Where are the best places in Australia to find work when travelling on a working holiday visa?
Anyone who has travelled Australia knows that it is a particularly big country. Because of this you need to be strategic in how you attack your trip. This is all the more important for backpackers and working holidaymakers, because if you’re funding your adventures as you go, you need to be sure that you can find work at your next destination.
To help with this planning, we’ve compiled a complete guide to the best places in Australia to find the most popular backpacker jobs. Here’s our run-down of which suburbs, cities and states to go to to find employment on your working holiday.
- Where to find fruit picking jobs
- Where to find sales & marketing jobs
- Where to find farm work
- Where to find hospitality jobs
- Where to find events jobs
1. Fruit Picking Jobs
Work that is almost always available, easy to secure, and sees good pickers being rewarded for their hard work. Fruit picking is the lifeblood of the Australian working holiday program, and working holidaymakers are likewise the lifeblood of Australia’s fruit industry.
The best places to find fruit picking jobs in Australia include:
1.1 Far North Queensland
Example job: Banana picking
Want to work somewhere that combines sun, sand and smiles with real potential to earn? Look no further than Far North Queensland, where you can spend your weekdays picking tropical fruit from trees, and your weekends and nights exploring the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. The banana plantations of the Cassowary Coast are particularly popular with backpackers.
1.2 Mildura, Victoria
Example job: Citrus picking
Nestled on the south side of the Murray River, in the northwest of Victoria, Mildura is a tranquil regional hub famous for its watersports, nature and booming citrus industry. If you’re looking for a chance to earn some money while getting a taste of regional life, Mildura is a fantastic option. And with significant summer and winter harvests, you won’t be short of opportunities!
1.3 Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
Example job: Berry picking
Located halfway between Brisbane and Sydney, the coastal city of Coffs Harbour isn’t perhaps as renowned as other destinations on the east coast tourist trail, but between its stunning coastline, beautiful conservation parks and one of Australia’s most liveable climates, its reputation is growing. You can also add a booming berry industry to the Coffs Harbour resume – blueberries are the headline act, with harvest running from October to January.
1.4 Shepparton, Victoria
Example job: Stone fruit picking
Just a two hour drive from Melbourne, and a significant community in its own right, Shepparton offers backpackers a taste of regional Australia, but without the standard country inconvenience. It is found on the banks of the beautiful Goulburn River, a waterway that supports a thriving fruit industry. Stone fruit is the main crop, with harvest running from late November to early February.
1.5 Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Example job: Apple picking
The reason that Tasmania is called the Apple Isle will become immediately obvious when you arrive in the Tamar Valley, just outside of Launceston in Tasmania’s north. Supported by the pure waters of the Tamar River, it is apple orchards as far as the eye can see here, which are picked between March and May.
2. Sales & Marketing Jobs
Boasting a developed first-world economy, the twin industries of sales and marketing are two of Australia’s biggest, and are also home to many of the entry-level, casual and temporary positions that are ideal for backpackers.
The best places to find sales and marketing jobs in Australia include:
2.1 Sydney, New South Wales
Example job: Marketing assistant
It makes sense that Australia’s most renowned city is home to Australia’s most renowned companies, all of whom are trying to put their name up in lights. If you’d like to soak in the endless sights of Sydney, and you’re a backpacker with a keen interest in marketing, you may have found your (temporary) home!
Links: Sales jobs in Sydney
2.2 Melbourne, Victoria
Example job: Inbound sales
Sydney may only be Australia’s largest city for a few more years, as Melbourne is fast catching up. Australia’s sporting, cultural and coffee capital is also home to a wealth of call centres, all of which need motivated sales people to convert callers to customers.
Links: Sales jobs in Melbourne
2.3 Brisbane, Queensland
Example job: Charity sales representative
The Queensland capital of Brisbane is a vibrant and modern metropolis, and one that is attracting an ever-larger number of visitors and residents. If you’re an extrovert who’d prefer a job that helped others – and that allowed you to earn some cash at the same time – why not become a charity sales representative, meeting Brisbanites at the mall or on their doorsteps?
Links: Sales jobs in Brisbane
2.4 Perth, Western Australia
Example job: Social media specialist
Such is its isolation that Western Australian might as well be its own country (something that many Western Australians like the idea of, as it happens.) Perth, the state capital, is surrounded by beauty, from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Margaret River wine region to the south. This gives a social media marketer – one of Perth’s most in-demand marketing jobs – plenty of material to work with.
Links: Sales jobs in Perth
2.5 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Example job: Public relations assistant
As Australia’s capital, Canberra is home to many of the country’s most significant museums, galleries and exhibitions, including the Australian War Memorial, and the National Museum, Gallery, and Science Centres. Canberra is also the centre of Australian politics, a field that demands a lot of public relations work. This makes PR people, even those without much experience, a valuable commodity here.
Links: Sales jobs in ACT
3. Farm Jobs
While around 90% of Australians live in urban areas, there is a brave 10% – the regional farming community – who attempt to tame this wide brown land. Helping these folk in their quest can be a unique adventure for a backpacker.
The best places to find farm work in Australia include:
3.1 Western New South Wales
Example job: Farmhand
‘The back of Bourke’ is an Australian term for an extremely remote place. Bourke is a regional hub in New South Wales, and out the back of it lies Western New South Wales, a dry and sparse expanse of earth mainly used for the most hardy crops and livestock. If you’re ready for the isolation, becoming a farmhand here will give you a unique taste of regional Australian life.
