Working in Australia (my experience)

Working in Australia (my experience)

Working in Australia is sometimes complicated. I explain how to find a job in this article.

For my part, after 2 weeks of research, I ended up finding work in a farm. And that thanks to a friend who had spotted an ad on Facebook. The research was rather depressing as the competition was strong at the time of the year when I was looking for a job (February-March). In addition, I did not intend to stay in Australia for a few months and I needed money quickly.

So I decided to accept the work even if the conditions could seem difficult. So it was a work in melon farm north east Queensland. I will work for a company called Willing workers.

The conditions are as follows:

  • The work consists of the planting of melon at first and the “deplastification” fields already harvested.
  • For the month of March I will do between 20 and 40h per week paid at the legal minimum for a part time contract, 20.66 dollars / h.
  • I will stay in a house with a personal room in a collocation of 5 (with 4 Chinese) and may benefit from a car. All for $ 200 a week, which is very expensive in Australia.
  • I must give 200 dollars of “bond” that I will recover from my departure. If I warn a week before the date when I will go.

 

What bothers me is obviously the price of the room which is astronomical for a city in the countryside. In comparison, prices in Brisbane are much lower. But forced by fate and the need to make money quickly, I accept. Especially that I will be paid by the hour and not by the piece, which is rather difficult to find.

I take a plane direction Townsville then a train to Home Hill, my next city for the next 2 and a half months.

My arrival at Home Hill

I arrive at Home Hill and is greeted by the wife of my owner who is also my supervisor, quite a business. Very nice, she makes me visit the city … in 10 minutes.

We go then to my collocation. The house is big, my room very small, without window but at least there is air conditioning. It is essential given the heat in the north of Australia.

I meet my roommates, all Chinese or Taiwanese. All very nice, they prepared a meal for my arrival and I get along with them very quickly. I was afraid to be quickly left out because they speak the same language. But they make the effort to talk to me even if sometimes they switch from English to Chinese.

A first day / evening that reassures me so. I am told that the next day we will start with planting. That we can work 7/7 days depending on the weather and the needs of the business.

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My first working days

Planting

So come my first days of work. We work outside, and plant melon shoots for miles.The work is difficult: it is very hot and back pain arrive quickly. The pace is frantic but we only work 4 hours a day.

Fortunately, we can use our headphones, so I listen to music or radio podcasts, making the days easier. The times are as follows: from 9h to 13h approximately. Nothing complicated, but I worry about the salary.

Plastic

Sometimes, the work changes, we are warned in the evening for the next day by phone. So sometimes we go to “plastic”. We have to remove kilometers of black plastic along the length of the field, certainly to protect the earth from outside attacks and to make the melons grow straight.

This work is better as we work 6:00 am: from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm . Only downside: this work is done on fields invaded by flies, and twenty of them revolve around each backpacker and land on them. I will take a bandanna to cover my face next time.

 And here is the disaster

After a few days, I get used to it and am reassured of the number of hours that are not so bad.

Then comes the day of the storm. It rains ropes while we plant but continue to work. The weather is terrible and it’s a little bit of saying it.

Problem: a river that has become a torrent borders the field where we are. We end up with water up to the knees.

Everyone has to stop working and leave. We take the car but the roads are almost impassable, we are bogged down. A very bad day, but we laugh at this fiercely.Finally we will get out of our bad luck. We will go home and fight to find out who will shower first.

A chifoumi, I’m second, not so bad. After this day, nothing. The day off continues, the fields are flooded and the rain continues to fall intermittently, preventing the situation from improving. I did 17h that week, a miserable salary to the point that my owner will not ask us only $ 150 for rent. Nice move.

I therefore begins to worry seriously for the rest and looks forward to the return of the sun.You can have a glimpse of the weather conditions on the video and the photo just below.

A good news

We arrive at the end of March, almost a month that I work here. My birthday was celebrated with my roommates and I befriended one of them. We signed up for a gym to do something  on days off.

I found out with wonder Chinese cuisine because my friend often cooks for me and much better than all the Chinese restaurants that I could do in France. I also taste the “hot pot”, a typical dish, quite spicy where we put meat, vegetables and other in soups before serving in a bowl.

We don’t work a lot, most often between 20 and 30h. But finally comes good news. Our owner, and manager, aware of the few hours that we do we propose to work in the packing plant during the day off. Clearly, the plant opens its doors soon, and it must be thoroughly cleaned.Perfect, finally work.

I will not dwell on the cleaning, not very interesting. Other good news: the picking begins soon and the packing too. We will do more hours. Moreover, our superior informs us that we will do packing, and therefore we will work indoors. I assure you that this is very good news when you know the working conditions outside. My back thanks him, my sunburns too.

