A Travellerspoint blog

July 2013

Getting set up in Australia

On the job hunt...

So we ve been in Australia for 2 months and realised that we never did a blog on getting set up in Melbourne, probably because we have been so busy getting set up!

So here's what you need to know about coming to Australia on a working holiday visa.

Firstly you don't need to go through the travel companies to get set up for work. We had heard this from several people we had met along the way and also from friends at home who had worked down under in the past. These companies will charge hundreds of pounds for services that essentially you can do yourself. Apparently they guarantee work but we ve met people who found work quicker and that paid better on their own.

Don't know about you but would rather have that money for something more fun!

(Although just a note we re talking about getting work in the city not as a ranch worker on a farm so that might be different if you need to be taught how to ride a horse and brand a cow etc...)

Things you need to do:

Get your visa - Applying for your working holiday visa is quick and easy to do online and we got that all sorted before we left the UK.

You can check out the latest here... www.immi.gov.au/visitors/working-holiday

Address in Australia - we were lucky here as we were able to stay with our mate Broomy and use his address for all correspondence as we got set up. I believe most hostels will allow you have mail delivered to them so using an expensive travel service just to have an address is not necessary.

Bank Account - we ended up choosing NAB as they didn't have a minimum fee you need to deposit each month, and given that we didn't know how regularly we would get work it seemed the best choice for us. Don't need extra charges! Just walk in the bank give them your details, address etc and away you go. Simples!

Australian mobile number - I managed to borrow an old mobile and Dan got a cheap handset in china town and its easy to get a pay as you go sim from Telstra or Optus.

Tax File Number - again another quick and easy online application form. You need to get a tax file number in order to get paid so an important one to get sorted ASAP. I think you can only apply for this once you are in the country


We hit the ground running when we got to Melbourne shocking our housemate by getting the above sorted or applied for on the first day we arrived!

Oh and another thing to apply for is a Medicare card, incase you need to see doc etc... I think this needs to be done within a month of getting into Australia to be eligible for one.


After sprucing up our CVs the next thing to do was to start searching for work. We spent hours and hours trawling the job websites and applying to jobs.

We learnt that you need to be realistic about the type of work you will get on a working holiday visa particularly if you are not interested in sponsorship like us. We wasted a bit of time trying to get work in the same industries we had worked in back home, just on the off chance that our experience and enthusiasm would get us a position. The problem we had was that these companies would only take on working holiday visa applicants if they were being considered for sponsorship, they don't want to train you up only for you to leave in 6 months to go travelling around.

Another thing we did was sign up to several agencies. I would recommend signing up to at least 4. All our work we have had to date has been found through agencies. Be prepared though that work from this route could take 3-4 weeks to start coming in as some agencies have a policy that people should be placed within this timeframe so you'll automatically be at the back of that list with other applicants ahead of you.

Some Recruitment agencies:

Robert Half/Office Team
Robert Walters
Michael Page
Chandler Macleod

A top tip from us would be to join the same agencies as a friend. That way if you get offered work and can't make it you can straight away suggest your mate so their name is front of mind when the recruiter looks for the next candidate. We've managed to tag team a couple of jobs this way :)

One of the problems I had when signing up with recruitment agencies for temp office positions was being overlooked for not having relevant 'admin experience' despite being an account manager for 5 years. The way to handle this is to GET ON THE PHONE! After being rejected from another online application for general admin positions I'd had enough called the guy and explained that I did realise I was applying for temp jobs and not to be put off because I had been an account manager, explained my experience etc... and within 5 mins I was being asked to come in for an interview and sign up on their books... I should have got on the phone to people sooner!

After a few weeks of job hunting and interviews with recruiters I started getting a few reception roles, nothing big a few days here and there but once you can start saying to your agencies you ve had work in Australia and shown you can do a good job the interest picks up. Not gonna lie don't think I want to be a receptionist when I grow up but to get some money as a temp its not bad.

We re both sorted for work at the moment which is great and should keep us going for the next month or so. Dans is an administrative assitant at a large health insurance company and I'm an office co ordinator for a children's non for profit. Hopefully we'll keep getting positions till the end of the year.

Also we re picking up the odd job on the weekend to earn some extra money too, turns out Dan and I are very efficient paper folders!


Now we re earning we can start planning the travelling we can do in Jan/Feb with the money we ll save. Woohoo!!


Posted by doyledan 15:02 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

Aussie Footy introduction

If you haven't been introduced to Aussie Footy before you certainly will have to swot up on it before coming to Melbourne. Much like our footy or soccer as its called down under it plays a huge part in the culture and everyone follows a team. I knew about the game having seen footage of it in the past but really didn't get it, and I certainly didn't realise just how big it was in Australia. The game itself is a bizarre mix of rugby and basketball in that its a full contact sport but instead of phases of play that rugby has it is all about gaining territory by running all over the place to allow you to take a shot at goal.

