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Top 6 Things to Do After You’ve Arrived in Australia (to Get Yourself Sorted)

You’ve finally Arrived in Australia – Well done! 

Now, let’s look at what essential things you’ll need after you arrive to get yourself on your feet to make getting a job and travelling around a whole lot easier.

Looking back, my first few weeks after arriving in Australia were pretty busy. I’m sure yours will be too, but don’t stress. I’ve created a helpful guide with everything you need to quickly get yourself sorted, including:

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1. Get a SIM Card

We all know how much people rely on their cell phones (some more than others) as a way of communicating, getting around, banking, and basically everything these days so getting a sim card should be one of your first priorities. Getting a SIM card in Australia is very easy. You can purchase a prepaid SIM card from the airport, supermarket, telephone stores, kiosks in shopping centres, or online.

There are 3 major networks in Australia they are:

There are also several other providers – mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that offer plans but do not own their own network infrastructure. These operators use the major network providers’ infrastructure and often offer more competitive deals some of the more popular ones are:

The list of smaller providers is always changing with a new MVNO entering the market every year.

Although sometimes their services are not quite as feature rich they can save you money and you get access to the 3 major networks. 

If you plan on moving around quite a bit, or if you plan on living in regional Australia at some point, then you really need to pick a provider with the best mobile coverage.

Telstra and Optus are the best providers for Australia-wide mobile coverage with Telstra the best for rural or remote locations.
 

However, there are plenty of remote parts of Australia where there is no service at all, in which case you may need to buy a phone card, which can make calls from a landline a lot cheaper. Alternately there is usually some Wifi somewhere to make calls through Google or Facebook etc.

Tip

When getting a new Sim Card, look for promotions for new customers they’re always running and check online for the best deals. Supermarkets are also great for this, they are constantly running promotions with $30 – $40 sim starter packages being sold on promotion for as little as $10.

1.1 Prepaid Vs Postpaid

Australia has 2 options for mobile plans. Prepaid or Postpaid. 

Prepaid basically means you load up your sim card with money (credit) and you purchase a monthly or weekly mobile usage package. You don’t have to renew the plan when it expires so you just pay for it when you need it.

Postpaid plans can be cheaper in the long run (through data banking) and more convenient – just be sure to sign up to one with “No lock-in contract” and use your phone from home. 

Packages vary in price and what’s provided, but most monthly packages are around $20 – $40. For this amount, you would expect 15 – 50GB of mobile data, free texting and calling to Australian numbers, and some providers provide free overseas calling to certain countries.

Tip

Some savvy backpackers who are travelling together and not using their phones much will share the cost of a plan (loading up 1 phone) and hotspot with each other when they want to use the internet.

Postpaid is a contract for a fixed period usually 6 months and sometimes month to month or longer and you can’t cancel and need to pay every month. Postpaid plans are generally more expensive but offer more mobile data and benefits such as free Netflix, Stan etc. However, you can’t cancel them before the contract finishes. I recommend getting a prepaid plan if you’ve just arrived and seeing which network you prefer before locking yourself into a contract.

2. Find Somewhere to Live

Backpacker hostels are fun, you’ll meet a lot of other travellers and make lots of friends. However, they are far too expensive to live full-time, especially in Australia and you don’t really have your own space or somewhere to call home. 

Renting an apartment or an entire house by yourself can be expensive in most parts of Australia, so it’s best to start off with a shared house until you find your feet.

Share houses are very common in Australia, often called a flat. You will usually rent a room and share the kitchen lounge and common areas with your other flatmates. The room is usually rented by the head tenant (a person with their name on the lease agreement) and not through a real estate agent (they rent the whole house). You can search for a room on Facebook Marketplace, Flatmates.com.au, Gumtree, or Rent.com.au. When responding to ads for a room to rent, make sure to include a great description of yourself and try to highlight the reasons why you’d be a great fit for them.

Renting a room in Australia is also a great way to build up your references in case you want to apply for an entire apartment in Australia.

3. Open a Bank Account, if You Haven’t Already

Opening a Bank Account in Australia requirements for foreigners or backpackers

Ideally you already have a prepaid debit card like Wise, which you are probably already using.

Then you should open a bank account within the first few days of arriving in Australia – it will save you a lot of hassle later on.

You will need a bank account to get paid once you find a job and it’ll also save you a lot of money in international transaction fees on everything you purchase. We have created an excellent guide on how to open a bank account in Australia.

If you open a bank account within the first 6 weeks of arriving all you will need is to bring your passport with you. However, if you wait until 6 weeks after you arrive in Australia, you will need to bring more forms of identification such as a birth certificate, driver’s license, credit card, or bank card – you probably won’t have some of these with you, so it’s a lot easier to open a bank account as soon as you arrive. 

