Landing A Job On Your Working Holiday In Australia | Part 2: The Best Backpacker Jobs

A working holiday in Australia means getting to spend an entire year (or two if you decide to apply for your 2nd-year visa) living and working Down Under – a once in a lifetime experience. You’ll be travelling around one of the most beautiful and interesting countries on the planet, experiencing a truly unique culture, and no doubt making incredible lifelong memories. All of this while earning some cash from a whole range of backpacker jobs available!

What’s more, experiencing a working holiday in Australia can even give you a chance to learn new skills and step up your career game when you return to your home country. 

From working in the city to serving drinks at a beachside bar, being a live-in nanny in the outback or landing a gig in a country pub; the opportunities for work (and experience!) are endless. 

Read on for our guide to the best backpacker jobs for travellers on their working holiday visa in Australia.

The best backpacker jobs on your working holiday in Australia


JOBS INCLUDE: Bartenders; Promotion staff; Cafe, Restaurant and Hostel employees

MAIN REGIONS: Australia-wide. Predominantly cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne & Adelaide.

See yourself serving cocktails pool-side, perfecting your latte art or guiding tours for your hostel? This is the number one choice for many backpackers. And it’s not surprising, as a job in the hospitality industry offers a mix of fun, social events and flexibility.

You’ll likely be expected to work shifts (some early mornings, evenings and/or weekends), which offers you the flexibility and freedom to explore during the day or party at night!

There are plenty of casual hospitality jobs up for grabs in Australia, particularly in the big cities where you’ll find the majority of hostels, cafes, restaurants and bars. Staff turnover can be high with travellers coming and going, so these jobs tend to pop up more often. Employers are usually happy hiring working holidaymakers passing through, as long as you’re willing to commit to 3-6 months.

OUR TOP TIP: When working around alcohol in Australia you must complete an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) course – online or in-person (1-day). If you’re planning to nab a job in hospitality, why not plan ahead and complete your course before applying?

$$$ – As a minimum, you can expect to earn the national minimum wage which stands at $20.33/hour. Hospitality jobs are usually paid at a hospitality ‘award wages’. This will take into account evening and weekend shifts with significant increases in your hourly wage for working on a public holiday – sometimes up to $45/hr!

Hospitality jobs (including bartenders, cafe and restaurant positions) are a popular choice for many backpackers on their working holiday in Australia.

Farm Work & Fruit Picking

JOBS INCLUDE: Fruit picking and packing, outback cattle station hand, vineyard farmhand, tractor driver, stablehand, maintenance & more

MAIN REGIONS: Australia-wide. Regional and tropical areas around bigger cities, outback Australia.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, why not experience working on a farm or fruit picking in regional Australia? Whether you’re picking bananas in Tropical North Queensland, rearing cattle in the outback or pruning vines at a South Australian vineyard, this work can be physically tough yet incredibly rewarding. Not to mention a real insight into life in regional Australia away from city living.

Farm Work

Whilst prior experience is ideal, a lot of farmers are willing to train the right people, especially if your plan is to stick around for 6 months. Generally, you’ll be offered a package which includes your accommodation on top of daily or weekly pay. Whilst the work can be physically tough, your spending will be minimal. So this is also a great way to save for a well-deserved trip when you’re ready to hang up your farm boots and hit the road!

Fruit Picking & Packing

A popular option for backpackers and requiring minimal experience, fruit picking and fruit packing can be a fun and sociable job on your working holiday. As these jobs are fairly remote, you’ll most likely stay at a ‘working hostel’ with your fellow fruit pickers. Depending on the farm, you’ll be paid a daily rate or an agreed amount per bucket of fruit/veg you pick.

OUR TOP TIP: Try to land a job in the packing shed and enjoy the welcome shade on hot days!

Second Year Working Holiday Visa

Looking to extend your trip of a lifetime just that little bit longer? Working holidaymakers who carry out 88 days (3 months) of specified work (i.e. working on a farm in regional Australia), can apply for a second working holiday visa. Better yet, as of July 2019, if you complete 6 months of specified farmwork in your second year Down Under, you can apply for a third year! Head to the Australian department of immigration for the most up to date information.

$$$ – Your pay will vary depending on the type of work you’re doing and how much experience you have. Whilst farmwork and fruit picking jobs aren’t the highest paying jobs, the majority of the time you won’t have any accommodation expenses. So a lot of what you earn, can be saved… plus the experience will be well worth it!

