How To Find Backpacker Jobs In Australia

Many working holiday makers fund their trip to Australia with backpacker jobs, and yes it is easy to find these jobs as Australia is really short of workers at the moment!  Before you set off on your travels and search for work on a backpacker job board, you should draw up your CV or Resume.  It should show all your education to date and list of employment as well as any referees.  If you will be applying to several agencies it might be worthwhile typing up a cover letter outlining your skills and what type of jobs you are looking for. Once you have done this, it might be a good idea to email yourself a copy so it’s easy to forward on to agencies and employers. On a Working Holiday Visa you are only allowed to work for up to 6 months at a time with one employer. Also, before you start working you will need to set up a bank account and apply for a Tax File Number.

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Backpacker jobs you should apply for:

Bar work

In order to get any job connected with alcohol you will need an “RSA” (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate. It is a one-day course and can be done online or in training centres in the cities and costs around $65. Once you have this, keep your eye open for job openings in local papers and in hostels or you can ask in the bars themselves if they need anyone. Other jobs in hospitality can be found the same way, although some hostels will offer free accommodation in exchange for some cleaning or reception work.

Resort work

Resorts need casual workers. The big area is Queensland and in particular the northern areas. A great place to find backpacker jobs in hospitality!

resort work australia

Working in a Hostel

A great way to earn free room and board is by working the desk at a hostel. Many a traveller has checked into a hostel for a few nights only to wake up months later as an integral part of the operation. There are significant advantages to working in a hostel. Besides meeting fellow travellers from across the world, you’ll build a network that will allow you to travel to other destinations at reduced prices. That’s not mentioning the fact that you’ll probably drink for free at the hostel bar.

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Labour & Construction Work

If you want to work as a builder or labourer, you will need to get a ‘Green Card’. This is a health and safety requirement in order for you to work in the industry. The course lasts one day and cost around $100. It is definitely worth it as a job in the Australian construction industry pays quite well. For construction jobs, it is worth checking the classified section of the local papers as well as job boards in hostels.


Harvest Work

Australia is always in need of fruit pickers. It is hard work and you are normally paid by volume but can be by the hour or week. Tree picking uses ladders and ground picking means lots of bending over which can be hard on the back. The National Harvest Labour Information telephone line is good place to start looking for work 1800 062 332.
This isn’t as glorious and romantic as you might think. Picking fruit and vegetables is absolutely backbreaking work, and not for the light-hearted. Additionally, the money really isn’t that good unless you’re willing to put in a full day of extremely hard labour. It’s also important to remember that this is Australia, and that there isn’t any air conditioning to be had while you’re working in the field.

There are some benefits to picking, however. Unlike most other kinds of work, there’s no contract. Indeed, farm owners expect there to be a pretty high turnover, and will hire you on a very short-term basis. As an added bonus, if you work for 3 months on your current visa you can then apply for a 12 month extension of that visa, allowing for a 2 year stay altogether! Additionally, some hostels in rural locations will help you find harvest work, so it’s worth calling in advance.

Fruit picking and harvest work are physical jobs, and there is always a chance that you can get sick or suffer an injury. I can’t stress it enough, but you need travel insurance for your Working Holiday in Australia, especially if you’ll be fruit picking or working in a farm. You can’t afford getting into an accident and not having travel insurance to cover your medical bills. I recommend getting your insurance from World Nomads.

fruit picking


Harvest workers with caravans, campervans or tents can be accommodated on many properties and there is commercial accommodation, Caravan Parks or Hostels in most areas if “on farm” facilities are not available. Often fruit picking areas have areas where workers can camp for free or for very little.  One resource to find free camps is Free Camping Australia, which list free and low cost campsites around Australia.

Some farms provide basic accommodation with beds, food storage and cooking facilities. You may need to provide your own bedding, but check before you arrive.


Pay Rates & Work Conditions

Pickers can be paid an hourly rate or are paid on a ‘Piece Rate’, where income earned is based on volume. What can be earned depends on the picker’s ability, the size of the crop and the climatic conditions. First time pickers may find it difficult to make wages initially, however picking is like any physical skill – you get faster the more you do. For fruit packing and shed hand work, payment is usually by wages. The majority of growers pay fortnightly and you will need a tax file number, proof of identity and/or an appropriate working visa, along with banking details.


A Few Handy Hints & Things That You’ll Need for backpackers jobs Australia

  • To work you will need an Australian Tax File Number and a Working Holiday Visa.
  • You require hard wearing clothing that will keep you well covered and protected against the weather conditions and the work environment.
  • Maximum protection against the sun is vital. A suitable broad-brimmed hat is essential with your well covered clothing. You should use a sun screen with a protection factor of at least 30+. Sunglasses are also recommended.
  • Footwear includes sturdy work boots or shoes.
  • During the long hot days a good supply of water is required to prevent dehydration. A large ’cooler type’ water bottle for use every day with a suitable lunch where required is suggested.
  • Insects are very common in crops. They can be both annoying and dangerous. Always carry a strong effective repellent and use it regularly.
  • Listen carefully to instructions given on the harvest and all aspects of health and safety advice. ALWAYS follow the instructions given.
  • Be careful when handling produce and only harvest what has been specified. If you are in doubt, please ask!
  • Having your own transport can be an advantage in obtaining a job.

Visit our Backpacker Job board to search for backpacker jobs in Australia