If you're planning a working holiday visa to Australia and you've already done a little bit of research then you've probably heard of these intro packages that are available. There are a lot of companies out there that have them and they range in prices and what they offer you. First time travellers often decide to book a package as they sort everything out for you such as your TFN, bank account, sim card, they also set you up with your first week's worth of activities seeing the place you decide to start. There are also a lot of other people doing these intro packages and if you are on your own then it's a great way to meet new people when first arriving in Australia, these do come at a price though and can cost quite a lot of money. When I first arrived in Australia I did an intro package with Ultimate Oz, and I had a lot of fun, but I didn’t really feel it was worth what I paid for it and that I could have done a lot of it myself very easily which I did end up doing. I will go through a couple of Intro packages explaining what they offer and there costs, and then list in my opinion the advantages and disadvantages of these intro packages and what I would recommend.
There are two popular intro packages for Australia which you may have come across, Oz Intro and Ultimate Oz, what they offer is below:
⦁ They offer you pre departure support which I thought was useful, if I needed any help before I left instead of trawling the web, I would often just email these guys.
⦁ They offer you easy arrival, so someone waiting for you and they will drop you off at your hostel when you land, and your hostel is booked for you. In my opinion it's actually easier to do this yourself and will be quicker, like getting a train to the city is cheap and fast, a lot of hostels offer free shuttles anyway. I was waiting like 40 minutes for my shuttle to leave as there were not enough people.
⦁ They sort you out with an Australian Bank account which is good as they open it for you before and you can just transfer money before you leave. But you can do this online by yourself it literally takes five minutes and then you just go into a bank in Australia with your passport and confirm it, and you can still transfer money this way.
⦁ Sim card they sort out for you, once again super easy to do by yourself just go into any phone store ask what deals they have and then they will give you one. The original Sim card that was offered to me, I didn’t even us and ended up getting a completely different one, as found a cheaper better alternative.
⦁ They will also sort you out with a TFN for when you arrive but again, you can apply for one of these yourself in about five minutes.
⦁ Mail Service, this I did find very useful, if you receive any mail while you are in Australia you can get it sent here. They will then scan it in if it's a letter and you can log into your online mail account and read it which is great if you are travelling. They also hold your actual mail so if you get a parcel, then you can go and collect it whenever is convenient.
⦁ They will also help you sort out your Tax refund for when you leave Australia which is basically when you work you get taxed and they will help you claim this back when you leave Australia, at a cost of course. I just did this through a company called Taxback.com.au and it was extremely easy to do they just charge you a small fee and it's done.
⦁ They also give you a 12 month subscription to Travellers at work. This is a job website that allows you to apply for jobs in cities such as call centres and bars and also farm jobs. I used this quite a lot and found it very useful, but it is not a necessity really, you can find jobs easily enough on loads of other websites and if you really want you can sign yourself up for like $40.
⦁ They also include in your package an RSA course which you may be thinking that's great that will be really useful if looking for bar work, but what I didn't realize until I arrived was that this is not valid for NSW which is Sydney, and this was where I wanted to live and work, so that was completely useless to me.
These are the main things that they offer and what I think to them and whether they are worth it or not, this is just my personal opinion, and this is just what one specific company offers, as said before there are a few companies out there that do offer alternative variations and different packages. These companies also set you up with your first week of stuff to do, such as your first week in the hostel, and activities, like we had a harbour boat cruise which was incredible, city walk, and they also took you to a place called base camp just outside the city which was really cool and we went hiking, sand boarding plus did loads of other cool activities. I did have an amazing week and met some really great people. That is one of the best things about it, the meeting of new people when you first get there, or first land in the airport you are guaranteed to have a group of people your going to meet and do all of these cool activities with, and a few of the people from my group I re-met up with such as I met a group of them at Christmas, and I did part of my farm work with someone I met on this trip and I also met a friend in Melbourne who I first met on this trip. So that is one fantastic benefit of doing an intro package. It is basically there to stop you worrying as you know you're going to have an incredible first week in Australia.
The only downside to it is the cost, it is extremely expensive for what it actually is costing around £550 for seven days. Considering a lot of the activities are actually free such as the city walk and the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. You can also sort a lot of necessities out yourself as mentioned before like bank account, TFN, phone number etc. But I wouldn’t have changed it. I am very glad I did it just for the people I met and the amazing time I had even though it was quite expensive. They are also always there for support, if you ever have a question you can just email them and they will get back to you very fast. I think it's also just knowing you have your first week in Australia planned out and sorted, it makes you feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed knowing everything is sorted out for you when you land and saves you stressing out or worrying that you've forgot something. I have put some links below for some of the introduction packages offered so you can have more of a look into it and see if you think it is worth it and what they offer in a bit more detail.