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STA Travel Blog

Hello Australia!

Meet Pippa. Former STA Travel Customer Service Manager, European travel addict, and the manager of our new Working Holiday Heroes in Australia. (Essentially, the nice people in our Backpacker by STA Travel stores who help you find your feet, hug you if you’re homesick, and help explain what-the-hell-a-tax-file-number is). Having just migrated permanently Down Under from the UK, we figured who better to talk us through the whole Australia working holiday thing.

The whole visa thing. Is it as complicated as it sounds and when should people be applying?

Unlike the scramble for Canadian work visas each year, Australian working holiday visas aren’t limited to a certain number, so you can apply at any point. But really, the sooner the better to avoid a last-minute meltdown! From the date you get your visa accepted (and remember, you have to be outside of Australia at this point, so you can’t go into Oz on a tourist visa and then change your mind), you have 12 months to enter the country.

The process can be as quick as one week, but can take up to a few months if you need to provide more information to the embassy. The guys at STA Travel in the UK can help you get everything set up.

What’s the oldest you can be to get a working holiday visa?

Currently, it’s 18 to 30 years old. As in, you have to get your visa accepted before your 31st birthday. However, there has been talk about the Australian government changing this to 35 years old, so watch this space…

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The best East and West coast Australia road trip itineraries

140 mile long beaches and 500 national parks. Endless reef on all sides, and over two and a half million square miles of outback. Australia is scary-huge. You’d be forgiven for thinking the only way to see it is on a backpacking odyssey stretching anywhere between a few months and a few years.

Wrong! You’d be amazed at how far some of us lot at STA Travel have managed to get in two weeks with our own set of wheels and a sense of curiosity driving us forth.

If you’ve got a set timeframe to work with, your best bet for doing and seeing exactly what you want in Australia is definitely by hiring your own camper. (Psst – its hella cheap, too).

That’s why we thought we’d put together these two ultimate itineraries that’ll suit roadtrippers who are heading Down Under for a few weeks of holiday, or are perhaps taking time off from the ‘work’ part of their year-long working holiday to see some of the country. They include all the highlights of Australia’s east and west coasts, and start in the hubs of Sydney and Perth, where you’ll be able to pick up your trusty camper.

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4 ways to get down with the locals in New Zealand

Want more than just a whistle-stop tour of New Zealand’s tourist attractions? Why not take your journey to a new level and get down with the locals!

New Zealand provides a copious amount of bewildering backdrops, inviting culture, flourishing forests, delightful people and second to none road trips. All of this also allows for social interaction and a scrapbook full of perfect, harmonious memories. So seek out a deeper and more meaningful interaction with New Zealand and its people as you get involved with the environment and those adventurous Kiwis.

A post shared by Yukari Mellish (@yucacarina) on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:02pm PST

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Why you should start your Australian Working Holiday Visa in Queensland

So you’ve got your Australian Working Holiday Visa approved – yay! Living the Aussie dream is now within your reach. Now you just need to decide when and, more importantly, where to work.

Working in Australia can become the highlight of your trip, rather than just being a means to more travels. If you pick the right place to do it, you don’t need to sacrifice the travels or the beach time for your jobs. Especially not in Queensland, where there is a choice of big cities, backpacker hotspots and iconic landmarks to explore.

Here’s why you should consider starting your Aussie working holiday in the sunshine state…

Always take the weather with you

The word ‘Australia’ conjures up three key images: sun, sea, and sand. It’s very likely that these things were what persuaded you to do a working holiday in Oz in the first place. That and the chance of meeting your very own Liam Hemsworth or Margot Robbie.

*Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Is the reality a different story? In Queensland, it’s not – at least not with the sun, sea and sand bit (unfortunately we can’t promise you Liam and Margot). Australia’s sunshine state has some of the best weather odds in the whole country. Coastal towns and cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Townsville have the benefits of lots of jobs plus beaches galore. Early morning surfs – check. Lunchbreak strolls on the beach – check. Healthy dose of vitamin D – check. Sunseekers can rest easy in the knowledge that when they aren’t earning some decent dollar, they’ll be livin’ it up in the sunshine.

