Working Holiday Australia – How Much You Need on Your First Arrival

As I’ve promised earlier, I’m gonna write another post on how much budget you need to bring for working holiday in Australia. Since the living cost, especially rent fee, varies across cities, this is probably most suitable for people who want to land in Sydney as their first point of arrival. Although in the visa requirement we are all required to have AU$ 5,000 in our bank statement, many of working holiday visa makers, as far as I know, don’t actually bring that amount of money on their first arrival, including me!

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So, how much do we actually need to bring when we first come here? Hmm, before giving you the answer to that question, I think it’s best that you answer this question yourself first:

What kind of accommodation do I want to stay and where?

This is a very crucial question since accommodation will contribute to a significant (if not most) part of your first expense. Some people want to live in the city and some others don’t mind living at outer CBD area. Some people need to have a private room while some others don’t mind sharing with a few friends. It all depends on your preference and of course, your budget. Now, here’s the budget you’re looking at when you make your choice.

  1. Private room, shared bathroom – CBD area –> min. approx. $300-400 pw
  2. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> min. approx. $200 pp/pw (per-person/per-week)
  3. Room share (3-5 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> approx. $125 – 150 pp/pw
  4. Private room, shared bathroom – suburb –> min.approx. $200-250 pw
  5. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – suburb –> approx $120 – 150 pp/pw
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My room in Mascot

List of CBD area: Ultimo, Darlinghurst, Central, Chippendale, Pyrmont, Surry Hills, Haymarket, Redfern, Newtown, Darlington, Glebe, Potts Point.

List of suburb areas preferred by backpackers: Mascot, Ashfield, Marrickville, Leichardt, Eastern Suburbs (Bondi, Maroubra, Coogee, Randwick, Kingsford, Kensington) .

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Residential area in Mascot

Check on Gumtree and Flatmates to browse for accommodation. Some people also find accommodation through Facebook group, including me.

So, have you made up your mind yet? Don’t forget to budget the deposit you need to give to your landlord upon moving in. It’s usually 2-4 week of rent and refundable when you move out, given you’re well-behaved, of course!

SIM Card

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Now, when you arrive in Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, you can immediately get your prepaid SIM card on the way to the exit. There are Optus and Vodafone’s counters that sell and help you activate your SIM card. I bought the Optus one for $20 (which worth $40 recharge voucher). With $20, I get a new phone number, 6GB internet data, unlimited calls & SMS to Australian phone numbers, and 90 mins international calls to selected 20 countries (the sales assistant will explain to you everything on this) for 28 days use.

First transportation to your new house

Ok, you’ve got that SIM card and now you have these big and small luggage and bags. Are you sure you can take bus or train with all these luggages? I couldn’t! So, I decided to take Uber instead. In Australia, you can only pay Uber with card (debit/credit). You don’t have your debit card yet, so it’s best to keep your old credit card active and use it in such emergency. I took Uber from the airport to my rent house in Mascot (near Rosebery) for $17. If you think you can carry all your bags and take the bus, the bus stop is not far from the arrival gate. Just ask some officers in the airport where it is. They’re very helpful.

Public transportation

OK, how about transportation budget during your first exploration days in Sydney? The transportation in Sydney quite expensive. For detailed information on Sydney transportation, check out: http://www.transportnsw.info/Β Β . They don’t charge you for the new card, just how much money you want to deposit in the card. I put $50 for my Opal card balance, which lasted for a bit less than 2 weeks. I don’t hang out everyday, so I don’t spend too much on this. But if you hang out everyday, you’re probably going to spend around $40 a week for transport.

Groceries shopping

After you put all your luggage in your room, you might want to to a little bit of groceries shopping. My first groceries shopping at Woolworths cost me about $40 for rice, veggies, fruits, Greek Yogurt, canned fish, etc. And I also did a little shopping at Daiso for some household tools. Daiso’s one price for everything in Australia is $2.80.

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My first groceries shopping in Australia

Here are some groceries’ price examples:

Rice (1kg) : start from AU$ 2

Sugar (1kg) : AU$ 1.00

Chicken egg (6pcs) : AU$ 2.99

Milk (2 Litres) – homebrand : AU$ 2.00

Pasta (500 gr.) : start from AU$ 1.00

For more info, check out Coles & Woolworths websites.

