Whether you want to work on a ghost train for a travelling Carnival group (true story) or become a surf instructor and live the beach life, Australia’s got you covered. You probably never believed that snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or mango-picking on beautiful farms counted as work, but we’re here to prove you very wrong indeed.
Stray away from the standard tourist experience and get stuck into these weird and wonderful roles to fund your Aussie travel adventures. You’ll be sure to beat the everyday monotony of your 9-5 back home with chances to become a fruit picker in order to secure a second and even third year visa, work on a luxury yacht, or even whipping up some cocktails on a beach bar. Vamp up your CV and make lifelong friends from all over the world as you go!
Step 1: Get your Australian Working Holiday Visa approved
Step 2: Find a crazy fun job to fund your travels
Step 3: Work hard, play hard
Where? There are a load of farms located across Queensland, so do some research and take your pick! If bananas aren’t your thing, then you can pick anything from mangoes and avocados to coffee and grapes in Atherton Tablelands, Bundaberg or Standthorpe.
How? Check out Gumtree, Jora jobs or Backpacker job board. Other great resources for food picking jobs include Helpx, Harvest Trail and Wwoof (more details about this later).
What experience do I need? None in particular! If you’re strong, you’ll be out in the fields picking and “humping” the bananas. No, that’s not quite how it sounds. Humping basically means carrying a large sack of your bananas on your shoulder and carrying the bag to the loading trucks. Or, you may be inside sorting and packaging the bananas *perhaps a better option if you’re scared of creepy crawlies*.
Pay: You’ll be paid approximately AUD $22 per hour, but this could vary from farm to farm.
Join a travelling carnival
Where? The location is dependent upon the needs of the travelling group you join.
How? Scour the likes of Facebook and Gumtree and you’ll find tonnes of weird and wonderful backpacker jobs up for grabs. Rachael, one of our STA Travel team members once worked as a monster on a ghost train ride for a travelling carnival and went on tour for 6 weeks. Fact.
What experience do you need? None in particular, just lots of energy and top-notch performance skills.
Pay: The hourly rate will depend upon the group you join – there’s also a potential for free accommodation here!
Where? Lovers of hurling waves come hither. Get your qualifications under your belt and apply to become a surf assistant at one of Queensland’s many surf schools.
How? Companies such as Go Ride a Wave (which operates across Victoria and Queensland) are always looking for casual instructors – just send off your CV if you think you’ve got what it takes! A perfect option for those with great communication skills, patience, and a desire to work in the great ol’ outdoors.
What experience do you need? You may have to start off first as a Surf Assistant instructor, which requires the following minimum qualifications for Go Ride a Wave. This is just an example, and the required qualifications may change dependent on the surf school.
- Current Bronze Medallion
- Current level 2 first aid certificate
- Working with Children Check/Blue card
- You can swim for 400m in a pool in less than 9 minutes (tested)
Pay: This is dependent on your surf school, experience and the duration of lessons.
Pet and house sitter
Where? Find house and pet sitting opportunities all over Australia. Get out of crowded hostels and cheapo hotels and stay in beautiful family homes for FREE. And, pet-lovers will be in their element, as you may get the chance to look after a family dog or cat.
How? Just sign up with Aussie House Sitters and make a killer profile. You may be looking after family pets, doing some gardening, and most importantly, just house sitting. All in exchange for free accommodation! You could be right on the beach, in the depths of the countryside, or in a friendly neighbourhood.
What experience do you need? None! Respect whichever space you’re staying in and be sure to keep it clean and tidy. Follow any instructions for the pet sitting side of things to look after your furry friend(s).
Pay: Look after a household’s home and pets in exchange for free accommodation. Perfect for those on the road looking to explore off the beaten track destinations while also saving some dollar as they go.
Where? Again, pretty much anywhere! Ever heard of WWOOF’ing? Get the unique chance to work on a dairy farm in Australia and you’ll get free bed and board. And, it will count towards your second working holiday visa. You’ll learn a host of new skills during your time spent working on a farm.
How? Check out the WWOOf’ing website for Australia and browse through hundreds of verified reviews to see which option would be best for you. Work for hour a few hours a day during the week, and spend your free time exploring. What’s to lose? Travellers normally stay for around 2-3 weeks, but you can stay for as little as 2 days, or as long as 6 months – it’s totally up to you.
