Best Paid Backpacker Jobs in Australia

Best Paid Backpacker Jobs in Australia

The sun, the sand, the smiles; you don’t have to search very hard to find reasons to visit Australia. The only issue for most potential backpackers is the country’s remoteness, what with it being on the opposite side of the world to pretty much everything. If you’re going to make the trip, you might as well stay a while, or so the thinking goes. And if you are to fund this extended stay, you’ll need to find work.

This poses a question: what are the best paid backpacker jobs in Australia?

Which are the most fun, offer the most unique experience, or have the best pay rates?

Let’s take a look at nine of the very best backpacker jobs in Australia, and what you can expect from each.

Index:

  1. Sales, Promotional Work and Customer service
  2. Fruit Picking and Harvesting
  3. Construction Labour
  4. Mining Labour
  5. Tour Guide
  6. Au-pairing
  7. Waiting & Bartending
  8. Receptionist / Admin Work
  9. Cleaning / Housekeeping

(If you’re taking a trip to New Zealand, you can find our article on the best paid backpacker jobs in New Zealand here)

1. Sales, Promotional Work and Customer Service

Whether in store, on the phone, over the internet or door to door, there’s always work to be found in sales, customer service and promotion. This work covers a wide variety of tasks; you could be handing out freebies at a sports ground, door knocking on behalf of a charity, selling phone plans in a mall, or replying to customer feedback over email. This work is usually nice and routine – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm work hours are most common, and the focus on communication will mean that workers will need fluent English.

Where can I find the work?

Sales, promo and customer service work is always more concentrated in big cities.

How much does a salesperson earn?

Salespeople can either earn purely for the sales they make (a piece rate), or be paid the minimum wage ($20/hr) along with a small sales bonus.

How much does a promo worker earn?

$20/hr (minimum wage).

How much does a customer service representative earn?

$20-$30/hr.

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2. Fruit Picking & Harvest Work

The classic backpacker trace, much of Australia’s agricultural industry relies on working holidaymakers to harvest their crops every season. Whether bananas in Queensland, apples in Tasmania, grapes in South Australia or oranges along the Murray River, there’s always work for those willing to do it. No skills are needed, but physical fitness helps.

Where can I find the work?

Across rural Australia.

How much does a fruit picker earn?

Fruit pickers usually earn a piece rate, which should work out to around minimum wage ($20/hr) for the ‘average’ picker. Good pickers will earn a good pay rate.

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3. Construction Labour

There are two types of labourer on Australian construction sites, tradespeople/ skilled labourers, and general/unskilled labourers. Most backpackers will fall into the second category, whose job it is to help the skilled labourers get the job done. Again, no skills are necessary in this position, but a decent level of physical fitness is recommended.

Where can I find the work?

Construction work is more concentrated in big cities, but in reality it can be found anywhere. Local governments are a good place to start your search.

How much does a construction labourer earn?

A pay rate of $25 – $30/hr usually applies.

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4. Mining Labour

Mine work can be a challenging – but also a unique and rewarding – experience for a backpacker. Similar to construction labouring, this work is often physically demanding, but it can pay excellently. Some jobs will see you flown into and out of the work site (FIFO), and may see you working two or three weeks straight before earning an extended break.

Where can I find the work?

The states of Queensland and Western Australia are the country’s mining powerhouses, and the mines are generally hours from civilisation. Hunt the job boards for opportunities.

How much does a mine labourer earn?

Of all backpacker jobs, this offers the best pay rate. An unskilled backpacker can earn as much as double the minimum wage ($40/hr) if they are willing and able.

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5. Tour Guide

What’s better than paying to tour Australia? Being paid to tour Australia! Tour guides and tourism workers get to enjoy Australia’s highlights every day, and earn money while they’re at it! Whether city walking tours, boat charters, wildlife adventures, or even simply helping out at a hotel or guesthouse, the tourism sector can be a great way to kill two birds – travel and work – with one stone!

Where can I find the work?

Tourism work is obviously concentrated in Australia’s tourist hotspots: the capital cities, and major attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

How much does a tour guide earn?

Tour guides and tourism workers usually get paid minimum wage ($20/hr).

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6. Au-pairing

Are you great with kids? There’s perhaps no position that will give a backpacker a more authentic taste of Australian life than au pairing, as it offers the opportunity to live with a local family. Being responsible for the children while the parents are out, you’ll need to have completed first aid training and a Working with Children check.

Where can I find the work?

Wherever there are people, there are au-pair positions, from the centre of Sydney to the remotest stations.

How much does an au pair earn?

Generally an au pair will earn $200-$300 for a 25-35 hour week, but will get food and board for free. This rate can also vary depending on your hours, responsibilities, and how many kids you’re looking after.

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7. Waiting & Bartending

Mixing drinks, delivering food and creating atmosphere; waiting and bartending can be a fun and social way to make a bit of extra cash while you’re down under. Unlike much of the world, Australian waiters and bartenders get a generous base wage, although (perhaps because of this fact) Australia doesn’t really have a tipping culture, so your potential to earn is stable, if limited.

Where can I find the work?

More jobs are available in big cities, but every country town worth its salt will have a pub!

How much does a waiter/bartender earn?

Causal pay is generally around $25/hr, with penalty rates for late night/weekend work raising the rate to as much as $35/hr.

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8. Receptionist/ Admin Work

If you’re looking for stable, accessible work which lets you enjoy your weekends, a receptionist or administrative role is a great option. These are almost always nine to five, Monday to Friday jobs, and those with Microsoft Office skills may be able to find a position with quite good pay. The main downside is that these are commonly offered as full time positions, which working holidaymakers aren’t eligible for.

Where can I find the work?

Wherever you find offices, from large cities to small towns.

How much does an admin worker earn?

$20-$40/hr. Basic receptionist positions usually offer minimum wage, but administrative support roles can pay up to double that depending on the skills required.

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9. Cleaning & Housekeeping

While most people think they’d be able to be a cleaner or housekeeper, this job can actually be a little more challenging than you might guess. Because many businesses want their cleaning to be done outside of business hours, evening and early morning work can be common. It can also be quite the workout, with arms, legs and back feeling the burn by the end of the shift. On the plus side, work is plentiful and no special skills or qualifications are required.

Where can I find cleaning work?

Across Australia.

How much does a cleaner earn?

$20-$25/hr, although if you get a mining job this figure can almost double!

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At the end of the day, the best backpacker job will depend on what you want from it. If you’re looking for something simple and temporary, sales and fruit picking are great options. If you want a unique or fun experience, tour guiding and au-pairing will give you just that. If you simply want to earn, you can’t go past labouring, particularly in the mines.

And the sooner your pockets are full, the sooner you can get back to doing what you came to Australia to do – exploring this wide, brown, amazing land.