Australia is one of the world’s most popular backpacking destinations because of the climate, the friendliness of the people and the ease of getting around the country. There’s so much to see, do and learn that you’ll want to stay as long as possible but you need to make sure you have your ducks in a row first.
You have to travel on the correct visa and there are a few other requirements you’ll need to address. So if you’re thinking of backpacking in Australia, here are the visa and other requirements you need.
You can come into Australia as a backpacker on one of a number of visas. In each case, you must be free of tuberculosis at the time you travel to and enter Australia and you must have no criminal convictions for which your sentence is for 12 months or more.
The following backpacker visas do not permit you to work while travelling in Australia:
If you need to work to fund your holiday in Australia, you will need to apply for one of the following visas. You must be able to show that you have sufficient funds or pre-booked tickets for your return or onward fare and have enough money (around AUD5,000) to be able to finance the first part of your stay.
See more at our page on Working Holiday Visas in Australia.
If you are from one of the countries that has a reciprocal working holiday visa arrangement with Australia, you can apply for these visas. The countries include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malta, Norway, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands and United Kingdom. Note that eligible countries do change, so always check the Department of Home Affairs website for the most up to date information.
US citizens have to apply for the Australian Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462).
To be eligible for a working holiday visa, you have to be of ‘good character’ which means not having a substantial criminal record and not being involved in a range of criminal activities as set out in the Migration Act 1958. There are also health requirements for applying and being considered for a visa.
When you visit Australia, you are financially responsible for any health or medical debts you incur here. When you apply for your visa, you may be required to provide evidence of adequate health insurance such as current policy documents. If you are not eligible for the Medicare program, then any hospital or medical room treatment you receive will be charged as a private patient. Be aware that most temporary visas do not include eligibility for Medicare.
Passport holders from a range of countries are entitled to essential medical care under Medicare when they visit Australia. As of March 2019, the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement applies to citizens of Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. It covers treatment or care for illnesses or injuries that can’t wait until the return home, as long as it is ordinarily covered by Medicare. The RHCA doesn’t cover students from Finland, Malta, Norway or the Republic of Ireland.
Backpacking is a cheap way to see the world! You will stay in backpacker accommodation like hostels and dormitories and meet tons of people of your own age and similar interests. Pack lightly because you will likely be carrying your possessions around on a regular basis.
Whether you choose to visit the beaches, the mountains, the outback or the major cities and small towns, you’re sure to find friendly faces and warm welcomes. The best advice for backpackers is to make sure you apply for the appropriate backpacker visa for your trip and that you know the conditions that apply.
Information correct as of March 2019.