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NEW USER- Australia Help!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific NEW USER- Australia Help!

1. Posted by Brentski (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hey y'all Im a newbie around these parts, used to go on thorntree and bootsnall and whatnot many moons ago but have been inactive for a long time due to working a lot (officially done my "real" job as of today!). anyways i have some questions that i was hoping some people might be able to help me out with.

im a canadian who is doing your typcial backpacking/working australia thing. i am leaving on november 15 and have already secured my working holiday visa. i have taken care of most of my affairs at home (car goes back off lease next week, cancelling insurance, cancelling phone plan, PAID OFF STUDENT LOAN!!!, qutting both my jobs, etc.).

1) what is the best bank to set up an account with in australia?
2) where/how do i apply for a tax file number once there without an address?
3) does anyone in canada or abroad for that matter know of a good company for travel insurance?
4) if i am bringing a phone with a SIM card where/what are my best options for pay-as-you-go?
5) once arriving in sydney, where would be my best option as far as electronic stores of buying a decently priced netbook? i need a computer and dont like my bulky labtop here. want to travel light.
6) i will be staying in sydney for my first week or so and then looking for probably seasonal/farm work (im also a licensed carpenter here) from there. can anyone reccomend places to travel to from sydney once i decide to hit the road?
7) going for a physical next week, any doctor shots anyone would reccomend?

lastly, if anyone can think of anything i need to take care of before i leave, i would appreciate it. im pretty much just going with my visa, my pack of supplies, etc, and just gonna transfer my monies once i get over there from my canadian back account.

any help is greatly appreciated, ive never done anything like this before. thanks, Brent

2. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Brent, I'm not going to be much help for Q 1-3 but we'll see how I got
1. I've seen a few people recommend a Commonwealth Bank account
2. Check on the tax office web site you might be able to find info there
3. No idea, sorry
4. I'd pick up a pre-paid sim card once you're here, there are several providers like telstra, optus, vodafone and 3. You can check their websites to see which suits you best.
5. Depends what time of year you arrive, if you get here for post christmas sales one of the big chains like JB Hifi, Harvey Norman or Myer might have a good sale on.
6. Again, depends what time of year you're coming, if it's after april I'd head north to get some warmth, otherwise work should be available in Sydney.
7. Just the usual, whatever that is...

3. Posted by ozulrike (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Brent, just a few additions to Tim's advice. Check with your Canadian bank if they work together with a bank in Australia. My German bank has one with Westpac and that way I can get money from any Westpac ATM without paying fees and money transfer is quite fast. Regarding travel insurance, not sure what they usually cover, but you might wanna check your health insurance if they cover anything while away for a year.

4. Posted by oldie (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Brent,
I would recommend Suncorp for all your banking needs. Would also get a swine flu shot. We are going to Europe next week and had one a few days ago......better be safe than sorry!!;)

5. Posted by DownunderJ (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hey Brent

I have answered your questions below....I too live in Canada (Calgary). I travel to and from Australia about 3 times per year, I am an expatriot Aussie. I help people like yourself all day as that is what I do for a living and have done for the last 20 years. Hope the information below is of assistance to you. Have a great time down there....I know you will love it!!!

1. Bank - Best to just go with a bank that is national brand as you may end up in any state and the big national banks are the ones that will allow you seamless banking...smaller banks will not be too helpful when you are out of the particular state the bank belongs to....I would recommend (in no particular order) National Bank of Australia/Commonwealth Bank or ANZ Bank. All 3 have a strong presence throughout Australia. If you are planning on using your Canadian Debit Card in Australia, make certain your PIN is no more than 4 digits.....more than 4 digit PINS do not work in Australia or New Zealand.

2. You can get your Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) there is one in every city. I recommend that you do this right away before you get a job.

3. Travel Insurance Coordinators (TIC) are (in my opinion) the best travel insurance company in the business when it comes to covering young people....they cover just about all the crazy things you will be doing while downunder. Check out there web site....they have a listing on their site where you can find a retailer who sells their policies. It is also one of the most economical policies on the market.

4. Buy a throw away phone and just use the SIM card from it in your personal phone. Roaming with your own Canadian SIM will be extemely expensive.

5. Don't know the answer to this one....but I do know that electronics such as lap tops / note books are usually cheaper in Canada than they are in Australia.

6. Don't know

7. Best talk to the Doctor about shots....don't take advice from anyone other than a's too important.

I hope this helps you a little.


6. Posted by Brentski (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

thanks everyone i appreciate your help and expertise if you will lol.