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I'm thinking about traveling to Australia.

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific I'm thinking about traveling to Australia.

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1. Posted by MattH1604 (Budding Member 9 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hello, my names matt. Im 22 and im from south east England.

I'm thinking about travelling to Australia for a year. Working and travelling.

I want to travel around Australia as much as I can. While working. Im just wondering if anyone can tell me how do I go about it? And get a plan?
I was also wondering if anyone can tell me things I would need and want to take. That will help me etc etc

Also how much money would be best to save up to tie me over while I try to get jobs and that.

I want to travel fairly bad, but if im honest I have no one to do it with. And abit scared about going on my own
Is there anyone else thinking about going to Australia?

If people could get back to me that would be great! Look forward to chatting to you. Matt.

2. Posted by adpmr22 (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi Matt,

I am traveling to Australia next month to work and travel. I have joined with a company called Real Gap, they set everything up for you like bank accounts and accommodation and also help you find jobs. You will need about £3500 to enter the country with plus about £800 for flight & about £200 for visa.

I am also going alone and Real Gap send you emails of other people going with them around the same time as you so you can get in touch with them before if you wish.
It is recommended that you take a large rucksack as it is easy for traveling around.

Message me if you need any more details.


3. Posted by MattH1604 (Budding Member 9 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

How long does it take to get your visa? And is that a one way flight or open return?

Also is going with a company better?

And I would like to possibly meet others and do the camper van experience

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5087 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting MattH1604

How long does it take to get your visa?

A couple of hours via the official site (see more extensive answer here)

Also is going with a company better?

Depends on what you call "better". It offers a lot of handholding for people who feel they need it. But personally I feel that these kind of companies try to make it all seem a lot scarier and more difficult than things really are. I did everything by myself, without any prior experience, and found it superbly easy. Stuff like setting up a bank account and meeting people is pretty effortless. (And if you need help anyway, people here on the forum are very happy to provide it, plus the same goes for the friendly people at reception at your local hostel after you've arrived in Australia.) I also found it gave me quite a boost of confidence to successfully take care of everything myself while there, which then helped me go further out of my comfort zone while travelling around.

5. Posted by AmericanCrow (Budding Member 17 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I have to agree with Sander. There are tons of companies out there that set everything up for you, from your visa, to your tax ID #, your hostel booking and group flights with other working holiday folks to even providing you with a SIM card, landing you a job and snail mail collection, scanning it in for you so you can read your snail mail anywhere in the country during your tenure in Australia. Personally, I think this takes away from the experience, plus can get pretty pricey. Getting your visa is actually exceptionally easy. Just a matter of filling out some forms and putting down a hunk of change. I got mine back in less than 24 hours. Don't get me wrong, I leave in exactly three weeks today and no matter how prepared I may be, or ill prepared, I'm still going to freak out about jumping in to the wild blue, but part of the reason I'm going on such a lengthy trip, is to prove my self reliance. So we'll see! Much luck to you!

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by MattH1604 (Budding Member 9 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys this is part of the reason I want to do itm to boost my confidence and prove that I can do it. As I've never done anything as big as this before. To be honest im scared and I havent a clue what im doing or what I have to do before I go.

I don't know what I need to apply for
Or sort out?

Is there anychance you could possibly tell me what I need to apply for and book?

Thanks matt

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5087 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting MattH1604

I don't know what I need to apply for
Or sort out?

Is there anychance you could possibly tell me what I need to apply for and book?

  • A WHV. (Careful reading of an older version of that page, including following all its links, is basically how I learned everything I know about this subject; though the current incarnation is a lot less useful/thorough than it once was.)
  • A plane ticket (one way works; technically you need to show proof of funds for a flight out of the country, in addition to proof of funds for the WHV eligibility, but this is never checked up on).
  • "Backpacker" (long term) travel insurance. (You'll be covered for basic healthcare through a reciprocal "medicare" agreement, but additional health insurance is strongly recommended. I don't know about medicare details, since it's from after my time, so you'll have to research how to enroll into that yourself (almost certainly only possible after you've arrived)).
  • A Tax File Number (TFN) (which you can only apply for once you've arrived in Australia) - not strictly necessary to be allowed to work, but if you don't have one, taxes will be withheld from your income at the very highest rate.
  • A bank account (any of the four big banks will do; walk in with your passport and AUD $50 for an initial deposit in the first few weeks after arriving, fill out some forms, tell them not to send you bank statements, give them your hostel's address to have the debit card sent to).

