Applying for a Tax File Number (TFN), Sydney’s party scene and beer

If you’re planning on working while staying in Australia you’ll need a TFN no. You won’t be able to apply for it from home but you can as soon as you land in Oz. If you’ve applied for it and want to start applying for jobs, let the employer know that you’ve applied and are waiting for it to be sent.

Applying for it is cake. You can apply for it here. Just type in ‘apply for TFN’ in the search bar on the top right and it will show you a link that leads straight to the application page. The application process shouldn’t take more than 15 mins. You’ll answer basic questions and need to provide them with your passport number and address for where it’ll be sent.

I entered the address to my hostel even though the Australian Taxation Office informed me that it would take anywhere from 7-28 days to arrive. If it doesn’t arrive before I leave the hostel I’ll need to make a trip back to pick it up.

I’m starting to realize how expensive everything is here. I’ll be applying for jobs starting tomorrow as well as looking into checking out a few apartments. This week Bounce is offering one week’s stay in a co-ed shared dorm for $210. Not a bad last resort if I may say so!

I’ve only been here a week but Sydney’s party scene seems riddled with more bars than anything. I love it… good opportunity to hang out with the locals, have a beer and a good chuckle. Me and a few hostel-mates have checked out a few bars in the King’s Cross area. It’s sort of a grungy neighbourhood… lots of strip joints and hagglers running around but otherwise, very friendly! Ha! There are a few Irish pubs along the strip and venues that host live bands. One bar/club called World Bar usually hosts a few bands every weekend. We went on a Friday. The crowd was a little young from what I could see (15 or 16 year olds running around) but the bands were great.

After a couple drinks we went down the street to the King’s Cross Hotel. A lot of the bars are called ‘hotels’ for some reason. I loved it there. The main floor was a sports bar and the fourth floor was a club… best of both worlds. The top floor also had a great balcony with a view of the neighbourhood.

Beer, beer, beer. I thought I’d try the Aussie favourite ‘Pure Blonde.’ Stay clear. I’m no beer connoisseur but damn… not a fan. If you hop into a bar that carries James Squire 150 Lashes however, give it a shot. It’s delish! This pale ale’s so clean and smooth it tastes like water. Could be a little dangerous for some! 🙂

NAB account, Aussie phone no., free WiFi and supermarkets

Today I opened a chequing account (transaction account) with the National Australian Bank (NAB). The branch is just a 5 min walk from the hostel and right across the street from Market City and Paddy’s (a flea market and large fruit market). The bank teller was most helpful and made opening the account a breeze. Gave him my ID (passport, license etc.) and I was set. I was told to pick up the bank card from the branch in 7 days. Your transaction account will automatically get you an attached savings account. The one I opened has an interest rate of 5%! The teller told me that rate’s an all-time low for Australia… usually it’s around 6.2%!

Ohhhh, my cell phone. So I arrived in Oz thinking that my cell phone was already unlocked. Negative. I bought a SIM for $2 and loaded it with $20 from Vodafone. They have stores located all over and their customer service is awesome. They also have a large branch right in Syndey’s Botany airport. Great for anyone who wanted to get that taken care of upon landing. You could also buy the SIM cards from any convenience store… they all sell them. I bought mine from a close by 7/11. The SIM comes with an instruction booklet that leads you through the simple registration process where you’re given a new number and PINs. And that’s when I found out my phone was locked. I threw in the new SIM and my phone prompted me to enter an unlock code… womp womp. I went to Market City and found a stand called ANT where they unlocked it for $40.

All McDonald’s locations (and many little coffee shops) have free WiFi… awesome considering the $3/hr I’d been paying to use the internet at the hostel. I Skyped with the fam for the first day today. It was hilarious! My parents have a tiny netbook with a built in camera, and somehow they managed to get all of them to fit their faces into the small screen… all of them (mom, pop, brother, grandmother, uncle). My 85-year old grandmother was amazed… she didn’t believe such technology existed. Hilarious. The people sitting around and behind me seemed to enjoy the entertaining conversation.

I’m pretty sure I walked around the same 3 streets—up and down—a good 5 times each. By the time I found Paddy’s it was closed. Mondays? Closed? Really? Means I’ll be getting some groceries bright and early tomorrow. (UPDATE: Mondays and Tuesdays!)

I’ve also been looking into a few low cost tours and interesting places to walk around. So far there are a few vintage stores I’m planning on checking out in Surry Hills, as well as taking a trip to Bondi Beach. An American sitting next to me on my flight to Denver mentioned there’s an awesome restaurant there called Iceberg’s, or something close to that name.

Do you guys know of any unique or random places I shouldn’t dare pass up? Let me know! 🙂