Arriving in Australia on a working holiday
Get ready for a year of epic experiences, breathtaking beauty and incredible adventure.
By Leah Dobihal
You’ve decided to set out on a year of adventure and exploration. Here’s how to prepare for your working holiday in Australia.
What should I do before I arrive?
After you’ve been granted your working holiday visa, it’s time to plan for your arrival. Of course, the first step in your adventure is booking your travel to Australia. Don’t forget that one requirement of your working holiday visa is either a return ticket out of Australia or proof that you have funds to book a ticket back home. One great way of satisfying this requirement is booking an open return ticket, which allows you to pay for your flight home without having to lock in a date.
You’ll also want to get health and travel insurance. While some countries have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, it’s always a good idea to have coverage for any unexpected expenses. Travel insurance will also help cover you and your valuables as you move around the country.
You may want to decide where to base yourself, or at least where you’d like to settle in and begin your journey. Australia has a long list of amazing cities, from the more metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney to the laid-back lifestyle of Airlie Beach or Cairns. Use Hostelworld to find accommodation in different neighbourhoods and read up on Australia’s backpacker precincts to find out where you’d like to explore.
What should I do after I arrive?
There are several steps to take to set up your life in Australia, but don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. After you arrive, first check into a hostel. Even if you plan to find more permanent accommodation, a stay in a hostel can help you discover the nearby neighbourhoods and decide where you’d like to live.
Next, consider a second-year visa. A second-year visa is available for visitors on both the Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462). With so many destinations to explore, it’s likely you’ll want to stay beyond your permitted 12 months. The working holiday maker program allows you to apply for a second year, but first you’ll need to complete what the Australian Government considers ‘specified work.’ Specified work refers to work that falls within specific industries and is completed in regional areas of the country (see here for Working Holiday specified work and here and Work and Holiday specified work). If you think you may want to stay a second year, consider completing your required work right away to avoid uprooting yourself later.
To finish setting up your life in Australia, open an Australian bank account, apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) and get a mobile phone. Read more on these steps so you can get settled straight away.
How do I find a job in Australia?
There are several ways to find work while you’re in Australia depending on the type and frequency of work you’d like. If you’d like to secure a job before you arrive, or at least generate a few leads, try conducting an online job search on Australian job board sites like Seek and Indeed.
If you’d rather leave the job search to someone else, you could enlist a working holiday support program like Intro Travel, Alliance Abroad, Australian Working Adventures or Welcome to Travel. These programs provide guaranteed work during your holiday, as well as support finding accommodation.
If you want to keep your plans flexible, you can find work after you arrive. Stop into neighbourhood cafes, bars and restaurants to see if they could use an extra set of hands. You could also stop into a recruitment agency, which can help you find a job related to your skillset.
Read more about the different ways to find work during your working holiday.