Australia working holiday: My first week has taught me..

travel guide philip island australia

This time last week me and my friend landed in Melbourne, excited but overwhelmed after a solid 24 hours travelling, and with nothing other than our Australian working holiday visas and potentially a years worth of clothes stuffed into our backpacks.

I had been talking about my working holiday in Australia for a while now but the reality that I was really doing it didn’t actually hit me until I got out of the airport a long way from home.

I’m a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person so that meant that my Australian working holiday plans extended as far as: ‘I’ll fly to Melbourne’. It wasn’t surprising as the taxi drove into the city and I saw Melbourne’s skyline for the first time, imposing and grand, that the scale of what I was doing hit me and I thought, ‘wow I’m here, but what do I do now?’

The thing is I had no idea what I actually wanted to do next. Travel the country and work of course but in what order? After a few days exploring Melbourne I decided this is the kind of city I could stay in for a while so I started to look for jobs. I was lucky enough to get a digital marketing internship for a couple of days, however I’m still looking for paid work so I guess I’ll just have to see and yes, I’m still living in a hostel.

Either way after one week I have discovered that an Australian Working holiday is a trip like no other: You travel differently, you live differently and you don’t always have that sense of complete freedom that you get from a lot of trips, primarily because you’ll probably end up having to get work. So while I am definitely nowhere near having it all worked out, and not at all a seasoned working holidayer yet, the last few days in Melbourne have already taught me a hell of a lot. Here are a few things that I’ve learnt from my first week of my working holiday.

1. Melbourne is amazing

I decided to fly into Melbourne because everyone who I’d spoken to loved it. Turns out they’re all right, it’s fab. It’s actually hard to pin point what makes it a great city but it’s some combination of good food, so many green spaces, great public transport, a ton of things to do and lots of coffee, seriously good coffee.

2. The weather is changeable

Any local will tell you one thing about the weather: Melbourne can have all four seasons in one day. Don’t assume because it’s an Australian city it’s always hot: Yesterday I was getting sunburnt at the beach, today I’m huddling up inside from the rain: Don’t forget to pack your jumper.

3. You’ll probably need to work if you want to stay a year

Australia is expensive and unless I only want to stay a month or so, I’ll have to work. The great thing about the working holiday is that once you start working, the ridiculously high wages actually balance out the living costs meaning that I’ll be able to enjoy eating out and maybe even save some money for home in the process: Now I just need to actually find a job.

4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have it all sorted

When I arrived in Melbourne and everyone in the hostel seemed to be applying for jobs, it was way to easy to stress myself out with ‘I need a job,  I need to hand out CVs, I need a proper place to live, now’. It’s important to remember that not everyone is in the same boat and there’s no urgency. I’ve worked at home to afford this so I don’t need to put pressure on myself to work straight away, It’s ok  if I want to do the holiday bit first too.

5. Don’t compare a working holiday to other backpacking trips

For anyone that’s gone backpacking before, I would stress to not compare this to any other trips. My first week in Australia has been entirely different from my first week in say, Asia where I was carefree, everything was cheap and the possibility for hostel nights out were endless. In Melbourne it’s a little different: The hostels are less party focused, you’ll cook your own food, you’ll walk around handing out CVs and running errands. Sure at times you might miss your carefree hammock days in Thailand’s but you’ll have those too and  Australia is its whole unique and crazy adventure in itself.

6.You can enhance your career over here

One of the biggest debates I had with myself was whether I should stay at home and get a proper job or go travelling again. Turns out I can do both. In fact the work part of your holiday can be so much more than just fruit picking and cafe work and there’s no reason you can’t get a job over here related to your degree or interests. I’ve managed to get a fantastic Digital Marketing internship so now I’m building my CV and travelling at the same time.

7. Sometimes you will resent having to work

I love my internship and the people there so much but after a day coming back from the office, hearing about other people’s adventures can make me feel a little jealous regardless. Like I said, the ‘work’ part of the working holiday is kind of non negotiable if you want to spend a while here though.

8.You are not alone

For anyone flying to Australia to start their working holiday, you’ll probably feel really overwhelmed at the thought of it however the important thing to remember about doing a working holiday is that you’re not in it alone. From road trips, to flat-shares and job hunting, you will meet countless backpackers in exactly the same situation of you. Sure it’s one hell of a big country but it has more than its fair share of working holidayers there too.

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