Packing

The packing starts therefore, I am not in the chain but on a post requiring 2 days of training where I will be all alone. My trainer Nigel, is hilarious and we quickly become friends. My job is to send via two huge machines the boxes and lids that will be used to “pack” the melons on the chain.

It is a job with a little responsibility compared to the rest of the chain and where it is necessary to run all day because if a box hangs on the chain, it’s up to me to find a way to unlock it. Not to mention the back and forth needed to change the pallets.

But this pace suits me, headphones are forbidden, I have to take care. The number of hours increases, to my great pleasure. The month of April is so much better and I do in 2 weeks what I did in 1 month.

I finally start to see the color of the money and am reassured for the rest of my trip.

Time to leave

In early May, I had 10 days of work, finally.
My superior offers me an increase of 3 dollars an hour. Sadness.

I refuse but am grateful, I have enough money for the rest.My last day arrives, Nigel comes to see me and lets me go “I’m gonna miss you” that touches me sincerely. My supervisor shakes my hand and tells me not to hesitate to come back, he will take me back immediately.

The next morning my friend and roommate, Zhang, drops me off at the station, a farewell hug makes me already nostalgic for a time that I did not think was so memorable.

I learned a lot about myself during this time. At first, I was alone but I met many people, we realize very quickly that being alone is not a problem. I also learned a lot about Chinese culture. The Chinese are very different from us culturally but I soon realized that going through these differences, we are actually much more like me than I thought. I never thought that I would laugh so much during these two and a half months.

The job was not so bad. In Australia, if you work hard, you will be quickly rewarded. If you do not mind the task, you can make a lot of money quickly.

Administrative procedures in Australia (Phone, TFN, bank accounts)

Administrative procedures in Australia (Phone, TFN, bank accounts)

The plane has just landed, you are already exhausted by the jet lag. Your backpack is certainly 10 times too heavy but what does it matter! You finally go to the promised land!

I would like to say that from now on, everything will be easy and that it will be enough to proudly brand your WHV so that everything goes easily. But it is not (inevitably) the case! You will have administrative procedures to undertake, it is obvious.

In this article I will therefore return to the first things to do when arriving (or even before leaving): administrative procedures in Australia. Show your best smile, I know you love paperwork :).

#1 : The australian number phone

It is important or even essential to have an Australian phone number. This will facilitate your future steps and allow you to be contacted by your future employers. Please note that the phone number is required for almost all paperwork. So in my opinion, this is the first thing to do when arriving.

It is nevertheless very easy. There are three major telephone operators in Australia:

  • Telstra : greater network coverage, convenient if you plan to roam around Australia
  • Yes Optus : less extensive network coverage but good value for money
  • Vodafone : cheap, but network bad coverage 

So everything depends on your needs!

My advice: Do not take Vodafone, other operators’ plans are not overpriced.

My advice # 2: There are often (all the time?) Welcome offers or offers for Christmas or offers for the Saint Idon’tevenknow. So inquire before checking out! Personally I paid 15 dollars for a phone number with prepaid card of 30 dollars and 35 GB of data. I told you it was cheap. I went through Yes Optus. But I am sure that there are also offers at Telstra.

 

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#2 : The TFN (Tax File Number)

The famous TFN, or tax number you will be systematically asked before starting a job. Indeed taxation in Australia, as in New Zealand, is at the source. You will not make a declaration of income but you will be directly debited on your salary.

To apply for TFN, two solutions:

  • Apply online on the ATO website where you will need to fill out a form to explain your situation. This approach requires having a relatively fixed postal address. You will also be asked for an Australian phone number. It’s usually a week before the reception, but some people are less fortunate and waiting 1 month or more!

It is for these reasons that I chose the other solution:

  • Ask an independent organization. It is a paid solution but very convenient. You apply online. You can do it before you even arrive in Australia. Personally, I did it when I was in New Zealand. You simply indicate your date of arrival on the territory and the process is automatically triggered on D-day. The big +: no need to move to an authorized office or to have a fixed address or a telephone number. The process is done without you having to worry and you will receive the TFN by mail!I received it a week after my arrival, through this organization. Count about 60 dollars for the benefit. It is not given, it is certain, but if you do not intend to have a fixed address during 28 days, it is a solution.

#3 : The australian bank account

It is also essential if you want to work! Know that there are many banks in Australia and that most allow a pre-opening before even arriving on the territory. One more thing I did in New Zealand.

I have chosen ANZ, but many backpackers choose Westpac. It’s up to you!

