Q&A – Work & Travel Australia

Blog post number two in which I want to answer all the questions I daily get about doing Work & Travel in Australia.

I already posted one that included all the questions about Travelling and Backpacking through Australia and because there are a few more topics that I want to talk about, there are more informative blog posts coming soon:

  1. Q&A – Backpacking Australia
  2. Q&A – Work & Travel Australia
  3. Q&A – Solo Travelling
  4. Planning your own Work & Travel Year
  5. About being an AuPair

So I hope I will answer as many questions in all these posts as possible and give you guys the information you may want and need for your own adventures.

If you have more questions or ideas what I should include into the following posts, please comment them down below or message me on Instagram @mind.wanderer

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Are you in Australia with a Work & Travel Agency?

No. I planned everything myself and would say that it is not necessary to get help from an agency to apply for a Visa, Tax Number, get a bank account setup or a SIM card.

I decided to do everything myself because the daughters of my mom’s friend tried both and said that it’s way cheaper than with an organisation and you don’t need the help they offer you.

On the other hand, I met a German girl here that came to Australia with ‚Praktikawelten‘ and paid 2000€ which included her flight, the first week in Sydney in a hostel with everyone that travelled with the organisation and they did a lot of things together. As well as getting a Visa, Tax File Number, Bank account and SIM card and more – which I think is an amazing price.

I still liked that I did everything on my own because I learned a lot and it’s not too hard to do it yourself.


I am currently writing on a blog post on planning and organising your Work & Travel year in Australia with many tips, websites & books that helped me, as well as a checklist!

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How is it going with the English language, Australian accents and have you improved?

I was never nervous about speaking English or not being able to understand/talk with people when I arrived because I already felt comfortable with it.

I would say that my English was already a bit better than average school English because I started watching English YouTube videos when I was 14 years old and improved my English at home ever since by listening and reading in English (not specifically to improve my language but because I loved American/British/Australian YouTubers more than Germans).

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The Australian accent is for sure very hard to understand. But the good thing is that most Australians don’t have a very strong accent, only older people, people from the country land or so-called Bogans (not very educated people) have a very strong and hard to understand accent.

But Australians do have the tendency to shorten words: Brissie = Brisbane, Avo = Avocado, Cambra = Cambarra, Breakie = Breakfast, AC = airconditioner and phrases like “Hey, how are you doing?” (verschmilzen) to “Hai-ho-a-u-duin?” …but you get used to it.

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The worst thing you can do is to be scared of talking to others in English because you think you won’t understand them or they won’t understand you. Especially when you are travelling with a friend/friends some people tend to hide behind others and let them handle things so they don’t need to talk in English or they only talk/make friends with other Germans… but that doesn’t help. Talking, practicing, trying is what makes you improve in the end and Australians/other travellers are usually so nice, take their time to listen to you and help you out if you need a word. So don’t worries mate!

My English for sure improved in the last four months. I got more confident and more fluent. Especially my Aussie and Canadian friend that I hung out with for around 2 weeks each helped me by correcting me, teaching me new words, sayings or pronunciation. For others, it might sound rude how often they corrected me, but I want to get better and learn so I was glad they took their time to help me improve.

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What phone contract / SIM card can you recommend?

I have a pre-paid SIM card from Lebara that I like and recommend. Every month I get to choose how much data/minutes I want to purchase (depending on where I am and what I think I will need) which is practical. But I’ve heard that Telstra is even better because you have a better connection, I still have to say that mine is totally fine and in the middle of the Outback, there is no connection for anyone anyways.

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What bank card do you have? How do you pay?

I came to Australia with 200$ of Australian cash that I already changed at home and would recommend to get some and not change at the airport. I also took two German cards with me for safety and to have a credit card to pay online. In Melbourne, I also went to the Commonwealth Bank to open an Australian Bank account which is necessary if you work here and very practical because you can do tap-paying without a code or anything up to 100$ here.

I transferred some money from my German bank account to the Australian with ‚Currency Fair‘ which is a cheaper and better way to do international transfers.

I always have a little bit of cash with me for markets or places that have cash only, but usually, I try to pay for everything with my Australian card.

I also write down every spend to have an overview for myself on what I spend the most money and also to show you what a year of Backpacking can cost and what is the most expensive part of my travels.

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What do you want to do after your gap year?

My plan is to return home in August and then search for an apartment in Wernigerode and start studying International Tourism Management in October.

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What do you work? How can you afford to travel?

I haven’t worked so far and been only travelling for the past four months. I saved up some money back at home with my job as a barkeeper back at home as well as my Birthday & Christmas money since I’ve been 14 years old as it has always been my dream to come to Australia.

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But now it is time to settle down and work for a while. I started as an AuPair for a family on the Sunshine Coast in February and will work for them for 1,5 months. Afterwards, I am planning to find another job somewhere along the coast. My dream would be to work in a health food café selling Acai Bowls, Smoothies, Juices and (vegan) healthy snacks and meals.

