So your Australian Working Holiday Visa’s been granted. Your saving is going… okay. You’ve put your deposit down on your flights. You’ve already organised your leaving do.
Do you sit and apply for jobs in your chosen city of residence? Look for flats on Aussie Gumtree? House shares? Research how best to go about completing your regional work to qualify for two years Down Under? Sensible answer? Yes.
…But on any year in Australia, remember that jobs, responsibilities, routine and general adulting can all wait, because actually seeing this big, beautiful country comes first.
Here’s six reasons why you should kick off your year working and living in Australia with a Contiki tour!
1. You’ll see the country. Straight away.
So long as you have enough money in your pocket to feed, clothe and shelter yourself, it’s the travelling part that you came all this way for. It’s the road trips, the beaches and the long nights with spent with new friends that come first – not the four walls of an office!
So if you do have the funds… use a decent amount on seeing the country before you settle right down and find a job. There’s no time like the present.
Take it from someone who arrived in Melbourne scavenging for enough dollar to pay two weeks rent, desperate to get on her feet after exhausting her funds in Asia. I never really ended up seeing as much of the country as I wanted to, because time flew, and I spent all my wages on having the most awesome time EVER whilst working and living in Melbourne (which is also equally as important).
Having said that, it’s crucial not to bankrupt yourself – aim to leave at least £1000 (that’s UK pounds; around $1,750 Aussie dollars) to support yourself while you try to get about doing the aforementioned ‘adult’ bit. Like getting a job, feeding yourself, and still getting out and making new friends in the process.
2. You’ll find your tribe. Straight away.
Its a bit like being a fresher in uni. If you’re heading on a quest to Oz alone, as a couple or just with one other friend, you’ll probably want to forge a slightly bigger support network. In order to make friends that don’t in reality annoy the hell out of you, you’ve got to be in the right place, right time, and all of that.
And the easiest way to make new besties, and find people to flat-share with once the ‘travel-bit’ is over, is by traversing it with a bunch of likeminded backpackers who want a whole lot of social interaction too. And if you choose a Contiki tour, there’ll be up to fifty of these to choose from.
Bunks, beaches, boats, bars or on the bus each day – it’s all fair hunting ground for your new tribe.
3. You’ll stay in the best places
Hostels such as BUNK, Nomads and Bounce are large, sociable hostels – so they’re a good place to start until you find some friends that you want to live with during your year in Australia. Or just friends for the evening.
We’re not saying you have to meet your lifelong soulmate over the flames of the campfire or share shots with your newfound flatmates within the first hour of checking in/. But we promise, give it a few hours in hostel bars you visit each night on your tour, and at the very least, you’ll gain valuable travel tips and practical advice about working in Australia from others who’ve been in the country longer.
…Like where to find $50 an hour waitressing jobs (psst, the Melbourne Cup each November), which music festivals not to be missed (Splendour in the Grass and Pitch), or how to get the best paid regional work if you want to get your second-year visa (a true science).
You could even find contacts for work or house shares to get in touch with immediately – most of these hostels have jobs boards and flatmate ads.
4. It’s cost-effective
It’s a longstanding assumption that independent travel is more suited to tight budgets than tours are.
But when you consider things like the cost of buying a trapped-out camper from a string-vested man who turned up in your hostel, the fuel for it, roadside assistance when it breaks down, accommodation, bus passes, boat trips, extra days spent hanging around because the boat trip you want to book on is full, and all of those unexpected surprises to your wallet that come with travelling in an unfamiliar country, it can all add up.
Contiki is your transport, accommodation, day tours, off-the-beaten-dusty-red-path experiences, knowledgeable guide, and often even your meals all rolled into one.
And since you can book them long before you leave for The Promised Land, and secure them with a tiny deposit if you need to, you’re laughing before you even arrive.
5. You’ll get the real deal Aussie experience
Sailing through the Whitsundays, anchoring in secluded bays and beaches, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, learning to dive on a certified course, camping under the stars in the Outback before watching the sun rise over Uluru (bushtucker breakfast optional)… Serious. Aussie. Vibes. Without having to lift a finger. Or carry your cumbersome backpack long distances in the crippling Aussie heat trying to find a place to stay.