working holiday visa 2

The Definitive Guide: Moving to Australia for a Year Part 2 of 2

working holiday visa 2Ever since I moved to Melbourne in March, I’ve been inundated by emails and comments asking how to move to Australia for a year. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but wanted to make sure that I’d experienced enough of Australia to give you the best information first. 

Once I started writing this post I realised that it was going to be a long one. Check out Part 1 here.

If you are thinking of moving to Australia for a year, then here’s part 2 of the definitive guide on how to make it possible.

When you arrive:

Belgrave Dandenong 10– Tax File Number (TFN)

In order to legally work in Australia, you have to have a TFN number. You can apply online and it will take around 28 days to process. Most jobs will let you start work without it and you have a 28 day grace period before you start getting charged 50% tax.

You will need an Australian address to complete the application. I just used my hostel’s address. Your TFN will be sent through the post but don’t worry if you have no permanent address as you can ring up to check the status of your application and get your TFN over the phone.

Find out more here.

Gaplife month 4 6– Jobs

How you go about getting a job completely depends on what your looking for and your experience back home.

As I had office experience, I signed up with a few temp agencies which worked out great. Contact agencies as soon as you touch down in Oz. They will set up a meeting with you and then start looking for work straight away. If you’re in Melbourne or Sydney, I’d recommend Interstaffing.

For cafe work, handing in your CV face-to-face or searching Gumtree is usually best. A lot of this work is cash in hand so will save you from having to work out the complicated tax-related issues.

Bar work can be tricky as you will have to complete an Responsible Sale of Alcohol (RSA) course. This course is only valid for the state you are in as all have different alcohol laws. The courses are easy, take a day and cost around £25.

The same goes for laboring. If you have any laboring experience then definitely make use of it in Oz as the pay is INSANE, but first up you will have to get a White Card. Again, this consists of a short and easy course which will enable you to work on building sites throughout the state.

For farm work, hit up Harvest Trail or Gumtree for work in your local area.

Melbourne First Impressions 4– Phone

You will need to get a new sim card and an Australian number. If you are staying in the city then chose Vodafone for cheap tariffs and free calls home. If you are travelling chose Telstra for the best network coverage.

Melbourne First Impressions 8– Long term accommodation

If you are a solo traveller then long term hostels are probably a great shout for you. Most people are working like you so you can get some shut-eye at night, you meet new people and there’s always something going on. You can get cheaper deals if you book weeks or months in one go.

If you want some privacy then look into getting a house-share. You usually get your own room or can opt to share for a cheaper deal. Check out Gumtree, Facebook groups or Flat Mates for vacancies.

Double and triple-check any contracts you sign and be wary of handing over large bonds.

Free Things to do in Melbourne 5– Extending your Visa

It’s almost guaranteed that you will fall head over heels for Australia. Luckily for us, we are able to extend the Working Holiday Visa for another year.

Unfortunately, we have to work for it. If you are even slightly considering the second year extension then get on to your farm work as soon as you can. We have to complete 88 days of agricultural work in order to apply for a second year.

A lot of Aussie farmers know that us British folk are desperate to extend our time here and can rip you off with rubbish wages or threats to not sign your paperwork. Take your time to consider your farm work options and choose a farm which will treat you right.

Look at Harvest Trail to see what work is in season and make sure you leave enough time to complete it!

If you’re lucky and are working in a job you enjoy then you may be able to get sponsorship. This is a long-winded process so, again, make sure you leave plenty of time to complete it. Chat with your employer and see if this could be an option for you.

Gaplife Month Two 5– Tax Rebate/Super Annuation Rebate

Before you leave Australia, make sure you have claimed back all your tax and your Super Annuation (their equivalent to a pension). The Australian tax year ends in June so make sure you keep all your paperwork and make a claim.

Unlike the British system, this can all be done online and crediting back to your account within 21 days (UK TAKE NOTE!).

Find out more here.

That completes my definitive Guide: Moving To Australia for a year. If you have any further questions then please let me know.

Have you done the working holiday visa? Anything you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages.


working holiday 1

The Definitive Guide: Moving to Australia for a Year Part 1 of 2

working holiday 1Ever since I moved to Melbourne in March, I’ve been inundated by emails and comments asking how to move to Australia for a year. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but wanted to make sure that I’d experienced enough of Australia to give you the best information first. 