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I love to hear how many people are planning to travel through Australia soon and I hope my tips and suggestions can help you a bit, take your insecurities and make you even more excited for your journey! If you are ever in the same area as I am (stay up to date through my Insta stories @mind.wanderer) please message me and maybe we can meet and hang out together!

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Q&A – Backpacking Australia

Every day I get messages from travellers and future travellers asking me about my experiences and tips for backpacking through Australia. So I decided to write a blog post that I can refer to, so I don’t need to answer the same questions again and again.

Because there is a lot of information that I want to share with you, I decided to do a series of informative blog posts in the next weeks:

  1. Q&A – Backpacking Australia
  2. Q&A – Work & Travel Australia
  3. Q&A – Solo Travelling
  4. Planning your own Work & Travel Year
  5. About being an AuPair

So I hope I will answer as many questions in all these posts as possible and give you guys the information you may want and need for your own adventures.

If you have more questions or ideas what I should include into the following posts, please comment them down below or message me on Instagram @mind.wanderer

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What have you done/seen so far?

I flew from Germany over Doha to Melbourne and stayed in the city for 2,5 weeks to settle in and also because I met some lovely people and my first friends on my journey that I am still in connection with now.

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Afterwards, I did the Great Ocean Road and met two lovely German girls that I hang out with for a week in Adelaide afterwards.

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Then I did another tour for 6 days that lead me through the Red Centre and Outback of Australia to see the famous Uluru / Ayers Rock.

From Alice Springs I flew to Sydney to spend a week with one of the German girls from the Great Ocean Road in Bondi Beach, Sydney before I had to say goodbye and welcome my Cousine Lisa to Australia that visited me for three weeks.

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We spend 5 days in Sydney, went to the Blue Mountains and then started our journey to Brisbane with stops in Port Macquarie, Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise before we explored Brisbane for a few days and then flew back to Syndey.

When Lisa left me I wanted to take a flight to Perth, but it got cancelled and I had to stay in Bondi Beach for a few more days before I finally got to Western Australia.

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I experienced one very lonely week in Perth and then went to another 6-day tour to Esperance and see Wave Rock, Margaret River and Albany before I returned to Perth and finally meet a nice girl from Korea that I hang out with for another week in Perth before I flew to Cairns.

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In Cairns, I met my parents and brother after 3 months of travelling thousands of miles apart of them. We travelled three weeks with a campervan from Cairns to Sydney over Christmas and arrives for New Year’s Eve in Sydney to watch the world famous fireworks over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was a lovely time together with them and I am very glad that I was lucky to spend some time with them, especially for the Holidays.

Afterwards, I stayed in Sydney for a few days before I started my journey along the East Coast for the third time, but solo travelling for the first time. I also now have a lot more time and can stop wherever I want.

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So my first stop was Newcastle where I had two amazing days and wished I could stay longer because I got to meet and do Yoga together with @sjanaelise my favourite Yogi.

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Afterwards, I went to Woolwolga aka Mojosurf Spot X where I did a surf camp for 5 days and learned to ride the waves which is so much fun!

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Then I continued my journey to Byron Bay and was lucky to meet some amazing people in my hostel room that I hung out with for 6 days. It was an amazing time and I was glad to travel along with two guys to Surfers Paradise where I spend 5 more days with them and then finally met my first friend I met in Australia: Sabrina from Italy that I met in Melbourne again and we spend a wonderful weekend together.

Then I had three last days travelling and exploring Noosa on the Sunshine Coast before I met and moved in with my AuPair family that lives in Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast and that I am now going to spend 1,5 month with.

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Your favourite places?

Not a ranking, because I could never decide:

  • Byron Bay
  • Newcastle
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Fitzroy in Melbourne
  • Bondi Beach in Sydney

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The best memories you made?

Again, I can’t rank them, but here are my favourites:

  • the time with Sabrina and James in Melbourne
  • the Twelve Apostles
  • Sleeping under the stars in the Outback on my Red Centre Tour
  • Living in Bondi Beach for a week
  • Travelling with my family and my cousine
  • Sailingtour on the Whitsundays
  • Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Doing Yoga with @sjanaelise in Newcastle
  • Learning to surf
  • Lots of fun and a wonderful time with friends I met in Byron Bay
  • Spending four days with Sam, a Canadian guy, in Surfers Paradise
  • Weekend in Surfers with Sabrina and Keith
  • Experiencing having an Aussie family

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Are you travelling solo?

Yes, I am mostly travelling alone, but I travelled three weeks together with my Cousine that visited me from Germany and three more weeks with my family that came over for a road trip along the East Coast over Christmas and New Years.

