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How to find a Job as a Backpacker in Australia

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In my former articles I wrote a lot about preparation and getting to know Australia. Although travelling and fun are more likely to be the most important things for Backpackers, there is a reason why it is called work & travel. The average Backpacker works almost half the time of his stay in Australia which is quite a lot. Therefore it is important to know how you can find a job, so that you do not waste your time while searching for work.

The first thing to consider is that you should know what you can do and what you are good at because experience and skills are always preferred. The second one is that you should also lower your expectations and take a job if you have the chance or you might not find another one in the meantime and do not hesitate to make your hands dirty. Basically there is always work to be found in Australia, you just have to know where you can find it and this is where I want to help you.

Finding Work in the big Cities:

Most of the time you start your travel in one of the mayor cities like Sydney or Melbourne etc. there are always free positions in hospitality or even construction. These kinds of work are more likely to hire people for short term and even without experience, although experience is preferred. When you are on job hunt, take your time for it. Do not think that you go out and after the first 5 till 10 places you have visited you will have a job. It can take hours and days to find a job.


Jobs everywhere in Australia:

Luckily there are also jobs available all over Australia no matter if you are in a big city or if you are on the country side. Many hostels employ Backpackers because they are cheap workers for them. In hostels you can find positions on the reception, as a cleaner, cook or even night watcher, depending on the hostel. More over most hostels simply give jobs to Backpackers who stayed in the particular hostel for a while. It is like the first-come-first-serve principle but if you are consistent enough you will get a job sooner or later but it can take some time. The majority of the hostels will also not pay you directly but rather compensate you through incentives like free accommodation and free food.

There are also lots of Working Hostels, which are specialized in finding you work during your stay. Unfortunately these hostels are more likely to be hold very simple, so do not expect much comfort, while you stay there.

Although most companies tell you to leave a resume, it does not mean, that they will even look at it. You should be consistent and confident, when you enter the place and try to talk to the manager on duty directly. This shows them that you are confident and you make a better first impression, as if you simply hand in a CV and go away again. Talk also to the other employees. Especially in the hospitality business many employees are Backpackers themselves and will leave again,which means that the position might be vacant soon again. Here I can just talk about myself but this way I found several jobs in the big cities and the longest it took me was in Cairns and it took me 8 days.

You should also keep in mind that for some of these jobs you will need special requirements. In construction you will need working boots, gloves and sometimes even a helmet, which most of the time you have to buy yourself. In hospitality it depends on the job what you do but for instance, you will need a license to handle alcohol, in case you want to work in a pub. Getting a license is luckily quite easy but will cost you around 100 AUS$ depending where you do it and what kind of license you need, which is depending on the job.

There are also several Recruitment Companies in the cities but unfortunately they are not really efficient because they have to many clients for to less positions and more over they are not able to find you a permanent job. Most of the time you will get a job for a couple of days, sometimes weeks but normally not for longer. Furthermore keep in mind that they will receive a commission for their services, so that you will earn less. I can just talk about myself here but although I applied in every city, where I wanted to work, I have never got a job from a Recruitment Company before I have found one myself or have left the city. It even happened that one company called me up 3 months after I applied, just to offer me a job for a week, whereas I was long gone by then.

Jobs as a Salesman

In case you are a good talker and very good with people, you might find a proper Sales Position. Sales positions are relatively easy to get, in case a company is hiring because your employer just pays you on commission, which means, if you do not sell anything, you go home empty handed. If you are a Backpacker there are two main Sales Positions you can get easily. Number one is Telemarketing, where you sit at your phone and call lots of people for hours, with the result that around 95% and more just hang up on you or even get angry, but when you do your job well, it can generate you some money, just do not expect go get rich on this kind of job.

The other kind of Sales Position, which is easy to get is called “Door-to-Door” knocking, which literally means that you go from door-to-door and try to sell your products. This can be quite exhausting and you have to live with a huge amount of rejections, similar to Telemarketing but if you have a good product and you have proper Sales skills then you can earn better than in Telemarketing.

Jobs you can find on the Countryside:


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The most famous job for Backpacker is Fruit-Picking and there are good reasons for that. Fruit-picking is possible all over the country to all times, depending on the season of the fruits but you can easily look up the seasons of the fruits online or even in the Lonely Planet, which I can always recommend as the best traveller´s guide for Australia. There is just one thing you should not underestimate: Fruit-picking is hard work and I mean really hard. You will stand in the burning sun for hours and simply pick fruits and more over every kind of fruit does have it´s own disadvantages. While melons for example are heavy, strawberries have to be picked up from the ground and Coconuts are hanging high in the trees. So basically there is no easy way to work as a fruit-picker, you will be in pain and gloves and protection against the sun should be a main priority. Additionally consider that the payment from farm to farm is different. Some farms pay you by the hour, others per amount, what is better for you depends on your working habits. In case you are a very fast picker, payment by amount is a the better choice but way more exhausting, while working by the hour guarantees you a stable income and you are able to work a little more laid back.


There is also the possibility to go WWOOFING, which basically means that you will work on a farm and do everyday farm work, as kind of a part-time Job. Normally you will work around 4-5 hours per Day and you will be compensated with Accommodation and Food. You need to go to the WWOOFING website and order the WWOOFING book. When you bought the book you are ready to go. Basically the Book has a manual, addresses and Telephone numbers of all attending Australian Farms and you can simply call them up and ask if they have a position vacant. Then you can go there and work on the farm.

Both Fruit-Picking and WWOOFING are also great opportunities to extend your Working Holiday Visa. The reason for that is that if you work for longer than 4 months in an agricultural job you are able to extend your Workin-Holiday Visa for another Year.

Well these are the kind of jobs, that I think are most suitable for every Backpacker but of course there are many more. Just be creative and confident and you will find work. Do not expect too much and keep your hopes up, even if it seems impossible to find work.

I hope that I could help you with this article and I wish you a good time in Down Under. Below in the Link section I have put some useful Links in cause you want to do one of the jobs above.

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Backpacker Work on June 13, 2013:

Here's a great one for finding work while backpacking in Sydney:

RSA on April 20, 2013:

Very thorough article. You can get RSA training for all states of Austrlia here:

RSA Online on April 26, 2012:

What a great article. You can find a nationality reconized training RSA online course for Queensland here

RSA Course on June 20, 2011:

With so many pubs in australia i agree that one of the best jobs you can get while backpacking is working behind a bar !

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