How to Plan A Working Holiday In Australia Like A Pro

How to Plan A Working Holiday In Australia Like A Pro

Australia has been a backpacker favourite since forever, and it’s easy to see why. Australia has it all, whether you’re looking for stunning nature, insane parties or foodie hotspots. It’s a massive country with loads of iconic spots to visit, from the starlit skies of Uluru to the tranquil beauty of the Whitsundays and the Sydney.

It’s no wonder most backpackers want to stay more than a few weeks, but the land down under isn’t cheap, and it’s unlikely you’ll have enough travel funds saved to last you a whole year here, let alone two. That’s where a working holiday in Australia comes in. You’ll be able to earn money while you travel and extend your trip for as long as two years, giving you more than enough time to explore this breathtaking continent.

To help make the process as painless as possible, we’ve put together a little guide with everything you need to know about planning a working holiday in Australia: from applying for an Australian working holiday visa to finding out which jobs you’re eligible for, and even claiming your tax back afterwards.

So what is the Australian Working Holiday Visa?

working holiday in australia / paula buzzo

? @paulabzo

The Australian Working Holiday Visa gives you the chance to enjoy Australia and work for a year to fund your travels, with up to 6 months with each employer. If you complete qualifying farm work, you can apply for a 2nd year working holiday visa to extend your stay.

How to qualify for the Working Holiday Visa in Australia (subclass 417)

working holiday in australia / paula buzzo
? @paulabzo

  • You must be 18-30 years old
  • You must be a citizen of an eligible country
  • You’ll need a valid passport with at least 6 months until renewal
  • You must not have any criminal convictions
  • You’ll need to prove you have sufficient funds (AUD $5,000)
  • Must NOT have held a working holiday visa before
  • You must apply for this visa while outside Australia

When planning a working holiday in Australia, keep in mind that there are two types of visa available. So, if your home country isn’t eligible for the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417), you may be able to qualify for the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) instead.

While the age limit may be a limiting factor for those who want to go on an Australian adventure in their 30’s, the good news is that the Australian Government is considering whether to increase the upper age limit for this visa to 35! There are other visas as well, like the Australia Skilled Migration Visa you could qualify for.

How much does it cost for an Australian Working Holiday Visa?

working holiday in australia / paula buzzo
? @paulabzo

There are direct and indirect costs associated with the Australian Working Holiday Visa. The initial cost of the visa is probably going to be a lot lower than the indirect costs you’ll need to think about. The indirect costs should cover the money you’ll need to enter the country and live on before you start to earn income. The costs vary year by year, but here’s a general guide:

  1. Initial cost of visa: $440 plus small surcharge for online credit card payments
  2. Cost to enter Australia as proof of funds: $5,000

Our advice would be to save as much as you can before visiting Australia, especially if you haven’t got a pre-arranged job to go to. Australia isn’t cheap and while most employees are paid enough to keep up with the cost of living, it can be tough as a tourist to pay for things like accommodation if you don’t have enough savings or any income. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have enough cash to survive up to 3 months without finding a job to be on the safe side.

Remember that it will be more expensive to live in the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, so if you plan on staying here a while make sure you budget well for your trip!

What sort of jobs can I do with my Australian working holiday visa?

working holiday visa in australia


From fruit picking to bartending, there are a large variety of jobs filled by backpackers on a working holiday in Australia. The most popular jobs include fruit picking, waitressing, farm work and other types of labour such as construction.

The types of jobs available will depend on where in Australia you are. So if you’re in Melbourne for a month or two, you might want to try office temping, working in a shop or waiting on tables. If you’re somewhere more remote, then farm work may be more easy to find.

Top tip: If you want to apply to extend your working holiday visa to two years, you’ll need to have completed at least 3 months of qualifying farm work. So it’s a good idea to decide early on if you want to stay for two years. Even though farm work can be tough, you will probably enjoy the experience more than you think. The type and amount of farm work available will depend on the season and your location.

How to get Your working holiday tax refund

working holiday in australia / paula buzzo? @paulabzo

When it comes to getting a tax refund from your working holiday in Australia, the key thing to remember is that the longer you stay, the more likely you are to be due a refund. The current average income tax refund is $2600 so it’s always worth finding out if you’re due tax back using this online tax calculator. You can apply for a tax refund both while you’re still in Australia, or once you get home.

And don’t forget that when you leave Australia and your visa has expired or been cancelled, you can apply for a refund of your superannuation, which can run into the thousands of dollars, depending on how long you worked in Oz. For more tips and advice, visit Taxback.

What can I expect from a working holiday in Australia?

Want to know what a working holiday in Australia is REALLY like? We asked three travellers about their experiences….

Emil Arsin

working holiday visa in australia ? @emy_around_the_world

Q. Why did you decide to go on a Working Holiday to Australia?
A. It was the last chance to travel cheaply before I turned 30 years old in 2016 and I wanted to experience something different.

