It’s becoming ever more popular to go backpacking in Australia, so it’s important that travelers keep informed about how to stay safe and how to have a good time. There are four main things to think about – securing work, knowing your rights, knowing the dangers, and enjoying yourself – so read this guide to backpacking in Australia to get the most out of your experiences.
Don’t be too scared by the distance from home or the potential risks you’ll be taking. If you’ve taken the right precautions then you’ve nothing to fear. Make sure you plan to have a good time as well as planning to stay safe. It’s the perfect place to meet new friends to make new memories to take home with you. A great way to mark your time in Oz is to keep an eye out for one of the rare buckles and badges made by Master Cast which you might find as souvenirs at wildlife parks and other places to see. You can find some which are dedicated to mines and mining areas, which might be a great way to remember a small mining town if that’s where you’re headed. Take photos and, though you need to bear in mind the dangers, make sure you do get out to see some of the country’s remarkable creatures.
If, like most of us, you don’t have an unlimited supply of money, then you’re probably planning to work as you travel around the country. It’s a good plan, and many people have had a great time doing it, but you need to do some planning in advance. Firstly, you need to have $5,000 in your bank account so that you have sufficient funds to support yourself before you find work, and you’ll need to pay for a visa. However, you should be able to find some temporary work easily enough once you’re over there – though it wouldn’t hurt to have somewhere lined up in advance. Whether you’ve arranged work in advance or not, you can’t rely on what you’ll make when you arrive; showing up without enough money to get by on is never a good idea, and is just asking for disaster.
Know Your Rights…
Travelers are vulnerable to being exploited, so you need to know what to look out for. There’s a minimum wage of $16.87 an hour, so you certainly shouldn’t be working below it. You should be able to find a bar or outdoor job for a few dollars more than this. Employers know the insecurities that backpackers face, and they’re always ready to get the best deal they can, so don’t just agree to any offer. Check with locals to find out about your employer’s reputation, and check with the other employees to make sure you’re at least being payed the same as everybody else. Another useful piece of information that you should know before going is that you can’t legally be fined by an Australian police officer without having first being convicted – so don’t pay any on-the-spot fines.
…and the Dangers
The natural dangers of the country are often exaggerated, but you should still know what to watch out for. Don’t think that you’ll always be able to tell if a spider is poisonous or not – you could be wrong or it might be too dark to tell: keep a distance from all spiders. The same is true of snakes and jellyfish, so make sure you’re always respectful of nature. This is particularly true when it comes to spending time in the outback, since you won’t find nearly so much dangerous wildlife in the city. One last thing, which you should already be aware of, is sunscreen – use it!