‘But why Melbourne?’
That’s the question most people ask me when I tell them I’m going to start my Australian Working holiday in the Southern Australian city this week. The truth is I don’t have an answer. Deciding to (hopefully) work in Melbourne is as totally random a decision as it was to go to Australia in the first place.
This summer I was in a slump when it came to deciding what I wanted to do next. I decided that I really wanted to avoid the cold weather during winter in the UK this year but I wanted to do something a little different from just travelling.
I’d been playing around with the idea of doing an Australian Working Holiday for a while so when my friend that I’d met travelling in Vietnam said she was doing just that, I didn’t think twice about booking my flight.
What an Australian working holiday visa?
An Australian Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa is something that 18-30 year olds from eligible countries like the UK are able to get. It doesn’t come cheap, costing around £350 but once granted the holder is able to work anywhere in Australia for one year. It can then also be extended for a further year in certain cases.
Australia appeals to me for a lot of reasons, the main one being that when we enter the cold and bitter months of winter, they enter summer which strategically seems a very good way to maintain a year round tan. Secondly Australia is known for its coffee shops and you know how much I love my Flat Whites. Coffee and sunshine coupled with insane beaches and cool Australians pretty much ticks all the boxes for me.
Of course, moving to a city on the other side of the world with no job secured, no idea of where I’ll stay, how long I’ll be there, with no concept of if I’ve got enough money, if I’ll like it or what I’m actually going to do when you get there is a little unsettling: Bloody exciting though.
As I start to prepare for my next adventure, my overwhelming feeling is excitement but sure there is some uncertainty regarding the unknown. So here are 10 things I’m worried about for my working holiday and more importantly here’s why I’m going anyway.
- The Long flight
Now I don’t mind long haul flights however spending an entire day on a plane is definitely going to pose its challenges. Because of the distance, I’m not able to fly direct and will be changing in Abu Dhabi which just adds to the stress with multiple takeoffs, possible delays and baggage mishaps. On the plus side it’s a great excuse to watch some movies, eat and nap for 24 hours.
2. The wildlife
I’m not a fan of the tiny house spiders we have here in the UK so I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with the potentially life threatening spiders, snakes, sharks and all other kind of animals that they have in Australia.
3.Missing people at home
Going from seeing my friends and family almost every day this summer to not seeing them at all is going to be a HUGE adjustment. For all you guys, FaceTime attendance is mandatory.
4.Not finding a job
I have invested quite a lot of money in buying my Australian Working holiday visa so I’m anxious to make sure that I put it to good use. Unlike my previous trips in Asia and Central America, in Australia a nights accommodation cannot be bought for the price of a Tesco meal deal. It’s more expensive there than at home and unless I want to cut my trip considerably short, I’m going to need to get some sort of income.
5. The prospect of living in a hostel long-term
I have no idea where I’m going to stay in Melbourne. While me and my friend have booked a hostel in Melbourne for the first few days so that we can meet people and get things sorted out, the prospect of living in a hostel in the long-term is not something I’m too keen on.
I know some people rent apartments or rooms for their working holidays so I’ll keep you updated on what I’m doing on here.
6. Not knowing what clothes to pack
I know it’s a bit naive, but it didn’t really occur to me that an Australian winter could actually be cold: I just thought it meant that it was a bit less hot. It seems that my decision to pick Melbourne has inadvertently meant I’ll be arriving in the city while temperatures are around 15’C which now means I have to cram bulky warm clothing into my rucksack alongside everything else.
7. A hot christmas
I was always one of those people who said I could never go somewhere warm for christmas. As much as I dislike winter, I make an exception for the whole of December because I love the whole huddling inside with hot mulled wine, spending hours indoors baking gingerbread and freezing my hands off walking home with the christmas tree. I’m really intrigued to see what an Australian Christmas will be like where crisp cool walks are replaced with BBQs on the beach but I’m also a little worried that it just won’t feel right.
8.Not being able to drive
Australia is one HUGE country and I want to see as much of it as possible while I’m there. One impression that I’ve got from reading forums online is that it’s so much easier and fun to see it with a car. As I’m unable to drive this is something I won’t be able to do. The driving situation is a problem that I’ve encountered on may trips before but I’ve usually been able to get around it with other forms of transport or hitching up with someone else who can drive so I’m hoping that this trip won’t be any different. I’ll be posting about how I got around the country without a driving license on this blog.
9.Balancing travel with work
The ‘work’ part is usually the bit that gets forgotten when you talk about a working holiday. I’ve worked flat-out this summer to be able to afford this trip in the first place and something that I’m really worried about is doing exactly the same over there.
I’m anxious to make sure I strike some balance between getting money and exploring the country. It’s also really important for me that I find some kind of work or work experience that gives me something beneficial for my CV because making sure I continue to be appealing to future employers is important to me.
10. Not being able to get good tea
OBVIOUSLY I will be bringing a few packs of English breakfast tea with me but do you guys have good tea out there too?
So that’s a lot of worries for one small blog post right? I just wanted to write a few of these down in anticipation of my travels because I think these are all quite common concerns for a trip like this.
Since going on my first solo backpacking trip this time last year one thing that I’ve learnt is that it’s important to tackle these things one step at a time. Looking at a trip overall is scary but breaking it down into stages like: Get to the airport, find my hostel, get this train, makes it so much more manageable.
For anyone else like me going on a working holiday in Australia it can seem so overwhelming but its important to remember that while you will undoubtedly come across challenges and have your concerns, a trip like this is no different from any other. So as I prepare to leave for my adventure, I’m ready to tackle each one of my concerns a step at the time in the knowledge that for every worry and ‘why not’ I might have, there’s a thousand more ‘reasons why’ for each one of them.
Looking forward to sharing my next adventure with you guys.
My brother is currently doing a gap year in Australia and whilst he is loving it, it has not come without its problems! You just have to stay calm and think rationally. I think it is a great opportunity though. I don’t know if it is possible to take your driving test before you go but some places offer an intense 1-2 week driving course to pass – but I understand driving lessons are very expensive and you are probably trying to save money for your trip. I look forward to reading about your adventures. xx
Hey Hannah, so cool to hear about your brother and his year in Australia, it really is such an exciting opportunity. Yeah I sadly didn’t get to do my driving lessons before I went but it’s definitely something I’ll do when I’m back. So pleased you liked the blog xx
I’m from Australia (currently in Melbourne) and I always find these types of posts very interesting! The wildlife is nowhere near as bad as people think, and Melbourne is probably the ‘safest’ in terms of being ‘exposed’ to wildlife. It’s also interesting that you mentioned not being able to find good tea… I’d love to know if you think you have or haven’t found good tea!