When you arrive on the territory, all you have to do is go to your bank and ask to finalize your account opening. It is not very long, simple administrative formality. For my part I asked that my credit card be sent to the bank and not to the address I mentioned because I was not sure to be there yet. The card is sent in 5 days, no problem.

My advice: Open a savings account at the same time, it’s usually free, it was free for me, and put 90% of your money on your savings. In case of theft of your card you will be happy or at least reassured to have lost only 10% of your money.

My advice # 2: Also take advantage of this interview to open a superannuation account. Indeed this account will be asked most of the time by your employer. This is a contribution fund for your retirement. You can also open it via your personal online space. It’s up to you.

And done! Not so complicated finally! Of course this is only the basis of the paperwork that you will have to do, I am not talking about the purchase of a car for example. But if you do these three things, you’ll be ready to move wherever you want in the country and find work without the hassle of paperwork.

Hope I helped you. See you soon boyz and gurlz 🙂

Hike #7: Routeburn Track (Fjordland National Park)

Hike #7: Routeburn Track (Fjordland National Park)

True alpine trek, the Routeburn track will take you through forests and mountains. Passing through high-altitude lakes and wild meadows, you will discover majestic landscapes mixing mountain ranges and valleys, perched above the clouds.

About the hike

The Routeburn track is part of the Great Walks of New Zealand. These are hiking trails have good trails and bridges to cross the various obstacles such as streams.

For several days, and marked out camps, they allow to live a real experience in nature with breathtaking views. The Routeburn track can be done in 3 days (2 nights) however, it is not a loop. The route from the starting point of the hike to the arrival point is several hours long. Traveling in campervan, we made the decision to go halfway through the hike and turn around because we had no solution to recover the van at the end. In addition, we challenged ourselves to do it in one day! 🙂

Despite this compromise, the hike was beautiful and really worth doing. Crossing forests, meadows and rivers, you will reach the summit, above the clouds with a breathtaking view of the New Zealand fjords. You may have the chance to meet a Kea, endemic parrot and emblematic of New Zealand, so pay close attention to his songs.

 

Caracteristics

Level: Beginner to Intermediate because it is a long hike but marked by multiple camps to rest.

Duration: 2 or 3 days. 

Required equipment: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat / cap, camping gear, food for 2 to 3 days.

In conclusion, the Routeburn Track is a perfect hike to discover the New Zealand Fjordland and learn the alpine walk over several days. It is with regret that we could not do it in full. However, with our round trip in one day, we did 36km or 3km more than the entire hike, which is a small victory for us! 🙂

Localisation

One end of the trail is at the Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy and 68 km from Queenstown). The other is at The Divide Shelter (on the road to Milford, 85 km from Te Anau).

 

Find a job in Australia

Find a job in Australia

Finding a job in Australia is not (anymore) easy. Indeed, according to what I have heard, the golden age of the easy and profitable job in Australia is exceeded. It is still quite possible to find a job in Australia, if we take a hard time and we are alright about the hardness of work.

Of course, I will talk about my personal experience, I was able to find a farm job in just 5 days but many did not succeed at all. We must also be able to count on his lucky star and not hesitate to be mobile throughout Australia.

I was also in Brisbane and I had to do more than 1000 km to go to my future workplace (melon fields). I will spread more about my working conditions in another article.

Tip #1 : The main compulsory courses in Australia

Some jobs require certification beforehand. There are many and they are paying, so choose the area in which you want to illustrate to avoid losing money and especially time. Most training is done in accredited centers or online. Know that you will have enough trouble finding a job that requires certification without it, employers are more attentive. Here is an anthology of the main cereals in Australia:

  • The RSA (Responsible service of alcohol): you figured it out, it will serve you to fill glasses and pock tips as a bartender. It may even be asked if you want to be a waiter since you must often be able to know the legislation in force in the state. Choose, besides, scrupulously your state of passage of the certification which often is valid only in this one!
  • Barista Training: To serve coffee, you will be asked to show your barista certification. A little paper that will prove that you know how to meet the specific requirements for coffee in Australia
  • The White card: the Grail of the backpacker who hopes for a big salary! This will allow you to work in construction. Understand a job outdoors, difficult because very physical but who can pay big!
  • The blue card: this one will allow you to be traffic control course or controller of road traffic. This job also has the reputation of being well paid and much less tiring than construction.

 

Remember that certification does not give you access to work by snapping your fingers. From my own experience, it is not uncommon for you to be asked for certification + a number of years of experience in the job in question. Make the good choice !