The pitch sizes are oval and it has two 50m half circles on each end which represents the area players aim to reach in order to have a realistic shot at goal. There are 4 goal posts on each end and in order to score the highest points you need to kick it between the two middle posts, if you go through the outside posts you only get one point. The pitch sizes are not regulated and so the rest of the pitch size that makes up the oval shape can differ from one stadium to another. But, to put it into perspective of how big the pitch is and the kind of level of fitness the players need to have, each game a player can run on average about 15K, which is insane!


When we got to Oz our mate Broomy was adamant that we had to go and see a game in order to be a true Australian resident and so we were lucky that his team, West Coast Eagles who are from Perth were playing at the Etihad Stadium here in Melbourne versus Hawthorn. His friend Mel had arranged the tickets for us which was really nice of her and I think being neutral to supporting a team both Mel and Broomy were taking the opportunity to influence our team of choice by taking us to see their team. :-)

The game was scheduled on a Friday night and it was cool to turn up at a local bar and see everyone with their scarfs and shirts having a drink before going to the game as it gave a sense of occasion. After we wet our whistles we followed the crowd to the Etihad Staduim and were lent some West Coast garb ourselves so we would fit right in.


The Etihad Stadium is pretty awesome and luckily for us it has a roof so it was going to be a bit warmer than outside which was well received.

I always like walking into stadiums when there is sport going on as there is always a buzz and as we walked into the first level we saw the pitch and the grounds were gathering.


Mel and Broomy decided to go up a level to get a good view which would allow us to see the play a bit better so they could explain some of the rules. The beauty of these games is that there is normally tickets available because alot of the West Coast fans don't come over from Perth because its too far. You could certainly tell that Hawthorn, being based in Melbourne, had the larger crowd.


Before the teams run out they have a big banner raised which has the team motto and the players run on to the field and burst through it.


It kinda worked....

Whilst the players had a warm up and got into position to start the game , Broomy and Mel kindly gave us a run down of the rules and it wasn't long before the first quarter was underway.


The game is entertaining because the ball is always moving and it continually goes from end to end. The players can either kick the ball to each other or can fist punch the ball to another player, they're not allowed to throw it. If they run with the ball they have to bounce it on the floor after a certain amount of metres. There are always moments in the game when players are jumping in the air and trying to intercept the ball because as soon as you catch the pass from a kick the referee blows his whistle and signals a mark and the player who caught it has a uncontested kick to continue the game towards opponents goal.

It certainly pays to be a tall guy in this game. One player for West Coast (in the blue) called Nick Naitanui is a like a basketball player!


However at times it would get quite scrappy with players fumbling for the ball and loses its edge at times, normally at this point someone would be on the floor with the ball and the whole crowd would shout 'BALL!!!!' which is intended to be a call for the player to release the ball.


You could certainly see even with the level of fitness these player have they would still need thorough amount of physio to allow them to continue playing the game.


The game is made up of 20 minute quarters so we had time to get grips with some of the rules and could follow what was happening. When the ball is kicked through the middle posts it scores 6 points but if it hits the post as it goes through it is only 1 point. If it goes through the outer posts then it is 1 point. However if a player of the opposite team manages to touch the ball before it goes through the posts it doesn't count. These are just a few of the rules!

Broomy and Mel are passionate fans and the game was quite close considering Hawthorn were top and West Coast were mid-table.

Broomy looked on intently...


...as the crowd cheered


What was cool to see during half time was a load of kids of all ages came out on the pitch and play their own games which for them must of been great fun, especially getting to play it on such a big pitch. Apparently they do it at all the games as part of a 'get kids into footy' initiative which we both thought was a nice touch. In all the excitement one little kid clearly had forgotten to go to the bathroom before coming on to the pitch but was determined to try and play with a strange squirming run that was hindered further by his kit that was too big for him and his socks that kept falling down. Definitely made us all smile. With all the advertising and commercialisation of the game that is very obvious to see when you spend some time here it was refreshing to see them giving something back to the community.


It was a great experience and we certainly were introduced to the game in the best possible way.


A big thank you again to Mel for sorting the tickets out and Broomy for giving us the right introduction as well as how to say BALL!!!!

Stay tuned for more tales...


Posted by doyledan 03:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...


Dan and I have a strong connection with Brighton back in the UK. Not only is it the city where we first met but I used to go to uni there and Dan used to play the Brighton circuit with his band, good times for both of us :) So you can imagine how we reacted to finding out that there was a Brighton here just 20 mins by train south of Melbourne. We had to go and check it out...


In true British form a bit of drizzle didn't deter us from heading to the seaside.