Q. What jobs did you have in Australia?
A. Farm work, shop assistant, bartender, waitress and job desk.

Q. What has been the best thing about your working holiday?
A. I appreciate my life more, including the little things and I also found my future husband!

Q. Where’s the best place you’ve been to in Australia and why?
A. Love the West Coast! I also loved Broome in Western Australia and Coral Bay in the North West for the amazing nature, nice beaches, and whale shark swimming.

Grace Murphy

working holiday visa in australia

Q. Why did you decide to go on a Working Holiday to Australia?
A. To make new friends and see new places!

Q. What jobs did you have in Australia?
A. Farm hand, nursery assistants, tax office assistant, barmaid, receptionist in George Hostel Sydney, Reception is Youth Shack in Darwin.

Q. What has been the best thing about your working holiday?
A. Meeting new people and working in different parts of Australia.

Q. Where’s the best place you’ve been to in Australia and why?
A. Blue Mountains Sydney! We went on a hiking adventure and camping, so much fun! Also loved the cool little cafes and quirky shops in town. I also loved the Mindil Beach sunset markets in Darwin for the nice food stalls and atmosphere. With good music from local artists, you can relax and sit on the beach and have some food while watching the sun go down!

Aimee McDonagh

working holiday visa in australia

Q. Why did you decide to go on a Working Holiday to Australia?
A. I wanted to travel before I got too old!

Q. What jobs did you have in Australia?
A. Various farming jobs including green bean packing, apple packing, orange picking. Various hospitality jobs including waitressing, bartending, barista and now a sales and marketing co-ordinator in!

Q. What has been the best thing about your working holiday?
A. So many things! Seeing new things, places and animals. New experiences and challenges. Sharing adventures with new friends. A west coast trip with friends I met farming and I even loved the farming which pushed me to my limits and made me feel like I could accomplish anything!

Q. Where’s the best place you’ve been to in Australia and why?
A. Very hard to choose just one! Great Ocean Road was amazing! I loved everywhere on the west coast. Feeding dolphins at Monkey Mia and swimming at the waterfront at Karijini National Park.

Still got unanswered questions about working holiday visas in Australia? Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them ?

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14 Responses to “How to Plan A Working Holiday In Australia Like A Pro”

  1. yes still have a few questions what was the plan when first landing? finding accommodation , cheap eats and job hunting

      • There are various starter packs that can help you when you arrive. Just search up Australia work travel starter pack and you should find packs that wil help you with you hostel, tax number, sim card, visa, bank, and even help you find a job.

  2. The best thing to do after arriving is to organize all the basics. Get your Tax number and get a bank account. you will need that when you have a job. Accomodation should be sorted before you arrive and job hunting starts to make sense when you’re there.

  3. Lauren Dobson Reply

    After your visa has been granted, how long do you have before you need to be in Australia?

    • You get a year to get to Australia from the day your visa is granted. Once you land in Aus for the first time your year countdown to get out starts.

  4. Hey! I’m really interested in a working holiday in Australia, and I have a couple questions;

    1. From what I’ve understood, you need to open an AU bank account to figure out all the tax stuff. Can you only open the bank account once you’re there, walk in to a bank with ID and that’s it or can you do it beforehand somehow? And how do you figure all the tax stuff?

    2. How many times during the year do/can you change the place you work, and is there a specific place where you can apply for working holiday job?

    3. Accomodation; do you stay in hostels or with roommates? Or how usual is it that the place you work at provides accomodation? I’m interested in working in hostels (I have experience working in hotels) and think it would be easiest if they provided accomodation.

    4. Social life and friends; one reason I want to work in a hostel is because I think it would be easy to get to know other people. Is there a strong community with working holiday people and how do you actually meet people? Also, people say a lot about trips (camping, nature, seeing attractions etc.) does someone/someplace arrange them or do you just get to know people and then decide to go together?

    5. Last but not least, is there somewhere online where there are a lot of people with experience about working holiday in AU who could maybe answer these questions for me?

    Thank you SO much to anyone who answers!

  5. One question. If I apply for the visa (and get granted) while being 30, do I have to touch ground in Australia while being 3 or can I go with 31 as well?

  6. Hey, I want to apply for a working holiday visa for Australia travelling from the UK, I was just wondering how long it took for your visa application decision to be made? On the website it says up to 2 weeks but I was hoping its usually quicker? thanks Estelle

  7. Does anyone know if a second working holiday visa must follow on directly from the first year working holiday visa. Everything I’ve read talks about extending the visa. Is it possible to have a gap of a couple of years outside Australia before re-entering Australia to work on a second year visa. I realise the criteria to qualify for a second year visa must be met. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Hayley McKenna Reply

      Hey Katie, best to check with the Aus Gov with this one. Maybe also check out some forums and Facebook groups to chat with people who have already done this? Good luck!

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