If you are looking to work in Aus the first thing you will need to arrange is your working Holiday Visa which is about £230 from memory. I did mine in STA Travel shop as they fill out everything for you and you will receive an email confirmation when it has been processed, this can take up to 6 weeks but I got mine in 2 days. A working holiday visa starts from the second you step foot in the country and you have a year in the country. The only way to extend your first year is by doing 88 days regional work or to get sponsored. I will go into more detail below about farm work later on but Click here for more info on Working Holiday Visa’s. If you are only going for a few weeks then visit on a tourist visa which is 3 months. I would also not recommend going to Australia in December or January as that is when flights are most expensive, if you complete your first year and want to come home, it will cost you a lot more to come home near Christmas!
What to Pack
This is where I struggled as I came from Asia where everyone and everything was dirty but in Australia everyone is beautiful!
- I had a comfortable rucksack but I also had a small carry on roll on suitcase.. You don’t really need a rucksack in Australia
- Of course pack things like Trainers and comy clothes but there are so many shops out there I brought new clothes to feel normal again after Asia. All you need are clothes to travel in on coaches, which can be very cold so pack a hoodie!
- As many Bikinis and cover ups as you can, its so bloody hot you wont want to wear many clothes in the day but be warned in cities such as Sydney it is more pretentious than Slug and Lettuce on a Friday night so glam up!
- Flip Flops, they will break, you will go through at least 4 pairs I promise you
- If I was to go back I would take my iPad as some nights you stay in and you want to watch a movie in bed, an iPad would of been ideal
- Camera, with a hard drive and lots of memory cards, I backed up everything and also had an online storage which I used every time I had an afternoon with WiFi.
- Ipod/ Music – It is worth having a Netflix account to download movies for long journeys.
- Portable charger
- Tiger Balm saves lives
- So does Bug Spray
- Printed Colour copy of your passport and Visa
- Copy of your travel insurance
- Blow up pillow for long journeys and easy to fold away/ eye mask/ear plugs
- Roll on Deodorant lasts longer and some hostels ban you from spraying them in rooms because they can set the fire alarms off
- I always had a note book and pen on me with a few important numbers written inside in case I got my phone stolen
- Lipstick can turn any day outfit into an evening outfit so always have some to hand!
Apps you will need
- Maps.ME – Which is an app which lets you download countries, cities and areas without WIFI and you have the ability to save where you have been. It helps out a lot when you are lost!
- Wiki Cams for all your road trip needs!
A large majority of people start in Melbourne and work their way up the coast which I would highly recommend over starting in Cairns and going down. As most people go up, you make friends along the way and you tend to see them again as its all one route.
If you aren’t on a time schedule you can do what I did which was to plan it all when I reached Melbourne as we gave our selves a few days in between places if we liked where we were, we could stay or if we didn’t we could move on quicker. I stayed at BASE in St Kilda which is a great hostel! It’s cheap and there are things on every night at the hostel bar which is a great place to meet people. Mad travel is a travel agent within the hostel which can hook you up with everything you need. We brought a ‘Hop on Hop Off‘ greyhound ticket from Melbourne to Cairns which was around $400. This type of ticket meant we could get a coach the whole way up the coast with no time limit as we had a year to use it all up the coast. We also booked the 3 busiest places along the coast in advance as they sell out very fast. They sell out as they are very popular and often only have one hostel in the area. These places are Frazer island, magnetic island and the Whitsundays -Note there are other cheaper bus companies but Greyhound offer great air con, comfy seats, wifi and plugs to charge phones and cameras. If you are doing 16 hour coach journeys comfort and air con is a must!!
The most common stops along the East coast are; Melbourne, Sydney, Byron bay, Surfers Paradise/ Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa / Rainbow Beach (Fraser island tour starts from), Hervey Bay, Airlie Beach (Whitsundays), Magnetic Island, Townsville and Cairns.