Tiles that had been designed by children had been embedded at intervals along the coastal path which you can't help but smile at..


If I'm honest we weren't that impressed with the beach until we turned the corner and had a great view of the city.


We continued up the coast until we came to Dendy Street Beach which is instantly recognisable by its famously vibrant bathing boxes.



There are 82 bathing boxes along this stretch of beach each with a unique vibe and character and definitely brightened up the grey day.


We weren't the only ones enjoying the beach... the little terrier is called Woody and he lives with a cat called Buzz :)



We'd worked up a bit of an appetite and decided to keep walking to find some food. Brighton is a very affluent area with some amazing beach front properties with huge windows to make the most of the view. We also got a view though and you could see all the expensive decor inside the houses...one day we might live somewhere like this...one day...


Clearly in the expensive stretch of the beach we were worried that the only place to eat would be at the yacht club so we were really pleased when we spotted a fish and chip shop on the otherside of the road, where we could get some seaside grub for under 10 bucks each (way cheaper than the yacht club!)

No trip to Brighton would be complete without fish and chips!



Posted by doyledan 05:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Street Art of Melbourne

Melbourne is known for being a centre for the arts and culture and this character is represented on the streets themselves through the artwork that can be found around every corner.


The city is famous for its street art with streets and lane ways providing the canvas for people to express themselves.


Granted some are better than others but majority will blow your mind at how talented graffiti artists are as you marvel at the creations that have come from an aerosol can.






The graffiti is always changing so there is always something new to discover, another reason why we love this quirky city.


Posted by doyledan 18:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

A night of variety!

We had heard talk of a random night at a pub in Brunswick called 'The Variety Collective' where for 10 dollars you get an evening of various acts which could be anything from magicians and singers to contortionists and comedians.

When we took a look at their website and watched one of the videos that showcased what you could expect I spotted 'potato girl' in one of the acts, an unsuccessful contestant from Australia's Got Talent who wasn't that great! A bit concerned about what we were going to get we decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go.... It turned out to be an awesome night of fun!! :)

We roped in a couple of mates to join us and with wine and beers in hand we found seats in the side room of the Brunswick Green (which is quite a quirky pub, will def go back for a drink there) and waited for the show to begin. It was quite an intimate setting with our group making up a quarter of the audience but our seats were towards the back so we thought we would be safe from any crowd participation.


We were introduced to the show by the compare who explained that the show was all about acts who own the stage "LIKE A BOSS", a saying that would be repeated throughout the evening reminding me of my brother as its one of his catchphrases (although he and my sister had both mastered incorporating a whistle at the end of Boss which annoyingly I never got the hang of!)

We were eased into the night by a comedian, although his act being solely about his disappointment at not being diagnosed with testicular cancer was a bit hit n miss with the crowd.

As the MC introduced the next act we didn't know what to expect as a guy looking like he had escaped from a Super Mario convention started to walk down an aisle. He was a StrongMan and proceeded to demonstrate his physique and impressive moustache on stage.


We were all in fits of laughter at this random act although this quickly turned into nervous laughter as he prowled back down the aisle clearly looking for someone to help him with his next demonstration. I thought I was safe being in the corner at the back. Despite my best efforts to not catch his eye by sinking lower in my seat and trying to appear preoccupied with my glass of wine I somehow found myself singled out and being led onto the stage! He told me to stand straight and keep my arms and legs pinned together, no matter what happened I was to remain like a board...oh and not to panic! Not knowing what was going to happen next I followed his instructions to the letter as he literally whisked me off my feet and I was up in the air above his shoulders in one movement!!


The crowd went wild!!

Next up was a young magician who wowed the crowd by solving a Rubix cube in a minute. The MC had found out that one of the women sitting in the front row was called Phun, which lead to lots of references to 'Phun being fun' and soon enough she was up on the stage with the magician along with one of our friends Henry for some crowd participation. Although she didn't quite get the point of the act and inadvertently gave away how the trick was being done, which was annoying for the magician but hilarious for the rest of us!


The next act was a girl who did some Taekwondo, bit of a time filler I guess as was a bit boring watching her kick and punch a board that was made to break apart. Although we did like her glamorous assistant :)


Our favourite StrongMan came back on stage and Dan and Broomy were selected with 2 other guys to try to pull his arms apart. It sounded like an easy task for 4 guys to take on but despite their best efforts his hands never parted!


The final act of the night was a great singer called Jefferson Smith who got the crowd going with renditions of Frank Sinatra and Jonny Cash.


Phun couldn't contain herself and jumped up on stage with him to dance as he serenaded her.

It was a great night which far surpassed our expectations. Most of us ended up on stage which added to the fun and I think we all would come back on another Wednesday soon. check it out here


Posted by doyledan 17:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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