Backpacking in Australia: Jobs

If you’re planning on staying in Australia for any period of time, chances are you’re going to need some additional income. Many backpackers choose to work for some or all of their stay in the country, combining the opportunity to travel with the chance to make a few bucks in order to finance their visit. For backpackers who are planning to work in Oz, it’s important to get a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) before you enter the country. These can be applied for via the Australian Government’s website. You’ll also pay tax on the work you do (typically 32% initially), but this can usually be redeemed once you leave the country. Once your WHV is sorted out, it’s time to take a look at the various employment options on offer.
If you’re looking for a job while on your working holiday, there’s a few places to look online. The mainstream sites are Seek and Indeed. Here’s you’ll find plenty of roles. For a more specific job search check out Backpacker Job Board. You’ll find jobs specific to working holidays here plus plenty of fruit picking jobs too. Backpacker Job Board has a Kiwi sister site too. So, if you jump across the Tasman and need work in New Zealand, take a look at Backpacker Job Board NZ.


If you’re staying in an urban area, hospitality jobs are a great option. Pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, and hotels are always looking for bartenders, waitresses, commis-chefs, cleaners, housekeepers and similar. You will need to complete a Responsible Service of Alcohol Licence (RSA) qualification before you can work behind a bar (these can be completed online if necessary), but otherwise, a willingness to work hard and a friendly, helpful personality are more important.

Farm work

A mainstay of backpacker employment, fruit picking, ranch work (if you have experience of larger animals or shearing experience) or other work on arable farms is a great option if you’re in a rural location. The work is available over most of rural Oz, depending on the season. Backpacking hostels often have lists of agricultural employment opportunities available. In addition, word-of-mouth is a great way to find suitable farm employment. Remember that most farm work is physically demanding and can require long hours outside in relatively high temperatures.

Au pair/ childcare work

If you enjoy working with children, au pair work can be an excellent choice. Au pairs frequently end up with accommodation and meals as part of their benefit package, allowing you to save for further travel should you wish. Some au pairs even end up with the use of the family vehicle and trips away.

Sales and events

For “people people” who like showing others the benefits of a particular event, product or services, sales work can be a good employment choice. Sales can range from promoting a bar through to selling products to other backpackers or working in a call centre. For salespeople who are good at what they do, there are chances to obtain a significant amount of commission – a great boost to the travel fund!


Digging ditches, hoisting timber or lugging bricks around may not be everybody’s idea of ideal holiday employment, but it does provide a reliable paycheck and a chance to get (or stay) physically fit. Unless you have a trade, little more is required for generic labouring other than being physically fit and prepared to work hard. The work can be dirty and demanding at times.

Australia is a country with plenty of opportunities for backpackers to obtain employment, enabling them to prolong their stay as well as pick up some valuable experiences along the way. Backpacker Tours Australia will soon be partnering with employment platforms to help you find great opportunities in both full-time and part-time roles.