 

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Tip #2 : The Australian CV

If you thought you could escape, it’s missed! It will be necessary to redo his CV (youpi!). Finally, let’s be clear: it all depends on the job you are aiming for. If you want to work in a farm you are unlikely to be asked for a CV, you will only be asked about your past experience in the field. But for all the rest, I’m afraid he’ll have to bring out your most beautiful professional photo.

My advice: make a different CV by business sector. Employers do not care if you’re a web developer if you’re looking for a server job!

The CV can make 2 pages it does not matter, simple: we want to understand your skills as quickly as possible! Put your availability and VISA directly. As well as of course, all you need to be contacted.Other thing: Australian employers love references and do not hesitate to call them! So if you’re thinking of beautifying reality, do this cleverly little naughty gang!

You can see the one I made here. My main goal was to find a job in farm but having a very limited budget, I still applied to various offers on Brisbane (dish washer, kitchen hand, car washer …) just in case. motivation may also be requested, but not always. Personally, I did not do it, but I was about to start just before I got my taf in farm (phew).

Tip #3 : Where to look for a job?

Very big subject, and everyone goes for his visionary advice. In reality everything depends on what you are looking for! For farm jobs I advise you to watch the Harvest Guide published by the government. This one will give you an idea of ​​the location of the farms that recruit according to the seasonality by location.

My little advice: go directly on the west coast, much less plebiscite than the east, you will have less competition and more chances to find a job on the farm! As for jobs like waitress, dish washer, kitchen hand etc … aim big cities. You will be more likely to find in Sydney. Do not forget that rents are expensive.

Personally, I had targeted Brisbane, but a lot of backpackers were looking for work and could not find it at the time I was there. Always have a plan B and luck is with you!

Tip #4 : Which sites / applications to find a job?

Of course the vast majority of your time will be dedicated to finding a job on the net. To do this, you must target a few sites and essential applications:

  • Gumtree: the equivalent of our good national corner, Gumtree also has references in jobs. You can also post an ad stating that you are looking for a job yourself to maximize your chances. But I can not tell you if it’s really effective.
  • Seek: a job search site. In my own experience, this site is more useful when you are looking for a job rather qualified and not a job of traveler but my faith is known ever?
  • Indeed: the “No. 1” recruitment sites. This is where I found the most offers personally. I advise you to create an email address reserved for job search and to create alerts for ads that may interest you.

Very often, it’s first come, first served since these are jobs that do not require a lot of skills for the most part. Be responsive and spend time!

  • It remains obviously Facebook: it is the first platform for the small jobs in Australia. Many groups are available for job search. There are those which concern the whole Australia (Backpacker jobs in australia for example) but also by region, state even by city! So do not hesitate to search all the possible groups and imaginable! There are also groups reserved for finding farms (AUSTRALIA Fruit picking / Packing / Farms Jobs / 88 days for example). My advice: when you are on a group’s Facebook page, set the notifications so that you are notified of each publication. Yes it’s a bit boring, you’ll get notifications every 30 seconds but as I said: first come, first served!

Many sites and apps will help you find a job on the farm. The application that I think is most useful is Wikifarms: it lists farms in Australia. You can sort them by plantations and especially by season and the most important: phone numbers and addresses are included! Nevertheless the application is paying (around 7 euros on the google store).

Of course, the best technique will remain door-to-door! No matter what job you’re looking for, nothing beats seeing a candidate moving directly. Bring CVs and simply put on a suitable outfit in case you start immediately! I can talk about working hostels and temp agencies, but I have very little knowledge of the subject. All I can tell you is find out before! Post a message on the backpacker groups and see reviews on Google. Go through a third party to find work can quickly turn into a nightmare. (Smile tho :D!)

You will understand, finding a job in Australia is not a part of fun and for good reason: everyone wants to work! Backpackers are more and more numerous in Australia and the law of 88 days does not help! It states that if one works for some employers, in some jobs (mostly farm), a second year of WHV is possible. Eldorado for the majority of backpackers who literally count the days. But this law significantly increases competition, allowing some unscrupulous employers to break wages.

Nevertheless, you may be lucky and get paid work by the hour at the legal rate! Keep hope!

I found myself a job quickly, I will tell you all this in my next article! See there boyz and gurlz 😀

Buy / sell a van in New Zealand

Buy / sell a van in New Zealand

As many backpackers, we decided to buy a van when we arrived in New Zealand.
So between what we knew and what we learned on the job, here is a short recap so you can buy and sell your future home on wheels with confidence.

Tip # 1: Where can we find van ads?

