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    1. Explore exotic and beautiful places, meet new and interesting people, whilst experiencing & adapting to the laid back lifestyle. Australia's vibrant cities, tranquil beaches and its sheer variety makes it one of the most desirable backpacker destinations; it can provide much needed homely comforts, yet also indulge a world of change. I'm currently backpacking around Australia for the second time. Three months in 2016 left me with a real thirst to return, to revisit Fraser Island, Rottnest Island and the Great Barrier Reef, whilst getting off the beaten path to see so much more! To see and enjoy such a vast country, you will need money and you will need time, and so, for those considering visiting Australia for an extended period of time, many opt for the 417 working holiday visa. This allows backpackers to enjoy a balanced life of work and play, and although it may be a little daunting moving to a new city, arranging yourself work and finding a place to stay, rest assured, if you know where to look, it's a stress free process! I'd suggest that once you've booked your flight and had your visa granted, before stepping foot in the country- set up a bank account and apply for a tax code. Both are simple and take very little time. Being prepared in advance will allow you access to the Australian dollar from the very outset, this means you'll avoid nasty conversion rates and international card fees. To get almost any job you'll need a tax file number, which again will allow you to job hunt early on into your adventure, if needs be. When I first arrived in Australia, I was equipped with a bank account, a tax file number, and after grabbing a famous Melbourne coffee, in attempt to shake my jet lag I set out to get myself an Australian mobile number- doing so will help you secure a job. Melbourne was such a culture rich city, with amazing food, great shopping and wonderful sightseeing. Naturally, straight off the plane, and in a new place I over indulged. We stayed in great 'above average' hostels and air bnb's (pictures included). After living a carefree life the realization soon hit, we would have to find work quicker than we'd first anticipated. Landing in August meant we arrived in a dreary Melbourne, so it was decided to embark on a week long road trip to Uluru, enjoy the sun, and get a taste for a warmer climate! After chasing some much needed sun, we ventured onto Sydney, and here I would settle for the next six months. To begin with I stayed in a real mix of hostels. Some high end, pricier. Others, basic with hardly any amenities. Surprisingly, the smaller, more basic and often less maintained places offered more help in the way of work. Many hostels offer a clean or work reception for free board. Notably this is more common in smaller businesses as they cannot afford to call in extra paid staff. For those looking to save money whilst looking for more regular, structured work, this can be a real blessing. Again it may have been pot luck but the smaller hostels tended to have more extensive job boards which were regularly updated, helping even the most temporary of visitors secure a job. Applying for work in a bustling city such as Sydney, really is simple, and on multiple occasions I've had to choose between jobs. There are so many great websites that have no fees, are easy to navigate and will list hundreds of jobs in your surrounding areas; notably Gumtree, SEEK and Indeed. Sifting through the websites in one afternoon, I found myself with four interviews lined up and two trial shifts. With this in mind, it should be noted I arrived in Sydney before peak season. Yet even now, strolling down streets many shops, restaurants and other establishments post vacancies in Windows. Printing resumes is usually free at hostels, and only twenty cents a sheet at the library. Walking in personally, also shows you to be a confident individual, with a sense of initiative, separating yourself from a sea of other backpackers. Another thing to consider is that here in Australia many different industries require a card, license, ticket or qualification for you to partake in work and be legally employable. For example many European backpackers who at home may serve alcohol once over the age of eighteen do not consider looking into a license for working in hospitality. However an RSA card is mandatory in clubs, bars, most restaurants and even some cafes. This licence can differ from state to state and so gaining the qualification in New South Wales does not allow you to serve in Queensland. Once securing a job and owning all the required or relevant paperwork and qualifications you will be pleasantly surprised at the high rate of pay in Australia. Another positive is that the majority of jobs tend to pay weekly or fortnightly, so you have access to funds quickly which some may find preferable if they want to travel sooner rather than later. Although this wage is pleasant you should be aware that as Australia can be a massive tourist hotspot that over peak season prices for tours, excursions and accommodation skyrocket. For a first time Aussie traveler I'd suggest shopping around when looking at activities, tours & excursions. Although many of the tours on offer do hold an attractive price, with a little pre-planning you can save big bucks whilst creating a more personal trip or day out. For example, many do not realise Sunday travel in Sydney offers huge discounts and you are able to visit the blue mountains for a mere $2.50! To summarize, Australia is a place where work is abundant in many different sectors. Those who are willing to prepare themselves and look will happily secure a job where they can save to see incredible places and do enriching things.
