Tips for making the most of your working holiday in Australia
Australia's working holiday program makes it possible for visitors aged between 18 and 30 to stay for longer and earn money through short-term employment. You could stay for just a few months or right up to a year. Whether you’re young and travelling because you’re footloose and fancy-free, or a bit older and just want to shake up your routine a bit, a working holiday visa in Australia is always a good idea.
Making the leap to living and working in a foreign country is an exciting but scary prospect. To make things seem a bit less daunting for you, we've put together our top tips for anyone visiting Australia on a working holiday visa.
USE THE RIGHT RESOURCES
Make sure you're getting correct and up to date information on working holidays in Australia by using the right resources.
- For more information on the working holiday visa and how to apply, make sure you check out Australia.com. This is a great place to find out more about working holidays, and also all the great reasons to visit Australia!
- The Australia Government Department of Home Affairs is the office that issues working holiday visas. You can find all the information you need on the application process on this website.
- The Australia Taxation Office is your go-to for applying for a tax file number - essential if you want to get paid.
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION
Australia is a very big country, which means each state varies widely. Do your research and know what to expect from each location throughout the year. If you're planning on getting a seasonal job, such as fruit picking, you'll need to be conscious of the time of year. For example, between June and September, you can work in a vineyard pruning vines, while from January to April you can help to harvest the grapes.
The weather can also change drastically from month to month, so make sure you know when the wet season is in the tropical north, and just how cold winters can get in the south. Myth broken, Australia does in fact get cold!
- Read our guide on Australia's weather and the best time to visit each location.
- The harvest trail guide is a good place to start learning about what seasonal jobs you can do when.
FIND A JOB
While living and working in Australia, you can have fun by taking on a job with far fewer responsibilities than you had at home, or work on your career by tackling a job with a whole lot MORE responsibilities. This is a great chance to explore different career paths or boost your CV with practical international experience.
To do all that, though, first you need to find a job.
- Use websites such as Seek, Gumtree, and Backpacker Job Board to look for jobs online. Some employers won't be interested in hiring you if you're on a working holiday visa, as you'll only be staying for a limited time. However, you can still find hospitality and office administration jobs through these websites.
- Check the notice boards at your hostel to see if any opportunities have been posted there. This is a great way to find casual work. Agriculture is the industry that employs the most backpackers, so you'll find lots of jobs picking fruit or packing fish.
- Backpacker groups on Facebook often share tips on finding jobs.
One thing to note: If you're planning on working as a bartender, you'll need to get a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate first. You can easily get one online, but make sure it's for the right state as each state has a different certificate!
MAKE SURE YOU'RE GETTING PAID ENOUGH
Earning money while you travel Australia is also perfect if you don’t have a gigantic budget. Australia is an expensive country to travel. Even shoestring backpackers can burn through a few thousand dollars pretty quickly.
Luckily, if you're on a working holiday visa, you can make a decent amount of money even doing the simplest jobs.
The minimum wage in Australia is $19.49. Casual employees can get an extra 25% loading onto their wages, on top of the minimum.
There are some horror stories of employers in Australia taking advantage of visitors on working holiday visas and paying very little but expecting long days and sometimes physically challenging work. Make sure you know your rights and refuse to accept job offers with wages below the minimum.
Ask your employer to give you your rate of pay in writing and if you are working in the agriculture industry, clarify if you will be paid hourly or on a 'piece rate' basis (for example, per kilogram of fruit picked). Do your research and ask around before committing to an employer. Be suspicious of anyone approaching you in local airports or bus stations, or asking you to pay money to secure a job.
- The Fair Work Ombudsman website is a helpful resource for making sure you are being paid enough.
Choosing to go on a working holiday in Australia means you’ll have more time to explore – and you’ll need plenty (have you seen the size of Australia?!). With a home base, you'll be able to spend more time exploring the great big island continent. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, there are countless things to see and do in Australia. This is one of the best adventure destinations in the world. You can surf, snorkel, skydive, ski, and pretty much every other activity you can think of.
Travelling this giant island is the number one way to make the most of your working holiday experience. Say yes to every opportunity, take advantage of all the public holidays to get away when you can and never lose your sense of adventure or childlike curiosity.
While living in Australia, it's almost compulsory to go on a road trip. The most popular form of transport on an odyssey across the nation is a campervan. Driving around Australia in a campervan is a rite of passage for anyone on a working holiday visa, as it's the best way to experience the sights and sounds of the country and get a taste of the famous #vanlife.
Before setting off on your great Australia road trip, make sure you're familiar with safety, costs, and what it's like to travel in a campervan. Here's our basic toolkit for first-time road trippers in Australia:
- Driving in Australia for tourists.
- How to travel around Australia on a budget.
- Travelling Australia in a campervan.
Make sure you tick off at least a couple of the most iconic road trips in Australia:
- Head into the great red centre of the country and travel from Adelaide to Alice Springs and Uluru.
- Discover the Great Ocean Road.
- Travel the east coast of Australia from Cairns to Brisbane.
- Explore tropical north Queensland with a road trip from Cairns to Cape Tribulation.
- Drive from Melbourne to Sydney.
JUCY is the car and campervan rental company of choice for backpackers on working holiday visas. As well as a wide range of versatile campervans, we're fun and friendly, and know how to make sure you have the best time during your stay in Australia!