Working holidays are a great way to travel to a new country, immerse yourself in the local culture, meet new people and get paid along the way. They are such a great way to travel, but they can be overwhelming to plan. This guide to planning a working holiday for first-timers is a great place to start, then you need to decide on a destination. Popular working holiday destinations include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Today we will be hearing from Rhianne with her experience and advice from a working holiday in Australia. Before we hear from Rhianne, this is some general advice for planning a working holiday in Australia.
Working holiday visa for Australia
To get a working holiday visa for Australia, you apply online through the Australians Government website. The Australian government will then approve the visa. Make sure you leave plenty of time in between applying for the visa and booking your flights. It could be best to wait until you have your visa to book flights. For American’s coming to Australia, check out this guide to getting a working holiday visa.
Pre-plan for your working holiday in Australia
Try to secure a job and accommodation before you arrive in Australia. This will save you spending your first day’s in Australia job and house hunting, and leave you open to adventuring instead.
You can pre-arrange a job in Australia by getting online and researching employers, reaching out via email, applying for jobs online and arranging interviews via Skype. There is nothing stopping you from securing a job and accommodation in Australia before you even take off. By doing this, you will have peace of mind because you know you have a job to go to and will start earning money shortly after you arrive.
When looking for a working holiday job in Australia, be open with your options. Finding a job in your industry may not be as easy overseas so be flexible, take any job to start with and find a better suited one after you settle in.
Research your destination
Find out more about Australia and the destination you will be working at. Know what to expect in terms of climate, cost of living and cultural differences. There are tonnes of Facebook Groups groups for backpackers. This is a great way to find other working holiday travellers at your destination so you can ask questions and make connections. You can even find jobs and accommodation via Facebook groups.
“I highly recommend ‘Backpackers 88 days and Counting’ if you want to do your farm work. They are the most trusted and reputable group by far, it even has an ‘avoid list’ of farms and working hostels that have a bad name for themselves and the group admin, Rosie, is so helpful, she helps people who have had bad experiences on farms to make a formal complaint and take action against their wrong-doers.”
Common jobs in Australia
As a backpacker on a working holiday visa in Australia, you really can get any job you want. The most common jobs available to backpackers are hospitality, fundraising, call centres and farm work. There are many types of farm jobs however the most jobs are for fruit pickers and packers. However, you can also work on dairy, cattle or egg farms. 88 days of farm work will get you a second year working holiday visa, so it’s worth it for that reason alone.
Pay Rates in Australia
Australia’s minimum wage is one of the highest in the world, at $18.93 an hour currently and with many employers choosing to pay the ‘award wage’ which is even higher depending on what area of work you are in. If you are employed under casual terms then you get at least 25% more.
Here is some more advice on making money in Australia.
Accommodation in Australia
Finding a job and accommodation is easier in the big cities but that’s not to say you can’t work and accommodation anywhere you want. You can find accommodation options realestate.com, Gumtree or flatmate.com.
Be organised with your documents and belongings
Being organised makes all the difference between a stressful and stressless overseas move. A great place to start is this working holiday checklist. This checklist covers everything you need to do before going on a working holiday and after you arrive. Doing all these things ahead of time will help you feel prepared for your working holiday in Australia.
When the time comes to set off on your adventure, keep all your important documents and bags organised so you can easily find what you are looking for.
Put yourself out there
You may be shy, but sometimes you just have to put yourself out there to make friends. Don’t be afraid to invite yourself along or ask people to hang out. The sooner you start making friends, the sooner you will feel at home. In many working holiday destinations, there are many other solo travellers in the same situation and will be looking for friends just like you. See my tips for making friends as a solo traveller.
Prepare for change
You can’t expect things to stay the same when you move overseas, so keep an open mind and be prepared for change and differences in the way things are done. Learn to embrace change and you will have an amazing experience.
Enjoy every moment
Remember, even though you are on a working holiday, you didn’t come to Australia just to work. Get out and explore, embrace the experience, meet new people and enjoy every moment. A working holiday in Australia is a life-changing experience and you should make the most of every minute.
Now Rhianna will share her working holiday Australia experience with you.
Why chose Australia as a working holiday destination?
“Australia appealed to me in many ways. I don’t like to do things by halves so if I’m going to go away from home for a year it may as well be the furthest place possible from Scotland. The sunshine and the chance to see koala’s in the wild appealed to me too. I wanted to go somewhere completely different to what I’m used to at home and yet still had all my comforts of home, does that make sense!? Australia also has an attractive wage – I could earn a lot more money working minimum wage jobs in Oz than I could back home! Plus it is a country of endless road trip possibilities, beautiful beaches, vast desert and dense jungle. In short – Australia had it all.”
How did you find the visa process?
“The process of actually getting the visa was easy peasy. It took less than 24 hours for my visa to be approved by the Australian government and just like that, I was going to Australia. I went through STA Travel to get my visa because I wanted the peace of mind that all the paperwork and technical stuff was done correctly, plus they had a good deal at the time. However, looking back I would probably just do it all my self to save money as I think it’s quite straightforward.”
Advice to people planning a working holiday visa in Australia
“Save more money than you think you will need – you might struggle to find a job and you don’t want your money to run dry. Also, don’t stress, you’re going to have the best time.”
What destinations do you recommend in Australia?
“Australia has so many amazing places I couldn’t pick just one The Great Ocean Road wins for stunning coastal views. Everyone who comes to Australia should visit Tropical North Queensland because it’s the only place in the world that two amazing world heritage sites collide; The Daintree Rainforest (which is the oldest rainforest in the world!) and The Great Barrier Reef.”
Would you recommend a working holiday in Australia?
“I would 110% recommend a working holiday visa in Australia because it will challenge you and it will change you for the better. You will see one of the most beautiful and unique parts of the world and the memories will leave your heart full and your mind wanting more. You will meet friends from all over the world and you will do things that you have never done before. You will leave a more open-minded and well-rounded person. DO IT!
My working holiday in Australia has challenged me in ways that I would have thought I wouldn’t have been able to handle a year ago. We had our campervan stolen from right outside our flat in Melbourne a few days before Christmas. Then we got it back just in time to make the 18-hour road trip to Byron Bay for a music festival over New Year.
I learnt some harsh life lessons this year, the value of money and that a person can’t survive on a diet consisting solely of ‘2-minute noodles’.
I have laughed, I have cried, I have met new friends from far off places and reunited with old friends. I have lost things, had things taken but I have gained a million memories. I have ached for the people I love back home and I have danced and laughed like I didn’t have a care in the world. I’ve had money struggles and times where I didn’t know what or how I would eat (seriously!) and I have experienced extreme generosity and kindness from other people. I have been homesick and yet I have felt completely at home. It was a whirlwind, an emotional rollercoaster with highs and lows but I wouldn’t change a single thing.”
Rhianne is a 23-year-old globetrotter from Scotland with a passion for adventure in any way, shape or form. Last year she decided to take on my biggest adventure yet; moving to the other side of the world on a working holiday visa in Australia. Rhianne blogs at Wanderfully Living. You can fund her on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
Overseas Travel Checklist
Check out my top travel resources
Do you need some more help with planning your working holiday? These are the top travel resources that I use to help me plan my trips. You will find my favourite flight, accommodation, insurance and tour providers.
Create a travel budget
Creating a travel budget is an important part of any overseas trip, especially a working holiday. Admittedly, it isn’t the most fun part, but it will help you manage your expenses and plan the trip of a lifetime, without blowing your budget. For my tried and tested method for creating a comprehensive travel budget, click here.