Life on an Australian Working Holiday: What to Expect

Stepabroad ambassador Ian Saunders is currently on our Australia Working Holiday Program in Brisbane. He has written this post to share his experiences Down Under and describe what to expect on an Australian working holiday!

Imagine finishing work and heading straight to the beach to catch some waves or into the mountains for a sunset hike. For most of us that seems like a far-fetched reality too good to be true. A couple months ago I felt the exact same way, but a Working Holiday in Australia with Stepabroad has allowed this distant dream to become my new reality for my time working abroad in Australia.

For the past few months I’ve been participating in Stepabroad’s Australia Working Holiday in Brisbane and loving every moment of it. Life Down Under is definitely a little different than back home in Canada, however, after experiencing what the locals call “winter” here in Queensland, I’ve got to say I’m all for it. Being able to go surfing comfortably in the middle of winter is definitely an idea I could get used to. No matter how many times I see people bundling up in jackets, scarves and beanies in 16-degree weather, it will always get a smile out of me.

If being on nearly the exact opposite side of the globe where winter is summer and summer is winter isn’t enough of a lifestyle change, there are a number of other changes that have made every day an adventure.

Similar to how Australians drive on the left, remembering to pass on the left on sidewalks is near impossible and I can never seem to figure out which way to look first when crossing the road. Coming from the relatively flat city of Toronto, Brisbane’s hilly terrain is quite the contrast, and biking around almost always seems to result in fighting a literal uphill battle. I have to take a part of the blame for choosing to live in a neighborhood called Spring Hill, unsurprisingly at the top of a hill.

If I ever want a break from biking I can hop on the free ferry and head over to my local Woolie’s (Australia’s version of Superstore) to pick up some Kangaroo sausage on my weekly grocery trip. One thing I’ve definitely learned while living and working in Australia is that people do say “mate” as much as you’d expect, and I love every bit of it. That, and the idea that I’m now the one with the accent, which I can’t seem to wrap my head around.

The list of unique and interesting changes in my day-to-day life can go on and on, however, there’s one key difference that has made every day of my life an adventure waiting to happen: proximity.

Never in my life has it been so easy to go from a bustling city center to towering mountains to serene beaches and back.

Working flexible hours allows me to explore the number of incredible options that Queensland has to offer any time I have off. Coming to Australia, one of my main goals was to see the distinct domestic wildlife that you can’t see anywhere else. A quick bus ride and not only could I see all the local animals, but I had the opportunity to hold a koala, pet kangaroos, and feed emus at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary just south of the city.

Since I was a young kid, I’ve been in love with mountain hiking and look for opportunities to hike whenever I can. Just about as soon as I found out there was a mountain right in Brisbane, Mt. Coot-tha, with stunning views of the city skyline and vast botanical gardens, I was already on my way over. If that isn’t quite enough for you, a short train ride north can take you right into the Glasshouse Mountains. There are a number of challenging hikes with rewarding views just around the corner from the train station.

If you are feeling like a beach day, Australia is one of the best places in the world for a quick trip to the beach from the city, and Brisbane is no exception. If you are looking for a day at the beach in Brisbane, you don’t even need to leave the city. You can stop by Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach at Southbank for a swim or quick fix of sun, however, you don’t have to look far to get the real deal. In terms of incredible beaches, you really are spoilt for choice in Queensland. With Noosa Beach, Rainbow Beach, Surfer’s Paradise, Bribie Island, and Stradbroke Island just to name a few, there’s always somewhere to relax by the water.

Despite flipping just about everything I’ve known about daily life on its head, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Does this sound like fun? It could be you! We know it’s a big decision to pack up your things and travel the globe, but it’s easier than you think! Check out our Australia Working Holiday Programs to see how you can experience living and working abroad. Our team at Stepabroad will be by your side from start to finish to relieve the stress of organizing and planning your trip overseas. We help you apply for your work permit, find a guaranteed job, arrange your accommodation, and provide you with pre and post-departure assistance to get you on your way for the adventure of a lifetime. Sound too good to be true? Fill out the orange contact form below and we will get you started. It’s that easy!

Check out our Testimonials to hear more from our participants about their Stepabroad experience living and working abroad.

Has all this gotten you really excited – but you’re still wondering, just what is Stepabroad exactly? Let us enlighten you here.

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