As you may or may not already know I have recently just come back from travelling and living in Australia for a year and 8 months. I had the most amazing experience with both travelling and living the life of luxury in this beautiful country. Today I thought I would write a post for anyone looking at going to Australia on the 1 year or 2 year working holiday visa. I’m sure everyone has their own tips & tricks for travelling but I honestly couldn’t have achieved or prepared for half of the stuff I have done without the help of others. Due to this I thought I’d share my little Tips and tricks and share some of my own thoughts on my own blog. Whether you are looking to travel or just intrigued as to what this country has to offer, I hope you enjoy reading.
I am only a newbie when it comes to travelling however I feel like I learnt such a hue deal of important information in such a short amount of time. Comparing myself today from the girl I was when I first left England at 18 years old there is a huge difference.
The main things I was scared about before arriving in Australia was; Jobs, finding an apartment, saving money, budgeting, meeting new people and so much more. I thankfully during my time away achieved all of these (not easily). So for anyone who is also worried about these I hope my blog can give you a little insight and show you that there is no reason to be scared.
First thing I will start with is whether or not you should start your WHV in Australia with a gap year company or not for example; a week intro to OZ. Many people may have different opinions on this however I really found the one I went with was not worth the money at all. I paid around 800 pounds to have a week intro with a company named UltimateOz. The one thing that really got me down with these guys is that most of the activities they do with you, you can do free with the hostels anyway. My second problem with these is also, you could tell their main job was to get as much money out of you as they could and considering I didn’t have much this was horrible. The one thing I can’t knock them for was the friends I made along the way. Meeting so many special people in my life that I know I will be lifetime friends. 2 years later and we still talk to this very day and that is lovely.
Next Tip is for helping find somewhere to live. So you have found an area you like and you are wanting to settle for a while to save up that dollar to travel the rest of the country, what do you do? You don’t want to be paying a fortune but you are scared you won’t be able to find anywhere because you are fussy and don’t want to share 1 bed with 6 people, Don’t feel guilty for feeling this way. My main problem with finding somewhere to live was that me and my ex boyfriend were travelling together, privacy was our main concern. A lot of places can have up to 4 people in the same room and in my eyes that’s not comfort right there. I found it very helpful just by joining the Facebook groups such an “fairy floss” and “Australia backpackers” you will find many people posting ads for apartments, share houses and studios ALL the time. If no success here the best website by far would be myflatmates.com. I have found 1 share house (Melbourne) and 1 apartment (Sydney) that I lived in on these sites and both was perfect for me!
Tip number 3, This is based on how to go about setting up a Australian CV and how to apply for a job, earning and saving money. As for working I only worked in Sydney and Melbourne. No other city. From my own personal experience Sydney was a lot easier to find work than Melbourne however that could have been because when I moved to Melbourne was peak season for backpackers. I have done all sorts of work from, Call centres, Bar/restaurant work, Massaging, Luna Park, Door 2 door sales & many MANY more. You will always be able to find work out here no matter what anyone says, you just cannot be fussy. I’m going to be completely honest with you here. Yes, backpacker jobs are shit. end of. Call centre work is you best bet for an immediate start job and the best thing about these is that the pay is great. In Sydney I was earning $25 an hour at a call centre. I’m not too sure about everywhere in the world but as for England our CV’s are set out a little different from what they expect in Australia. In Australia they always expect a professional photograph of yourself in the top right hand corner followed by all your information below. I am not sure why they do this as I find it a little judging however this is what they expect so make sure you don’t forget that part. Jobs in Australia are so much more relaxed than anywhere else, the majority of jobs will just tell you to come casually dressed for the interview as well which is always great. You really don’t need to panic too much and make yourself like presentable, I went to one interview once and the boss was in sunglasses and flip flops.
Another great thing I would recommend with jobs out here is that you can lie as much as you like on your CV. Shouldn’t really promote this but you can. They cannot be bothered to try and hunt down your old boss in your home country because of time difference. The most they will do is email (that’s if they do) Me and my boyfriend lied loads. He apparently had 3 years worth of bar work experience instead of the truth that he had none! One point I even used his email address as one of my references and they never checked. But one thing I wouldn’t lie about is in Melbourne. If they ask if you can make coffee you better know how to make a good one because they are serious about that.
