Do You Need A Visa To Backpack Australia?

Do You Need A Visa To Backpack Australia? Image | East Coast Tours Australia

You do need a visa to backpack Australia, though the type of visa you need will depend on the length and purpose of your trip. The cheapest and easiest visa to get for Australia is a standard Tourist Visa, though your stay will be limited to three months. The most popular visa option for backpacking Australia is a Working Holiday Visa. You can stay for up to one year, and even two or three years if you complete the specified regional work. There are other types of visas as well, but these two are the most accessible. We're going to unpack the topic of visas for backpacking in Australia so you can better prepare for your own adventure!

people walking up a hill in the forest

Can I land in Australia without a visa?

No one is allowed to enter Australia without a visa! If you land in Australia without a visa, you may be refused entry by Immigration. In most cases, you won't even be able to board a plane to Australia without showing a valid visa to the staff at your departure airport. Australia is quite strict with its visa requirements. It truly doesn't matter what your purpose in the country is, everyone will need a Tourist Visa at the very least to enter Australia

aerial view of lake mckenzie with white sand and blue water

What is the easiest visa to get for Australia?

A Tourist Visa is the most straightforward, affordable, and accessible type of visa for Australia. This visa is for travellers who just wish to enjoy Australia for leisure without working, and you can stay in the country for up to 3 months. Another one of the easiest visas to get for backpacking Australia is a Working Holiday Visa. If you want to stay in Australia for up to one year and have the ability to work and make money while travelling, this is the perfect option. The Working Holiday Visa has a few more requirements than the Tourist Visa, but it's still accessible for many people. We'll get into all the specifics shortly!

man with a backpack looking at a waterfall

Most Common Visas For Backpacking Australia

The two most common types of visas to get for backpacking in Australia are the Working Holiday Visa and the Tourist Visa. For either visa, you have to apply online from outside Australia. We're going to explain what each of these visas entails so you can decide which one is best for your backpacking trip!

feet standing by the ocean with skyscrapers in the background

Working Holiday Visa

  • Subclass: 417 or 462, depending on your nationality 
  • Valid for: 1 year (can apply for a 2nd or 3rd year as well)
  • Cost: $635 AUD
  • Processing time: 90% of visas processed within 33 days

The Working Holiday Visa is the best option for those wishing to backpack Australia. Because you're allowed to work and stay in the country for up to 1 year, you can really make the most of your backpacking trip. Work a few jobs to get to know the locals and the culture. Save up some money for epic tours and adventures. Take your time travelling along the East Coast without rushing. Working Holiday Visas are so popular among backpackers because they give you the chance to immerse yourself in the culture, make some money, and spend longer exploring Australia. 

If the thought of leaving Australia after one year has you feeling depressed, you can complete 88 days of regional work during your Working Holiday Visa in order to stay for a second or third year. So with a Working Holiday Visa, you can stay in Australia for up to 3 years!

girl leaning out of a car to watch the sunrise

Tourist Visa

  • Subclass: 601
  • Valid for: 3 months
  • Cost: $190 AUD
  • Processing time: 90% of visas processed within 22 days

Those short on time and money may be better suited to a Tourist Visa for backpacking Australia. Also called the Electronic Travel Authority Visa, this visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 3 months at a time. If you only have 3 months or less to explore Australia, this visa will be the easiest and most affordable option. The best way to make the most of your time on a Visitor Visa is booking an East Coast Itinerary that will take you to all the highlights in a suitable time frame!

But if you wish to stay longer than 3 months, you can apply for a Tourist Stream Visa (subclass 600). This visa costs $190 AUD and allows you to apply for an extended stay for up to 6 or 12 months. For both types of tourist visas, it's important to note that you are not allowed to work. These visas are for holidays only!

people on floats at Whitehaven Beach

Other Common Visas for Australia

Besides the WHV and a tourist visa, there are other visa options for Australia as well. These visas are less common because they are more specific to a certain type of trade, study, or lifestyle. For example, student visas are a great way to spend more time in Australia, though you do have to enroll in school and undertake studies. Skilled work visas are another avenue, though they are much more exclusive and you have to be a skilled professional in an industry that is in demand. Often you have to have a legitimate job offer before you arrive in Australia as well. 

So you can come to Australia to backpack on a student or a work visa, though your freedom to travel is limited because you have to dedicate your time to work or study. If you just want to backpack Australia for fun and have flexibility, a working holiday visa or a tourist visa is the easiest route to take. 

people lounging on the sundeck of a boat

Why is Australia a popular backpacking destination?

There are so many reasons why people love backpacking Australia, from the ease of getting a visa to the intriguing local wildlife, landscapes, and culture. The Working Holiday Visa is an incredible opportunity that travellers from all over the world are eager to try. It's relatively easy to apply for and gives you the chance to live and work in Australia for up to 3 years! The country is brimming with work opportunities as well so you can make money while travelling around

Besides visas, Australia is a popular backpacking destination for its gorgeous natural scenery and its inviting lifestyle. With breathtaking beaches, unique wildlife, lush rainforests, vibrant cities, and charming towns, there is truly so much to see and do here. Plus, it's an easy country to backpack for English speakers, though the Aussie slang can feel like a different language sometimes. Whether you're heading here for the laid-back culture, the magnificent scenery, or the excellent work and visa opportunities, you're sure to have the time of your life backpacking Australia!

girl patting a kangaroo at a wildlife farm

Feel free to reach out to our local travel experts if you have any other questions about visas for Australia or planning your trip!

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