Gap Year Australia
Australia is an incredible mix of vast red deserts and white-sand beaches, tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, sky-scraping modern cities and the great Outback - not to mention its assortment of exotic flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth. The "Aussies" offer foreign backpackers a myriad of paid work opportunities, and have come to count on temporary workers from abroad. Work and travel for a year in "Oz", and have the ultimate Australian adventure!
Can I participate if I’m not from the UK?
The Australian Working Holiday Visa is available to citizens of several countries aside from the United Kingdom. If you are from a country outside the UK and are interested spending in a gap year in Australia, you can find out if you qualify for a Working Holiday Visa at the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Do I need special references or experience in order to participate?
No. No experience or references are required in order to participate in the gap year in Australia programme. However, prior work experience will be helpful to you during the job search.
Do I need to take a test to prove my English skill level?
No English test is required, but you need to have good English skills in order to participate in the gap year in Australia programme.
Is there an age limit? How old are typical participants?
Australia’s Working Holiday Visa is available for people between 18 and 30 years of age. Most participants in this TravelWorks programme are 20-25 years old, but anyone age 18 to 30 is welcome to participate in the gap year in Australia programme. Your age at the time of your application for the Working Holiday Visa is important. If you are 30 years old at the time of application, you may still enter or remain in Australia under the visa after you have turned 31.
Can I participate with a friend?
Yes, it is possible to participate in the gap year in Australia with a friend. You will be able to list the name of your travel partner when you sign up for the programme, and you and your friend should apply on the same date. You will stay in the same hostel as your friend at the beginning of the programme and will both take part in the informational workshop.
You should both be aware that travelling with a friend will reduce your flexibility and will make the job search more complicated, since you will be trying to find a job in the same general location as your travel partner.
Can I combine my work in Australia with a TravelWorks programme in another country?
It is often possible to combine the gap year in Australia with programmes in other countries. Please contact TravelWorks for more information about this option.
What resources will be available to help me find a job in Australia?
Within the first two days after your arrival in Australia, you will attend an informational job workshop in the office of our partner organisation. The workshop will provide you with a great deal of useful information to help you with the job search.
As a TravelWorker, you will have exclusive access to our partner organisation's job database, where you will find hundreds of up-to-date job offers throughout Australia. You will also receive assistance in writing your CV, including the help of a CV-generator tool, which automatically establishes a CV for you based on the information you provide.
Our partners will also offer individual counselling, to help you on your search. The hostel has a job board, where many jobs for backpackers are posted. Our partner organisation will assist you as you open an Australian bank account and apply for a tax file number.
Personal initiative and enthusiasm are the most important things you’ll need in order to find a job in Australia. Be aware that you will have to put in some effort to find a job; work is not going to just fall into your lap.
What happens if I cannot find a job?
If two or three weeks go by and you are still unable to find work in Australia, talk to our partner organisation at the hostel, and they will make finding a job for you their priority. You will not have to fly home from Australia if you cannot find a job right away.
What sorts of jobs do participants end up doing?
The sky’s the limit when you’re on the search for a job during your gap year in Australia! From harvesting fruit to fuelling planes, the possibilities are endless. With a Working Holiday Visa, you are allowed to engage in any field of work, the one restriction being that you may only work for up to 6 months at any one job.
Many participants work in hospitality, tourism, supermarkets, on farms, and in hostels. Through the organisation WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), you can engage in unpaid work in exchange for meals and accommodation on an organic farm. Other jobs specific participants have done include:
- Packing papayas
- Unloading ship containers
- Working as a hostess on a sailboat
- Building crocodile enclosures
- Laying tile
- Helping in a recording studio
- Driving cattle herds
…and the list goes on.
Can I choose the city/region where I would like to work?
Yes. You can work wherever you can find a job in Australia. Where you apply for jobs is completely up to you. Throughout your stay in Australia, you will have access to our partner organisation's offices in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane, regardless of where you begin your gap year in Australia.
How much can I expect to be paid for my work?
Since the length of time you are permitted to work at one specific job is limited to 6 months, participants usually find seasonal work and odd jobs, which pay about AU$12-15 per hour. This can vary a great deal, depending on the type of work you end up doing.
Will I have money left over from my work in Australia when I return home?
Probably not, although it is not impossible. In any case, you should not go on a gap year in Australia planning to make a profit, because it is very unlikely that this will happen. You will want to travel around Australia and have fun, of course! The money you make on location will most likely not be enough to cover extra expenses such as travel, when you factor in that you will also be paying for your own meals and accommodation for the duration of your stay.
When you arrive in Australia, you must prove that you have at least AUS$ 5,000, in order to enter the country. You will probably end up spending most of this money over the course of the year.
How do I prove that I have AUS$ 5,000?
When you arrive in Australia, you will be required to present a current bank statement, proving that you have access to at least AUS$ 5,000 in your home bank account. This is a requirement of the Australian government for your Working Holiday Visa. You will most likely spend this money in the course of your gap year in Australia.
Will I have to open a bank account in Australia?