    2. My girlfriend and I both came to Australia with the same idea, see as much of it as our budget allowed!! The best way to see the real heartland of Australia, not just the cities, is to buy a car, van or SUV; construct a bed in the back of it or buy tents; and plan your route! Whether it be a beach to beach journey up the east coast, the scenic Great Ocean Road, outback trip through the Northern Territory or a drive into the real wilderness on the west coast, everyone agrees road tripping is the most rewarding way to see Oz. In our case we went for a 4x4 in a loop up the east coast and back down the red centre. But for buying a car in Oz you must be aware of registration (‘rego’), it’s different for every state but we had an NSW one as this includes some insurance if you are in a crash or anything (touch wood you’re not). It’s best to make sure that the car you buy has a few months of rego on it from the previous owner as it can be very expensive to completely register a car without it. One of the most helpful additions we made to the car was roof storage as beforehand we would store a lot of things on our bed while we drove and then would have removed them all when we needed to sleep! And doing this in the dark, after 8 hours of driving this could be infuriating! Also bulldog clips on bed sheets make a really cheap solution for curtains as you can insert the handle between the roof cladding and the inner plastic door moulds! If, like us, you see yourself as being way more of the adventurous type then driving up or down the red centre is definitely for you. This is a great way of seeing landscapes, people and weather that you would never find in the UK. Must see destinations along the way are: Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Coober Pedy and many more places are absolutely breathtaking and worth the visit! Our personal favourite would be Kings Canyon for its mars like landscapes, and accessibility - you can walk all over the ridges, signs are only there to guide you. A negative of some of these isolated attractions is that accommodation can be really expensive, a hotel room in uluru can start at around $500 a night! So camping is the only option unless you’re loaded. A tip for Uluru is that although there is a campsite at the Yulara resort, it is really expensive and crowded. Instead, rough it up and use the free camp about 3 kilometres before it, you can camp on the sand dunes and have an epic view of Uluru and the Olgas! Also making backpacker friends in these places can be challenging because most people are too busy trying to sort everything out before the night comes which makes cooking etc harder but also to avoid the swarms of moths! To be perfectly honest, most of our trip was spent “slumming it” in the car or camping but sometimes we treated ourselves to hostels. We’d always think that this was our chance to get a good night of sleep in a nice bed and also a chance to make friends with like minded backpackers. However after having stayed in hostels around Aus, in Cairns, Townsville, Darwin, Sydney, Brisbane etc. We actually found that most of them are too expensive, not that comfortable and most of the time people are living there full time, so don’t care for making new friends….a bit of an anti-climax to be fair. The places where we loved the hostels were in Melbourne and in Sunshine Coast, they were what we expected them all to be like. The one in Melbourne being “The Star Hostel” and the one in Sunshine Coast, “Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort” which we would highly recommend both for atmosphere and facilities! The most unique accommodation we stayed in was the Opal Cave Bunkhouse in Coober Pedy where all the dorms are underground in caves! The forum can be a godsend if you are starting to get tired of your travel buddies as you can meet others in the same situation! As especially when using free camps, most of the time you only meet ‘grey nomads’, aussie retirees that buy the biggest caravan they can with their pension and go exploring! This can be extremely rewarding and fun as you connect with proud Australians that have been to and seen everything so can give you great locations to visit! But you need to also meet others in the same situation as you because compared to backpackers, they’re living in luxury! Being asked multiple times about tv signal or whether you can empty your onboard toilet at this campsite can be depressing when all you’ve got is a phone with a Netflix series you downloaded earlier at the library carpark and some TP and a shovel for toilet! Finding work when you are travelling around can be really hard, especially when you do not know the area at all. There are loads of different ways to find jobs but using the different forum threads on pomsinoz is really helpful. Checking the vacancies threads is definitely worth it as there are loads of varied opportunities posted daily. But for people on working holiday visas there is also really helpful information about farms that people posting have worked at and can give reviews. This is vital as there are loads of horror stories of people getting underpaid, badly treated, terrible accommodation and even being scammed. This actually happened to us, we found a contractor in Waikerie, SA for orange picking through gumtree (first mistake). Where we were promised 5 weeks of 5-6 working days, but after the third week - (our second mistake, we should have left earlier) we had only worked 8 days and made not even enough to cover our food and accommodation. We managed to find a post on the vacancy forum advertising positions in another more official company! A tip for finding these in SA and VIC is to look for jobs that require a MADEC card as this means you have more protection as an employee as these farming companies are vetted by a government agency.
