A little bit of research about Australia's geography can go a long way when planning your trip. The weather patterns in Australia can make all the difference to your plans! The monsoon (wet season) for example, can make travel dangerous in the summer months up in northern Australia. In this section you can learn about the weather patterns, states and major cities of Australia.
When you go backpacking around Australia, it's important to have somebody you can trust at home to help you out when you need to get things done. This will be your appointed person and they will be helping you manage your trip when you're in Australia. Learn how to keep everything in order while your backpacking around Australia.
When you're backpacking around Australia on a budget the hostels are an ideal place to stay. Hostels cater for backpackers who are looking for a temporary base whilst exploring the awesomeness of Australia. Learn about hostel life in Australia and some great tips on where to stay.
Primarily the Medicare system (similar to N.H.S in the U.K) is for Australian citizens, but if you're from a country which participates in the reciprocal health care agreement you may be eligible to join Medicare and gain 'immediate access' to the services they provide. If you're eligble, this is well worth the effort and can be of considerable value if you're backpacking in Australia for longer periods.
Read our helpful backpacking checklist and get lots of hints/tips about what to pack before you go to Australia. Learn about choosing the right backpack, what essentials you will need to take with you and how to travel light when you need to.
When you're backpacking around Australia anything can happen and you'll need travel insurance to protect yourself in case of an emergency. No matter how much time you spend in Australia (or anywhere else abroad), travel insurance is a major priority when you're planning your trip.
It's important to learn a little bit about travel safety in Australia for you and the people you are travelling with. In this article we discuss travel safety ideas for backpackers in Australia and outline some helpful hints & tips for staying safe on holiday.
There are some really good visas available for backpacking in Australia. They vary in price and each visa has a set of criteria to meet before a visa is granted. The working holiday visa is very popular because you can travel and work in Australia for 12 months. In this article we share which visas are available, how to apply and how to extend the working holiday visa for an extra year.
The criteria is a list of requirements the Australian Government places on each visa which is a points based system used (by them) to evaluate your circumstances. This can include restrictions on age, occupation, available funds, languages spoken, health considerations etc...
Most people these days apply for their visa online at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website or use an agent to make sure the application is made correctly for a small fee. You can still apply by post but this makes the whole process take considerably longer.
The visa you choose depends on what you want to do when you go i.e, holiday, study, work (maybe even all three) and the amount of time you want to stay. Here are some of the more common visas people apply for when visiting Australia.
Tourist Visas - These non-working visas are for people who wish to stay anywhere in Australia on holiday, visiting family/friends, sight seeing etc... from short term (up to 3 months) to long term (up to 12 months).
Working Holiday Visa - This popular visa allows you to travel and work anywhere in Australia for up to 12 months from the date you enter the country. It's available to citizens of all countries participating in the Working Holiday Program.
Working Holiday Visa Extension - For people who wish to extend their first Working Holiday Visa for an extra 12 months. To do this you need to have worked for 3 months (88 days) in any of the 'specified industries' in 'regional Australia' within your first Working Holiday Visa period.
Tourist visas are for going to Australia on holiday, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. There are a various tourist visas available depending on your intended length of stay and country of origin. Here you can read a description of each visa and follow the links for the full details from the Australian Immigration website.
A temporary visa allowing a stay in Australia of up to 3 or 6 or 12 months. Applicants can apply from both outside and inside Australia. Some tourists are eligible to lodge an online application for an e676 Tourist visa. This visa allows people to visit Australia for holiday or recreation, or to visit family and/or friends. This visa may also be used for other short-term non-work purposes including study for less than three months.
This visa is available to all passport holders who are:
outside Australia and want to apply for a visa to visit Australia
inside Australia and want to extend their stay as a visitor.
You may be required to pay a visa application charge (around $110AUD), this charge is usually not refunded if your application is unsuccessful. Read more about this visa (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/676).
Certain tourists are also eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or an eVisitor (see below).
With this option you can stay for up to three months on each visit within the validity of the visa. The ETA is valid for 12 months from the date of grant, or for the life of the passport if the passport expires less than 12 months from the date the ETA was granted. It's designed for people who are outside Australia and want to visit Australia for holidays, tourism, recreation or for informal study. There is no visa application charge however a service charge of $20 does apply. Read more about this visa (lhttp://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/976).
The Working Holiday Visa allows you to travel and work anywhere in Australia for up to 12 months from the date you enter the country. You can also study for up to 4 months within the 12 month validity period.
You may leave and re-enter the country as many times as you like within this period (which is good for those of you who wish to include New Zealand into your trip).
It will cost you around $270AUD and you must start your visit within 12 months from the time it has been granted.
One of the great things about this visa is that it offers the opportunity for people to extend their stay for an extra 12 months by working in the 'specified industries' for a minimum of 3 months (88 days) in rural Australia (see Working Holiday Visa Extension).
The Working Holiday Visa is only available to passport holders from the countries/regions which have participated in the program.
The full criteria and most up to date details for this visa can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration website (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417).
This visa is worth consideration early as it offers a fantastic opportunity to stay for upto another 12 months! If you find after you arrive that you would like to stay in Australia it's advisable to get to know the terms of this visa and complete the work requirements in good time before your existing visa runs out.
To apply for your second Working Holiday Visa you have to complete 3 months (88 days) of specified work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday Visa (there is no requirement to do further specified work on the second visa). To be eligible you must meet a number of requirements and you may apply either while you're still in Australia before your first Working Holiday Visa ceases or at a later date from outside the country.
The full criteria and most up to date details for this visa can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration website (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/eligibility-second.htm)
Specified work is any type of work that is undertaken in a field or industry 'specified' by the Australian government. Regional Australia refers to allocated areas of Australia which qualify for the scheme usually in the more rural parts of the country. Some entire states count as regional Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
On the Australian Immigration website you can find a complete list of the 'specified industries' (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/specified-work.htm) and a page with all the regional area/postcode data (http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417/postcodes.htm).
If you're unsure of making an application by yourself and would like professional help, there are lots of companies (migration agents) which, for a small fee, will lodge an application on your behalf. This can be very useful indeed to make sure things run smoothly. You can find these companies everywhere, online or at the travel agents etc...
One company which is very reliable is the Australian Visa Bureau. They have made the whole process very quick and easy to do. They are also registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (M.A.R.A) and the Migration Institute of Australia (M.I.A). To apply for a visa with them go to the Australian Visa Bureau website.
Learn how to set up an Australian Bank Account and transferring your money to Australia, see how to create a financial contingency plan for emergency situations and find some helpful tips on budgeting.
If you have a driving license and you intend to drive during your trip you will need to take it with you. If you won't be driving in Australia remember it's still a good solid form of identification to take for proof.
The good thing for people on a Temporary Working visa is that you can make a claim for all of the employment tax you have paid when you leave the country.
For calling international numbers (i.e, contacting people at home) a phone card/ticket will often provide you with the best rates. Learn how to call home with low calling costs when you need to.
Read part 2 of the travel safety for backpackers guide. More on staying safe in the city and some essential information for planning a road trip into the outback.
The seasons can affect the timing of your travel plans. This section will cover some of the more fundamental aspects of Australia's geography and other helpful tips for travelling.
There are some jobs in Australia which require you to attend a basic introductory course. These courses are usually quite short and are meant to give you the necessary certificates needed to start work.
There are lots of train services in Australia. You have the trains/trams that go through the cities/suburbs, those which traverse the coasts and the interstate trains that travel vast distances across the country.
For anybody who would like to share their journey and experiences with the people at home a 'blog' is the perfect medium. The savvy traveller will use the blog like their own personal newspaper.