That's it. A rough itinerary to fall back upon when you just want to get out of a place and don't want to research anything in detail is useful. A backpack is useful. A phone / Australian sim is useful. A membership at a hosteling organization is useful. Pick between YHA (generally cleaner / quieter / more diverse hostels) and VIP (more party-oriented). Their discounts are indistinguishable from each other (most big transport organizations in Australia just ask for "a backpacker card" to give you a discount), so it really comes down to which hostels you prefer. You can become a member when there, no need to do so beforehand.
For transport, I'd say figure it out ad hoc. If you want to plan beforehand, options are Greyhound (which has various types of passes for certain routes or number of kilometers which can work out cheaper if you plan carefully), many more regional bus companies which tend to be cheaper than greyhound for individual stretches (Firefly is one I used frequently around Melbourne), or if you want to do a tour bus, there's the Oz Experience, but that limits you a lot with regards to route, and tends to work out quite a bit more expensive. Trains aren't a serious option for most stretches, although they can be nice between Melbourne and Sydney, or if you want to do it just for the experience. (Flying frequently works out cheaper, though.) Many people also opt to buy a used car. Lots of information out there on what all that entails with registration and insurance - just search.

Come tax time (the Australian tax year lasts until the end of June), you'll want to see if you can self declare as an Australian resident for tax purposes (stay at a regular apartment for a couple of months; go to the gym or the movies while there), which means you will get back a big chunk of money. Pretty easy process to claim that; no need to go through any "tax back" companies (those thrive on regular backpackers not knowing about this concept).

Also see the Australia and Backpacking (Australia) travel guide articles.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jan-2014, at 12:36 by Sander ]

9. Posted by AmericanCrow (Budding Member 17 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

One tip to add to Sander's, Commonwealth Bank and NAB both allow you to apply for a bank account before leaving your home country. I haven't done it yet, but plan to. You just designate a branch in which to pick up your bank card at and voila. I'm sure there's more to it but the option is available. I fly in to Sydney, but do I plan to stay there? I don't know. Here in the states, depending on the bank, those cards can take up to 10 days, and that's 10 business days. I've also heard about people applying for their ITN and designating their hostel as their permanent address before they arrive. If those big working holiday companies can do it, I don't see why we can't apply early. Easier I'm thinking than waiting for it to come in.
I appreciate your help myself Sander, I fly out in less than three weeks and am hitting that time crunch to get ready. I feel there's so much to do and so little time and even though I've spent the last six months trying to read up and do what I need, I still feel woefully unprepared, even though there are things I can't really do much about until I arrive. You make it sound really simple and easy, lol. I had a hard time finding info from those who had gone before me as I'm American, and well, we're dumb and don't take up the travel opportunities that are in front of us, no one talks about them, we don't even hardly know they exist! As well as our reciprocal programs aren't as great as countries within the Commonwealth, so the rules are different. So a lot of the personal accounts can't really apply to me. I'd be out in a field picking stonefruit from day one if I thought I could get another year in Australia. As a Canadian pal once said to me "that's what happens when you pick revolutionary fights" lol. I think my biggest concern is finding employment. And hoping I'm lucky enough it's employment I'll enjoy as well.

10. Posted by jessicahs (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi Matt,

I'm an Australian exchange student and I've just arrived in the UK - slightly different circumstances but I can understand how you feel about adventuring alone!

I don't know much about visas etc, but here a few of my tips once you arrive - Australia is quite expensive so you will need quite a bit of money - but i don't know how much :/ (Public transport is fairly pricey - see if you can get a GOcard. Cheapest place to buy groceries would be ALDI).
I found my first job on a website called SEEK. I'm not sure how useful it would be for you though.

That's not very helpful, but feel free to ask me any questions about life in Australia :)