I landed in Australia on a Saturday morning. It was overcast and chilly, but it felt like a bright sun shining day. With many emotions of fear, elation, and happiness overcoming me, I was ready to start on my new journey. One year in Australia.
But it didn't start the way I anticipated. I didn’t sleep on the flight, and I became grumpy. My body tired from carrying 100lbs of luggage and two bottles of duty-free alcohol from the airport. Shortly after hanger ensued. Then I let fear overcome all my emotions and every ounce of excitement went down the drain.
As irritable as I was, it didn't stop me from exploring the neighborhood. I walked down Chapel Street, bought a burger with bacon from Grill’d. Immediately, I spit out my first bite, because Australian bacon is almost raw and cold. Gross! (Note to self, next time ask for crispy Bacon)
Afterward, I continued to walk around, but I just wasn't in the mood anymore. I went back to the new apartment and fell asleep.
It wasn't what I wanted to do on my first day. But it happened. If I did it all over again, I would not do it like that. Here are the seven things you should do when you arrive on your working holiday visa in Australia.
1) Splurge on a Taxi or Lyft
One of the events that contributed to my bad mood was the trek from the airport to St Kilda east on the bus and public transport. Although it was cheap, I would have much preferred arriving on my front door. No stress. No carrying luggage. No back pain.
After a 16-hour flight, and lack of sleep, all you want is a hot a shower. Get yourself into your pad, unpack a few things and dress up for your first day/evening in Australia. It is a special occasion after all.
Before you arrive, you should find somewhere thrilling to eat. It will get you excited for your very first day in Australia. It doesn’t even have to be expensive, just interesting. Going to Grill’d was a bit underwhelming. I would have preferred Hunky Dory the BEST fish and chips (ask for the Grilled Fish Pack with chips) I have EVER had in my life. But I would find that out later. Heck go and get yourself a steak at Squires Loft (ask for the Fil-et with mushroom sauce)!
4) Open your bank account
Having your bank account is super important when you first move abroad. It's will be easy to transfer money, so you stop incurring overseas fees.
It took me a few days to walk into NAB and open my account, but it was super easy! There were zero fees and all I needed were my passport and my drivers license.
Beware of their trading hours. Banks in OZ are usually open between M-F 9-5 or 10-5 and limited hours on Saturday.
5) Get a SIM card / Australian phone
Nowadays, our phones are a part of our daily lives, and you will need one while you’re in Australia. You have two options, one to bring an unlocked phone and buy a SIM card; second, buy a phone and plan while abroad.
If you opt for a new phone, the cheapest option will be a burner phone that will have you texting like it’s 1999.
Regardless of the options, you'll be spending anywhere from $40-$100 a month pending the plan you choose.
6) Apply for your TFN
In Australia, it's mandatory to have a Tax File Number to work. Make it easier on yourself and apply for it the same day you arrive. You can apply online on the ATO website. The TFN is only sent by mail (post) to a physical address. If you're staying at a hotel, Airbnb or Hostel, ask if you're allowed to use their mailbox to receive mail.
7) Take a stroll
Although I was a grumpy butt, going for a walk in my new neighborhood was inspiring. I remember the intoxicating feeling of every step and the view of old buildings. Despite my irritability, nerves bubbled inside me, because this was my new home.
Enjoy it. Take pictures. Savor it. Your first time only happens once 😉
There you have it! Everything you need to do on your first day on the Australian Working Holiday Visa. Hopefully, it’s the opposite of my experience and you have an amazing first day out of the next 365!
Are you planning to get a Working Holiday Visa? When will you go?
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