The decision is finally made! You are now ready to live the great Australian adventure with a Working Holiday Visa. The real-life of a backpacker in Australia! Here are the essentials to help you before and on your arrival.
1. Where to land? First of all, you have to choose a city where to land. And to be honest, your destination will depend on what you want to do: taking some holidays in the city before working/finding a job as soon as possible / going on a road trip… For many backpackers, the dream is to land in Sydney or Melbourne, the most known cities in Australia. Indeed, it is good for the holidays, but if you are looking for a job, I can tell you it could be hard or take a long time.
My 2 advice here :
- If you arrive in Sydney or Melbourne, and nothing pops up for job opportunities after 3/4 weeks, you better leave the city for the land as farms have plenty of jobs.
- Choose a less crowded destination like Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth or Darwin and where you’ll have a better chance of getting a job. Also, you can save between 200 to 400$ on a return flight as theses cities are cheaper from Europe. For example, you can have a flight ticket for 750euros from Paris to Brisbane with Qantas on Skyscanner or Edreams.
2. Open a bank account. Yes, it is possible to open a bank account from your country! Opening a bank account is very easy. However, before starting any process, get in touch with your current bank to know if they have agreements with any Australian bank (for example the BNP has signed an agreement with Westpac). You can choose between Westpac, CitiBank, ANZ or Commonwealth Bank. I personally chose Westpac and it was very easy. You can Log in directly with this link and follow the instructions. If you do not yet have an address in Australia, don’t worry, you can give one of your hostel and get your mail once you are there.
3. Book your bed in a hostel. Hostels are the most popular backpacker’s accommodation and I highly recommend you to book 2 or 3 nights before you arrive. Conviviality and low prices are guaranteed. I often book it with Hostel World. However, bring a padlock to secure your documents (passport etc.) and valuables in a locker. You can also try Couchsurfing if you are travelling on a budget. Couchsurfing connects thousands of people around the world. It is simple, if you have a room, a sofa, or a mattress available to sleep, you can enjoy free of charge people who travel without much money.
4. Look for a job and a share house. One website will become your best friend: Gumtree. Roommate, van sale, jobs, … On the other hand, you will not be able to post an ad from Europe, nor send messages to reply to offers because all the messages sent “overseas” (excluding Australia) are directly deleted. You will have to wait to be on the Australian soil to apply.
SCAMS WARNING: in recent years, a lot of scams appeared on this website. For example, people will offer you a job but asking you to pay 50$AU or 100$AU to book it. IT’S A SCAM!
Alternatives: wwoofing or HelpX: these well-known backpacker systems allow you to work from 4 to 6 hours a day on farms Australian. You should know that HelpX concerns all kinds of jobs but wwoofing is more for organic farms. In exchange, you will have accommodation and food. You will not be paid (unless your hosts offer it) but it is a great experience to live into the Australian culture. Tip: your wwoofing days will count for your 2nd-year visa, make sure to get all documents as proof of your time there.
5. Join Facebook Backpackers Groups. Indeed, they are also full of different posts for shared accommodation, jobs, tips, buy/sell cars, … Here is the list of some Australian Facebook groups with 20 000 members, I managed on a daily basis: Backpackers Australia, Backpackers in Tasmania, Backpackers in Western Australia, Backpackers East Coast Australia.
6. The essentials for your official documents:
- Your passport (to keep on you)
- Mail your visa (to keep on you)
- Certificate of Insurance (to be kept on you)
- Certificate of your bank on the amount available on your bank account (to keep on you)
- Your International Driver’s License (to keep on you)
- Scan your passport and send a copy by email
- Photocopy your passport and put a copy in one of your luggage
- Leave a photocopy of your passport with your parents or a relative
7. The essentials in your backpack: underwears, Flip Flops, trek shoes, casual shoes, classic socks and hiking socks, 2/3 shorts, 5/6 T-shirt, swimwear, 2 jeans, sweatshirt and sweater, a cap or hat, a 220/240 volt adapter (with a 3-pin male end and a female end to connect your devices). Take with you an extension, you will see you often have more than your laptop to charge (computer, camera battery, …). And finally, a sleeping bag when you will be on the road. Don’t forget, in some areas, the temperature will go below 5 degrees at night.
8. The essentials in your toilet bag:
- Sun protection (in Australia the sun is not a gift to your skin, so take SPF 50 protection). Take an appointment with your dermatologist before leaving, he will advise you according to your skin type.
- Biafine is a water-based emulsion perfect in case of a bad sunburn.
- Anti mosquitoes, according to the seasons and the regions, the mosquitoes will not miss you.
- a soothing cream (after mosquito bites)
- disinfectant and bandages
- a deodorant – a toothbrush + toothpaste
- a soap (smaller and therefore less bulky) + shampoo
- a nail cutter + a tweezers
The list is long … it’s up to you to complete it as you wish!
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