How to make the most of Your Australian Working Holiday

There’s no shortage of backpackers and globetrotters seeking a year of adventure who at some point will consider doing a working holiday in Australia. While securing the visa, accommodation and work in this wonderful country is by no means an easy task, it’s definitely worth doing and you’re guaranteed to have one of the greatest adventures of your life. With so much time often being spent beforehand preparing for the move to the land down under, many travellers get caught up in the paperwork and forget the most important thing of all; how to make the most of it all.Once you’re all settled in your new city, you’ll most likely only have one year to experience Australia at its fullest (unless you’re planning on extended your visa by doing 88 days of farm work), so it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you see and do as much as possible. Here’s your guide to making the most of your Australian working holiday.
While some of the uninitiated tend to think of Australia as lacking a fascinating history compared to say, Europe or the United States, this could not be further from the truth. The European presence on the continent stretches back hundreds of years, while the history and culture of the aboriginal population goes back thousands of years. Wherever you are in the country you can rest assured that there will be plenty of great opportunities to soak up the varied culture of an incredibly interesting, colourful and at times eccentric nation, so make the most of it and think about what you want to learn and where you can go to do it.It’s more than likely that you’ll be based in one of the great metropolises of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, which means there’s plenty of options for taking it all in in these dynamic cultural hubs. Book yourself onto an architecture walking tour if you’re in any of these places, as the eclectic and enchanting blend of old and new buildings is arguably the best way to learn about the story of Australia. From the imposing neo-gothic edifice of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, to the elegant Victorian mansions of Sydney’s well-heeled neighbourhoods, to the bold experiments in brutalist architecture which define the socialist housing projects of Brisbane, all of these unique designs tell riveting stories about the history of Oz’s culture, politics and internationalism.

The big cities are also the best places for a crash course in contemporary culture, with more world-leading contemporary art galleries, performance spaces and cultural hubs than you can shake a stick at. Melbourne is widely regarded as a pioneer in politically-charged radical art, while Sydney is the place to see the country’s most famous and acclaimed artists and performers display their legendary craft.

Also, make sure to head outside the big cities to learn about the tortured history and vibrant modern culture of the aboriginal community. There’s the sacred and iconic site of Uluru (formerly known as Ayres Rock), the lively settlement of Birrarung Marr, and of course the South Australian Museum just outside Adelaide for those looking for a crash course in the history. So get out there and learn all you can about this fascinating country.

As previously mentioned, Australia’s great cities are really where the magic happens. You can immerse yourself in the urban beach bum culture of Perth, the Western Australian outpost with some of the best surfing on the planet. You can become a modern-day intelligentsia by diving head-first into Melbourne’s lively and intellectual cafe culture, where plenty of the country’s greatest thinkers, poets and artists will happily spend the whole day debating over some flat whites in one of the super-hip coffee spots which line the famed arcades and lanes of this undeniably hipster city.Brisbane is widely seen as the place to go if you’re looking to party in true cosmopolitan fashion, where you can live it up 24/7 in the world-class nightclubs, dive bars, beach parties and cocktail lounges of this famously wild and over-the-top city. If you find yourself in Brisbane make sure to live like the locals and keep up the high spirits during the daytime hours.

You can head to a Sunday afternoon boat party, an all-day rooftop beer festival, or even head to the famed Randwick racecourse and pop a bottle. The Randwick is a hugely popular spot with the locals at this time of year, with major racing events like Champagne Stakes Day and the Brisbane Carnival keeping the well-dressed and slightly tipsy crowds coming. It’s the ideal spot for longtime racing fans and newcomers to this beloved sport to catch all the latest up-and-coming talent, with Oddschecker highlighting the horses to watch in Brisbane this season. You should also make sure not to miss out on another daytime activity loved by Oz’s urbanites: shopping. From the markets of Melbourne to the upscale boutiques of Brisbane, there’s no shortage of places to blow a few Australian dollars on some amazing clothes by local designers, or some memorable souvenirs of your time abroad.

This is presumably what most backpackers will have on their mind anyway when planning their year in Oz, but it’s important to have a good idea of what’s out there and what you really need to experience. The previously mentioned Uluru is always a mind-blowing experience, regardless of the tourist crowds, but there’s plenty more to see an do in this vast and biologically diverse country.The country has tens of thousands of miles of coastline, so exploring the beautiful beaches is always an easy option. However, if you want to experience a place like nowhere else on earth then your best bet is a long getaway to the staggeringly beautiful Whitehaven Beach, located on the isolated Whitsunday Islands. The vast beach is popular with backpackers, locals and celebrities the world over, a vast paradise of soft white sand, striking blue waters and plenty of greenery and opportunities for exploring the surrounding terrain. Despite its popularity, the vast size means you’ll always have a chance to experience the true serenity that this place offers, and it definitely cannot be missed.

There’s no shortage of natural wonders in Oz and you should make it your mission to see them all. From the physics-defying Horizontal Falls in the Kimberly Region, to the imposing prehistoric Twelve Apostles off the coast of Victoria, to the inspiring and endangered Great Barrier Reef, your Australian experience is the best chance you’ll have to see mother nature at her absolute best. If you’re feeling hardy and well-prepared, it also goes without saying that a journey across the remote and desolate Australian outback is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you’ll never forget. So plan ahead!

If you think this piece is missing any of the other must-do experiences for those on their working holiday, comment below to let us know!

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