Summary

To wrap up everything I’ve mentioned above, here’s the list of expenses on your first days in Sydney (with examples on value):

  1. Accommodation : Β $800 (2 week deposit + 2 week rent)
  2. SIM card : $ 40 (for 28 days)
  3. Uber : $ 17 – 30
  4. Opal card : $ 120-150 (for 4 weeks)
  5. Groceries : $ 100 (for 4 weeks)
  6. Home supplies & tools : $ 40
  7. Meals (when you eat out) : AU$12-15 per-meal

Those add up to around AU 1,500 for the first 4 weeks of your stay in Sydney. And I believe that’s the minimum amount you will spend in your first month, because many people spend more than that. That, of course, depends on your lifestyle and how long you want to relax without working.

So, I hope this helps you plan your budget to move to Sydney and don’t hesitate to drop a comment if you have anymore questions.

Cheers,

Ariesa

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Packing for Working Holiday Australia

Hey guys,

As you might have known, I’ve just moved to Sydney 3 weeks ago. In the previous post I have talked about my first impressions on Sydney, Australia. And in this post, I’d like to share some tips on what to prepare before your departure to Australia, especially if you’re coming to Sydney. I will talk about things to pack since it’s not a cheap place to live in, so you want to to be extra careful with money here. In the next post, I will talk about budget you need to prepare before your departure for Australia (especially Sydney).

What to bring and what to ditch

Many things are indeed expensive here. But, some things are not that expensive that you HAVE to bring it all the way across the continent just to save a very few dollars. Before doing all the packings I also did a little research from other working holiday visa makers, especially the Indonesian ones, just to get some ideas of the daily supplies that are expensive in Australia. But apparently, I made LOTS of mistakes. I bought and brought too many unnecessary things back in Indonesia that I couldn’t even manage to pack all of them into 30kgs baggage!

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Major packing drama

Here are some things I recommend you to bring from home and will help you survive on your first days:

1. Bed sheets –> OK, it’s probably also a good idea if you check with your landlord/housemates if these things are provided in the rent and if they are brand new. If you want to buy it here, its price is around AU$ 18 to $22 for a single-sized bed sheet. Compared to the price in Indonesia, I think it’s a bit more expensive since I can get something better in quality or bigger in size for similar or cheaper price.

2. Light blanket –> same with bed sheets, check with your landlord/housemates first if this is provided in the rent. But usually we’d rather bring our own blanket for hygiene reason. If you want to buy it here, in K-Mart and Target they sell it at around AU$ 10-12 for a fleece blanket. It’s soft and cozy enough for 18-22 degree evenings.

3. Light jacket/cardigan –> except if you come in winter. You’d want to bring your winter coat instead πŸ™‚ If you come in the summer like me, you still have to bring at least 1 jacket and 1 cardigan. The weather is usually nice and sunny in Sydney, but it also gets windy and cool sometimes.

4. Lots of casual tee shirts/tank-tops, polo-shirts, shorts and jeans –> they’re wearable almost everyday and you don’t want to spend your AU$ on just casual wears like these.

5. Sneakers, thongs/flip-flops or girly sandals/flats –> you know: for beach, city strolls, Blue Mountain hikes, etc etc…

6. Other types of clothing –> it really depends on what kind of jobs you target. If you want casual jobs in cafes/restaurants, you won’t really need them. In my case, I brought quite a lot of business attires to prepare for job interviews.

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Pillow sheet, bed sheet, fleece blanket and Taylor Swift Perfume 30mL

And here are the things I recommend you to leave out of your luggage:

  1. Toiletries –> you can easily find toiletries here and buy them cheap at Chemist stores. One of the most famous for its competitive price is Chemist Warehouse. Check out their products and price on: Chemist Warehouse website.
  2. Perfume –> there are many brands of perfume with SUPER cheap price also at Chemist Warehouse. I bought my Taylor Swift perfume for just AU$ 10 (30mL)!
  3. Detergent –> although detergent is indeed a bit expensive here, around AU$ 5-10 (compared to the price in Indonesia), some landlords already provide this and other cleaning supplies in the property. You might want to check with your housemates/landlord first.
  4. Food supplies & seasonings –> this is what Asian fellows usually like to bring to Western countries πŸ˜€ But seriously, Asian shops and restaurants are EVERYWHERE in Sydney. You can even buy our all time national favorite Indomie goreng at Coles and Woolies for $0.65 πŸ˜€
  5. Cutleries, dishwares & cooking wares –> I was about to bring these things! Don’t bother! Find them at Daiso or K-Mart IF you really have to buy them. Some landlords also provide these things in the property, so you have less things to worry about πŸ™‚