Once you’ve got your bank account in Australia, if you want to send some money from home to avoid paying a poor exchange rate the banks charge, we’ve created an easy guide on how to do so and how to save money on exchange rates and fees.

Certain banks will let you set up a bank account before you arrive in Australia, watch this video to know how.

4. Get a Tax File Number (TFN)

It’s best to get your Tax File Number (TFN) sorted out as soon as you can. You don’t need one before you start working but if you don’t have one your employer is required by law to tax you a massive whopping 46.5%. Compare that to the typical tax rate of between 15%-25% and that’s a huge amount of your hard-earned money you are paying in tax.

Save yourself some money and the hassle and get your TFN before you start work. You can apply for a TFN online simply once you’ve arrived in Australia. We have created a guide to walk you through the process to get your Tax File Number (TFN).

Watch our top tips on applying your TFN

5. Sign up to Medicare

A Medicare card allows you to receive medical treatment for free or at a reduced rate, so it could save you a lot of money if you do fall ill. However, only backpackers from certain countries who have a reciprocal agreement with Australia can benefit from the scheme.

Those countries include UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Malta, Belgium, Slovenia and the Netherlands.

To apply for a Medicare card you will need to have:

Visit the Australian government’s Medicare Enrollment page for more information on how to apply for a Medicare card.

6. Join the Various Facebook Backpacker Groups

Facebook groups are a great way to find accommodation, work, buy and sell vehicles, find out about events, meet new people, share transport to different locations and many more useful things. There is an Australia Backpackers 2024 page on Facebook and usually a new one is created per year so it only includes current backpackers. There are also ones for farm work, backpacker jobs, vehicle buy and sell and more.

Depending on the country you are from there are also country-specific backpacker and traveller pages they are usually city specific i.e. Brasileiros Em Gold Coast, Latinos en Sunshine Coast etc. This is a great way to meet people from your home country and get a bit of familiarity when you’re in a new place, speak your native language and also they tend to help each other out more.

If you are looking for hospitality work the Facebook pages are really useful, it’s not usually common for hospitality businesses to advertise for workers on Gumtree or Seek. The pages will usually be city specific i.e. Sydney Hospitality Jobs. Just search the city you’re looking for, followed by hospitality jobs and the group with the most members will be the best one to join.

There are also Whatsapp groups but these are harder to find and someone needs to invite you into one.

Tip

Sometimes the pages take a few days to accept your request so join as soon as you can even if you’re not looking for a job. It will also give you an idea of the pay rates and hours different businesses are offering in the area you are in.

7. Other Tips After You’ve Arrived in Australia

Once you have completed the above steps you’re all set up with the basics to start enjoying Australia. Well done! The boring administrative part is over! Here are some more tips to get you onto your next adventure.

How to Get Around Australia

Australia is huge, so getting around can be a challenge. It can also be expensive! If you plan on moving around Australia a lot you definitely need to look into different modes of transport. There are heaps of ways to get around, from taking a Greyhound to flying from city to city to even buying or renting your own wagon or campervan and driving yourself. Each mode of transport has its own advantages and disadvantages. Check out our Getting Around page for the best options for getting around Australia.

Essentials to Employment – What You Need to Work in Australia

Finding a job in a new country can be a daunting task. Check out our Essentials to Employment page, which will help you understand what you need to do in order to get working in Australia as quickly as possible and hassle-free.

The Most Popular Backpacker Jobs in Australia

A lot of Australia’s fruit simply wouldn’t be harvested if it wasn’t for backpackers, so as you can imagine, backpackers are important to Australia’s economy. This means that there are plenty of jobs for backpackers in Australia. To find out what the most popular backpacker jobs are, check out our Jobs for Backpackers page.
Backpacker Survival Guide to Job Hunting in Australia Ebook preview

Training and Courses That You May Need to Do in Order to Work in Australia

Certain jobs in Australia require some training or completion of an online course, for example, if you want to work in hospitality you may need to do an RSA course. Check out our Training page for more information on which jobs in Australia require training.

How to Get a Second-Year Working Holiday Visa

Is one year in Australia not enough for you? Want to stay for a whole other year or even two? Well, you can simply by doing 88 days of specified work.

You may want to think about doing your specified work sooner rather than later. Many backpackers in the past have left it until the last minute and ended up missing out on getting their second-year working holiday visa. For more information on getting a second-year working holiday visa, check out our Second Year Visa guide.

Final Thoughts

We at Jobaroo have Backpacked all around Australia for many years now. We’ve experienced what it’s like to be new to Australia and it’s our goal to pass on our knowledge and make things easier for you. We’ve done all the hard work for you and created a massive number of useful detailed guides to help you do everything yourself and spend more time enjoying Australia. Check out the rest of our guides for all the essentials and useful tips on Traveling, working and living in Australia.

Safe Travels!

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