Pearling Jobs in Australia
Pearling work isn't the most well-known way to make money while backpacking in Australia. So this needs some explination.
Getting a job as you travel is a necessity. Many backpackers find themselves on farms, serving drinks at bars, helping in kitchens and even taking care of children. But this lesser known job is available to those not shy of hard work or early mornings. For those eager to make good money doing something as equally adventurous as travelling across the Land Down Under, pearling may be worth your while.
What is pearling?
Pearling is a multi-million dollar industry supported mainly by skilled divers and backpackers.
What is it like?
Pearling is a form of aquaculture, which is essentially the farming of marine organisms, and like farming on land, it's not easy work. It means very early mornings and long days. You will be working on the water during your shifts, but where you sleep may vary depending on the company and how they manage their operations. Some companies house their employees on boats for a few weeks at a time while others ferry workers out to the job site from land each day.
How much could you earn?
Based on their experience, a pearl diver in Australia can earn up to $87,112 a year, with the average salary being around $71,480. However, most backpackers will fall into the unskilled category and can earn approx $24 per hour based on a 10 hour day. All that being said, different companies will obviously have different rates for their employees.
Where to find pearling jobs
Australia's biggest pearling states are Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Home to three of the largest pearling farms in Australia, Broome and Darwin are the country's biggest and best producers of pearls.
Why is pearling the ideal job for backpackers?
Pearling places you in striking distance of some of Australia's most desirable tourist destinations during periods when the weather is at its best. Pearl harvest season runs from April to May and then from September to October. Jobs are still available outside of this season but are not as plentiful.
While on the sea, you will experience the unique Australian marine life. You may encounter anything from whales to saltwater crocodiles. Also, it gives you an excellent opportunity to save money. Many companies will house and feed workers as part of their employment, and many of the sites are remote, providing little temptation to spend your hard earned money.