Once I started writing this post I realised that it was going to be a long one. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming your way soon.

if you are thinking of moving to Australia for a year, then here’s part 1 of the definitive guide on how to make it possible.

Before you go:

tips for nervous flyers 5– Visa

Obviously the most important thing! Brits aged 18-30 can apply for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).

The visa costs around £220 and is generally granted within 72 hours, although it pays to be organised and apply for the visa at least 28 days prior just in case there is any issues.

One of the prerequisites of the visa is that you enter the country with at least £2500 to your name. From my experience, this isn’t enforced.

Of course it would be nice to start your year in Oz with a healthy bank balance, but if you don’t have that much cash don’t fret. They are unlikely to ever check.

For more information about the Working Holiday Visa, visit the government website here.

Gaplife month 4 1– Insurance

Get yourself some decent travel insurance. Health care isn’t always free in Oz so make sure you are covered as you would be for your normal travels.

– Tax

Make sure you have got all your tax back from your job in the UK. As you are leaving the UK you need to fill in the P85 form. Get this organised and completed as early as possible. This cash injection will be so needed when you get to Oz and I’m still waiting on mine more than 6 months after applying…

Find out more here.

Winter in Melbourne 4– Choose an area

It’s all well and good doing the boring admin stuff but now for the fun bit! You will need to choose where to live.

Do you want the beaches of Perth? The glamour of Sydney? To live in culture-capital Melbourne? Or join a commune in Byron Bay?

Google, Google, Google. See where the job opportunities are, check out the cost of living and make sure the lifestyle suits you.

I’d tell anyone to make the move to Melbourne, but hey I’m biased…

Choose Melbourne 1– Banking

Save the fees on your British bank card and set up an Australian bank account before you leave. You want to choose a bank that is used nationwide, otherwise you will incur charges for withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM.

I’d recommend Commonwealth Bank as you can set up an account and collect your card from a local branch the very first day you arrive.

Sign up here.

Free Things to do in Melbourne 4– Contacts

Do you have any family, friends or friends of friends living in Australia? Get their numbers, add them on Facebook and get chin-wagging.

Any contact is valuable and I’ve noticed that everyone is happy to help when you’re stranded on the other side of the globe. Contacts can be great for general Oz knowledge, work opportunities or to help show you around.

Belgrave Dandenong 16– Accommodation

Always book accommodation before you arrive in Australia. Whether it be an Air BnB, hostel or hotel, you will want somewhere to crash as soon as you step off the plane.

If you are arriving to an Australian summer make sure you book at least a couple of weeks in advance. Good hostels can get booked up fast so make sure you are prepared.

Don’t worry too much about long term accommodation, we will get to that in part 2.

So that’s what you will need to do before you reach Australia. Part 2, What you have to do once you arrive, will be up shortly.

Have you done the working holiday visa? Anything you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages.


Move Abroad 1

17 Things That Happen When You Move Abroad

Move Abroad 1Some strange things have been happening to me since I’ve moved abroad. It’s changed the way I think, the way I look at the world and even how I speak! Can you relate to any of these?

  • You will become more like your national stereotype
  • Everyone will love your British accent – exploit it!
  • You might start to develop an accent
  • For the first few months you will feel guilty about having a lazy day, there’s just so much to explore!
  • WhatsApp will become a lifeline
  • You will hunt down the closest supermarket that sells marmite
  • Everyone will ask about your thoughts on the Royal Family
  • You become more patriotic than you’ve ever been before
  • You constantly scroll through BBC News to keep up with what’s going on at home
  • You start picking up the local slang
  • You get used to the local weather and react as the locals do (i.e- complaining about the cold when it’s 17 degrees or shrugging off massive hail which smashes car windscreens)
  • You always know the time difference at home
  • The local wildlife doesn’t faze you anymore (Oh, another possum or rainbow parrot? Meh.)
  • You get hooked on a local tv series (hello Masterchef Australia…)
  • You can pick out an English accent from a mile off
  • You realise that people aren’t so different after all
  • You adopt your new home as your own

Do you have anything to add to the list? Let me know via my social media pages or in the comments below!

How much does it really cost to live in Australia

How Much Does it Really Cost to Live in Australia?

How much does it really cost to live in AustraliaWhen we told people we were moving to Australia one of the first questions we were asked is, ‘but isn’t it expensive?’

