My experience of an Australian working holiday visa

My experience of an Australian working holiday visa

A little disclaimer before I begin my first post in quite some time.

When I started my blog, I promised that I would be honest in my opinions and to never paint a false picture of what life is really like. Everything I write about is my honest opinion.. some may disagree, but this is solely my own personal views.


I have always been attracted to the idea of traveling and working abroad. Watching ex-classmates tackle the unknown in a country so distant seemed like a dream. The traveller envy I conjured watching these gap year kids live ‘an adventure of a lifetime’. Posing with the many friends they encountered, seeing the beauty of a country and pretty much looking like they had their whole life sorted.

I was exposed, like many of us, to the idealistic somewhat American dream that is the Australian working holiday visa. The promise of work, friends and travel in a new vibrant up and coming country has enticed many to pack up and go. A country where there is sunshine, opportunity and happiness. It is the 20 something year olds dream to tackle this adventure.

Flights are pretty expensive when you are traveling to the other side of the world. Some gap year organisations such as STA offer cheaper deals than some airlines, they also offer many packages where you can meet fellow travellers, which is ideal, especially if you are travelling alone. I chose the working package that STA had to offer, this includes an orientation; a job search; help with setting up a bank account; mobile assistance and C.V support. To be honest the C.V sessions and the job search for myself was not very useful.   Hardly any jobs were posted on their website and they didn’t seem to have much of a contact list, however the bank account set up and the tax information was pretty useful.

In regard to the visa; this was pretty easy to obtain. Many companies charge a fee to fill in the visa on your behalf. But to be honest it’s not that difficult, and you could easily do it yourself. There are a few requirements for a working holiday visa, one being you have to go with roughly $5,000 AUSD. To be honest, I didn’t take the recommended amount of funds. Although the Government only check a handful of accounts, I still think it’s important to take the amount they ask for. Even if this means delaying your trip for a few more months. I majorly regret not taking more money and saving for it when I had a job.

I’ll be honest looking through many of my friends photo’s of OZ, their life seemed so easy and carefree. I naïvely thought getting a job out there would be easy. I mean I speak the language, I have enough experience and I’m hardworking and reliable. The truth is that it is hard and it’s not as easy as it seems. Some lucky people fall into a job because they were there at the right place and the right time. Other people struggle for months looking for work. I was the latter. Handing out endless C.V’s, writing applications and scanning shop windows seemed like a routine by the end of my trip. The money got lower and the love of being there and traveling slowly dwindled.

Three months in we had a little job, only enough money for one meal a day and endless frustration at the job market. Everyone says different things about finding work; some recommend Sydney, other’s Melbourne; some people recommend that New Years is the time to start looking, other’s think before.

The truth of the matter is, it’s all down to luck. Don’t listen to people telling you where is best to go for work, you may find once you’re there the job situation is pretty much the same. Millions of travellers every year from all over the country travel on a working holiday visa hoping to work and travel their way through Australia. I have met some amazing people; some of those people had hardly any money, some who were poorly paid, but others who had a job and are literally having the time of their lives.

I recommend that you do your research, take enough money to survive without a job and learn from your fellow travellers. I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience, only that I wish I thought it through properly. Everybody is different, every photo doesn’t tell you the real struggle and some people are just plain lucky.


Check out my other post on how to tackle the working holiday visa here; 



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