Getting started in Australia on a working holiday

Sydney Opera HouseSo you’re thinking about a working holiday in Australia? Boasting some of the most livable cities in the world, it’s a wonderful option for young adults to get international work experience while living in a new culture. It’s all great when you think about the new foods you get to try, places you get to go, and koalas you get to cuddle, but the logistics of it can be intimidating. If you take it step by step, I promise it’s possible and not as stress-inducing as it may seem.

UK passports are noticeably cooler than US ones.

What my partner, Oli, and I started with was applying for our visas. As a US citizen, I have a Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) and Oli, a UK citizen, has a Working Holiday visa. They are essentially the same thing, but a Working Holiday Visa holder is able to extend their visa for another year if they spend 3 months working on a farm. We applied for those back in April 2015 and got them within the next two days. It did cost about $420 (aud) each ($320 usd, £210). Oli was approved the next day while I had to submit proof of graduating from high school, so I just sent a transcript from college. The next day, it was approved. So, within a year of our visas being approved, we needed to enter the country and begin using it. Keep in mind, it is all electronic. All you get is a confirmation page saying your visa has been approved. We got to oz and didn’t even have to show anyone our visas (just printed out our confirmation pages in case) and it was such an easy “entering the country” process… as opposed the US! They did confiscate my pear I was going to eat later, but that’s just water under the bridge at this point. :/

It is important to have a place to stay when you arrive. That is one of the most important things you need to do. We are very lucky and did already have an address here: Oli’s great aunt’s. It’s useful to have one when applying to jobs, getting our sim cards, and just having a free place to stay when we first got here. I know many people don’t have family here and stay in hostels before they can find work and get a flat. Girlunmapped, a blog about an American who did this, is an awesome resource and I was chatting with her about her experiences! I found the blogging community to be so welcoming and helpful. If you need a place to stay as soon as you arrive, check out GumTree (the Oz equivalent to Craigslist) <remember to be safe and have lots of chats with any person, people, hostel, or any entity you are staying with, Yha Australia for hostels, and for renting a place right off the bat.

Bye Austin!

For our flights, we used Student Universe to get our tickets as we found them to be cheaper than Skyscanner or Hipmunk or any other travel site.  We got a two stop, one-way journey for $760 (usd) and this was the cheapest we could find for the time of year we were going.

We are both using our own phones (just got them unlocked to use different sim cards) and are using sim card only plans. We found the cheapest plan we could with the most data, minutes, and unlimited texts. Some companies do their plans a bit differently, allotting you a certain amount of money and with that money, you can use it for minutes, data, or texts. Whistleout is a great resource for figuring out your phone situation.


The second day we were here, we opened our bank accounts at NAB as they don’t have any fees for their accounts. Just brought our passports, and we had accounts in 30 minutes. You also need to apply for your tax file number (which you DON’T need a bank account to do, so just do it as soon as you get in the country and have an address it can be sent to) which we will get and then give to our bank to add to our accounts.



*Update* found jobs! Find out how we pulled off getting jobs within two months of arriving. 
We are in the process of finding jobs. We both want jobs in our fields so we can get our careers started. We have been contacting recruitment agencies since before we got here and applying to jobs. Now that we are here with phone numbers, it is a lot easier to just ring someone up and ask for an appointment.We’ve also used other websites to find individual jobs like: Seek, Mumbrella, NeuvooEthical Jobs, LinkedIn, and Indeed are some of my faves. This is, of course, coming from a marketing/communications standpoint, so if you know of other sites for other sorts of work, please let me know so i can add them to the list!

All in all…

Everyone here has been SO NICE and welcoming. It’s also wonderful to have Oli’s family here as they have been really great in getting settled and contacting people about jobs. We’ve found it to be such a welcoming country in general and contrary to what people say about Australia (Melbourne in particular) being very expensive, it’s all relative. Food is pricier, but you earn a high wage here and you can find cheap accommodation. Don’t let the intimidation of trekking to another country to find work intimidate you! You’ve got this!

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