1. Visa application: It is best to apply directly through the Australian Bureau website for a travel visa as you won’t incur any extra charges, unlike using a third party company. However, the visa application process takes a long time due to the vast amount of people using this government website and can be painfully slow when uploading required information. There are various visas to choose from, see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder for the full list of options.
For a one year working holiday, the current cost is $485 AUD (£265), this has increased slightly over the past few years and now price matches a second year visa. In order to apply for a second year, travellers must take part in 88 days or 12 consecutive weeks of regional work whilst in their first year. See: https://getcrackingstartpacking.travel.blog/2020/06/27/farm-work-isnt-for-everyone/ for my honest opinion on regional work in Australia and New Zealand. Australia has also now introduced a third year visa but travellers must complete 6 full months of farm work – easier said than done.
2. Healthcare access: Medicare is the government body which covers the public healthcare system within Australia and can be utilised by certain passport holders in order to gain free healthcare. UK passport holders are able to gain access to free doctors appointments from either private or bulk-bill medical centres and free treatment within a public hospital with Medicare.
Medicare centres are dotted all around the country and travellers can visit these centres in order to apply for a Medicare card, which they will need to show every time they head to the doctors. I’d advise going to the centre early in the day, as the queue tends to be huge and can take a few hours before you will be seen. Alternatively, you can be one step ahead by filling in the online form at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/forms/ms004 Certain nationalities will also receive free treatment in hospitals if they show their passport on arrival. See: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/health/reciprocal-health for a list on which nationalities are covered by reciprocal healthcare.
3. Facebook groups: These are super handy! Most backpackers will head straight into a hostel on arrival in Australia and whilst these are fantastic for their social aspect, they can get tedious once you have a full time job. Somehow, I managed to spend over a year living in a hostel in Kings Cross, Sydney but for those looking for something more private, Facebook groups are the way to go! A particular favourite in Sydney is ‘Irish around Sydney.’ Despite the name, this all-inclusive group has a constant stream of room advertisements, as well useful tit-bits like spare event tickets and furniture for sale. It might be worth looking into a group before heading to Australia, if you want to get an idea of what type of accommodation is normally advertised.
Keep an eye out for more upcoming content on my blog all about Sydney’s best bars, cheap eats and fun attractions!