BASE st Kilda, United Backpackers in central Melbourne
Things to do
Trams in the city are free so take advantage
Melbourne city centre has lots to see and do! The famous ABC aka Asian Beer Cafe has amazing food with really cheap happy hours so defo worth checking out as well as the centre it is in.
Night Markets on a Thursday.
Cookie is a really nice rooftop bar with a cinema.
Madame Brussels is a Tea Party themed rooftop bar with a whole lotta sass!!!
Federation Square always has bits going on.
St Kilda has the beach with great bars and places to eat accompanied by every single backpacker. You can also see penguins on the pier at night around 7pm.
To see some of the city’s best street art, head to the following locations;
AC/DC lane and Duckboard place, Hosier and Rutledge lanes, Centre place, Flinders Court, Union Lane, Presgrave Place, Russell Place, Croft Alley, Stevenson and Tattersalls Lanes, Drewery and Sniders Lanes, Caledonian Lane, Corner 361 Little Bourke Street and Rankins Lane, Finlay Lane, behind Corner of Queen and Franklin Streets and Blender Lane. Click here for a map!
Other must see’s if you like something a bit different from the typical tourist traps can be found here ->Weird and wonderful shops in Melbourne
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips you can do! It was one of my favorite things to do. Download ‘Wiki Camps’ its an amazing app where you can filter different things you want from a camp site, for example we needed power and I wanted a shower, and it brings up all the campsites along your route, it is so worth having this app if you are doing lots of road trips. Top things to see on the GOR are:
Loch Ard Gorge
Split Point Lighthouse
So it is probably worth mentioning Australia has lock out laws, these laws are slightly different in each state but they all suck were ever you go. Lock out laws were put in place to stop drunken violence and to control the youth slightly better due to so many people actually dying from being punched once on the back of the head. Yep Australians are a rowdy bunch and after talking to my Australian friends, these laws do actually help keep people safer on nights out. The laws in Sydney are as follows;
The legislation requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct. This means, no re-entry in a club after 1:30- not even to smoke. No shots/doubles after 12, you are not allowed to down your drink, it is illegal to be drunk in a club so they will remove you, or keep you hostage and force water down your throat and call you a cab, it is actually a law they make sure you are able to get home! All drinking games are banned- most clubs will play ‘water pong’ or give you ‘food tokens’ as prices but actually it is a shot.
These laws to prohibit you drinking but they are designed to keep you safe, if anything it just means you start drinking earlier! Great article to read about it all here –>Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?
Wake Up! Sydney Central
Avoid Big Hostel as much as you can! It is filled with Chinese families and mainly people that work in the city so they are not looking to make friends and this hostel has the most bizarre rules such as you are not allowed plastic bags in the room, you are not allowed the lights on past a certain time, they do not have wifi in the rooms as they do not want you skying family members if someone is asleep..its just rubbish, avoid!
Bondi Backpackers – Beautiful clean hostel right on the beach! Offers free activies and so many discounts for in town.
Things to do
‘The Rocks’ has really nice bars and restaurants with Pancakes on the rocks which is beaut.
Coogie beach, Bondi beach and Manly beach are worth going too. Manly you have to get a ferry over to but it’s a nice day out. The walk from Bondi to Coogie is very popular.
New Town doesn’t have lock out laws! It has cool bars and shops worth checking out.
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden
Day trips to the Blue Mountains is one of the best things to do !
- Arts Factory (the inbetweeners movie). You can stay in the hostel in the main building or you can stay in Tiky Huts which are so much better but this is where I learnt what a Huntsman Spider looked like very close up!- Note the staff here are vile but the atmosphere make up for it!
Things to do
Nimbin, the only place it is ok to buy weed, hash brownies and weed cookies. I honestly asked a 10 year old where to buy them and he led me to his Grandmother..
Everyone and their Nan sells weed here, it is a hippy town with one road and takes about 20 mins to see the whole thing. It is very , much a gimmick but equally very funny to see extreme hippies welcoming tourists with cookies.
