Why everyone should take a working holiday in Australia

Earlier this year, we launched one of our biggest competitions ever. Together with Tourism Australia, we gave away six of the best jobs in world in one of our favourite places in the world, Australia.

The applications came in droves from all over the globe, and one of the lucky winners was the UK’s very own Rich Keam. Rich left Brighton in August for the sunny shores of Perth, WA, where he’s working as a Taste Master, sampling Western Australia’s finest cuisine for a living. Here, he tells us why he’s loving life Down Under, and why he reckons everyone should head there to work while they can. Take it away, Rich!

After seeing the Best Jobs in the World competition advertised online I decided to enter, because basically, why wouldn’t you? I travelled around Australia on a year’s working holiday visa about 15 years ago, and although it seems kind of like a dream now, I still get a pang in my stomach and a sense of jealousy when I hear someone down the pub saying they’re going to Australia. I still get a real sense of excitement when I hear people talking about their travels here.

Rich explores the Bungle Bungle range in WA's Purnululu National Park

I love adventures and surprises. I love the fact when you’re travelling you can just pull out a map and say “let’s go there”, leave all material possessions behind and put your life in a bag. It really puts things into perspective.

I vividly remember travelling to the only STA Travel store in the area and buying my ticket. I remember my mum and dad saying “we’ll buy your backpack” and going into Millets and trying them on for size. I remember my brother flying over when he got his working visa and getting sunburnt eyelids. I also remember completely running out of money in Darwin and not really caring! I’d paid for a week’s accommodation at the hostel and had 70 cents left to my name. That afternoon I got a job stacking shelves at Woollies and had an amazing three months saving money to continue my travels.

Because that’s what you do, that’s why you’re out there. You adapt and learn new things, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.

Not a bad view, eh? Rich relaxes at Lake Argyle

That’s why I entered for the role of Western Australia Taste Master, because I wanted to feel that level of freedom again, and I know this’ll sound cheesy but I wanted my girlfriend and son who’d never been here before to feel it too.

I think my novelty song all about Western Australia and relaxed blog writing went a long way in me getting my hands on the highly coveted Taste Master apron and giant salt and pepper grinders. Whilst standing on stage in front of the world’s media in the Sydney Art Gallery awaiting the winner’s announcement, I did think “oh blimey, what have I done this time?!” but that’s a good sign, it showed I was doing something that scared me.

Check out what Rich and his fellow Best Jobs in the World applicants got up to in Western Australia

Since starting work and living in Perth I get asked “what’s it like living in Australia?” a lot, but to me it actually just feels like home.

Life right now is pretty amazing and pretty mental. This is what I’ve been up to this week!

  • Swam with dolphins at Monkey Mia.
  • Went handline fishing with Capes, an Indigenous guide, off the rocks of one of the most beautiful and deserted beaches you’ll ever witness on the Coral Coast.
  • Camped in a swag under a billion stars in Francois Peron National Park.
  • Cooked Blue Bone, Black Snapper and oysters (freshly caught and freshly chiseled off a rock in the Indian Ocean) over a beach fire and had a feast.
  • Reached 220km/h in a super buggy round a dirt track in the build-up to the Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash in Carnarvon (I wasn’t driving! Luckily for me Brad Cooper was behind the wheel, he’s WA’s off road racing champ).
  • Was terrified before jumping out of a plane over Perth at 14,000ft. Was elated after.

Western Australia is massive and so diverse. From what I’ve seen so far, if I was backpacking again I’d fly to Perth, make some friends at the hostel, hire/buy a cheap car, get some supplies (water, BBQ, box of wine) and hit the road for some ridiculous adventures.

A definite highlight so far has been the three week exploration of the Kimberley (in the North West) although you could easily spend three months. Real remote, rugged landscapes that I immediately think of when I imagine outback Australia.

Cooking up some Mud Crab in the Kimberley

So if you’re thinking about getting a working holiday visa and coming Down Under, I’d say just get up, get out there and go for it. There’s a ton of working opportunities for backpackers out west. Fruit picking, oyster farming, bar tending, eco resorting – there are a million different ways to earn a few extra bucks to complete your 88 days of regional work to get your second year visa.

I can’t believe I’m almost half way through my six month contract. I’m already hatching ideas of how we can stay a bit longer.

If you want to hear more about my adventures or check out my video guides to Western Australia’s cities and gourmet hotspots visit tastewesternaustralia.com.

Thanks Rich! If you want to know more about what Rich and his fellow Best Jobs in the World winners are getting up to in Australia, take a look at their videos and bios on our Australia travel guide. Hop over to our website to find out more about taking a working holiday in Australia.