Me and my boyfriend are currently planning our RTW trip leaving in October of this year. We will be visiting both Austrailia and New Zealand around the midway point (UK -> Russia -> SE Asia -> Australasia -> South America-> Home) and were considering getting working holiday visas to prolong our trip... However as we will still have another huge leg of our trip to pay for in South America, we want to be sure that it's going to be worthwhile having them, as we can't afford to linger too long looking for work.
We've decided that if we pay for a Austrailian WHV, we would prefer to get work within our respective careers (architecture & web development) - even though it would only be temporary - as it fills in a gap on the CV and would pay reasonably well in order to cover the costs of living in Austrailia for a while. However we've no idea whether this would be possible on a working holiday visa, and we don't really want to have to spend all of our time there looking for work in order to justify the cost of said visa...
On the other hand, the New Zealand WHV is cheaper, and we were planning to stay in New Zealand longer anyway (probably 2 months instead of 1) so I think the search for work would feel less pressured, plus we would be more open to the option of just getting casual work (fruit picking or similar) in New Zealand as our overhead costs will be lower (camping!) there will be less stress if we lengthen the stay...
So my questions are really this - how easy/quick is it to find work in each of these countries? (particularly in summer as we know that this is a very popular choice for travellers!) And as part of a bigger RTW trip, (carefully designed so that the longer periods of time are spent in cheaper countries) could searching for work become a massive drain on our resources rather than a benefit?
The crux of the matter is, although it would be really nice to drag out our trip for up to another year if we could, we could equally happily just go as tourists for a few weeks and not worry about it. Is it an opportunity not to be missed though? (turning 30 next year!) Thoughts? Comments?
[ Edit: Edited on 01-May-2011, at 05:21 by Rhicreate ]
I don't know about architecture (are there generally lots of short term projects in architecture?), but I found it relatively easy to find web development work in both Australia and New Zealand back when I was there (admittedly six years ago by now), where in Australia things were really slow in November/December (leading up to christmas), and then taking off like mad in January. Back then I found all my projects by posting my CV on the Australian INfront forums, which is where all small design agencies and creative types in Australia (used to) hang out; that particular functionality seems to have disappeared from the site, but they now have a dedicated jobs section, which might still be the place to be. The people who hired me tended to give me the benefit of the doubt due to having travelled in their time as well, although I'm sure that listing my Master's degree helped a lot as well. Generally these projects were freelance; and all you need in Australia to work as a freelancer is get yourself an ABN and write "tax invoice" above your invoices (assuming you're not there long enough to earn enough to start having to charge VAT). I earned a relative pittance compared to rates in Europe, but was still doing quite a few times better than you'd do with fruit picking. Working in IT is one of the few fields in which it's generally doable to really save up money while travelling, rather than just stretching your money as most backpacker jobs do.
In New Zealand I just worked as a regular employee at a place for three months, in a position I found within two weeks on one of the big job search engines; as it was a singular experience, I don't know how much luck was involved. In general I can recommend New Zealand over Australia as a country to spend a lot of time at, though, and spending two years travelling rather than one is definitely better, so I'd say: go for both.
Good to hear from a fellow web dev that the work's out there, i thought freelance would probably be the best way to go, as then there is always the possibility that I can mix it up with some work from home (prob just simple updating if I can get it). Advice re: the ABN is very useful and I will do some searching for those/similar sites. I don't have a Masters but I do have over 5 years professional experience, so that should be worth something I hope!
On the architecture front, the bf knows a few people who've managed to go out to Oz and get architecture work but they've mostly emigrated, or gone for a long term position. Possibly there would be some freelance work available helping out with drawings and 3D models, but we're not really sure how often it would come up. Having looked closer at the various visa's available though, it seems unlikely that they're going to want anyone on a WHV as architectural projects are very long term, WHV employment terms are not.
Hence current popular thinking is that we will probably go for the NZ working holiday visa up front, as we are going in the height of fruit picking season, and some time working not in an office would actually be really nice! Plus, there's always the possibilty of heading back to Australia from there if something semi-permanent did come up... We might not manage a full extra year that way, but even a few months would be nice, and/or a trip to Fiji, which we can't fit to our budget at the moment, but with a bit of spare cash floating around it might become possible...!
[ Edit: Edited on 05-May-2011, at 15:06 by Rhicreate ]