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Working Holiday in Australia

By: Abbie Brooks April 24, 2024
Welcome to the ultimate Working Holiday Visa Guide for adventurous backpackers planning their journey to Australia! At Happy Travels, we understand the excitement and anticipation that comes with embarking on a new adventure in the Land Down Under. Whether you’re dreaming of surfing along pristine coastlines, exploring vibrant cityscapes, or immersing yourself in the Outback’s rugged beauty, Australia offers endless possibilities for unforgettable experiences.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about securing your visa, finding work, setting up essential services, and making the most of your time in Australia. From navigating the visa application process to discovering hidden gems off the beaten path, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. So grab your backpack, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!

Visa Options for Australia

Embarking on your Australian adventure starts with securing the right visa. If you’re a young backpacker looking to travel to Australia for the first time, the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) or Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) are the best go-to options. If you’re aged 18 – 30 (and 35 for some Nationalities), these visas allow you to work and travel in Australia for up to a year.

To be eligible for your first year Working Holiday 417 Visa, you must meet the following criteria:

You must be from one of the following countries:

  • – Belgium
  • – Canada
  • – Republic of Cyprus
  • – Denmark
  • – Estonia
  • – Finland
  • – France
  • – Germany
  • – Hong Kong
  • – Republic of Ireland
  • – Italy
  • – Japan
  • – Republic of Korea
  • – Malta
  • – Netherlands
  • – Norway
  • – Sweden
  • – Taiwan
  • – United Kingdom

You must be aged between 18 and 30, or 18 and 35 for the following countries:

  • – Canada
  • – Denmark
  • – France
  • – Republic of Ireland
  • – United Kingdom

You must apply for the visa from outside of Australia and you may not add any family members or dependents onto your visa.

You will also be asked to prove that you are able to support yourself while in Australia – the government website will state that you need at least $5000 AUD in your bank account, however this isn’t the strictest criteria to meet as it is understood that you will be working and earning money while in Australia.

To be eligible for the Work and Holiday 462 Visa, you must meet the same criteria as above except be from one of the following countries:

  • – Argentina
  • – Austria
  • – Chile
  • – China, People’s Republic of
  • – Czech Republic
  • – Hungary
  • – Indonesia
  • – Israel
  • – Luxembourg
  • – Malaysia
  • – Peru
  • – Poland
  • – Portugal
  • – San Marino
  • – Singapore
  • ​- Slovak Republic
  • – Slovenia
  • – Spain
  • – Thailand
  • – Turkey
  • – United States of America
  • – Uruguay
  • – Vietnam

You may also be asked to provide a letter of support from your government, have proficient English, and meet education requirements specific to your country.

Once you know that you meet the criteria for your eligible visa, you can apply online through the Australian government’s official website to kickstart your journey Down Under.

Finding Work in Australia

Once you’ve got your visa sorted, it’s time to line up some work opportunities. Backpacker Job Board is an incredible resource to find a diverse range of casual jobs tailored to backpackers. Whether you’re seeking full-time, part-time, or temporary roles, you’ll find plenty of options to fund your adventures.

Facebook is also one of the best tools to use to connect with other backpackers, to network, search for job opportunities, as well as find house shares, travel mates, or general visa advice.

How to Apply for a Tax File Number (TFN)

Ready to work and earn some money in Australia? Earning money in Australia requires a Tax File Number (TFN), a personal reference number in the Tax and Superannuation system. All employers will ask for your TFN as they will need it for tax purposes. Applying for a TFN is a straightforward process that can be done online. Simply visit the official website and follow the instructions to secure your TFN before diving into the Australian workforce.

International Driver’s Licence

Plan on driving in Australia? It’s essential that you check to see if your current licence is valid and allows you to drive while in Australia. As a general rule, if you have a full licence in your home country and are only applying for a Working Holiday Visa, you will be considered a ‘visiting driver’ and can drive anywhere in Australia. This makes the process for renting or buying a vehicle much easier, as you won’t need to apply for an Australian state specific licence. Remember to carry your licence at all times, as you may be fined if you are found without it while driving. 

If your licence runs out while in Australia, you will need to apply for an Australian licence. This is a simple process usually for an affordable fee, but each state has different laws and requirements regarding licences so be sure to check those out before applying here:


New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

Mobile Phone Plans in Australia

You’ve come to Australia, and you need to stay connected without spending heaps on international data plans. You’ll also find it so much easier to set up a job, a bank account, and more with an Australian number. Luckily, there are plenty of options for getting an affordable mobile plan while working and travelling in Australia. The big names you’ll hear that offer great mobile plans are Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus. Most cities will have stores you can pop into and find the best deal, so it can be one of the first things to tick off your to do list when you arrive. Here is a simple guide and what type of plan to go for depending on your plans for Australia:

For short stays, go for prepaid plans. They offer flexibility and control without locking you into a contract. Just top up as needed, and you’re good to go.

If you’re here longer, consider contract plans. They often come with discounted rates and extra perks, like international calling.

Another thing to consider is coverage – where in the country does your provider’s coverage reach? In cities and big towns, this won’t be an issue – however if you plan on travelling somewhere remote, like K’gari, Western Australia, or Tasmania – you may want to consider the importance of being able to get coverage in these places.




With the right plan, you can stay connected hassle-free throughout your Australian adventure.

