Arriving in Australia: Step-by-Step To Do List.

Arriving in Australia: Step-by-Step To Do List.

Here's what we did within the first month of getting to Australia. Being organized has saved us a lot of stress!

And by the things we did, we don't mean the fun stuff, we mean the boring administrative stuff that is a necessary evil, if you intend to travel using a working holiday visa.

Below are some essential tips for what to do once you get to Australia, and want to become a fully-fledged working holiday maker!


1. Keep hydrated on the plane, and don't over-eat. Australia does have food. Or you might end up throwing up on your first day in Australia (like I did).

2. Get your bags and head off to your first hostel (or Airbnb or Couchsurf)!

  • We recommend pre-booking your first hostel before you leave your home country, so there's minimal stress and the definite promise of a bed at the end of the long flight.

3. If you are a heavy mobile-phone user, be that taking Instagram's 5 times a day or sending a reassuring Whatsapp to mum and dad, it's worth unlocking your phone from it's network in your home-country before getting to Oz.

  • This allows you to then purchase a SIM Card and phone number when in Australia. Make sure your phone's SIM facility is easily accessible before you buy one.
  • Most phones today take a MICRO-SIM (newer Iphone's take a nano-sim, fancy). 
  • With many OZ SIM plans you can get a decent amount of data for around $30. It's worth doing research before you leave if your phone is important to you even when travelling. 
  • We use AMAYSIM, which is about $10 to purchase at most places and lasts me a few weeks with a $10 top-up, which you can do online or in a store. This is useful if you make friends in Oz that you want to phone/text, or if you are looking for work etc. You can't always get by on just having wifi.

4. Head to a bank to arrange opening an Australian bank account! 

  • You can open some bank accounts online whilst in Australia, or in the UK. We bank with NAB, and they invite you into a branch for a quick meeting and give you a cash-card there and then for making withdrawals. Their account is totally free.
  • Remember you can use your cash card for EFTPOS, which is a way of paying in most shops and also allows for cash-back. 
  • Cash-points in Australia usually charge you, unless you use the one belonging to your bank.

5. Apply for Medicare.

  • Medicare is the health-care system over here.
  • If you are from certain countries, these will already have a reciprocal health-care agreement with Oz, which allows for free or cheaper health-care. But you still need to apply for the Medicare card.
  • You have to find a Medicare branch, take along your passport and visa letter, and it's simple from then on!
  • Pre-arrange a post office or a person you know and trust in Australia to handle your post. We had bank stuff sent to my cousin and we used a local post office to receive the Medicare card. These can take up to 10 days to arrive, sometimes longer.

6. Apply for your TFN.

  • Tax, such a fun thing, definitely not likely to be on your mind if you have just left behind the world of work to travel. But you need one to work in Australia, full stop. 
  • You can apply online, and these can take up to 28 days to arrive, but usually take less. Keep it safe and private!
  • Want to know more about working in Australia? Read our Guide to Knowing Your Employment Rights!

7. Join some websites/apps that will help make your travel cheaper.

  • We are on AirBnB, Trusted House Sitters, Couchsufers and HelpX, which helps us get cheap or free accommodation, and work for accommodation.
  • Gumtree will be your friend when it comes to job-searches, as well as Seek and Indeed.com which pulls all online job adverts from the area you are staying.

8. Begin a spending diary.

  • Detail your daily expenditures and keep an eye on your spending.
  • Things can be confusing and busy when your travelling and so its helpful to be able to see where you funds are going.

There are probably many more useful things other traveller's have done upon arriving, if so, let us know in the comments!


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Thanks for reading!

Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!

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