that, plan to set aside a certain amount of money to ensure your safety during your first weeks in Australia. Plan for an additional budget of $400 per week for accommodation, food, public transportation and going out. For your accommodation on arrival, the best options are hostels and Airbnb to give you time to find a roommate. These options are usually a little more expensive but very secure. Try to stay near the city centre to save on transportation. Some will require a higher budget as it always also depends on the things you need when you’re going to live in Australia.
If your plan is to hit the road, calculate the budget for the purchase of a vehicle. You can find low-end cars from $1,500 and equipped campervans in the $5,000 range. The prices vary depending on the period but also on the city in which you arrive.
Australia Budget for Work & Travel
Wondering how much it actually costs to go to Australia? We have detailed all the expenses to be expected in this article
Which steps do you need to complete before going to Australia?
Book your plane ticket
The plane ticket to Australia represents a certain investment. Many airlines fly to Australia. These include Qantas, Emirates, Air France, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.
THE JOURNEY IS ABOUT 24 HOURS LONG WITH A STOPOVER
Some companies offer stops on the way for the same price … this could be the opportunity to make the first stop in the sun!
Prices of airline tickets vary greatly with the seasons and the time you are making your booking.
The high period is from December to March, the lowest season from April to October. Allow at least $1500 for a return from London – Sydney, but prices can increase during school holidays. Also, note that often it is more beneficial to take a return ticket when buying your departure. Finally, the earlier you book your flight and the cheapest it will be!
Get your Travel insurance
The Australian Government has agreements with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. This means that residents of these countries can benefit from Medicare with some essential medical treatments while visiting Australia.
However, we suggest that you take out private health insurance to travel to Australia. Backpacking through Australia is only safe if you know you don’t have to worry about health costs.
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How to prepare for your arrival in Australia?
Obtain the necessary documents
If you do not have a passport yet or if it is nearing expiration, request a new one. You will need it to enter Australian territory, but also to carry out certain procedures such as the purchase of your plane tickets and your visa application.
To obtain or renew it, it is necessary to make a request to your town hall with the supporting documents requested. You can choose to go to the counter or prepare your file by making a pre-request online. The cost of a passport (1st request or renewal) is £75.50 if you apply for it online in the UK.
If you intend to drive in Australia, the international driving licence is essential if your current license isn’t in English. Please check in your country how to obtain this license as this step needs to be completed before you are going to Australia
Working Holiday Visa – WHV
Your key to Australia. This visa allows you to live and work there legally for 1 year. Apply at least 3 months in advance via the Australian government website. Allow an hour to complete the online questionnaire.
Some websites offer to apply for a visa for you, but it is simply a scam. You are the only person authorised to submit your visa application, and this via the Australian immigration site.
Where to arrive in Australia?
There are several large cities in Australia and all of them have pros and cons …
The main cities are Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth in the South and Darwin and Cairns in the North.
- Sydney appears to be the most “logical” to start your WHV. It is the most touristic city in Australia.
- Melbourne is the second largest city. It is highly similar to Europe with its small streets and its Victorian charm.
- Canberra is the official capital of the country. Appreciated for its modern architecture and its political wealth, it is not, however, the first choice for backpackers.
- Brisbane is often popular with backpackers due to its weather (300 sunny days on average during the year!) and is close to the Gold Coast.
- Perth, which is isolated on the west coast, is a growing city and is perfect for those wishing to explore the wild quickly.
- Adelaide or the city of churches is more attractive that it seems!
- Cairns in the far north of Australia, is a small paradise, perfect to access the Great Barrier Reef.
- Darwin in the far north of the country, is a culturally interesting city, with a large Aboriginal population and a fairly present Asian culture.
Your city of arrival will depend on several criteria: your arrival time, if you want to buy a vehicle, if you want to find a job quickly, etc …
Which city to choose for your arrival?
Choosing the right city of arrival will allow you to save money, help you with your job search and enjoy the best climate during your trip.
Seasons in Australia
Australia is located in the Southern hemisphere, which means that the seasons are the opposite of those in the north. When it’s summer in Europe, it is winter in Australia and vice versa. The country is divided by the Tropic of Capricorn, to its the north, the climate is warmer, while in the south it is more temperate.
Here is an overview of the different climate zones in Australia:
- Temperate zone includes the south of the country (climate similar to European countries)
- Subtropical zone (the middle of the country with pleasant temperatures all year round)
- Tropical area with the wet season from November to January, cyclones in October-November and the dry season from April to November with tropical temperatures
- Desert area, land inside the country with very hot days and very cold night
The best time to visit Australia depends on its region. In the Northern half, the months from March to August are recommended and for the Southern half, it is the opposite! In short, for those who wish to travel for a year around Australia, the aim is to be in the Northern part in winter, and in South for summer!
Open a bank account in Australia and transfer money
To save time when you arrive, you can open your Australian bank account from the UK with certain banks. This will allow you to send money there and also avoid additional costs related to the use of your UK bank card in Australia. A reassuring way to start your journey. The process is simple and will not take you more than an hour. When you arrive, go to an branch to finalise the process and activate your account.
In order to transfer your savings to your Australian account, we recommend that you go through a company specialising in international transfers. It will cost you much less than going through your bank! The costs of international transfers through a traditional bank are often very high and the exchange rates applied are unattractive.
Transfer Money to Australia
Save money when transferring money to Australia.
Find Accommodation in Australia
To find a place to settle, you have several options. You can post an ad on Facebook and all the pages dedicated to Australian cities or backpacker groups. You can also visit Gumtree. Finally, there are specialised sites to find accommodation in shared houses or rooms such as Flatmates, OzFlatmates, FlatmateFinders, etc.
Book a hostel
Before arriving in Australia, it is recommended to book a hostel (Backpacker Hostel). These hostels offer good prices for rooms. Booking at least one week will give you time to arrange the administrative requirements (TFN, Bank account etc) and eventually find a job. Often it is cheaper when you book for more than a week.
In Australia, there are thousands of hostels with different services and quality levels!
To choose a good one and compare the different rates, it is best to use a comparator such as Booking.com.
These hostels are also a good way to meet other young people on a WHV. They will be able to tell you about their experiences and will certainly share their tips with you. So don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Pack your bag for Australia
The first question to arise here is whether to go for a backpack or a suitcase, then comes the question of what to take and how to not forget anything. For this, you can refer to our checklist in the Backpackers Guide. Most travellers won’t bring their suitcase while backpacking through Australia.
With an amazing rate of sunshine and temperatures that can exceed 40° C, it is essential to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. For clothing, shorts and T-Shirts will also be essential, but beware, it is not always easy to avoid winter in Australia and you will need to bring some warm clothes for your travel.
For those who intend to work in farms, you will need to buy some used clothes in second-hand shops such as Salvation Army etc once arrived.
Remember that airlines only allow a limited baggage weight, generally 20 kg but this can go up to 30 kg with some companies. Your hand luggage may reach 7 kg. So try to travel light!
The departure checklist
- Passport (valid for longer than the length of your stay)
- Copy of your granted Working Holiday Visa
- Printing of your plane ticket
- Details of your travel insurance
- Driver’s licence
- Photocopy of your ID
What better way to get good advice than to ask former backpackers? Join Facebook groups or learn about yourself, you will learn a lot. To help you, we have put together all the useful information and tips that we have collected over the years in a free guide to take with you.
Download the Backpackers Guide
Our FREE 400-page eBook contains all the information you need for your WHV in Australia :
- administrative procedures
- transport and ways of travelling
- jobs & +500 fruit picking contacts
- regions and practical life
- numerous discounts