This is one of the most commonly asked questions for backpackers, and there’s pros and cons for doing your 88 days to qualify for your 2nd WHV early in your stay. It depends what you plan to do for the rest of the year, your current bank balance, where you want to be, and where you are currently located.
Why do the 88 Days when you just arrive?
If you need cash quick, don’t have accommodation, and are in the tropics, getting a job on a farm or in hospitality makes sense, and they are reasonably easy to find but…
if you’re in the tropics and it’s wet season, outdoor work is often not possible. You may end up sitting there watching the rain, earning nothing, and paying rent. Nobody wants to do that.
If you can drive a tractor and arrive at the start of harvesting season, you could get a good job straight away. Earn now, tick off your 88 days and travel later makes perfect sense.
Some employers, especially in the south of the country, baulk at hiring someone who hasn’t done their 88 Days. They worry that someone they’ve just trained will rush off to the tropics or a farm to do their 88 Days.
Imagine a situation where you’ve flown into the country and fallen in love with a gorgeous Australian who lives in the city. Yes, there’s a few of us out there. Having to do those 88 days when that gorgeous Australian has a steady city job, has just become a massive problem.
Some people will find an absolute dream job with an awesome boss who wants to sponsor them for permanent residency. Having your 88 days out of the way makes things a little less complicated.
Yes doing your 88 Days early in your stay does give you flexibility but it doesn’t always makes sense.
Why do your 88 days later?
If you arrive in the country with a decent bank balance, go travelling, especially if it’s a good time to travel. eg during school terms when the weather is nice.
Some folk will also be arriving in the country at a great time to earn some serious cash doing non-88 day jobs. I’m talking about construction or city hospitality work in the lead up to Christmas. People on WHV can also set themselves up financially by doing long hours in hospitality in regional areas over summer. A nice bank balance also gives you plenty of flexibility.
If you’re planning to head up to the tropical north to do some hospitality or farm work, you may as well go during the dry season. There’s more demand for your labour and more sunshine during your time off. There’s no point heading up there in January just to do your 88 days when it’s heaving down with rain and cyclones are lining up to do their thing.
If you need to do your 88 days in the final few months of your stay, some employers will happily hire you knowing you need to work long hours to get your days up.
So there’s pros and and cons. Whatever makes you happy.