If you’ve decided you want to break even on your trip to Australia – or at least earn money while beefing up your resumé – then there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the Australian way of life than with a working holiday.
By Jonathan Porter
From mixing cocktails in a glamorous city bar and rounding up cattle on a 10,000-hectare (24,000- acre) farm in Queensland, to crewing on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef, there are literally thousands of jobs open to you on a working holiday in Australia.
In 2015, more than 200,000 visitors took advantage of different types of working holiday visas, which enable people from eligible countries aged 18-30 to work for up to a year while in Australia – and up to two years if you work in a rural area for part of the time.
Holidaymakers from countries as diverse as the UK, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea and France work their way around the country enjoying the nation’s beaches, vibrant nightlife and memorable landscapes.
Here are the top five ways of securing work while on holiday in Australia.
1. Guaranteed job on arrival
This mode of travel is ideal for younger, first-time and/or solo travellers. You might be looking for an au pair position with AIFS, or room and board on a farm as a jackaroo or jillaroo, or you may want to stay and work at a resort. If so, Australian Working Adventures are experts at this type of travel – helping over 10,000 holidaymakers find work.
You will generally be picked up and dropped off at the airport, have room and board included in your pay and only stay in one place, but will still be immersed in the Australian way of life and get to know the locals.
2. Job-finding support on the ground
This is a more flexible approach that offers short stays and support to find work. For example, you can stay for two to seven nights in Sydney and be put in touch with local employers and have your airport transfers looked after.
It’s a great way to travel around Australia, work, and get a flavour of different regions and perhaps even consider a longer stay.
Base Backpackers, Work n Holiday, and Travel Co are organisations that specialises in this “job fair”-style support. They offer different packages, but all help you find a job in areas ranging from fruit picking to IT to construction, and they will help with everything from finding the hottest party in town to setting up a bank account and a SIM card for your phone. They will even help you get discounted trade certificates and refunds on taxes when it’s time to go home.
3. Hit the ground running – there’s an app for that
Use an app like iBackpacker, or websites including Backpacker Job Board, both of which specifically target working holidaymakers. iBackpacker is an easy-to-use app that connects you with employers around Australia. Just input your details, job preferences and city or state in which you’d like to work and then connect with thousands of potential employers.
From fruit picking to bar work to marketing, you can find a suitable job paying good wages. To find out more, go to ibackpacker.com.au or download the iBackpacker app at the Google App on iTunes. These services will allow you to access businesses specifically seeking working holiday employees. You will, however, have to reach out to employers and handle taxation and other paperwork by yourself.
4. Secure a job before you leave home
It might suit you to you make contact with Australian employers and have a job organised for you when you arrive. This tactic is perfect if you are a serious, slightly older traveller who knows what you want: if there’s no job, there’s no trip. It’s also a great approach if you’re a skilled worker who has specific career or professional development goals to achieve during your trip to Australia.
This approach enables you to sort out your own accommodation and itinerary for your down time while living as a local and immersing yourself in the nation’s way of life. Australian job search engines Seek and Career One will get you started, or you can find a recruiter in your field.
5. Get work along the way
For those who prefer an unstructured approach to travel, it’s possible to check into your accommodation and hit the employment boards or follow leads on the ground. This cross-your-fingers approach could lead to high adventure – literally – perhaps as a lift operator in the nation’s ski fields. Or you may prefer to lead a tour on a barely populated island off the Tasmanian coast, or crew a yacht through the Whitsunday Islands.
This approach is for you if the journey is more important than the destination, and the kind of work you do or your bank balance is less important than seeing Australia in many different ways.
Leads could come from anywhere, so perhaps check into a YHA hostel and check out the notice board, get a job behind a bar and keep your ears open, all while keeping on top of jobs on Seek and Career One.
There’s also the national Harvest Trail. The Australian Government has compiled a Harvest Guide for travellers who want to help gather the bounty of a rich but slightly labour-hungry nation. The guide details when particular crops are harvested and the nearest city or town.
Whether you’d like to help pick grapes in the Adelaide Hills, cut flowers in Sydney or gather pineapples on the Sunshine Coast, there is year-round work in Australia on the Harvest Trail.
For more information about the types of working holiday visas and your nation’s eligibility, see here.
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