Best jobs in the world

We know your trip isn’t meant to be all werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, but the job you get on your working holiday will have a big impact on your overall experience. Hospitality jobs are the go-to for most backpackers in Australia, but if you’re not a fan of the unsociable hours or on clearing plates, Queensland offers heaps of interesting jobs.

Fruit picking in Australia is almost a rite of passage, and farm work makes up a big portion of the jobs in Queensland. From avocados and mangoes, to coffee and grapes, to find regional work, head to the Atherton Tablelands, Bundaberg or Stanthorpe. Plus, if you can’t hack the heat out in the fields, you can still find jobs indoors packing, rather than picking.

With 5 out the 19 World Heritage listed areas in Australia, Queensland is the obvious choice for jobs in conservation.

Looking for life on the open water? Lots of lucky travellers find jobs working on boats, based in buzzing places like Cairns, Airlie Beach and Gold Coast. If you’ve got your PADI, then drop your CV into the local dive companies of Cairns, or offer your services to the fishing boats and chartered yachts. These are the kinds of jobs that can make your Aussie experience more special.

Other jobs available include au pair or nanny work, jobs in the thriving tourism industry and various sports clubs.

The work travel balance

Of course, you haven’t gone all the way to Australia just to work. Queensland is home to some of the best attractions in Australia, so you can tick off your travel list in between shifts. Here’s an example of where you can base yourself for visiting the top iconic Aussie hotspots:

  • The Great Barrier Reef – work in Cairns
  • The Whitsundays – work in Airlie Beach
  • Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation – work in Cairns
  • Fraser Island or whale watching – work in Hervey Bay
  • Magnetic Island – work in Townsville
  • Surfers Paradise – work in Brisbane or Gold Coast
  • Noosa Everglades – work in Sunshine Coast
queensland whitsundays travel

*Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

In terms of nightlife, it’s easy to maintain your ‘work hard play hard’ mantra, when you’re working in buzzing cities like Cairns, Brisbane and Gold Coast. But even in smaller places like Airlie Beach or Hervey Bay, you’ll still have a steady stream of travellers passing through, bringing with them the 241 drinks promos and big nights out. Which brings us to our final point…

Make lots of #TFFs (travel friends for life, of course)

Most of Queensland’s towns and cities are geared towards backpackers, making it an easy place to get out there and make new mates. The constant flow of travellers through Queensland’s hotspots, means that it’s so easy to buddy up with others who want to share a campervan or car, to explore the East Coast or the Outback. Just take a look at any of the hostel kitchen noticeboards to find people who want to get involved.


queensland travel

If you still need a little more inspiration on why Queensland is a great place to have as your base for your working holiday, check out our Queensland destination guide here.

The ultimate guide to regional work

In order to get your second working holiday visa in Australia you must complete 88 days of regional work, which can be anything from farming, fruit picking, fishing, pearling and mining. So how do you get through the whole thing without giving up and going home? Rachael is here to give you her survival tips from her own 88 days of farm work.

Okay, so your back will ache, your hands will be raw, you’ll never be able to look a banana (or whatever fruit/veg you’re picking) in the face again, and will no doubt start assuming that work boots paired with sweatpants is a winning look, but after all of that (plus lifelong friends, unrivaled poker skills, an insane suntan, spectacularly ripped calf muscles and money in the bank…) you’ll qualify for a second working holiday visa. Which basically means an extra year in Australia, and who doesn’t want that. This is your ‘I’m a celebrity/survival island’ moment. Embrace it.

I did the 88 days of farm work, which you could actually class as 90, thanks to a couple of tomato picking days in Bundaberg! The majority of my time was spent at a family-run macadamia farm in Dorroughby, 30 minutes from Byron Bay. Yes, farm work is hard, there’s no doubt about that – it’s not meant to be easy, but it’s definitely worth it. When I look back at my time on the farm, I don’t shudder (although I occasionally do when I see a bag of macadamia nuts or cherry tomatoes in the supermarket) but I think about it with a sense of accomplishment and happiness. It was a totally different experience, one that I probably won’t ever get again.

Just gathering some nuts #macadamia #farmwork #australia

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

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