    3. Hi everyone, Im flying into Melbourne on my own on the 4th of Feb 2015 and getting there on the 5th. I’m now unfortunately travelling on my own because my friend who i was meeting in Australia has let me down and decided to go back to the UK. The basic outline of what i wanted to achieve while over in Australia was to see beautiful things and meet lovely people. starting in Melbourne i wanted to work my way up the east coast like most people do (possibly flying over to tasmania while I’m there for a few days), hitchhiking if possible and living cheaply, staying in hostels or sofa surfing. i want to see as much natural beauty as I possibly can. Im up for near enough anything, camping, hiking, biking, hitchhiking, possible car rentals. I’d like to be able to meet some people in Melbourne or anywhere further along the line to make friends, hopefully travel with, because its starting to sink in that I’m travelling there on my own, and its getting very daunting haha. My budget isn’t massive, so depending on how long i decide to stay (i have a years visa) i will probably just try and travel over a couple of months up the coast. i may spend a couple of weeks working, maybe fruit picking just to get a bit of the culture in me. I hope i can get into contact with a few people in a similar situation! My names Sam Oxley and I’m a 21 year old male. i would really like to get to know some people over there or who are going over there before i get there. Private message me on here. Many thanks, and i look forward to hearing from you. Sam Oxley
    4. Daniel Worgan

      Australia March 2015

      So Im heading to Australia on March 30th next year for a year! Looking to find out the best places to go to get work and also meet other people? Anyone else heading out around that time? be good to make some online connections and possibly too meet out there Daniel x
    5. So after spending almost a year in NZ we eventually hopped the pond to Australia. Taken from my blog 'Yorkshire and Beyond', here's how the first 6 months went... You know the feeling – you’ve been sat in all evening contemplating a takeaway. There’s plenty of food in the house, but something’s clicked in your mind and you won’t settle for anything less than greasy, filthy, life-shortening ‘food’, served up in a polystyrene box. You cave in to temptation and imagination, everything starts well but you remain seated a few hours later filled with guilt and self-loathing. Fortunately, my arrival into Australia was nothing like this. It was great. We turned up with about $2,500 (about £1,300) between us. In Sydney. A less than preferable start to proceedings, but we were optimistic. A hotel room and a taxi to the hotel room later (usually, a dorm room in a hostel would have sufficed but availability was still feeling the brunt of New Years’ fever) and that’s about a tenth of our money gone. Within an hour. At this rate of spending we’d have been gone quick enough to not have to worry about another night’s accommodation, at least. Obtaining a car was our sole aim, and that we did on our second day. A few calls here and there and we had ourselves a $1,300 (about 700 quid) Holden Commodore. ‘Executive’ model, I should add. It looked ****, but it was cheap and had a bed (camping mattress) and camping equipment (some dodgy cutlery in a box). That was it, just a bit of lying about where we lived and we were set! The following week or so, before we really decided to make a plan, was probably the most surreal week of my life so far. Driving up the East Coast of Australia, sleeping wherever the hell we wanted to, and generally having the most care-free of times (in between remembering we’re skint). The car was going as well as we could have expected given it was cheaper than some phones, but we needed money. 2 people can only live on cereal bars for so long. We were in Brisbane by this point, and without money or working air con, we needed work for the sake of our health if nothing else. The first job we were offered turned out to be anything but a job, it was some bollocks ‘scheme’ or whatever, and it’s one I advise you to remember should you ever get out there yourself. We agreed to join a company who offered work towards your 2nd year visa, costing us a mere $100 each (the company was legit), was given the location of a tomato farm and subsequently set off on a 14-hour drive up to Bundaberg. About half an hour away, we rang to confirm the address to be told we have another $800 or so to pay before we can start work, this would cover accommodation expenses/travel expenses/a ‘job bond’. A what!? Any particular reasons why this wasn’t mentioned before we essentially drove the equivalent of England to Liechtenstein. **** creek, no paddle. My 21st birthday was a few days later, spent sat in a car park with Lauren and a few warm beers. She’d done her best to lift spirits by putting a candle in a muffin. Times were hard. This whole series of events would turn out to be what I regard as the most educating experience I had while away. We quickly learnt that the more you dwell and feel sorry for yourself, the worse things get. The arguments get more intense and the hatred for everything you own becomes slightly worrying (slow phones, a shaking car and a 10L water drum with the shittest lid ever made). We had only one option, and that was to get off our arses and find a job. We drove back down to Brisbane with an exhaust pipe tied on with the drawstring from my shorts, we’d been in better situations but at this stage we didn’t care. We soon found ourselves with a stop-gap of a job, Lauren nannying 5 children and me being employed essentially as a handyman/bitch for a family with quite a lot more money than us. A couple of weeks in and we were overjoyed, we were watered, fed, had somewhere to settle for a while and most importantly had money hitting the bank. The house was on the outskirts of Toowoomba, the biggest inland city Australia has to offer (it’s still rubbish), and was situated overlooking a huge valley. Outdoor pool, the lot… What we didn’t know, was that the mother of the satanic little bastards Lauren had to somehow try and tame throughout