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How much can you earn Down Under?

How much can you earn Down Under?

Whether you’re a bartender, a receptionist or a nanny, you’ll make even bigger bucks in the land Down Under.

People come to Australia with a bunch of scenarios in mind: kicking back on a white-sand beach with an icy cold beer, diving through cool blue waters with dolphins and sea lions, hiking through the red dirt to Uluru or restaurant-hopping through the glittering city.

While many of these incredible experiences won’t cost you much, making money on the side means you’ll maximise your adventures (cue: Working Holiday Visa).

Not only are there endless work opportunities in Australia, but they pay premium dollar for the same old service you were doing back home. In fact, Aussie employers pay so well that for many backpackers, work becomes yet another major reason to stick around.  


Bartending is so much more than throwing ingredients together for the sipping pleasure of total strangers. It’s about making friends with locals, bonding with other bartenders over ‘staffies’ (Aussie for after-hours ‘staff drinks’), learning about local breweries and wineries, and contributing to a community. That is: you go to a party every night for a living. What could be better than that? Getting paid handsomely for it, we suppose – a cool $20 to $24 AUD per hour, to be exact. Some of these jobs will even throw in tips and free or discounted meals to sweeten the deal. Compare that to the average bartending wages in London, which come in around 6 to £8 GBP per hour ($14 to $24 AUD). Hospitality, along with a few other industries, sometimes even offer what we call ‘penalty rates’ for working on weekends or public holidays, bumping the figures as high as $37.95 AUD per hour. That’s certainly champagne money, which means in beer dollars, you’re practically rich.

Au Pair

While you may need to fork out a few upfront costs to get qualified for this role (a current first aid qualification and a Working with Children check are usually standard) you should be able to quickly cover your investment. In Australia, the hard-working Mary Poppins of the world will usually earn between $200 and $275 AUD per week, for an average of 25 to 35 hours. Back in the UK, au pairs are paid on average £77 to £95 GBP per week ($109 to $134 AUD) – a difference that oughtta get you booking those flights quicksmart. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get free room and board, and if you’re super lucky, you’ll even get free meals. Do it for the kids! (And the cash.)

Receptionist / admin assistant

When it comes to finding a job that won’t obstruct your social life, reception is pretty ideal. First of all, the hours are pretty cushy. We’re talking 9am to 5pm. With sunset around 8pm during the Aussie summer months, this won’t even get in the way of your daily beach appointments.  In Oz, a receptionist role pays roughly $24 AUD per hour (roughly £14 GBP) plus even more on weekends – a job that’ll get you only $15 AUD per hour in the UK. Most businesses need someone well-presented and friendly at front of house to keep their clientele happy, so the demand is high. Be sure to put out lots of applications and don’t forget to dress up and be friendly during your interview. Handy hint: your hostel might even be an easy place to start your search - do they need someone for their front of house?

Administration support roles are even more lucrative than reception, paying anywhere from $28 to $45 AUD per hour, depending on whatever mad skills you have to bring to the table (we’re talking PowerPoint, not origami).

With those rates, the flight to Australia almost seems like an investment. In fact, when Dad calls to bug you about your future, this is the perfect opening line.

Picking fruit

One thing fruit picking will give you that many other jobs won’t is the ability to earn money per bin as opposed to per hour. This means, your hourly rate is totally up to you. If you feel like being a slacker and making bare minimum, you can do that, and if you feel like harvesting like a machine, you can do that too. Working on an apple orchard, for instance, after qualifying for your second year visa, can earn you $35 per bin of apples. An average worker fills five to seven bins per day, which could be $245 AUD (£140 GBP) per day if you’re willing to hustle.

True blue Aussie jobs

And finally, there’s the random, quirky work that you could only find in this sunburnt country: working as a deckhand for a sail experience, helping out around a guest house on an island, representing charities at scenic locations across Oz. You name it. To find these jobs, check the noticeboard of your hostel or search YHA online, cruise the Backpacker Job Board, or even take a look at the jobs on Seek that require no experience at all. Experience the beauty of this country from up close - and make bank while you’re at it!

For more information about finding work in Oz during your working holiday, have a read of this.

Earn money, save money

Get out and explore!