Working Holiday Oceania, New Zealand, Australia checklist for aspiring ‘working holidayers’. Planning a working holiday abroad? Great news for digital nomads! From 1 January 2017, you can be up to 35 years old for an Australian working holiday visa! Super excited, as this gives more people the chance to experience my favorite part of the world (so far away from home, though… ). Time to do a checklist for aspiring working holidayers, just to make your life easier, and so I can use it as a reference for myself! 

Why do a working holiday? And how.

The simplest reason to work abroad would be to travel longer or to travel when you’re broke. But it’s a popular visa and I love how the country has everything set up to accommodate backpackers and help them find work. When I first visited, I had a regular tourist visa, but I kinda wished I had a working holiday because everybody I met was working and traveling and staying longer than the three months I was allowed. The visa is expensive (≠AUD$400), so only request it if you really want to work (or of course, in case you have enough money and want to stay a year).

Working Holiday checklist

There is one thing you can do before you leave, the other things on this checklist are best done once you’re there because some of them are not possible from abroad. To find a job quicker, it’s best to create a beautiful CV when you’re at home, print a few out, and just bring them with you.

  1. Create a beautiful CV. This is easy with a resume template, I like these ones from Etsy.
  2. Apply for a tax file number. To work legally, you have to apply for a tax file number, so do this immediately. You can read more and apply at The Australian Taxation Office website. There are 2 ways for you to apply for your tax return:
    • E-tax. Your can apply for your tax return online at Online tax return applications usually take 14 days.
    • This is a paper application that can be downloaded from Once you have completed the forms you can send them back to the address at the top of the form. This means a tax return can take longer.
  3. Open a bank account. Of course, if you want to make some money, make this a priority. You can do this from home, but I’d prefer an errand day and add this step to the to-do list. Make sure you pick one of the most popular banks, to make it easy for you and to pay less… you will likely be charged when you use an ATM from another bank. The popular banks are Commonwealth, Westpac, and ANZ. Oh, and you’ll probably pay a monthly fee for banking too. If you want to avoid paying the monthly fee, get a debit account at NAB, as it’s 100% free.
  4. An Australian mobile sim card. Yes, this is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you plan a long stay abroad, but yes, to find a job, you need a number so companies can call you. Bring your own sim lock free phone, and you can get a cheap sim card (from $5). You can easily compare Australian sim cards and Australian mobile phone plans on this site.
  5. Medicare Card. If you are visiting Australia from certain overseas countries, under Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with Australia you are entitled to some subsidized health services. As a resident of one of these countries, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy, you are entitled to the following health or injury treatments while you are in Australia:
    • free treatment as a public in-patient or out-patient in a public hospital
    • subsidized medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
    • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital treatment provided by a doctor

    Residents of the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand are entitled to:

    • services as a public patient in a public hospital (including outpatient services) for medically necessary treatment medicines available on prescription which are subsidized under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate

    What’s not covered?

    Many treatments are not covered, including that not considered immediately necessary:

    • Medicines not subsidized under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
    • Dental work and allied health services
    • Treatment arranged before your visit to Australia
    • Accommodation and medical treatment in a private hospital
    • Accommodation and medical treatment as a private patient in a public hospital.

    That’s why you always should get a proper travel insurance like Worldnomads. Nobody wants to think about all the things that might go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers to cover your trip essentials. Even if you run out of travel insurance or leave without it, World Nomads can cover you.

    More info about a medicare here.

    Medicare Service Centres in:

    1. Melbourne CBD: 
      Shop E17 Elizabeth Street Level
      Galleria Shopping Plaza
      385 Bourke Street
      Melbourne VIC 3000
    2. Melbourne CBD:
      617 Victoria Street
      Abbotsford VIC 3067
    3. Sydney CBD: 
      Shop 1 Opposite the MLC Centre
      32-36 Martin Place
      Sydney NSW 2000
    4. Sydney Bondi Junction: 
      19-23 Hollywood Avenue
      Bondi Junction NSW 2022
    5. Brisbane: 
      Entrance next to Albert Street Uniting Church
      Suncorp Plaza
      opposite King George Square
      Brisbane QLD 4000
    6. Perth: 
      Shop 15 Opposite Central Park
      Wesley Quarter
      770 Hay Street
      Perth WA 6000
  6. Get an Australian address: You need an Australian address to receive your medicare card, set up your bank account and tax file number. You can stay in a hostel for at least a month and wait (while you cannot work), or you could ‘buy’ an Australian address. This company does Mail Holding & Forwarding Services for backpackers. For only $75 for 12-months, they will hold your mail for you to collect or scan it to a secure online account. This way you can access your mail anywhere and anytime. Easy! That’s kinda nice, but it’s still $75… The free option to receive your documents to get started? Talk to couch surfers or volunteer via (for example) sites like Workaway. Ask if you can use their address to receive your mail, and stay for free (in exchange for work).

I’ll write more posts for the Working Holiday Guide: working holidays in Australia and New Zealand soon!

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