What experience do you need? Anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to become a WWOOFer. Daily tasks may include helping out with animals, harvesting, cheese making, bread making or growing vegetables.
Pay: Work for 4-6 hours daily in exchange for food and accommodation.
Where? There are florists located throughout Queensland, so take your pick!
How? Check out Seek and browse a range of florist opportunities. Flower arranging is a super mindful and relaxing activity, so why not make it into a full-blown career?
What experience do you need? You will need previous floristry experience, so either find a training opportunity in Aus, or be sure that you have the training under your belt before coming.
Pay: You may be paid around AUD $26 per hour, but this is dependent upon experience and which florist you’ll be working in.
Work on a boat in the Whitsundays
Where? Work out on the water and join the crew of a boat in the beautiful Whitsundays islands, located off the coast of Queensland. Granted, not every working day would look like this. But some… maybe.
How? Seek out boat operators and contact them directly to see if they’re looking for boat hosts or crew members. Gumtree and Indeed are also good resources for finding job ops within this industry.
What experience do you need? This is totally dependent on what the skipper is looking for. You may need previous sailing experience, in which case, there are a number of training courses you can find while out in Australia. Check out Find A Crew for further ideas.
Pay: A stewardess/steward position may pay between AUD $15-20, while a maintenance position may pay between AUD $20-30 per hour.
Where? All over Australia, especially Queensland.
How? Do some online research to find a bee farm seeking new employees, and voilà! You’ll be helping to produce honey, queen bee pollen and beeswax, as well as monitoring and moving livestock.
What experience do you need? Some previous experience may be an advantage but isn’t wholly necessary, as full suits will be provided.
Pay: Approximately AUD $34 per hour.
Work at a music festival
Where? Whether you decide to work at Happy Daze Festival in Central Queensland or volunteer at the Big Pineapple Music Festival on the Sunshine Coast or Woodford Folk Festival in Woodfordia, music-lovers can attend awesome Aussie festivals for FREE.
How? Turn your hobby into a job while travelling and get to see all your favourite music artists. Seek out music festivals in Queensland and apply to be a volunteer or a team leader for a chance to a grab a free fest ticket and make amazing friends.
What experience do you need? Previous experience of working at a festival would be ideal, but mostly you’ll just need a positive attitude and a reliable nature.
Pay: Most festival work is volunteer-based, so you’ll work in exchange for the festival ticket.
Volunteer on the Great Barrier Reef
Where? Get a chance to help to conserve the world’s largest coral reef system, home to a staggering 1,500 fish species.
How? You’ll be conducting research, monitoring coral watch surveys, and helping out with marine conservation. If you don’t already have your PADI open water qualification, seek out a project that allows you to simultaneously gain this qualification.
What experience do you need? Get your PADI Open Water or Advanced certification under your belt, and apply to volunteer on the kaleidoscopic Great Barrier Reef.
Pay: As these courses often include the PADI open water training, you’ll usually have to pay a fee.
Volunteer with Conservation Volunteers Australia
Where? Selected cities all over Australia – it changes frequently depending on the work available.
How? Volunteer for Australia’s leading conservation charity, Conservation Volunteers Australia, and you may be helping to restore natural landscapes, removing weed species, tree planting, or conducting wildlife surveys. Find out more details about the tour offered through STA Travel here.
What experience do you need? No previous experience is needed, just a willingness to get stuck in.
Pay: This is a paid internship – hellooo, road trips on weekends!
Where? Check out the Australian Lifeguard Service and enquire as to what opportunities they have in Queensland. You could be employed on a casual, part-time or full-time basis. Bondi rescue GOALS.
How? With the relevant experience under your belt, a beach lifeguard could be an awesome way to get to know Queensland like a local, make amazing friends and get a tan while you’re at it!
What experience do you need? You must be aged 18 or over, have top-notch people skills and be able to prove a high level of fitness.
Pay: An average lifeguard hourly pay is approximately AUD $20.83 per hour.
Ready to change careers? Start your Working Holiday Adventure now by applying for an Australian Working Holiday Visa.