Dolphin Kayak trips
Light house walk, from the main beach to the light house there is a very beautiful walk which you are able to visit ‘the most easterly part of Australia’ so this means it is the earliest part of the day in that spot!
The Rainbow Temple is about an hours drive from Byron, so we rented a car and headed to Guy Feldmann’s extraordinary love offering to humanity. It is amazing and not a lot of people know about this place, it is one big hippie commune! He has built this huge tree house and the best bit is walking through the cave..I wont ruin the surprise what is down there
Bunk is very good! Great bar underneath (pictured below)
Nomads private rooms are also rooftop penthouse style rooms with balconies.
Things to do
Lagoon- There isn’t a beach here as it is a city but they do have a man made lagoon which everyone heads to.
Shopping Helllaaa lot of shops and lots of pubs and bars but one place looked amazing which was Prohibition which is 1920’s theme.
Cinema is $6 I think
Day trip to Surfers Paradise, but there isn’t much to do here either! Do not do the bar crawl, rip off and horrendous!
Nomads. I genuinely think that is the only hostel that Noosa has..
Things to do
You book a package with nomads to stay on Frazer Island for 2 days and to have a night in the hostel either side of the trip I think we booked with ‘Dingo’s’. I met everyone the night before, loaded a small bag into the trucks and set off for Frazer where we where put into 6 cars and drove around the island along a 75 mile beach seeing every thing it had to offer such as SS Maheno Shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, Lake Allom, ,Lake Wabby which has sand dunes so take a body board, Indian Head, Lake Birabeen and Eli Creek – Take a floatie!
Note you have to be over 21 to drive on Frazer and have to have been driving 3 years!
Flash Packers Hervey Bay (pictured below)
Things to do
Whale watching!!! Between July and October whale season, it is the best thing I have done on the East Coast!
Nomads/Base, same reception but personally the rooms were nicer in Nomads.
Things to do
Whitsundays – I went on the Clipper which is a 3 days and 2 nights on board which is notorious for being the Party Boat but it really wasn’t that bad. I hate boat parties as I get sick very easily but they do not let you drink too much in the day as you are snorkeling and it would be dangerous for you to jump off the boat drunk. The evenings are filled with drinking games and fancy dress, which I would highly recommend if you want to meet people and get smashed. They have 2 slides, a hot tub and stop off at White Haven Beach which is amazing! Other chilled boats can do a day trip or one night rather than the 2 nights on board with the Clipper.
You are not allowed to take zip bags on board due to bed bugs, only draw string bags. They say there is a limit on alcohol but there isn’t, you are not allowed bottles or red wine, so stock up on goon or as much as you can carry and you can put it in the fridge.
Hamilton Island – Which is a Millionaire island.
BASE, the only one worth staying at. It has beautiful huts with Half moon and full moon parties.
Things to do
Barbie Cars! Literally why most girls go here
Hike up some massive hill to see wild Koala Bears
West Point to see the sunset, dont get caught taking a barbie car otherwise it is a $200 fine, lol
Geoffrey Bay to see wallabies!
- Gilligan’s backpacker Hostel is a party hostel with great rooms. The hostel is huge and the rooms on the 3rd floor have TV’s and every room has a balcony which most people party on.
- Nomads hostel is further out of town with a free bus every hour to and from town, I can’t not mention this hostel as I lived and worked there for 6 months and met some of the most amazing people there. It is no where near as convenient as other hostels in town but it’s a lot cheaper and more chilled out.
Things to do
- Waterfalls!! -Crystal cascades is the closest with moderate hiking involved.
Uncle Brian’s tours- this is a day tour of all the local waterfalls such as Babinda Boulders, Milla Milla (herbal essences advert and where Peter Andre filled mysterious girl) Josephine Falls, Devils boulder, Lake Eachum . These waterfalls are all relatively close by so me and 20 friends rented cars brought some BBQ food and split it and it came To £3 each!
- Great Barrier Reef!! This is a once in a life time opportunity so I say go big and do the most expensive tour. I did and it was amazing, 2 dives and 1 snorkel with a huge buffet breakfast and lunch!!
