Backpacker's Guide: How To Move To Australia

Backpacker's Guide: How To Move To Australia

19 February 2020

By Reis Armstrong

While living in Australia for the past year, I’m always plagued with questions about how to move here. So I’ve decided to make it easy for all the hopeful travellers out there and lay the instructions out on the table. First things first, it’ll take money. Not exactly an arm and leg, but a few months’ worth of saving up at your current job (unless you have the kind of parents that’ll just give you a few thousand - if so, I envy you). Nonetheless, while many people assume the preparation and the move is complicated, it’s actually fairly simple.

Australia offers two types of Work & Holiday Visas. Depending on which country you’re from, you’ll either be granted the 417 or the 462 visa. For both visas, the basic requirements are the same – you must have a passport for an eligible country, you must not be accompanied by dependent children, and you must be between the ages of 18-30. Don’t worry if you’re currently 30 years old though, you can still apply before your 31st birthday. Backpackers from Canada, France, and Ireland have a little more wiggle room as they have the option to apply until their 35th birthday. Most importantly, you must show proof that you have at least $5000 AUD in your bank account. If you’re able to check all of these boxes, you’re on your way to being granted an Australian WHV.

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Image thanks to @lovereisandsoul

Once your visa has been approved, there are a few things I recommend you do prior to your arrival. Decide which city you’ll want to begin your journey. Australia only has a handful of cities with international airports, so this decision won’t be that difficult. Most backpackers travel along the east coast from north to south, or vice versa, depending on their starting point. I began my journey in Melbourne, which is the best city in Australia in my opinion. Now, some people are totally fine with staying in hostels during their entire year abroad, some aren’t. For those that are, a site called Hostelworld is an excellent way to book the best hostels. For those that prefer a little more privacy and would rather share a flat, then Flatmates is the site for you.

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Image thanks to @lovereisandsoul

After I arrived and settled into my hostel, I searched for banks and cellular (mobile phone) companies in the area, knowing that I’d need an Australian bank account and cell number in order to get a job. It’s also worth noting that you can’t work for one employer for more than six months. If you plan to work as soon as you arrive, I highly recommend you search on websites such as Indeed, Seek, and Gumtree. The most popular bank used amongst us backpackers is Commonwealth, as we’re not required to put any money down to start an account. Telstra and Vodaphone are the most-used cellular providers for those of us looking for short-term contracts, so check those out.

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Image thanks to @lovereisandsoul

Now let’s say you’re granted the 1-year visa, but once you arrive and actually get to experience the Australian lifestyle, you decide you want to stay for another year. You can apply for a 2nd year WHV, but you’re gonna have to work for it within your first year. Backpackers with the 417 visa only have the option to do 3-months of farm work, while those of you carrying the 462 visa have the option to do farm work, tourism, or hospitality – but only in certain regions, usually rural.

Once you get all these things sorted, you’ll be ready to officially begin your Australian adventure. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Moving to a foreign country isn’t much different than moving to another city or state within your native country – you just have to be prepared.

About the author:

Hi, I'm Reis! Some people call me The Hostel Healer! I’m a social media influencer and travel vlogger who focuses on travel tips, hostel reviews, and spirituality. I backpack around the world full time promoting the best hostels & inspiring others to live a minimalist lifestyle while opening their minds to the spirit world.