Yes. Our partner organisation on location will help you to open a bank account in Australia. An Australian bank account is required, because Australian employers must transfer your pay cheque to an Australian bank account. Our partner organisation will also help you as you apply for an Australian tax file number.
Will I have free time for travel?
Of course! How you organise your gap year in Australia is completely up to you. Some people work 9 months and travel for 3. Others work 3 months and travel for 9. If you’re ready to quit one job, you can travel for a while and then find a new job. You can travel when you first arrive and find a job later, or vice-versa. It all depends on what you feel like doing during your gap year in Australia, and how much travel you can squeeze out of the money you have.
How will I find a place to live?
Your first two nights in Australia will be in our partner organisation’s hostel, and are included in the programme price. Most participants live in hostels during their gap year in Australia. These hostels are practically everywhere, and are the meeting points for backpackers from around the world. Australian hostels almost always have a kitchen, washing machine, and recreation rooms. If you want to stay in a city for a while, you might consider living in a flat with Australians or other backpackers. If you really want to travel on a low budget, you could also camp – camping grounds are all over Australia, and many backpacker hostels also have small camping sites. It’s worth it to bring along a sleeping bag, or to buy one when you arrive in Australia.
How will I meet other people when I arrive?
When you first arrive in Australia, you will meet many fellow backpackers in our partner organisation’s hostel, where other TravelWorks participants will also be staying. After this, you are sure to meet many more backpackers from every corner of the world, as Australia is a veritable backpacking paradise. Hostels are always good meeting points for travellers.
Will I be able to contact other participants before I depart for Australia?
Yes. Before your departure, we will send you a list of the international TravelWorks participants who will be arriving in Australia at about the same time as yourself, including their e-mail addresses.
Is there a workers’ base?
Our partner organisation’s office is located in the hostel where you will spend your first nights in Australia. This is where you should go with any questions or concerns which may arise during your gap year in Australia. A member of our partner organisation is always in the office and ready to help you.
What is the health/safety situation in Australia?
Australia is a very safe land for travellers, with a low crime rate and good health standards. Female backpackers can travel safely in Australia.
When do I need to apply for the Working Holiday Visa?
Citizens of the United Kingdom can apply for the Working Holiday Maker Visa at any time of the year on the website of the Australian Embassy in London. Your passport must be valid for at least two more years in order for you to receive the visa. In order to work in the social or medical fields, you will need a medical examination, which will lengthen the application process.
If you are from outside the UK, you can find out if you qualify for a Working Holiday Visa on the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
When can I start the programme?
You can start the gap year in Australia programme at any time, year-round. Please apply for the programme at least 6-8-weeks before you plan to depart for Australia. We are happy to receive applications much earlier than this.
Do I need vaccinations?
You may need vaccinations, especially if you will be stopping over in another foreign country. Please consult your doctor several weeks before your departure, to see if you need any vaccinations.
Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes, you should definitely get travel insurance to protect yourself during your gap year in Australia. WorldNomads offers flexible travel insurance for short-term and gap-year travellers like yourself. Note that this is only a recommendation. Feel free to search for the travel insurance which is right for you.
What additional costs will I have to pay?
The amount of money you spend in Australia will depend entirely on your personal lifestyle. Aside from the programme price, you should factor in the following expenses:
- Visa application fee
- Accommodation, meals, transportation, personal expenses (£ 30-45 / US$ 50-75 / 35-50 € per day, depending on your lifestyle)
- Travel insurance
- Excursions, etc.
What is the best way to travel in Australia?
Many backpackers travel with relatively cheap long-distance coaches, such as Greyhound, McCaffertey’s, and Oz Experience. We strongly discourage participants from hitch-hiking, which can be dangerous! You can, of course, carpool with other travellers. In most hostels, you can find notice boards, where people post carpooling opportunities. In many cases, you and other travellers can ride along with someone in exchange for splitting up the petrol costs. Many participants also buy a car, which they then sell at the end of their gap year in Australia.
You will need an international driver’s licence in order to drive in Australia.
What luggage should I take with me?
The fundamental rule of backpacking is: You pack it, you carry it. Therefore, it is wise not to bring too much luggage. The most important things you can bring along are a pair of sturdy shoes, sandals, several light pieces of clothing, a pullover, and a thin jacket. If you are travelling during the winter and spring, you will need to bring warm clothing as well. Aside from this, you should bring a sleeping bag and several older pieces of clothing, especially for farm-related work. If you are planning to look for a job in hospitality or in an office, you should also pack some nicer-looking clothing.
What are my next steps?
If you decide to participate in the gap year in Australia programme, just fill out the PDF or online Booking Form. Please note that if you are booking online you will need a credit card (we accept Visa or MasterCard). If you choose the PDF booking form, please print, fill out, and sign the form before faxing it to TravelWorks. As soon as we have received your application, we will process your booking. At this point your application will be legally binding. We will contact you if we need any additional information.
You will receive various application materials by e-mail after you have applied for the programme. These documents need to be completed and returned to TravelWorks.