How to Plan A Working Holiday In Australia Like A Pro

Australia has been a backpacker favourite since, like, 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 Sydney.

It’s no wonder most backpackers want to stay more than a few weeks, but the land down under isn’t cheap. 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. Backpackers can work for up to 6 months with each employer. And, 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!

Who can help me apply for my Australian working holiday visa?

You can apply for your visa directly from your local embassy. However, if you need a helping hand in managing your visa paperwork, you should contact a visa processing company like Visa First.

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 easier 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 $2,600, 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.

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. Result! This 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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