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4 places you didn’t know you could do regional work in Oz

If you’re currently in Australia on a working holiday visa, or are thinking of going on one, you’ve probably heard that you can extend your visa for a second year – if you do 88 days of regional work. Regional work can include anything from logging trees to mining, from fruit picking to fishing. What about if we told you that you don’t have to follow the crowd and go banana farming or cherry tomato picking in a random and remote town of Oz, and that there are actual cool places you can legitimately do your farm work.
So where do we begin? On a beautiful island of course!

Cocos Keeling Islands


Image: Australian Traveller

This slice of paradise is about 2,750 kms northwest of Perth on the West Coast, and you could easily class this as hitting the absolute jackpot if you managed to secure some regional work here. From banana and papaya farming to fishing, the hard slog of farm work will be a small price to pay to wake up every day on an unspoilt island.

What can I do in my precious free time?

Whatever you want to do! Take part in water sports, go diving and snorkelling, island hopping (there are 27 coral islands – no biggie), or discover the culture of the Cocos Malay people. We wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to leave after 88 days.

Cape Tribulation

#capetribulation #queensland #fnq #favouriteplace

A post shared by beth (@bethmarsdenx) on

If you’re looking for more of the jungle life, then take a look at regional work in Cape Tribulation: where the rainforest meets the reef. Not only is the place pretty deserted, it’s also got a World Heritage listed rainforest – the Daintree Rainforest.

What can I do in my precious free time?

You can go walking there, jungle surfing (unfortunately not surfing the trees like waves, but pretty close) 4WD and horseback riding, or spot the crocs. The area is home to some pretty amazing and secluded beaches too.

“As with all places, work is work, and it was hard work, but that didn’t matter when as soon as you finished you could kick off your shoes and run down to the deserted beach, or climb the headland and look for turtles, with usually not a single person around! There was no reception either so people wouldn’t sit and text/scroll through their phones at the pub or at dinner. You find out a lot about yourself, and other people, in that environment. I can honestly say it was the best time of my life, and I left the jungle after 6 months, not 88 days, as a much improved version of the girl that arrived there.”
– Beth Marsden, 22, still living the high life in Oz.

Fraser Island

A place that is on everyone’s bucket list when they arrive in Australia, but probably not somewhere you would think of when it comes to looking for regional work. 88 days on this amazing island wouldn’t even feel like farm work – especially when you compare it to your poor mates who are squatting for nine hours a day picking cherry tomatoes for $4.50 a bucket.

What can I do in my precious free time?

Not only would you get to spend your time on an island that backpackers only see for about three days of their trip, you would also have unlimited access to the incredible surroundings: Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, the Champagne Pools, and the many panoramic viewpoints, to name a few.

Pearling boat

Want to get out on to the water for a totally unique experience? Then hop on a pearling boat! For this kind of work you tend to work 6 weeks on the boat, and then get a break on land before you go back to finish your stint – so you got to make sure it’s something you can really commit to. There’s no walking away once you’re out there – unless you hop on a dinghy and paddle your way back to shore! You could be diving for pearls if you’re an experienced diver – or if not you can just work on the boats.

What can I do with my precious free time?

Pearling boats shout about having a pretty great social life, and a hefty pay packet – which is perfect for your future travels! You’d also make some solid friends after spending so much time with the same group of people.

“My time on the Paspaley pearling ship HMV Montorro was absolutely amazing. I spent 3 months at sea in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, the Kimberleys, in western Australia. From the beautiful bays and beaches untouched by humans, the constant company of sharks, dolphins and other marine life swimming around the boat and the lifelong friends that I made, it a truly unique and unforgettable experience. We got to see exactly how pearls are made, from the very start of the process with impregnation to the finished result of beautiful pearls. Overall a great way to complete my regional work!”
Becky, 25, getting used to living back on land in Asia

If we’ve given you a little more inspiration (and faith) that not all regional work has to be about working in the middle of nowhere, be sure to check out our pages on working holiday visas and Australia.
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