True, back in my ‘gap yah’ days, I saw a banana in Sydney which cost £10. For a single banana. But what about now?

How much does it really cost to live in Australia?

We came to Australia on a very tight budget. We were expecting everything to be crazily expensive.

But this wasn’t always the case.

Here’s a lowdown on how much you should expect to shell out for everyday essentials when you live in Australia.

All prices typical for Melbourne CBD.

Queen Victoria Market 9Food

Aside from rent, your weekly shop will be your biggest expense and where you’ll notice the largest increase from the prices back home.

Here’s some examples:

2L Milk: £1

Loaf of Bread (weirdly expensive): £2

12 Eggs: £3

Bar of Chocolate: £2

Bottle of Coke: £2.50 (Whyyyyy!)

Week’s Worth of Veggies from the Market: £10-£15

Weekly Shop for 2 people: £55

Budget busting tip: Buy your fruit and veg cheap from the markets. They are a lot fresher and last longer. Stick to own brands and buy in bulk when possible.

Melbourne First Impressions 3Accommodation

If you’re coming to Australia after a stint in South-East Asia, as many do, then be prepared to be shocked. Hostels are crazily expensive, and it’s not like they are much better than their South-East Asian counterparts.

Be prepared to spend around £15 per night for a night in a 6-12 bed dorm. Many hostels offer weekly rates for around £110.

If you are going to be sticking around in one place for a while then I would recommend finding a house share to rent. These are a lot better value than hostels as you get your own room. Expect to pay upwards of £120 a week in Melbourne.

Budget busting tip: Melbourne’s extensive public transport network opens up the entire city. For cheaper rent, head to the suburbs. Your commute might be a bit longer but you’ll save the pennies. If you’re staying in a hostel, see if you can exchange a couple of hours of your time for discounted accommodation or even a free stay!

Queen Victoria Market 6Eating Out

The cost of eating out has pleasantly surprised me. In Melbourne, there is something for every budget. On average, prepare to spend about £5-£10 on a main in a restaurant, £2 for a (very decent) coffee or the same for a soft drink.

Tipping culture (as far as I’ve noticed) isn’t a massive thing here, although I’m sure it’s always appreciated!

Budget busting tip: For great bargain meals, head to mall food courts and take your pick! For dinner, China Town is a great bet with dirt-cheap eats and BYOB.

Choose Melbourne 4Drinking

Unfortunately drinking isn’t cheap in Melbourne. You will be hard pushed to find a pint for less than £5 with the same going for a simple mixer. Cocktails are more like £8-£10.

Budget busting tip: Lots of hostels have cheap drink nights so keep your eyes peeled! Sign up for sites like Groupon for occasional amazing cocktail deals. 

Dandenong 13Getting Around

Melbourne’s CBD is served by the free tram zone, with the Circle Line tram stopping at many of the city’s top tourist sites.

If you need to head to the suburbs then you’ll need a MyKi card which costs £2.50 from any 7/11 or train station. A single journey with a MyKi costs around £2 with fares capped at just under £4. Use your MyKi on trams, buses and trains within the two travel zones.

If you want to buy a car then be prepared to spend around £600-£2000 depending on model and condition. Make sure you have it checked by a mechanic beforehand! Petrol is more affordable than the UK at 70p a litre.

Budget busting tip: Save money by using the weekly or monthly rates offered on the MyKi. Make the most of the Myki and head out to the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. This 2 hour round journey costs less than £4!

Melbourne First Impressions 2


There’s always something going on in Melbourne and endless things to do. Here’s a few:

AFL game: £13

Museum entry: £6 (free for students)

Cinema: £7-£10

Budget busting tip: If you have a valid student card then don’t be afraid to ask for a discount as sometimes they are accepted. Shows and films are often cheapest on Tuesdays so bear that in mind when booking tickets.

What do you think about Australian prices? How did you budget on an Aussie trip? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages.

Have a pal who’s about to head off to Oz? Then don’t be afraid to share!


Choose Melbourne 5

Moving Abroad: Why I Chose Melbourne

Choose Melbourne 5When Ryan and I were attempting to piece together our #Gaplife plan, we thought long and hard about where to base ourselves in Australia. We knew that we would be arriving in the country with no very little money and would have to settle somewhere for a few months in order to save.

