Australia is at it again – with four of the most liveable cities in the world according to The Economist Intelligence Unit Livability Rankings 2014 – and the number one city yet again! Congratulations Melbourne!

The Economist ranks pretty much every major city in the world and lists them from most liveable to least liveable based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

For the fourth year running, Melbourne topped the list!

Australia had the most cities in the top ten, with Adelaide ranked 5th, Sydney 7th and Perth 9th! To put that into perspective, the entirety of Europe had two cities in the top ten – Vienna and Helsinki.

London and New York rank 55th and 56th respectively – so what are you waiting for?!

Melbourne is an amazing city famed for its sport, culture and nightlife and is one of the best places to visit while in Australia with UltimateOz! With a great transport system, high wages and smaller size – Melbourne is a great place to work and save a bit of cash whilst also having all the fun of an Australian lifestyle!

It seems that no matter where you choose in Australia, you’ll be living in one of the most liveable places in the world! Outside the top ten, Brisbane ranked 20th which is still pretty damn good!

Sydney, our home-base, came in a respectable 7th and is the perfect blend of city and beach life. There is no city in the world quite like it with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world right on its doorstep and an amazing, vibrant city life that exist hand-in-hand.

Perth, another top ten city, is an up-and-comer on the world stage and offers great wages and a different kind of Australian lifestyle! The West Coast is much more rugged and under-explored compared with the East side so if you pick Perth as your base, make sure you get in touch with us to help you decide on your Western travel options!

Adelaide is one of the forgotten cities of Australia but is rising up world rankings. Named by Lonely Planet as one of the cities to visit in 2014, Adelaide is a cool, chic city with a laid-back vibe.

With the UltimateOZ Great Ocean Road Trip, you can spend time in both Adelaide and Melbourne while exploring one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal road in the world! What more could you ask for?!

Whatever Australian city you choose to explore (and we recommend you explore as many as you can!) you are sure to have an amazing time!

What are you waiting for, get over here and see what all the fuss is about!

Get in touch with us if you have any questions about your time in Australia! Whether you need advice on which city to explore first or are looking to book a trip months after you’ve arrived – we can help you find the best deal!

If you are planning on coming to Australia on a working holiday visa then you’ve already made one of the best decisions of your life but you’re probably stressing out over one simple issue: “how much money should I take to Australia?”

When applying for your visa, the Department of Immigration suggest that you have “about $5000” which isn’t exactly precise. Is $4500 enough or does it have to be over $5000 or what?!

The easiest answer is, the more money you have then the better your entry to Australia will be. If you can save up long enough to pass the $5000 guideline then you’ll be very comfortable when you arrive in Australia but try and get as close to $5000 as possible if you want the least amount of fuss entering Australia and living your first few weeks here.

One of the contributing factors will be whether you plan to travel first or work first once you arrive. If you plan on travelling straight away, you’ll be spending money before you get a chance to replenish. If you work first, then you can continue to save during your time in Australia.

No matter what anyone says on a forum or blog (like this one) there is no right or wrong way to travel. In Australia or anywhere else. People will tell you to go alone, go in a group, go to Sydney first, travel the East Coast first, get a job straight away, go and do you farm work ASAP…..

Whatever you decide, you have made the decision and you live with it. There is nothing wrong with seeking help and advice but, ultimately, it is up to you! Plans can change, pretty easily, so make sure you keep your options open from the outset.

I’ve heard stories of people landing in Australia with less $500 to their name and if, upon your arrival, you are asked to prove your funds you could be sent home from Australia before your adventure begins. The Department of Immigration guidelines may seem strange but if you can’t prove that you can support yourself in Australia, you risk being sent home.

To prove your worth (in bank account terms, not like some medieval knight or something) you have to get a printed bank statement from your financial institution of choice. It is best to have a statement from the seven days before travel so if you are called upon to prove your funds, you have them right there.

If you have access to a quick loan from the bank of Mum and Dad (or any other loving family member) you can pop the money into your account, get a bank statement printed and then transfer the money back once you’ve received the statement. You prove your cash, then give it back basically.