I wouldn’t recommend doing the helicopter tour here as I have herd it is better in Airlie beach as you get to see the heart shaped reef.
- Cape Tribulation – there are many tours here which is much further north with lots of crocodiles. It’s much more jungle with beautiful beaches which I did in a day in our own car. Note the car was a 4×4 as there are many dangerous roads and animals up there.
- Nandos! Also has a great Chinese food court which is super cheap.
- Woolshed!! The only bar it is encouraged to get on top of the tables and dance until you fall off. I lived in this club and loved every night out there! Also does great food in the day!
There are lots of companies which you can hire cars from but we found one way which required very little money. Relocation cars are a popular way to get from city to city without huge costs. You type in what city you are wanting to start from and end up and they find cars/camper vans which need to be driven back to that city. For example we were in Brisbane and needed to get to Melbourne so we applied to this website –>Transfer Car and within a few days they responded with a camper van which needed returned to Melbourne. It has a time limit so we had 5 days to get there so we took a detour and did the Blue Mountains on the way down and had a great road trip! I would highly recommend this method. You do have to pay a $2000 insurance bond up front which they return into your account once you have returned the car.
In order to get your second year visa you will need to do 88 days regional work on a farm. This never actually takes 3 months, it takes much longer so I would highly recommend doing your farm work as soon as you get to Australia as it took me 4 months due to a bad season or weather problems. You do not need to pay an agent to find you farm work, this is a con. You will probably need a car in order to do farm work as you will have to get there and probably to work every day.
If you’re in Cairns AVOID EZZY LIKE THE PLAGUE. She owns a shop called Adventure Cairns and Beyond and she is a con artist/Witch who scams people for cash to place them, when the doesn’t have anywhere to place you and if you try and argue with her, she will tell the whole town you threatened her and tried to burn her shop down lol told you, witch!
Good farm work is hard to find, most places pay by the bucket, so you have to work hard to earn money or other places are working hostels which place you at different farms on different days. Being paid by the hour is extremely hard to find!! The problem with being paid by the bucket is work is not guaranteed, most days they will only ask for boys or will only have space for 3 people and it is who ever is ready first gets a days work. If you work on one farm continuously then it is 88 days ( most farms count 5 working days as 7) but if you are at a working hostel on different farms then it is 3 months pay slips you will need to provide for your second year visa. Only 1/4 people get asked for evidence when applying for a visa, I have friends that didn’t do farm work and still got a second year visa, where people on my farm where investigated and eventually given a visa. Every one is different, every country is different so don’t listen to all the rumors about more English people get investigated because we don’t.
Research your farm!!! It is worth checking out the Harvest Guide to see which fruits are in season in which areas in this link here –>Harvest Guide I did blueberries which are easy to pick but it is a known thing Banana’s are very hard and those farms tend to only hire boys as ‘Humping’ takes a lot of physical strengthen as well as spiders and rats that are dropped onto your backs. I have friends that also joined many Facebook groups and wound up at a Puppy farm! She had to look after puppies for 3 months! Loads of people post jobs/info on Facebook pages such as ‘backpacker jobs in Australia’ or the most popular ‘Australian Backpacker’.
My farm was amazing, I was paid by the bucket but I had the best time ever! I worked at Mountain Blue Farms in Tabulam with the closest town being Lismore, which is close to Byron Bay, for more info on this farm click this link Mountain Blue Farm. There was 800 people on my farm and I lived at the closest hostel to the farm which was called Tabulam Backpackers. There are different jobs on this farm, they are Packing shed (Hourly rate) boxing shed (Hourly rate) Supervisor (Hourly rate) Driver (Hourly rate) and Pickers (paid by the bucket). This was by far the best place to stay at! With 100 of us living there you have an option to either stay in cabins ($156 a week), camp with power or without($70-$110). I paid slightly more to stay in a cabin with 7 other girls but I had my own bed, fridge, wardrobe and mirror! It was so good! The hostel is clean and safe, always has clean water to drink and hot water in the showers, there are 2 kitchens with one sofa room with hundreds of DVDs and cooking space where everyone hangs out. They do have wifi but it is not that great, but its nice to be off the grid. There are other hostels around but none come close to how amazing Tabulam Backpackers is! The Hostel owners Brenton and Rose care for you as if you were their own children and always help out when they can, they put on free BBQ’s and games which include everyone. The nearest town was Casino which was an hour away where you can get food shopping and wifi! This farm is not accessible without a car. We had 2 cars between 6 of us which came in very handy when one broke down. There are so many thing to do here like go for a swim in the lake, jump off cliffs, chill in the hammocks and go to some amazing Bush Duff raves. House parties in Tabulam are the best!
