Guide to an Australia Working Holiday Visa

Thinking of heading down under?
Want to spend 12 months 'finding yourself' in the outback?
Or learning to surf on some of the most popular beaches in the world?
Look no further! 
I will outline all you need to know and how to get you there.

One of the easiest ways to travel for an extended period around Australia is by applying for an 'Australian Working Holiday Visa' or WHV.
Once approved, this gives you 12 months to work, travel and play around Oz! 
You could find yourselves doing a range of jobs from farm work, bar, restaurant, hospitality, office work or even at your own hostel to pay for your bed. 
Whatever pays the rent & money towards your travels!

12 months not enough?
Then you can partake in 3 months / 88 days farm & agricultural work which lets you apply for a 2nd year visa. 
You don't have to take this 2nd year straight away, go travelling, go home, chill, knowing you already have a whole year waiting for you to go back to Oz for more adventures. 
There are some issues with this farm work, because often travellers can be taken advantage of. Farmers know you need the work to get your 2nd visa, so can sometimes offer poor wage or horrendous working hours. 
Make sure you do your research and get a fair deal before committing to a job you're going to hate for 3 months.
You can read first hand what farming is like from my friend Chrissi's experience here ...

I think if you're the type of person who's not open to throwing themselves into any work you're probably going to struggle. 
If you only want to work in a certain field in the most popular cities, its possible but don't expect to find that dream job straight away. 

How & Where to Apply
When applying for your visa, there are loads of travel companies who offer these 'amazing packages' that help you with your visa - at a cost. 
Don't bother
Unless you're stupid (no offence) and can't fill a form in about yourself, then yes, happily pay them money to help you. 
But its not worth it, that money could go towards endless activities, or even a place to sleep for a week! 
Go straight to the Australia government website where you can fill the form yourself (put aside 30 minutes) and will cost you roughly £249.
It asks for your details, passport details, health, work, funds, etc 
Once completed you just await a call to confirm or decline your visa.
I did my visa through Visa Bureau because I wanted all the perks that they had on offer;
8 nights free accommodation at certain hostels through Oz, discount on day trips, food places, adventure experiences etc & loads of free info on setting up banks, sim cards, taxi file etc. 
I did mine in about 15 minutes and took less than 24 hours for the call to come through saying I had been accepted. 
Please note the terms say that you need to have at least $1000 (aus) for a return fare home, and $5000 in funds to start you off on your travels. 
I've read that its very uncommon that they check, but tbh that's probably an ideal minimum to have saved anyway, especially if you don't plan to start working for a while.
My visa cost £349 through Visa Bureau & once your visa has been approved you have 12 months to enter Australia and your visa will begin as soon as you arrive. 

Depending where you're flying from / flying to, Australia can be very expensive, so try to book as early as possible to save yourself some money. Otherwise the cheapest months to fly to Oz are April, May, June & November so book your flights for those times to cut down costs if you're on a budget. 
Don't buy the first ticket you find, spend some time making notes of prices on different sites. 
I would recommend looking on STA Travels website who offer discount for students & under 26 year olds - or even better ring them up as they offer even cheaper prices over the phone.
I found a flight from Manchester to Perth (with stop in Doha) for £310 for March 2016 through STA Travel.

Single or Return fare?
Up to you!
If you don't plan to go travelling after your 12 months and want to head straight home / cheaper to buy a return, go ahead - but if you're unsure of your plans after Oz and maybe could be persuaded by the delights of New Zealand, Indonesia & SE Asia then maybe a single fare is for you!

Where to Start?
In order to book your flights you need to know where you want to start!?
Australia is a big-ass country!
Spend some time doing some research about what you want to see or do and where will be best for you to start. 
The most popular place I've found people start in is Melbourne in Victoria and travel up the East coast and end in Cairns, or vice versa. 
However if you plan to visit the Northern Territory & Western Australia maybe spend some time planning where would be easier to start. 
I think its very unrealistic to try to make a route for 12 months.
You never know what might happen during your travels, you may fall in love with a job and stay longer than planned, or have to move on sooner than anticipated because you can't find work. 
But a brief outline of places you know you want to visit is a good idea! 
Here is a great travellers map outlining loads of popular tourist spots & activities around Oz!
Also consider the time of year, do you want to see certain things that only occur specific times of the year, and maybe work your plan around them?

Ive decided to start in Perth in Western Australia and work my way clockwise (with a cheeky trip down the middle & back up to Alice Springs & Uluru after I'm done in Darwin)

Starter Packages
Like the visas, companies offer packages for when you arrive in Australia to help you find work / meet new people / get you settled in.
STA Travel offer ones that include your first weeks accommodation, help with setting up bank, tax, sim card, job databases, planned day trips, nights out. 
They currently have 15% Oz packages until the 15th November!
BUNAC offer similar packages, and also a group flight option where you can travel on specific dates each month with other people going to Oz, with a 3 day stop over in Hong Kong. 
It sounds great, but depending on your budget you're looking at adding an extra £1000. 

Get travel insurance. End of.
It isn't one of the most exciting aspects of preparing for a trip but its one of the most important.
If you don't, chances are you'll be attacked by a Great White Shark and have no way to pay for the hospital treatments. 
If you do, you don't have to worry about such things happening because you're covered. 

Solo Travel
Going solo?
Want to meet people to travel with or meet up with when you arrive?
I've found a few great websites & Apps that let you share your trip plans and you can search for people doing similar trips and arrange to meet up. 
This takes the edge off, and makes it less daunting if you know a few friendly travellers who you can meet up with in Oz. (App too)
Outbound App
If this fails, you're bound to meet plenty of backpackers & travellers during your stay at work, hostels, night outs so there will be endless opportunities to meet new people & make friends. 

Save Save Save
Lastly & most importantly the sad truth is, you need money to travel.
Make sure when saving for a big trip like this that you take into account everything you'll need to pay for before you leave; visa, flights, insurance, any starter / working packages.
 & then you need money to live on.
Do you intend to travel for a while before starting work, you'll need money for that.
Accommodation, food, transport, souvs (my downfall), activties - it all adds up.
Make sure you go with enough money to get you started so you're not having to come home after 1 month because you spent all your money on souvenirs in Sydney.
Try and make a weekly / monthly budget leading up to the trip and make sure you keep putting that money aside.
I set up a standing order from one bank account to a savings account each week so that I don't touch any money that'll go towards Oz.
Budgets will be different for each individual; you might be someone who likes to rough it up in a cheap hostel, buy food in bulk from the supermarket and cook all your meals, and do all the free activties and sights in cities ... OR you could be someone who only likes hotels, likes to eat out, do all the expensive tourist (costly) activties & buys copious amounts of souvenirs (guiltyyyy) OR you could be somewhere inbetween; whichever you are you need to take into account what you like doing and how much you'll need to save to start you off.
A great way to save on accommodation is AirBnB & Couchsurfing!
Or I use to compare the best hostel prices in cities!

Are you heading to Australia?
I'd love to hear whats helped you plan and save for your trip!
& don't forget to check out my
'Ultimate Australian Bucket List'
 for ideas of things you can do on your travels.

♡ G

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