Opening a Bank Account in Australia

Setting up an Australian bank account simplifies your finances during your stay and will be essential for working in Australia. Commonwealth Bank and NAB are popular choices among backpackers, offering convenient services and widespread accessibility. All major cities will have a branch who you can set up your account with when first arriving into Australia. 

To open an account, bring your passport, visa details, and proof of address to the bank. Many banks offer online applications for added convenience.

Here are some tips to help you decide which bank to choose from:

  • – Look for accounts with minimal or no monthly account fees. As a backpacker, you want to minimise costs, so avoid accounts with high fees for basic services.
  • – Since you’ll be travelling, consider accounts with low or no fees for international transactions. Look for accounts that offer fee-free international ATM withdrawals or low foreign transaction fees for card payments.
  • – Check the bank’s ATM network and consider accounts that offer widespread ATM access, especially in popular tourist areas. This can help you avoid withdrawal fees when accessing cash.
  • – Opt for a bank that offers convenient online banking and a user-friendly mobile app. This allows you to manage your finances easily, even while on the go.
  • – Some banks offer additional perks for travellers, such as travel insurance, emergency assistance services, or discounts on travel-related expenses. Consider these extras if they align with your needs.

For transferring your money into your new Australian bank account, Revolut and Wise (formerly Transferwise) are two of the more popular international money transfer services, both with low-cost international fees. 

Top tip: it’s always a good idea to send a lower amount when completing the first transaction, to be sure no details have been put in incorrectly and that the transaction goes smoothly.

Superannuation – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Superannuation is a retirement savings system in Australia where employers are required to contribute a percentage of their employees’ earnings into a super fund. They essentially work very similarly to a pension – and when you leave Australia, you may be eligible to claim back your super, although a portion will be subject to taxes.

Australia offers plenty of options for superannuation funds, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, employers may select a default fund if employees have no preference. However, if this is not the case, or if you prefer to choose, it’s important to consider your priorities when selecting a fund.

For those seeking an ethical option that avoids investments in industries like coal, oil, and projects promoting injustice, Australian Ethical Super is a suitable choice. However, if you need to prioritise low fees and solid performance, both Australian Super and Uni Super will be good options. There are also funds offering a focus on sustainability and climate justice, such as Future Super and Spirit Super. Whatever option you choose, make sure to provide the details to your employer.

Health Care in Australia

You’ll want to be covered for healthcare during your time in Australia, so it’s a great idea to explore the healthcare system and learn about your options for health insurance coverage. 

Medicare in Australia provides free or subsidised medical services to backpackers from the following countries, ensuring access to essential healthcare:

  • – Belgium
  • – Finland
  • – Italy
  • – Malta
  • – The Netherlands
  • – New Zealand
  • – Norway
  • – The Republic of Ireland
  • – Slovenia
  • – Sweden
  • – The United Kingdom

And while Medicare can help with some medical costs, getting private health insurance can give you more comprehensive coverage. Check out what Medicare covers here and be sure to research into health and/or travel insurance options for your journey to Australia. It’s all about staying healthy and safe during your adventure Down Under!

Tips to Book Your Flight to Australia

So, you’re pretty much ready to get started on your journey. Now it’s time to book your flights – here are some handy tips to book your flight to Australia. 

  • – Skyscanner is a great website for comparing flight prices across various airlines and travel agencies, helping you find the best deals.
  • – Browse Incognito or Use a VPN to potentially access lower prices, as it will prevent websites from tracking your search history.
  • – Google Flights is super user-friendly and has useful features like price tracking and flexible date options, making it easier to find budget-friendly flights.
  • – Instead of focusing on specific days, check the entire month for cheaper flight options. This flexibility can help you find better deals and save money on your journey.
  • – Flights to Australia are pretty long, no matter where in the world you’re travelling from. Consider organising a long layover to help breakup the journey, allowing yourself to explore a new destination along the way and potentially save on costs too. 
  • Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, or Cairns? All of these cities have regular flights coming in from all over the world, and have exciting travel and work opportunities. Be sure to check the cheapest option, then plan your exciting travels from there!

Farm Work

Extending your Australian Working Holiday Visa through farm work is a popular choice for anyone looking to prolong their stay Down Under. However, the process can vary depending on your home country’s specific requirements. Before starting any Farm Work, be sure to look into these requirements – again, using Facebook is a wonderful tool to connect with other backpackers from your home country sharing information on their Farm Work journey. 

Typically, backpackers seeking a second-year visa are required to complete a designated period of farm work, often around three months for their second year, or 6 months for their third year. This farm work can include a variety of jobs, including fruit picking, livestock herding, and crop harvesting. In some rural areas of the country, mainly Northern Queensland, any hospitality work counts towards your Farm Work for visa extension. 

Be sure to use the Backpacker Job Board website for finding farm work opportunities across Australia. It’s an incredible tool to connect with employers and find exciting job opportunities in places you maybe wouldn’t otherwise have considered. The most important thing to remember is to embrace the unexpected when it comes to completing farm work – you’ll be in for a memorable experience. 

As your Australian adventure draws closer, we hope this Working Holiday Visa Guide has equipped you with the knowledge and confidence to make the most of your time Down Under. We’re so excited for you to get started on your journey through this incredible country. 

At Happy Travels, we’re passionate about helping backpackers create unforgettable memories and experiences. From the bustling streets of Sydney to the remote wilderness of the Outback, Australia is a land of endless adventure waiting to be explored. Be sure to reach out to one of our trusted Travel Specialists today to get to planning your incredible adventure through Australia.