Farming is hard, It can be horrendous, it is hot, it is exhausting and some times you can be working your arse off but there is always an Asian who is 5 rows in front of you. You start off broke and hear stories of people saving thousands of dollars and It can kill your spirit and when everyone has a bad day it is really felt within the hostel. People see you from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, they see you at your best and worst. You can be sweating your life away, dirty and pissed off and be surrounded in a group of 10 people who are all in the same boat. These people become your family, they become your life. You notice when someones having an off day and evenings are spent talking for hours because you cant sit there on your phone. You actually get to know people through and through. It can feel like you have known these people your whole life and you wonder how you coped before without them. Friendships become stronger, relationships are put to the test and come out stronger than ever and yet you will never forget the time you spent on a farm!
What you will need for farming
- Probs a car or befriend someone that does! A lot of my friend rented a car called Spaceships which seemed reasonably priced.
- You will need Trainers, hats, long sleeved tops, sun cream and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and defiantly an iPod/spotify account you can access without internet as picking for 6 hours a day can be hell when you have no one to talk to or music to get through the day.
- You will need to have an Australian Bank Account which you will be paid into. You will need to stay in once place for atleast a week as they send you your card and info via post
- You need to make sure you have opened a ‘Superannuation’ with your bank account which is basically a pension your employer pays into. You are able to get your superannuation back once you leave the country for good and as for tax..the laws have changed so its pretty messed up.. I think you don’t get this back now.. but I could be wrong!
- Tax File Number
- Your Visa Number
- First Aid Kit, I got bit by spiders, ants, mossies and cut my foot on a rock in the lake. Trust me you will need one!
I can not emphasis this enough PLEASE SIGN UP TO MEDICARE!! I had 3 surgeries and one dislocated knee and I did not pay a penny! Their health care is so good and it is free for us Brits to use it so please please please register for it as it could save you hundreds of dollars if anything happens to you. Before one of my ops a German boy had been admitted to A&E after getting a Pool Que in the eye and he tried to leave after a long wait and he was billed around $800 for just being admitted. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON!
To be eligible for Medicare you must:
- be ordinarily resident in any part of the territory of the United Kingdom immediately before arriving in Australia
Documents you need to enrol in Medicare
British citizens need to provide 1 of the following:
- a current British passport – includes those issued in Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
- a Northern Ireland passport
If there is evidence you weren’t a UK resident before arriving in Australia, you must also provide 2 or more documents to confirm your residency in the UK.
Non-British citizens need to provide a current non-British passport and 1 of the following:
- a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with the initials UK
- a National Health Insurance Medical card if you’re from Great Britain or the Isle of Man
- a Health Service Medical card – Northern Ireland
- a certificate issued by Social Security Committee of the States of Jersey
- Proof of Insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority or other proof of residence in the Bailiwick of Guernsey,
- 2 residency documents
Eligible visitors from the United Kingdom, including Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland can access:
- Medicare benefits for medically necessary out of hospital treatment
- medically necessary treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
- prescription medicine available under the PBS – at the general rate
Period of cover
You’re entitled to Medicare from the day you arrive in Australia to the day your visa expires.
If you’re in Australia on a student visa, you’re eligible to enrol in Medicare.
Everything Medicare related can be found here.