Sometimes, when I meet some nice people I stay together with them for a few days/ a week or two, but I have not found a long term travel buddy as I oftentimes everyone has their own plans and I prefer doing my thing.

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Is there anything that you completely dislike about Australia / Backpacking / Work & Travel?

To be honest… there is only one thing that I don’t like and that is being away from my family and friends for so long. Everything else is only so small and gets defeated by all the great things here. And even being away and not seeing friends and family is so worth it for the life that I am living now… at least for a year.

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What do you miss about Home/Germany (besides friends & family)?

I miss… German bread, a fridge with a variety of food, a kitchen to myself to cook, bake, test recipes with all the ingredients I need, my own bed and room for some privacy and relaxed & calm times alone, having a routine, cozy cold days for long winter walks, drinking tea and going to the sauna (at least for a weekend), my cat, not having to pack/live out of a backpack, always having washed and fresh clothes/towels if I need them.

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What is the cheapest/best way to travel around?

As I am travelling alone the best way for me is taking a Hop-on-Hop-off bus. I can make as many stops as I want along the way and see all the places that I want to. The Greyhound bus is the more known Backpacker bus, but I am taking the Premier Motor Bus because it is a lot cheaper and besides that you don’t get Wifi it is just as good.

When you are travelling with a friend / a group it is for sure cheaper to rent or even buy a car/van because you can also sleep in it and save the costs for a hostel bed. And you are more free with the time and places you go to and can explore some unknown or further away places.

Where are you staying?

I usually stay in Hostels as they are easy to find and book everywhere in Australia.

With my cousin I stayed in AirBnBs which usually is a bit more expensive than a dorm hostel room but also more private and when you are lucky, book early or travel outside the season you may find some super cheap and very nice places.

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When I travelled with a campervan with my family, we stayed at campgrounds. They are around 60$ per night but there are also free campgrounds or parking spots where free camping is not prohibited.

I also tried Couch surfing in Surfers Paradise with my friend Sabrina for the first time and had a great experience. She found the offer over Facebook and already stayed with this guy once and he invited us to stay with him again and took us on a little adventure in the rainforest to a waterfall and surfing at the beach on the Gold Coast. I hope to be able to do couch surfing more often as it is super interesting (and cheap) but you need to find good people that you feel safe with.

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View from my hostel in Melbourne: The Nunnery.

Where do you book your hostels and what do you look for?

I always book over the Hostelworld App as they have a great overview over all hostels available at a destination for the time and you can choose the best/cheapest one over a rating, read about the hostel and see reviews of past travellers.

A nice central location, Wifi and maybe free breakfast is what I usually look for as well as a good price (between 22-35$ depending on weekend/weekdays, holidays, season and place) and then I read the comments to see if there are many bad reviews on the cleanness, kitchen, facilities and if the hostel is a major party hostel. But I always keep in mind that some travellers are just not used to hostel life and write bad reviews.

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Sadly, I do not have the fitness (and body) like I used to have anymore…but at least I have a tan now :D

How do you try to stay healthy while travelling (and not having access to a full fridge and a variety of foods)?

As you know healthy, fitness and nutritious eating is very important to me. I try to live as healthy as I can while travelling, but that’s not always easy. Especially when you are meeting friends and going out with them or relying on the free breakfast or free food options that hostels have to save money.

When I cook and make food myself, I try to get as many nutrients and vitamins in as possible. Frozen veggies, fresh baby spinach, canned beans or lentils, seasonal fruit and oats are my staples. They are the cheapest and still wholefoods and nutritious.

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I already made a blog post on some healthy, easy, cheap and vegan lunch/dinner meals and showed you my go-to healthy breakfast recipe, as well as a blog post on healthy and cheap food shopping in Australia. In the category ‚What I Eat‚ you also find some What I Eat in a Days from Melbourne or Perth.

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I want to get my post-travelling body back, but on the other hand, I really want to enjoy my travels. So for now, I am eating and enjoying and working out a bit on the side.

For working out there has been a lot of up’s and downs on my travel. It’s not always easy to stay on track with it when you are moving places and cities a lot, trying to see and experience, meeting and hanging out with friends and not knowing where to go for a run or workout.

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Best running view in Bondi Beach, Sydney.

It is definitely easier when you stay at one place for several days and can find a park to run in / workout like I did in Bondi Beach, Perth or Melbourne. As well as when you have an AirBnB hence space to do a home workout without fellow roommates staring weirdly at you.

A lot of parks here in Australia have some outdoor fitness devices which can be handy to use after a run or in addition to your bodyweight exercises. Some backpackers also join Gym chains that exist in whole Australia and that they can use wherever they are, but for me, that’s not worth the money and I rather go to a park.

The good thing is that you are usually very active when you travel, walk a lot or do hikes.

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Surf camp was another thing that kept me fit and where I had a daily and very fun workout in the waves.