If you are looking for immediate start here are a couple of call centre links that hire EVERY week and are great pay…
1) Peakbound, Surrey Hills, Sydney. -(working on behalf of banks selling insurance)
2) Insight, Surrey Hills, Sydney – (selling raffle tickets for charity)
3) Public Outreach, Queen st, Melbourne (charity based calls, donation)
4) Red energy (Richmond, Melbourne (energy sales via telephone existing customers).
Now you have the job, You got to start the dreadful saving and the not having a social life. This isn’t all that true, you can still save and have a social life, just have to be wise and make full use of hostel free goon & pizza nights instead of splashing the cash on bottles of grey goose vodka. Don’t get me wrong it’s all a bit gross but remember you’re poor now and you want to dive in the great barrier reef in the next few months. All worth it in the end. If your new mates call you out, no problem. Just don’t be purchasing 1 litre bottles of Smirnoff vodka, go for something a little cheaper like $7 bottle of Passion pop, The one the only. For the english people it’s the equivalent of Lambrini just 10% stronger. Now for the food, Dominos is also extremely cheap when it comes to Australia so save yourself a few dollar one evening and purchase a $5 pizza then go for a jog the next day so you don’t feel guilty or just don’t jog, feel guilty and drink your sorrows in passion pop with your mates the next evening. That’s how I do it.
Another great thing I would recommend with jobs out here is that you can lie as much as you like on your CV. Shouldn’t really promote this but you can. They cannot be bothered to try and hunt down your old boss in your home country because of time difference. The most they will do is email (that’s if they do) Me and my boyfriend lied loads. He apparently had 3 years worth of bar work experience instead of the truth that he had none! One point I even used his email address as one of my references and they never checked. But one thing I wouldn’t lie about is in Melbourne. If they ask if you can make coffee you better know how to make a good one because they are serious about that shit.
Health & Travel insurance for backpackers?
When being a backpacker it is expected that you will most likely be doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Some may be quite dangerous. Many travellers come to Australia without insurance, then things go wrong and they have to pay out fortunes. Of course you don’t want to be paying loads yourself, however you want to know you are covered and safe. I have a great recommendation for travel insurance for backpackers as it can be quite expensive. I purchased mine with a company called HolidaySafe. They have been absolutely great as they have a section especially for backpackers and offer you a great deal for great coverage and I have never had a single problem. When it comes down to healthcare you want to know you are covered. In Australia they have a system known as Medicare. It is the same as the NHS in England. It is completely free you just need to go and register with proof of yourself aka passport. As everyone is a traveller it’s a pretty simple to thing to do. This allows you to receive free health care all around Australia which gives you that extra peace of mind in case something does happen to you.
Bank Tranfers & Setting up Australian Bank
Banking is one of those things that seems like the most complicated and hardest part of the whole trip but in my eyes is probably one of the easiest. There are many banks in which you can choose to join when arriving in Australia however I very much recommend Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It is great bank which most travellers use. The best part of Commonwealth is that it’s the bank which receives wages before any other bank in Australia. So instead of waiting until Thursday like some you’ll have it in there first thing Monday morning or of course whenever your job pays.
Wanting to transfer your money over before you get here?
Transferring money is yet another thing I thought would be very hard but it is actually not that complicated at all. You can set up your Australian bank account before you leave your home country just by going onto the bank’s website. With commonwealth they get you to sign up, you just have to choose a store in which you will go to once in Australia to collect your card and fill in a couple of forms to complete the process. If going with commonwealth and heading to Sydney first. China town is probably your best bet although there are loads around to choose from. Once your account is registered online the bank will give you all your details so you can simply transfer your money straight over. You can do this by heading into your branch at home but the banks do charge quite a bit. A very common and extremely safe website to use is Transferwise.com It is absolutely brilliant. Charges you nothing to send your money abroad and will arrive within days. A lot of backpackers use this. I have used it multiple times sending way over 5,000 at some points! It is safe, trust me.
I hope this information was of use for any of you guys wanting to travel Australia in the future. If you have any questions regarding travelling within Australia feel free to contact me or check out my other posts in my travel section.