Australia is well known for being one of the best countries in the world to load up your pack and have a year or two of unforgettable adventures. Backpackers have been coming here for decades and for very good reason. Australia is extremely well set up for backpackers and often the first place novice backpackers head to. From favourable visa options to clean, cheap accommodation, plenty of casual job opportunities and, of course, just a few amazing natural wonders. Backpacking in Australia all but stopped during Covid but backpackers are returning in their thousands. Thinking of heading Down Under but don’t know where to start planning? Your backpacking in Australia travel guide is here!
Which visa is right for your backpacking trip in Australia
First things, first. You need to be able to legally enter the country. Luckily Australia offers a popular Working Holiday Visa (WHV) option. The WHV allows eligible travellers to stay and work in Australia for one year, with the option to extend by another year – with conditions. The visa costs $510 and is open to people aged between 18-30 from certain countries. Check out more details here. If you don’t need to work to fund your trip, you can stay as a tourist for up to 3 months. The Australian Immigration website has all the details. Just make sure you secure your visa before booking your flights.
Australia is big – plan ahead
If you’ve never visited Australia before it’s hard to imagine just how big a place it is. Distances are huge. The ever popular Sydney to Cairns east coast trip takes a whopping 27 hours! That’s nearly 2,500kms. How much you see will depend on how much time you have, how much money you want to spend and just how well you plan your itinerary. Melbourne and Sydney are huge draws for backpackers, from the city sights (hello Sydney Opera House) to the opportunities for work. The Northern Territory has Uluru and a ton of other iconic sights but is a very long way from Melbourne, for example.
Transport options are varied. The ever popular bus option has routes which cross the country and are generally well connected. Internal flights can be a good option to cover a lot of ground quickly, but can be expensive. Hiring or even buying your own car (with a view to selling it further down the road) is also a good option. It’s best to start with a rough itinerary of where you want to head that fits your time and budget, and allow some wiggle room.
Finding work and funding your travels
Most backpackers will need to earn some dollars along the way. Australia is by no means the cheapest country in the world to be a backpacker, which is worth remembering. Look for work online on sites like LinkedIn, and on notice boards in hostels and other accommodation. Chat with other travellers and keep your eye out for job opportunities wherever you travel. Casual positions are pretty plentiful these days, especially since Covid. Hospitality is one industry desperate for workers so restaurants and bars can be a good place to start. Budget around 70 AUD per day to cover accommodation and living costs.
Join a tour and meet other backpackers
One of the best ways to backpack in Australia, meet other backpackers and get the low down on all the best off the beaten track destinations is to chat with people that have already done it all! Joining a tour can not only mean you get to learn more about the place you’re spending time in, but you get to hang out with like minded folks who are also on the adventure of a lifetime. Some of the best friendships come out of shared experiences.
Backpacking in Australia is fun, easy and as popular as its ever been. From the Great Barrier Reef to epic national parks, Uluru, stunning wildlife and tropical beaches. You could easily spend a year here and still want more time. Secure your visa, start planning and don’t look back!