Links: Farm jobs in NSW
3.2 Wheatbelt, Western Australia
Example job: Harvest worker
Located to the northeast of Perth, the Wheatbelt is one of nine Western Australian regions, and there’s no prizes for guessing what it is famous for. This region is always looking for willing and able workers for the cereal crop harvest that stretches over summer. You also remain within striking distance of Perth, making this the perfect spot for those who don’t want to work too far from civilisation.
Links: Farm jobs in WA
3.3 The Far North, South Australia
Example job: Station hand/governess
If your idea of outback Australia is a place of barren nothingness, South Australia’s Far North won’t disappoint. Home to some monstrous private holdings, including the world’s largest cattle station, here you’ll enter into station life either as a farmhand or governess, whose job it is to keep the farmhouse and farm kids in order.
Links: Farm jobs in SA
3.4 Cassowary Coast, Queensland
Example job: Banana farm worker
Situated between Cairns and Townsville, the Cassowary Coast boasts an endless procession of tropical beaches that face the Great Barrier Reef. This region is arguably more famous for its bananas however, with plantations covering huge swathes of the tropical earth. Picking aside, you can also get work as a farm worker, helping to keep the operation running smoothly.
Links: Farm jobs in QLD
3.5 Gippsland, Victoria
Example job: Dairy farmhand
The green grassy hills of Gippsland, found an hour or two to the east of Melbourne, offer a picturesque backdrop to any backpacker looking for a taste of farm life. The conditions here are ideal for dairy cows, making dairy farming the main industry of the area. A word of warning: backpackers should be prepared for early rises and physical work.
Links: Farm jobs in VIC
4. Hospitality Jobs
If you prefer hustle and bustle over isolation, an Australian hospitality job might be right for you. Unlike other countries, service staff get a rather healthy hourly rate in Oz, and aren’t reliant on tips (in fact, tips are a distinct rarity in these parts.)
The best places to work in hospitality in Australia include:
4.1 Byron Bay, New South Wales
Example job: Hostel worker
Byron Bay’s transformation from small coastal community to Hollywood hangout has been swift. But one look at the area and you soon realise why: this is a gorgeous part of the world, and has a vibe all its own. Now a must-see stop on the backpacker trail, hostel work is always available here.
4.2 Airlie Beach, Queensland
Example job: Tour assistant
With the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep, and a holiday atmosphere that runs through the year, working in Airlie Beach will hardly feel like work at all. This is especially the case if you manage to score a job as a tour assistant, showing wide-eye visitors the very best of this stunning region.
4.3 Sydney CBD, New South Wales
Example job: Hotel worker
Between the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach, it’s little wonder Sydney is Australia’s most visited city. As a hotel worker in the CBD you’ll also be granted the opportunity to see the famous sights, earning a living while you do it!
Links: Hospitality jobs in Sydney
4.4 The Barossa, South Australia
Example job: Kitchen hand
Australia’s most famous wine region is all rolling, vine-filled hills, historic stone buildings and majestic cellar doors. And while most visitors come for the drink, many will stay for the food, as the Barossa doubles as a region of elite gourmet produce too! As a kitchen hand you’ll help chefs turn locally sourced crops into tantalising dishes – the type that pair perfectly with shiraz.
4.5 Gold Coast, Queensland
Example job: Bar work
Prefer late nights to early mornings? Enjoy a drink and a dance? No Australian city parties quite as hard as the Gold Coast, found an hour south of Brisbane in Southeast Queensland. This is a holiday and nightlife mecca, making it the ideal place to find work as a bartender. And once your shift is done, you can get out there and cut some shapes yourself!
5. Events Jobs
Getting to enter the festival, see the concert or go to the big game for free: it’s a dream that regularly comes true for those who work in Australia’s thriving event industry, and who also get paid for the pleasure.
The best locations to pickup events and promotions jobs in Australia include:
5.1 Adelaide, South Australia
Example job: Festival worker
With a car numberplate slogan that proudly proclaims itself ‘The Festival State’, South Australia doesn’t disappoint. Home to a never-ending roster of events, including the world’s second-biggest performing arts festival, The Adelaide Fringe, backpackers can find themselves perfectly fun and temporary work throughout the year.
Links: Events jobs in Adelaide
5.2 Margaret River, Western Australia
Example job: Event planner/assistant
A three-hour drive south of Perth, on a peninsula that juts out into the Indian Ocean, the gorgeous Margaret River wine region is the perfect place for a wedding, a birthday or a business function. This makes event planners and assistants a valuable resource – positions that will allow you to soak in the best of the area, while also helping others make their time here special.
Links: Events jobs in WA
5.3 Melbourne CBD, Victoria
Example job: Sports event worker
Melbourne likes to think of itself as the sporting capital of the world, and it’s hard to argue. Home to annual events like the Australian Open, The Australian F1, the Melbourne Cup, the Boxing Day Test and the AFL Grand Final, there are plenty of opportunities for backpackers to lend a hand at a sports event (and soak up the action too!)
Links: Events jobs in Melbourne
5.4 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Example job: Traffic controller
The nation’s capital, Canberra is home to many important annual events, from celebrations to days of remembrance. As the home of Australia’s federal politicians, it’s also the primary site for (always peaceful) protests. Between these two factors the city is often in need of people to control both foot and road traffic, the sort of temporary and casual work that is perfect for backpackers!
Links: Events jobs in Canberra
5.5 Sydney, New South Wales
Example job: Concert/ event staff
Whether live music, public performances or fireworks displays, the Sydney schedule is jam-packed with events. Casual staff are key if these concerts and events are to go off without a hitch, which means backpackers can usually find work in one form or another throughout the year.
Links: Events jobs in Sydney