We knew we needed to be in a city in order to find work but there are so many options in Australia. Tropical Cairns, cutesy Adelaide, shiny Perth and sleek Sydney to name but a few.

So why did we choose Melbourne?

Choose Melbourne 6The recommendations

Everyone we knew who had ventured to Melbourne in the past showered the city in praise. You could tell that the city sucked people in.

It’s not just people we knew either, Melbourne is constantly awarded ‘The Most Livable City’ status and it’s easy to see why.

Choose Melbourne 2The culture

The stereotype paints Aussies as lacking in the culture department. Although this is becoming increasingly inaccurate, some people had still been amazed that I had visited a modern art gallery on a previous trip to Brisbane.

Melbourne alone is enough to prove all the naysayers wrong. You can’t scoff at Melburnian culture, they have it in bucket-loads. There are countless museums, art galleries and top-notch music venues to keep us culture-vultures entertained.

Choose Melbourne 3It’s multi-cultural

Melbourne is home to an incredibly diverse population. It has the oldest China Town in the world, is the largest Greek city outside of Greece and has a street dedicated to Italian restaurants and cafes.

As well as its permanent residents, Melbourne attracts lots of backpackers who stray from the well-trodden East Coast to work or chill out. It’s a great place to meet like-minded travellers and people from all over the world.

Melbourne 11The Coffee!

Melbourne is a mecca for coffee addicts like myself. Home of the Flat White, coffee is an art form here. You won’t get better anywhere in the world.Melbourne 5

The food

Melburnians love to eat. Everything is fresh and (mostly) healthy, the menus are imaginative and long brunches are mandatory. What’s not to love?

Dandenong 12It’s easy to escape

Melbourne is surrounded by stunning National Parks, like the Dandenong Ranges and beautiful beaches like the ones at Mornington Peninsula or along the Great Ocean Road. If the city ever gets too much, you can simply hop on a train or a car and be surrounded by stunning countryside in a heartbeat.

Choose Melbourne 1It’s so laidback

Unlike Sydneysiders, Melburnians are known for being relaxed. No one takes life too seriously, many don’t work past 4pm and people love nothing more than grabbing a group of friends for a natter over a pint or a picnic. Lifestyle is key here with the work-life balance prioritised. They’ve got it right!

Choose Melbourne 4

I definitely think Melbourne was the right choice for us. It’s quickly becoming one of my favourite cities in the world and there is still so much I’m yet to uncover.

Have you lived in Melbourne before? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!


Melbourne 10

Moving to Melbourne

Melbourne 10Since my first visit to Australia 4 years ago, I knew I’d be back. Inevitably the beaches, the weather, the natural wonders would all pull me back Down Under.

Yet my destination, Melbourne, had none of that.

I’m being harsh of course, but the city of Melbourne isn’t well-known for glorious stretches of sand or year-round sunshine. It’s more generally known as being Sydney’s down-and-out sibling, rough around the edges and pitied in its attempts to live up to its sparkling world-renowned rival. Most would struggle to name a Melbourne landmark or suburb and true, it doesn’t have anything that rivals Sydney’s Opera House or Bondi Beach.

And that’s exactly why I chose to move there.

Melbourne 3I’m always a big fan of the underdog. Especially when underdogs are as cool as Melbourne. Its delights are less obvious than those of Sydney but are worth the effort to uncover.

On paper, Melbourne sounds like it was made for me. It’s relaxed, European, loves its coffee and is covered head-to-toe with street art. I imagined myself sipping flat whites in trendy cafes and spending the day sampling its gastronomic delights.

And hey, guess what?

Melbourne 11Melbourne was quick to prove itself!

Melbourne 5I’m not going to pretend that the first couple of weeks days weren’t spent eating my way around the city. After losing my appetite after being sick on my birthday, it came back with a vengeance.

Melbourne 7Why does everything in Melbourne look so darn appealing and taste so darn good?!

Melbourne 6Be still my beating heart!

Before I cover my laptop with dribble let’s move on.

We plan to be sticking around in Melbourne for the next three to four months. This should give us time to scratch the surface of this city and save a bit of cash, provided we can find jobs.

Melbourne 2That’s the sticking point. Like Dick Whittington we arrived in the city expecting the streets to be paved with gold, full of opportunity and dripping with jobs. No such luck.

Melbourne, it seems, is just like any other city when it comes to securing a 9-5. Apparently other people need to work too so we haven’t waltzed into a job as easily as we’d expected.

