Keen to extend your Work and Holiday visa? Here are some great places to find work (and have an amazing time).
You’ve come to Australia on a work and holiday visa, and you’ve decided you want to spend an extra 12 months Down Under. What now? Before you can apply for your Work and Holiday visa extension, you need to complete three months of specified work. Jobs that qualify you for a Second Work and Holiday Visa must fall into specific industries and be carried out in certain locations around Australia.
Here are five places where you can find eligible jobs for your second-year visa – and have fun doing it.
Winter can mean cold weather – but not in Cairns. Australia’s most famous tropical city is not only a fantastic base for exploring the dramatic beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, but offers plenty of adventures, including white-water rafting, sky diving and explorations through the lush Daintree Rainforest. With its warm weather, it’s a great place to go fruit-picking, and the main crop around here is bananas. Harvested year-round, there’s generally plenty of work to be had here. Expect to earn about AUD $24 an hour.
This is a major tourist centre, so there are also seasonal hospitality jobs available in hotels and resorts, whether your specialty is mixing cocktails or making beds. Pay rates start at about AUD $19 an hour. For those watching their cash, there are plentiful hostels and lots of places to enjoy cheap eats and drinks too.
Australia’s northernmost capital is well worth getting to know. Walk along Darwin’s main strip, Mitchell Street and the first thing you’ll notice is all the outdoor bars, which overflow with people from around the world. There is also lots of affordable backpacker accommodation in the centre of town.
If you’re interested in working in tourism or travel, there is plenty of work available during the dry season (April to October), ranging from working as a casino croupier to pouring beers at one of the friendly pubs. Rates for hospitality work start at about AUD $19 an hour.
There is also harvest work aplenty around Darwin and the nearby town of Humpty Doo. Many people enjoy picking mangoes, with work available between September and November. Some farms hire more than 100 seasonal workers each year to work in their orchards and the packing sheds, ensuring you’ll be surrounded by other young travellers. Mango picking is usually paid by volume picked, so expect to earn between AUD $16 and AUD $22 an hour, depending on how fast you work. To secure work, contact the farms directly or check out the Backpacker Job Centre.
There’s also plenty to do in Darwin while you’re here. The popular Mindil Beach Sunset Market is famous for its array of exotic foods, while you can get close to some of the Northern Territory’s scariest residents at Crocosaurus Cove. Darwin is also the jumping off point for exploring some of the Northern Territory’s most famous places, including Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park and Nitmiluk National Park.
The romantic outback beach town of Broome is a hugely popular choice for working holiday makers. There is plenty of work in the hospitality industry here – ask in local establishments, look out for signs around town, or check the job listings on sites like Gumtree. This is also one of the few bases in Australia where you could find a job in the pearling industry, with a harvest period from April to October. Not only is this when famous companies like Cygnet Bay Pearls are looking for extra staff (mainly backpackers), it’s also peak season for travellers, coinciding with the dry season (characterised by warm days, clear skies and balmy nights).
There are also jobs to be had on fishing trawlers here (year round) and on boats catching lobster (November to June). All these jobs require time at sea, but you can earn AUD $1500 for about 10 days’ work – and because you’re living on the boat, accommodation and meals are free. Broome is the home of famous Cable Beach, known for its 22 kilometres (13.7 miles) of sand and camel trains. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Byron Bay of Australia’s west’, it’s also a wonderful place from which to explore the epic wilderness of the Kimberley.
The palm-fringed town of Airlie Beach is a backpacker’s dream come true. Known as the jumping off point for the blissful Whitsunday Islands, where days can be spent snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or exploring magical spots like Whitehaven Beach. Thanks to the area’s beauty, there are several upscale resorts and a thriving hospitality scene here, so the main employment opportunities are in the hospitality and tourism businesses. Check around town for work in restaurants, cafes, bars and resorts; this can range from mixing cocktails at poolside bars to taking on housekeeping in a hotel. If you’re good on a boat, there is usually plenty of opportunities for deckhands, hosts and dive masters (qualifications needed). Most hospitality and tourism jobs pay a minimum of AUD $19 an hour. Airlie Beach is also a good base to start from if you’re looking for work on one of the islands, such as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island or Hayman Island.
There is also lots of fruit-harvesting work nearby, in the town of Bowen (about 70 kilometres [or 43 miles] north of Airlie Beach). Here, you’ll likely find a job any time between May and December, but the peak periods are May to November for tomatoes, September to November for melons, and December for mangoes. Most harvesting is paid by the piece in a practice known as ‘piecework’, but workers can expect to earn in the region of about AUD $20 an hour. Packing work in the farm sheds is another option, paying about AUD $24 an hour.
The bohemian surf mecca of Byron Bay is a popular destination in which to complete the program’s three-month work requirements. If you’re interested in farm work, make sure you arrive early in the season, or begin contacting employers before you even show up, as finding this work can be quite competitive. Fruit picking and packing is available during February and March, and again from May to December, when you could find yourself filling baskets of avocados, lychees, macadamias and more. Expect to earn anywhere between AUD $16 and AUD $24 based on piecework. And, of course, while here you can fill your days off with explorations around the town’s cool bars, spectacular beaches and trendy hinterland villages.