I also went to different Yoga classes which is another great and fun workout and if you look for good deals, it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, in the Yoga Loft Newcastle I paid 20$ as a new member for as many classes as I wanted in 10 days. I only stayed there for 2 days and joined 3 classes, but it was still a good deal. In Byron Bay there was the option to join future Yoga teachers in a teaching practice class and I only paid 5$ for 90 minutes of yoga.

Some hostels also offer free Yoga once a week or at least Yoga mats to use for free.

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What should I pack when backpacking Australia?

You can find my complete packing list for Australia here as well as a guide on what I have with me in my toiletry bag (that is mostly eco-friendly and very light packed as well).

There will be an update of my “What’s in my Backpack” soon when I am leaving my AuPair family as I will probably go shopping a bit now that I am settling down and I will give you some tips and suggestions that I learned travelling with under 15kg for over four months now.

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I love to hear how many people are planning to travel through Australia soon and I hope my tips and suggestions can help you a bit, take your insecurities and make you even more excited for your journey! If you are ever in the same area as I am (stay up to date through my Insta stories @mind.wanderer) please message me and maybe we can meet and hang out together!

If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Surfing at Spot X – Surfcamp with Mojosurf

What is a better place to learn how to surf than a beautiful secret beach on the east coast of Australia?

Learning to surf was always a big dream of mine and now I finally got the basics to be able to rent a surfboard everywhere along my travels and practice and play in the waves.

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I booked the surf camp for 5 days at Spot X with MojoSurf in Woolwolga and it was a complete success. I didn’t only have a lot of fun and some of the most relaxing days, I can also say that I am more or less able to surf now.

Even though I would say that 5 days are great to learn the basics and be able to practice yourself afterwards, I wished I could stay longer because I had such a wonderful time.

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Getting up bright and early after an amazing night sleep to jump in your bikini, have some energizing breakfast grabbing a board and playing in the waves until you are exhausted. Eating lots of wraps, salad and toast afterwards for lunch and going straight back to the beach for some reading and tanning until the sun sets. Some yoga and stretching in the sand, the sound of the waves in your ears and meeting many new people at dinner after a refreshing shower.

Talking to strangers has never been that easy when you know you already have a similarity: the endless love for that breathtaking feeling of riding a wave to the beach.

Relaxing, more reading (or partying for others) until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore and fall asleep with a smile on your face and exhausted muscles preparing for the next surf day.

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Anzeige // Mojosurf is a big surf camp company teaching in Australia, New Zealand or Bali. They have several surf places, but Spot X is supposed to be the best for beginners because it is long, empty and has overall great conditions to learn how to surf. It is right at the beach in Woolwolga on a campsite. They have a big community area with the kitchen where you get served all meals every day and don’t need to worry about cooking or cleaning. You live in a dorm accommodation and meet your surf buddies every day for a two-hour surf lesson. Additionally, it is possible to pay for extra practising time in the afternoon or other fun water activities, but I was happy with resting and relaxing and didn’t join that.

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The surf lessons contain some theory as well as practising in small groups with the help of an instructor. All gear you need is provided and they have great boards for beginners (what I can especially feel now that I’ve tried surfing with other boards as well and it was much harder with different ones).

In the beginning, I felt a little bit overwhelmed because the surf camp is quite big and there are a lot of people and teachers that change daily, so you don’t feel very familiar with your group or the instructors. But I got used to that and on the other hand, it was super easy to get to know new people because you just need to ask how their surf was that day and then you are already into a conversation – even easier than in a hostel!

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I didn’t expect that at first, but the food at the camp was pretty good as well! Lots of healthy stuff and they even did vegan, not just veggie and dairy free. For breakfast, we always had toast with the usual sweet spreads, fruit and even porridge which was great. Lunch was always the same: salad and lots of veggies, wraps, toast, cheese and ham and some sort of pasta/rice salad. Delicious and pretty healthy. Dinner was the highlight! They really put a lot of effort into not making boring/the same dishes all the time. We had taco’s, mac ’n‘ cheese (they even had a vegan one and it was so so good!), rice with veggie stew, mash-veggies-sausage (vegan ones as well!), and a chickpea stew with veggies and potato. Super yummy stuff and so necessary after burning lots of energy in the water and at the beach.

After the five days of surfing, I now feel pretty comfortable about being able to surf some waves and I am so pumped to practice more along my travels. I already surfed the green unbroken waves for the last two days and it worked pretty well (even though the instructor helped me).

After the camp, I travelled further to Byron Bay and also tried surfing here, but the waves were not good at all and the board way too small and therefore hard to stand up for a beginner… but I will for sure try it over and over again – surfing is addicting.

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I am so glad that I made the decision to try surfing and do the surf camp so that I can surf all around the world now and practice a lot more in my 8 months left here in Australia (and probably in Bali/Indonesia as well).

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Can you surf? Or would you like to learn it?