How Much Money to Take to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa

Where the Pacific and Indian Oceans unite, in the land down under brimming with cosmopolitan cities and unparalleled biodiversity alike, Australia is full of so many unexpected delights. Oh, and the stunning sights! From activities off the coast, to eateries the most seasoned foodies will love the most, there are endless reasons to backpack in Australia. Australian has long been a popular destination for expats interested in working while away, which leads many of them to ask — how much money would I need to travel Australia for a year?

twelve apostles in australia at golden hour
The working holiday visa cost is worth these kinds of views.

The majority of folks that head to Australia do so on a working holiday visa, and many nationalities receive up to 365 days on their visa. The truth is that backpacking in Australia can be expensive, and it all adds up quick whether you’re good at math or not. Wondering how to weather this storm? Fortunately, the working holiday visa is here, which can potentially help save the day, so don’t let money rain on your parade!

How much is an Australian working holiday visa?

An Australian Working Holiday Visa is the best way to make money while backpacking in Australia. The price of the visa is fairly straight-forward, but there are a few basic requirements that you must meet first prior to being granted your visa — namely, being between 18 and 30 years old (and in some cases, 35).
If you fit the criteria, the one-year working holiday visa fee is $485 AUD, which works out to be around $335 USD. This will grant you the right to work and justification to stay in the country legally for up to 12 months. Furthermore, you will be eligible to study for up to four months and have the right to both enter and exit the country as much as you’d like during this time period.

How much money do I need to enter Australia?

According to the Australian Government, if you’re going to ask for a working holiday visa, you’re going to need to have enough money to support yourself while you’re in the country on your visa — as well as enough to leave once it’s all said and done.

The Department of Home Affairs says that you’ll need $5,000 Australian Dollars for your initial stay, plus the fare that is needed to get you to your next destination (whether that be home or beyond). For the second notion, if you have a return or outbound flight, that will suffice.

You should be able to provide proof in the form of a bank statement or a credit limit. However, rumor has it that immigration and customs doesn’t always check this detail.

How much money would I need to travel Australia for a year?

george street in sydney, australia
Your budget for backpacking Australia can be super expensive or dirt cheap depending on your style.

It really depends. Some travel pros says around $50 Australian dollars a day while others say upwards of $80. The best place to look is at yourself, right now. Observing your daily expenses now will help give you a ballpark estimate, as well as assessing whether or not you can limit your budget. Oh, be sure to include some of these expenses while you’re at it…

Start up costs for backpacking Australia

1. Flight

Odds are, you’re going to be departing for this adventure from North America. Unfortunately, the land down under isn’t just next door. In any event, the flight to Australia is a rather expensive one. Be sure to put aside at least a grand or so to get you there and back. Start shopping for flights early and you may be able to find a bargain.

Maybe it will only cost you $700 if you’re lucky, but it’s not a given. Sure, the price of flights change as rapidly as the weather does. The good news? If you happen to score a cheaper flight than you plan on, you’ll have a little extra money to spend elsewhere. 

Also, don’t forget travel insurance for any unexpected hiccups. Here’s the need-to-know on the best travel insurance.

2. Food

If you plan on making it a starter-main-dessert kind of working holiday, you better plan for it. If you’re more into brown-paper-bagging-it, you still need to plan for it. Consider your consumption and make sure you have the funds to support your stomach. No brainer, right?

If you find yourself working in the food and beverage industry, you might score shift meals while on the clock, but not everyone will be able to count on a free lunch. When thinking about how much money to take to Australia on a working holiday visa, don’t forget your grub!

person stirring a latte
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again — budget for flat whites.

3. Accommodation

One of the biggest expenditures for your backpacking Australia daily budget is going to be your accommodation. Whether you’re on-the-move or staying put, those nightly rates or monthly rent will add up no matter where you are.

The good news is that you’re most likely already accustomed to such charges and therefore this shouldn’t be a big surprise. Consider charges like your monthly utilities and a security deposit when you move in, too. Who knows, you might even need to furnish your new digs. All elements to keep in mind.

4. Transportation

Do you have your sights set on living in Sydney where you might be able to walk to work or hop on and off public transit? Maybe a bike will fit your bill. Some folks even opt for buying a car to really give them the freedom and flexibility they desire during their working holiday.

Consider your ideal means of transportation as a way to help you determine how much money to take to Australia on a working holiday visa.

5. Trips

sea cliff bridge, australia
You’ll hit the open road with new mates more than a few times.

You’ll surely want to take excursions while on your working holiday. So, how much money do you need to take to Australia on a working holiday visa…for other holidays? That’s a great question.

Whether it’s a weekend getaway to the opposite coast or an extended getaway in a neighboring country, you’ll be happy to have some cash to do so. Whether you call it your rainy day fund, or heck, a short-vacation-in-the-sun fund, consider stashing some cash aside to take little trips from time to time, and make the most of life in the Southern Hemisphere.

6. Data plan

What are you going to do about your phone while away? Will it be economical to add international calls and data to your existing plan? Perhaps it will be more cost effective to ditch your current situation while you’re away and get connected with an option once you arrive. If you’re not interested in getting by with what you have and only sticking to WiFi, you’ll need to learn how to use your phone internationally without any charges.

FMT will help you cut back on your backpacking Australia daily budget

Speaking of telecom, raising money for backpacking could be as easy as making a few calls. With a couple of tips on how to ask for money over the phone, you might be able to earn a bit more than you could have expected.

If you don’t quite have the time to call your entire family or if phoning a few friends isn’t your thing, consider creating a FundMyTravel campaign and spread it like the end of a jar of your favorite jam.

Explain how much an Australian working holiday visa is and let your social network do some of the work for you. The worst they can do is say no, or in this case, not contribute to your cause. You won’t know until you try!

Now, to find work. Not sure where to start your job search? Check out some of the best work abroad programs in Australia if you’re interested in scoping out some of the possible opportunities before arriving. Do note, it’s not necessary to have a job before arrival. This is only if you really can’t wait and want to be very prepared.

Now you know how much money to take to Australia on a working holiday visa!

uluru at moonrise
Budgets are important, but don’t forget to make the most of your trip no matter what.

This isn’t so bad nor expensive after all. It’s clear that the working holiday visa is going to cost you a bit, but don’t forget that it’s also going to give you the right to work. And working is how you’re going to support yourself while backpacking throughout Australia. You’ll earn that money back in no time!

Ready for your Australian adventure? Head to and start your campaign ASAP!

Leave a comment