Working Holidays in Australia: Safety Tips for Travelers

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From Medicare to staying safe on the roads, there are many things to consider if you are planning a working holiday in Australia. Here are some tips to make sure it's a safe one.


Sunrise at Bunyeroo Valley in Flinders Ranges, South Australia Photo © GettyImages/Posnov


When travelling your own personal safety and the safety of those you are travelling with is an important factor. When visiting a foreign country everything is new and it may take a while to settle in and familiarize yourself with the area.

Obviously when planning a new and exciting adventure the last thing on your mind is what to do if you get ill or something happens to you in the work place.

Well here are some tips to make sure you stay safe and can make the most of your travels.

Health Insurance

Before you start travelling make sure you have good health and travel insurance cover. You never know what can happen whilst travelling and therefore, it is better to be fully prepared, just in case. For those receiving Medicare then insurance is also needed because access is restricted and as a result may not cover all medical related problems.

Medicare in Australia

Medicare is an Australian publicly-funded health care system. With Medicare, the Australian government have agreed to Reciprocal health care agreements with nine other countries:

  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Finland
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • UK

But What Does This Mean?

It basically means that if you are a resident of one of the nine countries included then you have restricted access to Medicare whilst you are in Australia. Visitors from Italy and Malta are covered for a 6 month period, starting from the first date of entry into the country. Whereas, those from the other 7 countries are covered for the duration of their entire stay.

What is Covered?

  • Free treatment as a public in-patient or outpatient in a public hospital.
  • Subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital medical treatment provided by doctors.

To receive Medicare treatment you need to enrol at a Medicare office, these can be found throughout Australia. Once you have enrolled you will be issued with a card that has your details on and this will need to be shown upon request when you are being treated.

Unfortunately those without access to Medicare are responsible for all health costs within Australia.

Workplace Safety

Within any workplace environment there are always safety rules and regulations in place. Every employer must ensure that their working environment complies with the Occupational Health and Safety laws and that the employee holds the relevant licences or registration for the job.

Make sure when starting a new job, especially one in a new country; you are aware of the safety rules in place in your workplace. It is up to the employer to make sure that the area you are working in is safe, but it is also a good step to make sure you are personally aware of the safety rules and regulations too, such as Uniform required, start and finish times, breaks and what is expected of you.

In addition to this check out any qualifications you may need for the job you are applying for. In Australia the hospitality industry can require you to have an RSA (Responsible service of alcohol) certificate. This can usually be obtained in a one day course and teaches you how to serve alcohol responsibly. However, every job is different so find out before applying what you may need.

Another good safety measure to take when working and travelling abroad is to research the job you are after. Whether you decide to do in-depth or a minimal amount of research it all counts and can even open up new ideas and opportunities. The best things to remember are:


Decide on what job you are looking for and then find out where the best location is for this. For example many people particularly backpacker’s visit Australia on a working holiday visa and fancy a go at fruit picking.

However, make sure you are aware of the harvest trails. The Government have a website outlining the seasons and the crops that are being picked. So, if you fancy picking Mangos in Queensland make sure you know what season this happens in, otherwise you may turn up and end up doing something completely different.


Not only is researching the area a good idea but so is finding out what conditions there are and the tasks involved. Some employers may provide you with accommodation however, does this mean that accommodation is free in exchange for working for them or is this an additional bonus.


Finally check out the job you will be undertaking. You don't want to see a job advertised, take it and then realise it was completely different to what you thought it would be and find yourself back job hunting and at square one again.

Alternatively, if you want to try fruit picking then definitely check out what fruit you will be picking and the task involved. Many jobs can require you to lift heavy loads, stand, sit, kneel and work can be repetitive and tiring, so be prepared for this.

Starting a new job is very exciting especially in a new place. You can learn new skills and meet a whole host of new people. Not only does it broaden your outlook it is an adventure in itself.

However, to make the most of it don't forget RACT (Research - Areas, Conditions, and Tasks). Check out things before you go making huge decisions and that way you can be safe and prepared for the tasks ahead!

Road Safety

When travelling in both Australia and New Zealand you may be tempted to do some of your own driving. You may be driving for work purposes or hiring a campervan and driving across the vast country yourself. However, make sure you are aware of the different rules and regulations. We have listed some below:

  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Always carry a valid driving license and a translation if the license isn't in English.
  • Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt or child restraint.
  • Do not speed (the average speed limit in built up areas is 60km).
  • Do not drive whilst using a mobile phone.
  • Do not drink and drive (many pubs now offer free soft drinks for the driver).

General Personal Safety

So we have given you the low-down on some of the safety measures you should take when planning on working abroad but now its time for a few personal safety tips.

Yes, you have heard these a million times before but hey it doesn't hurt to be reminded of them now and again does it!

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