GOPHER’S GOB – Travelling to Australia

G’day mates!! It’s the Gopher again. As I mentioned in my previous post about the Football Anime “Giant Killing” (see article here), I am currently in Australia. To be exact I’m in Fremantle a suburb of Perth and even though it is winter here it’s all sunshine and 20C! 😀

Saying the economy back home has gone to shit and I was going to be made redundant from my job I decided to bite the bullet and go to Australia and I’m really glad I did! At the moment I have no plans to returning back home to Ireland (I hear it’s been raining a bit!)!

If anyone is thinking of coming to this amazing country, I’m going to do some blog posts on the most important things you need to do to get here and what to see when you do.

Having a beer over a 200ft drop!!

What do I need to do to get here?

VISA’S

Your most important document and not that hard to get a hold of! To spend a year out here you’ll need the Working Holiday Visa (417), which entitles you to travel around Australia for a year from your date of entry and to work in any industry you choose, but only for the one employer for a maximum of 6 months.

To apply for this visa is quite simple as it’s all done online. Simply go to http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday/417 and have your passport details and $280AUSD, which is around 180GBP. Once you’ve completed the online application you’ll get your visa to your email address in a matter of hours and then you have 6 months to get to Australia before it expires.

You can also get an extension for another year once you’re out in Oz by doing 3 months regional work. I did fruit picking but that’s a story for another blog!!

FLIGHTS

Prepare to lose 2 days of your life on a plane! Flights form the UK take around 24-26 hours and generally have one stop over in the Middle East, (Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc.). Virgin do a non-stop flight but that can be quite pricey.

Luckily I managed to book a flight one way, costing 500GBP, with Emirates through www.sta.co.uk who specialise in dealing with under 26’s.

I found the flight a nightmare as I couldn’t get any sleep! I watched five films, drank the free beer, had 3 different breakfasts, lunch and dinner and cursed the Italians behind me who never shut-up when did try and sleep.

The sights of Sydney

MONEY

Immigration says you must have a minimum of $5000AUSD to enter the country to keep yourself for the first couple of months and pay for a flight home if needed.  That’s around 3200GBP. I highly recommend you have at least this amount of money behind you as I spent that much in under 2 months on accommodation, food and beer! Mostly beer! Australia is not a cheap country. I recommend opening an account with the Commonwealth Bank and transferring your money into that accounts and take advantage of their exchange rates before you head to OZ.

 

 

BACKPACK

I bought a 60 litre pack with a 20 litre day pack attached to it, try and get one that zips all the way around for ease of access to your clothes, plus a small duffle bag for carry-on luggage.

I found this ideal for me and managed to fit 2 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of shorts, 3 pairs of combats, a load of shirts and t-shirts, 2 jackets and 3 pairs of shoes while keeping under the 20kg limit for checked luggage and the 7-10kg for carry-on luggage.

Still this is probably too much to take with you as I don’t wear it all and we backpackers are supposed to look a little scruffy.

It’s bigger than it looks! Honset!

CLOTHES

Australia is a crafty bugger and has its summer during our winter and vice versa. Even during winter there is no need for any winter clothing as I’ve said the temperature is currently in the high teens here in Perth. I will say this don’t go to Melbourne during the winter months, its miserable and there’s crap all to do!

Make sure you bring some stuff you won’t mind throwing away, like t-shirts, and trousers from Primark, as if you plan to do your 3 months regional work your clothes will get destroyed!

IMMIGRATION/BORDER CONTROL

So you’ve survived your 24 hour flight and it’s now been roughly a day and a half since you left home and have  landed in Oz! Now all you have to do is worry about is immigration and the border control!!

Don’t worry about it, unless you’ve brought some fruit and veg or something more illegal with you! I had no problem, the guy looked at my passport, then at me, then back to the passport and stamped with the words “Welcome to Australia Mr Magee! Go and enjoy yourself!” And I have mister immigration guy!

Just to be on the safe side have a copy of your visa ready and print out a bank statement showing you have the $5000 in your bank account but odds on you won’t be asked.

So that’s what you need to do to get into the country and this post has gone on too long.

My next Oz post will be all about the sights and pubs of the wonderful city of Sydney.

 

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