If you want to compare other things’ prices in Australian retails, check out on their websites:

Coles

Woolworths

K-Mart

Target

Hope this helps you sorting out the things you want to pack for your trip to Sydney. See you in my next post πŸ˜‰

Cheers,

Ariesa

A New Life in Sydney

Hey there,

I’ve been having a super hectic-but-exciting week as I just moved to Sydney, Australia. I’ll be living in Australia for at least 1 year on a work and holiday visa. Some of you might already know what kind of visa it is, so I’m not going to explain again in here. However, in this post, I’d like to share some surprising experience that I’ve had during my pre-arrival preparations and first few days in Sydney. By sharing these, I don’t mean to compare between cities or anything. Every city and country has its own specialties, cultures and way of living. I just hope to help people who wish to come visit Sydney for vacation or probably working holiday like I do πŸ™‚

  1. Finding a private room is actually tricky if you’re not in the city yet

OK, maybe I was too early to start my room search. I started looking around the websites such as: Gumtree and Flatmates 3 weeks before I actually arrived in Sydney. Nobody on Gumtree bothered to reply my message AT ALL! 1 or 2 people on Flatmates replied only to say that they could not wait for 3 weeks. So, I waited until it was less than 2 weeks left before my arrival. Still only a few more people responded to my message. My friend who lives here also helped me texting some other people on Gumtree (via SMS). There was more response but still not more than 60% response rate. She also helped me do the inspection, but at the end, the landlord gave it to the person who’d move in sooner.

It is totally understandable why people don’t like to wait for the next tenant to move in. Room rent here is very expensive (the rate is per-week, not per-month!), less tenant in the unit means more costs (sharing bills and full-house rent) to existing tenants. More information on accommodation costs can be found on the websites that advertise them: Gumtree/Flatmates.

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view from my private balcony πŸ™‚

After a lot of drama (read: almost got scammed 2x!) and anxiety, I finally found an ad on FB group. The ad was posted by an Indonesian male that looked like student.It was already 2 days before my arrival to Sydney. My friend helped me text the number on the ad and the landlord finally skyped me later that day to show me around the house and room. I immediately liked it and decided to book the room. FYI, the landlord is also an Indonesian. Coming from similar home country of course helps a lot in finding a room here!

2. Getting around by bus can be confusing

Well, actually the most confusing transportation system that I know by far is in Indonesia (read: Kopaja/Metro Mini/Mikrolet). In Jakarta, there’s no bus stop (except for busway), no schedule and no fixed route (sometimes bus drivers will skip some area just to make a shortcut).

However, bus system in Sydney is also challenging if you don’t have a smartphone with GMaps with you. The bus stops are nicely maintained. There is sign what stop it is and which bus stops there and there’s also timetable too (which I think is pretty reliable). But once you’re in the bus, you don’t know where you are right now and what the next stop is. There is no digital sign nor driver calls the name of the stop. In Taiwan, you’re not going to lose it since there’s at least a digital sign showing current and next stop in Mandarin Chinese and English.

Β  3. The city looks a bit like Singapore

There are some factors that make it look and feel like Singapore, except for the fact that people here are much more friendly. Β First of all, it is a melting spot of people from many different races, cultures and countries. I hear a lot of languages spoken in the city and see varieties of food is sold in food courts and restaurants.

Second, the most famous tourist spot is located in the heart of the city, just like Merlion in Singapore. And there is also a restaurant/cafe by the quay that views the Harbour Bridge.

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Sydney Opera House

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CNY lantern in Circular Quay

Third, the city is very metropolitan with modern style buildings. Though there are also several old-style buildings that remind me of Europe, like the State Library, St. Mary’s Cathedral and a few hotels.

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Royal Botanic Gardens

Β  Β  Β  Β 4. Fruits and veggies are pretty cheap super fresh!

I’ve done grocery shopping at Woolworths (or Woolies) twice and am satisfied! The veggies and fruits are fresh and actually cheap!! I bought 1kg of bananas for only AU$ 1,97 and mixed salad veggies (300gr or approx. 4 meals) for only AU$ 3! So, unlike in Jakarta, healthy food is not a luxurious thing in Australia πŸ™‚

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Well, since I have been here only for 4 days, I think that’s all I’m going to share for now. I am thrilled to see what I’m going to discover next. So, make sure you follow my blog and my instagram: @ariesalie to wait for my stories πŸ™‚

Cheers,

Ariesa