If you’re looking to extend your Working Holiday visa, here are some top locations to do your three months of specified work.
You’ve come to Australia on a working holiday visa, and you’ve decided you want to spend an extra 12 months Down Under. What now? Before you can apply for your Working Holiday visa extension, you need to complete three months of specified work. Jobs that qualify you for a Second Working Holiday Visa must fall into specific industries and be carried out in approved regions 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. A major backpackers’ hub, you’ll find plenty of young travellers here (especially during the dry season, April to November) – and plenty of eligible work, too, especially in fruit picking. The main crop around here, bananas, is harvested year round, so there’s generally plenty of work available, and you can expect to earn about AUD $24 an hour. On your days off, you’ll find plenty to see and do in the area, with 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.
There is 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, like Acacia Hills, hire more than 100 seasonal workers each year to work in their orchards and the packing sheds, so you’ll be surrounded by like-minded travellers. Mango picking is usually paid by the number of pieces picked, so you can expect to earn between $AUD 16 and AUD $22 an hour, depending on how fast you work. To secure work, contact farms directly or check out the Backpacker Job Centre. This is also a good spot to check if there’s any construction work on offer in the city, which is also considered eligible work for your second-year visa.
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. This is one of the few bases in Australia where you can 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 the west coast’, it’s also a wonderful place to explore the beautiful Kimberley wilderness.
The pretty beach town of Bowen is located on the Great Barrier Reef coastline in Queensland, and offers plenty of harvesting work, thanks to its perfect tropical climate. On average, Bowen receives eight hours of sunshine each day, year-round, and it’s only a 40-minute drive to Airlie Beach, the jumping-off point for exploring the stunning Whitsunday Islands. So there’s plenty of things to do on your days off! It’s possible to find fruit-harvesting work in Bowen any time between May and December, but the peak periods are May to November for tomatoes, September to November for melons, and December for mangos. 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 fruit 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, so finding work here can be competitive – make sure you arrive early in the season, or begin contacting employers before you even show up. If you’ve got access to a car, labouring jobs on building sites is a good option (pay rates start at about AUD $19 an hour), otherwise 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 an hour, 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.