Strictly speaking, this may not be entirely the spirit of the law and you will have to be able to survive in a pretty pricey country. Once you arrive in Australia, the money starts to seep away faster than you’d think so make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

As an example, if you are looking at the cheapest hostel you can find in Sydney you are looking at $23 a night. That would be $161 for one week of (not the best) accommodation. Then you’ve got to pay for your food and fun stuff to do so the bargain basement you could probably get away with $200-$250 a week just to live in Sydney.

Sydney is an extreme example (it’s more expensive than the rest of Australia) but it gives you an idea on what to expect upon your arrival and how much money you will need if you plan on staying in Sydney. Plan accordingly for any of the major cities – Perth is a similar price to Sydney and Melbourne isn’t much cheaper. Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Darwin offer a little bit of relief but not too much.

Don’t let this put you off, pretty much everyone in the UltimateOz office is proof that backpackers can find work and love their time living, working and travelling in Australia!

Just be realistic. If it takes you three weeks to find work, will you be able to afford it? If you want to travel, how much is it going to cost right off the bat? If you want to do your farm work, how are you going to find it and how much money will you need to get there and stay there?

Many backpackers arrive in Australia with the misguided dream of finding work 20 minutes after they land and earning a fortune. The wages are higher and it is a little easier than finding work in Europe but it isn’t easy and you won’t walk into a job.

At Ultimate Travel, we give you the best chance of finding work with our TAW service and our helpful, informative staff who have been there and done it! We can help you find work, help to guide you with your CV and cover letter but, it is still up to you to put in the hard yards!

Australia is a country that will surprise you due to its expense. If you have just come from South East Asia (Ultimate Thailand, anyone?), you’ll fall off your chair every time you order a beer! If you plan ahead, are realistic and start saving now you’ll be absolutely fine when you arrive in Australia!

Get planning for the best trip of your life!!

How much money did you arrive in Australia with? What would be your top-tips for backpackers looking to head to Australia on their own adventure? Let us know in the comments section or on Facebook!

Everyone’s talking about Australia Day, ‘the celebration that inspires the nation’, but what’s it all about?

Well, if you want the short version, Australia Day is when we all get together and celebrate just how wonderful our country is … although, every day is Australia Day at Ultimate Oz in that case!

Basically, in 1788, Captain Cook (not to be confused with Captain Hook!) came along and settled with the First Fleet and 26th January became the anniversary of the foundation of a new colony. Over the centuries, the significance of that date has evolved as the country has grown and prospered. Today, the celebration embraces the way Australia has become multicultural, it honours all ethnic backgrounds, all racial differences and all politic perspectives. Modern day Australia day celebrations are about diversity and tolerance in our Australian society.

So whoever you are, wherever you’re from, regardless of why you’re in Australia, you play a part here and Australia Day is your celebration too! There are events everywhere! Why not check out what is happening where you are:



Our Ultimate Oz crew will be celebrating all things Australian in Ultimate style (obviously!) … What will you be doing?

Perth has an array of events promising to make Australia Day one you’ll remember! In and around Perth, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing how to celebrate! You might want to check out these popular events:

Havaianas Thong Challenge

Head to Cottesloe Beach and take part in Western Australia’s attempt to set a new world record – the aim is to create the longest line of giant inflatable Havaianas in the water! All the states take part but it’s all eyes on WA as they fight to retain the title they won in 2013, with a total of 2093 people paddling out on to the water!

Find out how to get involved here.

Australia Day Skyworks

2014 will be a great year for Skyworks as it marks the 30th anniversary of the event. With BYO picnic zones, you can get your favourite people together, chill with a beer and take in the fabulous display that unfolds before you. There will be a Laser and Water Spectacular, a Water Regatta and Langley Park Entertainment Zone … amongst many others!

Have a look at the full schedule here.

If you’re not spending Australia Day in Perth, why not take a look at what is happening in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  Let Ultimate Oz know what you’re doing for Australia Day 2014 … are you going along to one of these events or are you holding your own? We can’t wait to see all your photos!