It is extremely easy to find van ads of all kinds in New Zealand. The reason is that many backpackers travel this way since it is the most comfortable in terms of cost and freedom of movement.

So you will have the choice:

  • Facebook’s Marketplace: Widely used in New Zealand as in Australia, it will probably be the cornerstone of your research
    The van / car sales groups on Facebook: there are no less than a dozen, so you have the choice! (New Zealand backpacker cars, New Zealand backpackers buy or sell, campervan …)
    Most sellers are very responsive since they need to sell quickly often because they have a fixed start date
  • Bulletin boards: in the backpackers you will often have bulletin boards with job offers or van sales!
  • Trade Me: New Zealand website full of all the ads you will need
  • Car Fair: These are weekly gatherings that bring together car salesmen of all kinds, not just vans. It’s free for buyers so it can be worth it.

Note however, that Facebook remains the platform most used for the purchase and sale of van. It is certainly through that you will find your friend on 4 wheels.

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Tip #2 : Self-contained or not ?

In New Zealand, there is a certificate for vehicles certifying that your vehicle is “self-contained”. To put it simply, it allows authorities to know if you can live independently in your vehicle. Many rules are to be respected so that the van obtains this certification (bed, toilet, can of 25 liters of water …).

Many free camp (free campsites) are reserved only for self-contained vehicles. The official reason being that people who do not have the necessary equipment could damage the site by spilling dirty water, urinating outside or other …

To know if a camp is reserved for SC (self-contained) or not: you can check on Campermate or Wikicamps. Feel free to read our article on essential applications in New Zealand.

So, the question is, should I buy a more expensive self-contained vehicle that allows me to sleep in many more camps? We would tend to tell you a big yes! In our experience, those who buy a non-SC vehicle end up regretting it or at least are much more restricted in their movement. And here the usefulness of van travel is somewhat undermined. So yes, it is necessarily more expensive, but it is better to take a SC vehicle at the base price cheaper than the last van fully equipped but not SC.

But it’s up to you of course!

Tip #3 : The WOF (Warrant of Fitness)

The WOF, you will hear about it! It’s the equivalent of our good old technical control, happiness. Know first that it is valid for 6 months for vehicles dating from before 2000. If you want it to last 1 year, you will need a van after 2000-at the time the article is written well sure-.

It costs about fifty euros and can be done in many accredited centers. They are pretty picky from what we know especially about rust, real gangrene in New Zealand.

When looking for a van, pay attention to the expiry date of the WOF and carefully check the vehicle before buying it.

Even without really knowing you, the hotspots to check are:

  • Rust, under the car most often
  • Tires: New Zealand’s roads are hard on tires!
  • The brakes and shock absorbers that often take a hit also during a road trip
  • The lights: headlights, flashing …

 

Of course you are not safe from surprises during your trip so to maximize your chances, you can ask for a mecanic check (about 140 dollars) before the purchase. Do not hesitate to ask if the seller has a complete maintenance booklet to reassure you and facilitate future resale.

Never forget that you will have to sell your van! Keep all the bills!

Tip #4 : The REGO

Rego is a tax that you will have to pay for driving on New Zealand roads. It is also a point to check when buying a vehicle even if it “enough” to pay to extend a rego. You can extend it by 3 months, 6 months, 9 months …

The price is sixty euros for 6 months and you can do it in many approved institutions (post, center AA …) or on the internet if you have a postal address. But if you are in your van, it’s a safe bet that no!

Tip #5 : The D day 

You have found the van of your dreams and you are going to visit. To make sure everything is normal, take a look at Carjam, it’s a site that will give you the history of the vehicle through the license plate. You check everything that has been mentioned before and definitely everything is perfect!

But how is the change of ownership?

In New Zealand, the change of ownership is frighteningly simple. All you have to do is go to a post (yes, yes). The seller will fill out a form and you will yours. They each make a page. You will then pay 9 dollars and voila!

 

Tip #6 : The best time to buy / sell your van

The period is extremely important when buying a van in New Zealand. Know that prices can easily go from single to double depending on the time of year.

Of course, everything is a question of offers and requests. Everyone wants to enjoy the summer and sell before the arrival of winter. Prices explode when the demand is strongest, that is to say from October to December. Then prices begin to fall in January and are lower and lower until June.

The must is to buy in June and sell between October and January.

 

This is an event that should not be taken lightly! The choice of van will determine the rest of your trip. We had no problem for the duration of the trip (or almost) but we are very lucky! Some backpackers have to work to pay for repairs or just go home … So be careful, scams are relatively common and remember that you will live in this block of junk for the next few months. Choose a van that you like, that looks healthy and … cross your fingers!