the day, was a passive-aggressive lunatic who sacked us after a month, with 2 hours notice, because we watched TV a lot while the kids were at school. Yes. That happened. Work came thick and fast after this, after leaving her house we both had jobs in Brisbane within the week, and spent about 6 weeks living the city life. We lived just above South Bank, and it was breathtaking. I worked on boats once more (bigger, more expensive, more ****) and Lauren in a café. It was great. We didn’t spend a great deal of time in Sydney but I think I’d prefer Brisbane regardless. It was smaller, quieter and had a beach right smack in the middle of it. What more could you want? Oh, and they had a half-decent football team and a pub that sold proper beer and showed Leeds games. Oh aye. Times were great, and even when we inevitably left our jobs and hit the road again, we did so knowing money was there. We could afford the finer things in life, like a sandwich (possibly), or clothes that fit. I felt like a real backpacker, driving around not giving a **** about ‘no camping’ signs or whether we had enough petrol to get to a town that I couldn’t pronounce the name of. We drove around for a while, meeting people, drinking with people and then meeting more people. It actually becomes difficult to live in a way where you see it as perfect, I’d find myself over-excitable at the smallest of events and struggled to keep a level head in Hungry Jack’s when I saw a Frozen Coke was a mere dollar. It wasn’t always easy, however, and it wasn’t always roses. I did miss parts of home after a year away. Apart from the obvious pairing of family and football, I missed being able to get a bath, being able to put beer in a fridge and I missed owning socks. The adage of not knowing what you have until it’s gone can certainly be classed as applicable when it comes to not being able to lay down in bed without thoughts of Wolf Creek or even worse, a council fine. Our next discovery was Airlie Beach… Where do I start? This place was our final stop on our post-work tour (we had a few other jobs here and there to top ourselves up, but work had become something we could somehow afford to turn down) and would be my favourite by a considerable distance. It was everything I imagined when I thought of Australia, everything we were yet to see, and everything I had started to the existence of. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, it was picture perfect. Beaches, palm trees, islands all complimented by water which I can only describe as looking a bit like Listerine (the blue one, obviously). The weather was incredible, we’d already met some great people, and we weren’t leaving without a fight. We arrived well and truly out of season, and despite the whole town still offering a lively backpacker vibe, with bars full every night, there weren’t much work available on the mainland. We whittled ourselves down to pennies once more through the costs of survival, beer and a spot of sea fishing (I won). Never more desperate for a bit of luck, it arrived in the form of a job offer on one of the nearby islands. We’d gotten good at last ditching it. The job was the same for us both, housekeeping for One&Only, a company regarded as providing the most prestige hotel resorts and locations in the world. This wasn’t right, I barely made my own bed, let alone someone else’s! I won’t go into depths about the job or the location, I’ll let the pictures do that. However, I certainly don’t think island work, “works”, at least not for me. Island fever is something I thought existed in films, but no, it makes people go a little bit mental. There were a few people we worked with who’d had screws loosened whilst there, several potential fights, a few stolen golf carts and the odd knife threat. We’d met a few cracking people, and work was a breeze, but being told how to brush my hair and tie my shoelaces was enough to sway the both of us and 4 others to perform an impromptu disappearing act about a month into the job. Homesickness had start to creep in, and doubts were there as to whether we wanted to continue searching for work. Our car was quickly running out of registration and we’d have had to start again, not something we could afford without a decent stint of work. We couldn’t really be arsed, and after a day of strawberry picking, we all but confirmed we couldn’t be arsed to go through it all again so soon. We had a chat and realised we both had similar feelings, and within 12 hours of doing so, we were on a plane home. Spontaneity seemed to be the one thing we kept consistent. A couple of short stays in Kuala Lumpur and Sri Lanka to mix things up en route and then Heathrow. Where had the last 16 months gone? I didn’t really know whether this was ‘the end’, I didn’t know how I was gonna feel when I got home. I half thought this was the time to get back and get into a job, saving traveling for the odd week off work. Part of me wanted to think that it was “out of my system”, but no. Far from the case. I loved seeing family, I loved being back on home turf, but within a day or two I had itchy feet. I'm now back in Australia and have been living on an Outback cattle farm for the last 6 weeks. No regret in sight! One thing I have left out of this is a massive thank you to the people we met who helped us out along the way. It’s cliché but we really couldn’t have managed it without them. I hope a few will be reading this, I’m sure you’ll know who you are – cheers, we owe you! From the strangers giving us lifts to those pretty much making us family expecting nothing in return. People are awesome! Feedback, advice and discussion are fully welcome!
    6. Hi guys, I am travelling to Australia in a few months and I want to buy a van to travel around the country. I´ve been looking online and came across a great guide about buying a van in Australia. It seems very straightforward, however I would love to here some first hand experiences. Where can you find a van? How easy is it to sell the van after the trip? Should I rent or buy? My first stop is Sydney. I realy hope you can give me some advise. Cheers, Jos
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