More time for exploring though, eh?

Melbourne 8

Despite the pavements being plain ol’ tarmac rather than gold, I’ve fallen for Melbourne hook line ‘n’ sinker. It is immediately obvious why it keeps topping the ‘Most Livable City’ lists. The pace is laid back, even in the CBD, the coffee is marvelous and there is so much to explore.

I can’t wait to begin sharing some of the places I’ve already unearthed, including my new neighborhood! I’m looking forward to living like a local for a while before my itchy feet inevitably carry me off on my next adventure…

I hope you stick around for the journey. Cheers!

Melbourne 9Have you been to Melbourne before? Anywhere you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

Also, I was recently interviewed by Rachel from Hither and Yonder! Check it out here.

The Gaplife Checklist

The #GapLife Checklist

The Gaplife Checklist

The time is nearly nigh. We are now into single figures on the countdown clock! This is the time when my planning-ninja abilities start to come into their own.

What better way to start than a checklist! If you are also planning your own gap year, holiday or #GapLife then this is the post for you.

For those of you unfamiliar with me incessantly banging on about #GapLife, here’s a bit of background.

All caught up? Yay! All converted to the #Gaplife? Yay!

Now we can continue… Notepads and pencils at the ready folks.

Cook Islands Mountain ⊗ Read and follow the instructions here.

⊗ Buy Insurance

So you’ve paid for your flights across the globe and you’re a little out-of-pocket. Insurance can wait, yeah?

NO! As soon as your flights are booked, make sure you have insurance to cover you as soon as possible. You may break your leg tomorrow and not be able to fly – so long flight money! Unfortunately we’re not invincible (yet) so insurance is a definite.

⊗ Visas

Potentially another budget-buster but hopefully one you’ve prepared for. Working holiday visas for countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada can be expensive but well worth it if you need to fund your travels on-the-go.

Make sure you check how long the process takes and apply with plenty of time to spare.

Lake Wanaka New Zealand

⊗ Book Internal Flights and Transport

If you’ve managed to get a rough itinerary down then it’s time to start connecting the dots. Think about the best way to get from A to B. Will you have to book internal flights or ferry crossings?

I’m going to be island hopping in the Philippines which required me to book flights in advance. Check out for the cheapest prices going.

⊗ Book Accommodation

It’s usually only necessary to book the first couple of nights at your first destination as you don’t want to be tied down to overpriced hostels or fixed locations.

You want to know where your headed when you step off the plane and to have that first night security blanket (literally). Check out sites like which allow you to book in advance and pay on arrival.

Brisbane GOMA

⊗ Start Inquiring about Work

How are you going to be funding your travels? If you’re going to have to work then it’s a good idea to put some feelers out there before you jet off. Search Gumtree, local temping agencies and Facebook groups to see what type of work is available.

If you can secure a job before you go, bonus!

⊗ Tie-up Loose Ends

Cancel your phone contract, inform your bank and check if you’re entitled to any tax rebates (kerchingggg). It will give you peace of mind to know that you won’t have to worry about these things once you’re abroad.

Scan copies of your passport, bank cards and insurance details to hand over to your next of kin at home. This way they will be able to help out if you get in a pickle on the road.

Barbados Fishermen

⊗ Pack

I’ll probably be dedicating a whole blog post to the trickiest checklist item of all – dreaded packing. In my experience, I always over-pack. I’m someone who will pack 6 pairs of shoes yet end up wearing my trusty flip-flops the whole time.

If you’re going to be lugging a backpack around with you then every piece of clothing and kit needs to be thought about carefully. If you end up clamoring for a pair of heels when you’re on the road (unlikely…) then you can always buy some there.

⊗ Say Your Goodbyes

Ok, maybe this one might be a harder one to check off than packing… Throw a party, have a few drinks and reconnect with your nearest and dearest. Promise to stay in touch – and stick to it! Skype is an incredible travel tool!

⊗ Off you go!

AHHH! The day has finally arrived! All your hard work and planning is finally about to pay off.

Double check the checklist, triple check it just in case, throw on your backpack and leave all doubts at the door.

It’s time to start your #GapLife.

Barbados SunsetAre you planning a #GapLife or epic travel adventure? Let me know in the comments below or on my social media pages.

Don’t forget to keep me company on Bloglovin’!