A Dummy’s Guide to Working in Australia

The decision to pack up your entire life and move to the other side of the world is a big one.

Yes, it’s exciting. Yes, you’re going to have the time of your life. And yes, this is going to be an experience that you’ll not only remember forever, but could actually end up changing the course of your life from here on out.

Pretty dramatic I know, but true. So, as you can imagine, there’s plenty to think about and lots to arrange. Luckily for you, here at STA Travel, we’ve been sending eager young people off on working holidays to Australia for years – and we are pretty blooming good at making sure they have the best time possible, even if we do say so ourselves.

To help you get your head around the logistics, I’ve put together this handy guide on all things working holidays, to help you take those first steps towards a new life Down Under.

A working holiday to Australia is an experience you'll never forget.

Your Australian Working Holiday Made Easy

Step 1: Book an appointment with a Travel Expert

As I mentioned above, a working holiday is a big step, so it makes sense that you should seek advice from some experts on the subject.

Whether you’ve made the decision to go, or you’re still weighing up your options, book an appointment at your nearest STA Travel store and let our Travel Experts talk you through the options.

Many of our Experts have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ so they can tell you all about what they’re glad they did – and what they wish they had done to make their own working holiday even better.

The other great thing about talking to an Expert is that they can make sure you have everything you need in preparation for your trip. One person taking responsibility for helping you to arrange your flight, visa, insurance, Aussie bank account, all those other important extras and the money can’t buy golden nuggets of advice from their own experience.

Find your nearest store here.

Step 2: Get your working holiday visa

If you’re planning on working holiday in Aus then you’re going to need a Working Holiday Visa.

What are the requirements?
You’ll need to:
– be aged 18-30
– hold a British Passport with at least at least 6 months validity remaining after your proposed return to the UK
– have no dependent children
– be able to show sufficient funds for a return fare and the first part of your stay (we’ll come back to this later…)
– be of good character and meet the health criteria.

How much does a Working Holiday visa cost?
For around £349 you can buy your Working Holiday visa from STA Travel, where our expert visa service will help you with every aspect of the application process and will take the stress out completing the long forms yourself.

How long does it take to process?
A working holiday visa can take up to 4 weeks to process – so leave plenty of time before you want to go!

How long do I have to use it once I have it?
Once you have been granted your working holiday visa you can travel to Australia as soon as you like to start your working holiday. Bear in mind you only have 12 months to enter the country and activate it, so if you don’t use your visa within 12 months then you’ll have lost the right to use it altogether, and you don’t get another chance – so be sure you’re ready to go before you apply!

Once you step foot in Australia, you then have a further 12 months to work. If you take part in certain specified types of work such as fruit picking, farm work, fishing or mining (among others) in selected regions of the country, you’ll be able to extend your visa by another year, giving you 2 full years of working holiday fun!

A few after work drinks suddenly got a lot more exciting.

Step 3: Book your flights

What’s the cheapest time to fly to Australia?

If you’re looking to keep costs down as much as possible, the cheapest months to fly to Australia are April, May, June and November so book your flights for these times and help make your travel budget go that bit further. Check out our cheap flights to Australia and once you’ve found a price you’re happy with – grab it!

Step 4: Save, Save, Save

Do I need to have a certain amount of money in my account to be allowed into the country?

If you are travelling to Australia on a one way ticket the Australian government ask that you have proof of funds totalling AU $5,000 plus additional funds to cover a return ticket (which is approx. AU$1,000) so AU$6,000 in total which works out to about £3,600+ based on current exchange rates.

Alternatively, if you have a return ticket, you’ll require AU$5,000 (so approx £3,000 based on the current exchange rate).

You may be asked to provide evidence of this in the form of a recent bank statement.

Step 5: Preparing for work

Work and Play Starter Packs
This nifty little ‘one stop shop’ for all things working holiday will prove to be a bit of a godsend as you settle into life in Australia. Once you’ve arrived in this gorgeous new place you’re going to be pumped and ready to explore, meet friends get out on the beers. The last thing you’re going to be wanting to think about is how you set up your bank account, sort out your tax code (essential if you don’t want to end up paying half your wages to the Aussie taxman) and finding a job – snoozesville!

Some key features of the pack:
– Assistance setting up your Aussie bank account
– Tax file number registration
– Access to Aus Backpackers job site and Woodduck jobs club
– Australian SIM card with $10 credit
– 24 hour emergency support
see the full list of inclusions

Our Work and Play Starter Pack will put things in place during the early planning stages the UK, leaving you free to spend the majority of your time concentrating on having the experience you came for!

If you take a job as waiting staff, you can expect to earn around $20 an hour.

How do I find a job?
A great feature of the work and play starter pack is 12 months’ access to the Job Search Australia online jobs board and Job Search Australia offices nationwide, so you can do all your job hunting from behind you computer in half the time it would take you to traipse around town with a handful of CVs.

How much can I expect to get paid in Australia?
As a guide, here are some typical rates of pay for some of the more popular working holiday jobs (spoiler: it’s more than you’ll earn in the UK!):

IT/Web/Skilled Labour (carpenter/plumber etc) – from $28 – $40 per hour
Chef/Bartender – from $20-$29 per hour
Administration Assistant – from $15 – $22 per hour
Retail Assistant – from $15 – $22 per hour
Call Centres – from $18 – $22 per hour
Fruit Picking – from $16 to $22 per hour
Cook/Kitchen Hand – from $14 – $18 per hour
Resort Positions – from $15 – $21 per hour

Step 6 – Get the Essentials


Ok, so insurance isn’t the most exciting of preparations to make, but it’s definitely one of the most important.

Each of our policies cover you for a working holiday but, as you would expect, some offer a more comprehensive level of cover than others. Something as important as insurance shouldn’t be taken lightly and if you skimp on anything during your working holiday preparations, don’t let it be this.

I’d recommend talking to a Travel Expert to make sure that you are protected for everything you want to do (and maybe even for the things that you don’t know you want to do… yet.)

Can I extend my policy if I decide to stay longer?

Yes, but, you need to do it before the end of your current policy.

Get insurance so you know you're covered for any extra adventures you might want to take.

STA Travel Cashcard

An STA Travel Cashcard is the perfect way to manage your money while you’re abroad in Australia for a number of reasons but, for the sake of not babbling on, here are my top 3:

1) You can get your wages paid straight into your account
2) You can use the card to withdraw money all over the world – in case you decide to stop off en route, or, once you’ve worked hard enough for a little, holiday shaped, reward.
3) Your parents can top it up on your behalf from The UK – in case you blow all your wages on new friends and throwing yourself off bridges.

Step 7 – Have the Time of your Life

A working holiday in Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity take your life, shake it up and inject a dose of fun, adventure and independence.

I’m not going to lie, you won’t return to the UK as the same person you were when you left – but in the best possible way. Prepare to discover a new and more extreme way to enjoy life – in the most beautiful of settings.

These are the 7, most important, steps to help you get your working holiday plans moving. Follow them and you’re good to go!

If you’re interested in taking a working holiday in Australia take a look at the working holiday pages of our website including our amazing Australia working holiday starter packs. Also, don’t miss our Australia Travel Guide, dedicated to inspiring travel tips and advice for travelling every inch of Aus.