Work in Australia
There’s a reason why travellers come in waves to Australia. And it’s not just for the beaches. The backpacker-friendly work culture and high minimum wage means you can work anywhere – not just the big cities.
Of all the countries open to working holidaymakers, Australia defines the ‘I work to travel' mentality. Whether you’re hopping between the cities, islands and surf towns of the legendary East Coast; or between the reefs, national parks and wineries of the ‘less-travelled-but-no-less-beautiful' West Coast – there are no wrong answers to where you should stop and work.
Most travellers tend to start with working holiday jobs in Melbourne or working holiday jobs in Sydney, which is where our teams are based to help get you set up. Those that leave the cities behind build a lifetime of memories travelling and working around Australia, and those that don’t, get to live like locals in two of the most iconic cities in the world. It’s what we like to call in the travel world, a win win.
Cool cities, barefoot islands, outback towns... put your answers on a picture-perfect postcard.
Sydney is the Bermuda Triangle of Australian cities, with travellers flying in and never leaving: staying for the harbourfront glamour, surfy suburbs and never-the-same-bar-twice social life. Sydney is a style and business icon, with every sector from fashion to finance residing here. One of the most liveable cities in the world, the work-life balance is next level: with Friday nights out in the gay-friendly clubs of Paddington or edgy bars of Redfern, Saturday afternoons spent sifting through the thrift stores and vintage record shops of Newtown, and Sunday mornings reserved for brunches and beach time in Coogee or Bondi.
They say you’re either a Sydney or a Melbourne person, and there’s truth in the rivalry between Australia’s two largest cities. While Sydney may have the natural good looks and enviable beach hair, Melbourne is the cool and arty one. Culture, counterculture and caffeine reign here: with colourful street art, quirky boutiques and live music bars that seemingly line every street in the neighbourhoods of Brunswick, Fitzroy and Carlton. There’s also no shortage of natural beauty in Melbourne. Beach lifestyle rules in the city suburb of St. Kilda, and it’s just under an hour to the wildlife, wineries and white sand beaches of the Mornington Peninsula.
Cairns is wild inside and out. The jumping off point for the kaleidoscopic waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the humming rainforests of the Daintree, Cairns is surrounded by UNESCO sites and wild natural beauty. The first or last stop for backpackers travelling the length of the East Coast, Cairns is a tourist town at heart: with travel kiosks, backpacker hostels and happy hours flanking the esplanade and purpose-built lagoon. As the adventure capital of Australia with everything from bungy jumps to skydives up for grabs, it’s a great place to find fun, social and outdoor work: working on the dive boats, in the bars and in live-in hostel positions.
If your Aussie daydreams are of easy-going locals, 265 days of sunshine, surfing before work and barbecuing after work; then Perth is your dream come true. Out on Australia’s West Coast, it’s one of the most isolated cities in the world – and perhaps because it’s not competing with its East Coast cousins, it sings to its own tune. While Perth may not have the professional opportunities, and cultural and creative mix of Sydney or Melbourne (yet) – it also doesn’t have the stress or the smog. Life runs at a slower pace, with a great food and arts scene, and quick access to the wildlife of Rottnest Island, reefs of Ningaloo, and wineries of Margaret River.
Cities not your thing? Head for the coast. Particularly on the islands where there aren’t always large permanent populations, employers often rely on casual workers to staff the resorts, hotels and boats. The result is living and working in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Life in tourism and hospitality can be full on, but it’s also super fun and social. Plus, when your office is the reef-fringed islands of the Whitsundays, the squeaky-clean beaches of Fraser Island, or the nature trails and local penguin population of Phillip Island – it’s not much of a chore to go to work.
Much of Australia’s agricultural industry rely on backpackers to harvest the bananas, cherries, apples, strawberries and... you name it, regional Australia grows it. Which means you can often have your pick of fruit picking jobs around towns like Bundaberg and Bowen in Queensland. Away from the anonymity of the big cities, you’ll form lifelong friendships and become part of a community. You may not get the highrise cocktails of Sydney or craft beer range of Melbourne, but belting out karaoke in your local with your new travel family are memories that will stay with you forever.