What kind of jobs can you get on your working holiday visa in Australia as a backpacker? Fruit picking and packing, and farm work, is one example… and could allow you the chance to apply for a second working holiday visa.

Labour, Construction & Trades

JOBS INCLUDE: General labourer, traffic controller, electrician, plumber, carpenter, construction labourer, factory and warehouse labourers & more.

MAIN REGIONS: Mainly cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne & Adelaide where construction is more common. Some regional positions Australia-wide.

Arriving in Australia as a skilled tradesperson? Australia’s cities are growing, so with heaps of opportunities for general labourers, construction workers and skilled tradespeople, you’ll land a job in no time. 

No prior experience? No sweat! General labour and construction roles generally don’t require any formal training or prior skills. In fact, in most cases, on-the-job training will be provided.

The majority of work can be found in the cities, with Sydney and Melbourne taking the lead on construction jobs. You can expect to work long but sociable hours with other tradies, earn a decent wage and most likely end up with some pretty cool sunnie tan lines!

OUR TOP TIP: You will need a ‘white card’ (or general construction induction card) to work in any of these roles. This usually involves a day course in construction health and safety to obtain your certificate.

$$$ – General labourers in cities can expect to earn $25-$30/hr. Traffic controllers can earn approx $30/hr (up to $50 on weekends!). Skilled trades can expect to earn above the national minimum wage depending on their experience and trade.

Backpacking or travelling Australia? Book your Sydney accommodation at Wake Up! Hostel in the centre of the city.

Au Pair & Nanny

JOBS INCLUDE: Live in au-pair, babysitting, nanny

MAIN REGIONS: Australia- wide. Regional positions will most likely offer ‘live-in’ nanny positions.

If you’re good with children why not consider being a Nanny or Aupair? Whether you’re a live-in nanny or looking after the kids on a daily basis, there’s probably no better way to get an insight into the day to day life of an Aussie family than this! Particularly prevalent in cities but also available in more regional areas, being an Au pair or live-in nanny is a popular job for working holidaymakers with a background in childcare – or even young siblings/nieces and nephews! 

In most cases, you’ll be asked to commit to 3-6 months with one family. Your working set-up will often include accommodation and meals – a great opportunity to save that hard-earned cash for more travelling.

$$$ – Mostly you’ll be paid the minimum wage with some employers offering a ‘live in’ salary package so your rent will be covered.

Reception and Administration

JOBS INCLUDE: Reception, office, personal assistant

MAIN REGIONS: Mainly cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne & Adelaide.

See yourself as organised, friendly and a good communicator? You could land a job as a receptionist or administrator. You could find yourself organising meetings for a corporate office, taking calls for a healthcare centre or working on reception in the city! Whatever you go for, these roles offer a great entry-level position to gain experience in the working world.

As your working holiday visa allows you to work for a company for a maximum of 6 months, we suggest keeping an eye out for contract or temp roles. Take a peek at our top tips on applying for work, including landing a temp role with a temping agency.

$$$ – Depending on your employer, your salary will vary. However, these positions are generally well paid with temp positions often offering between $25-$35/hr.

Travel and Tourism

JOBS INCLUDE: Working for Tour Operators as a Tour Guide or Travel Agent

MAIN REGIONS: Cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane & East Coast Australia

One for the adventurous souls and travel lovers! Make all your dreams come true with a job in the tourism industry. In Australia, there are heaps of jobs in travel and tourism. These include working as a tour guide, taking bookings for tour operators, working as a travel agent or even sailing around the Whitsunday Islands as a deckhand. So dreamy!

As the world opens up again, now may well be the best time to bag yourself a job in this sector as tour operators and travel agencies search for fresh faces to join their teams. 

Keen to work in travel and hospitality? At Wake Up! we’re always on the lookout for energetic personalities to join the crew! We often have positions available ranging from tour guides to reception and housekeeping positions. Chat with our reception team or apply before you arrive by emailing bookup@wakeup.com.au with your CV and a little bit about you.

$$$ – Guiding tours for a hotel in tropical North Queensland? You may be living rent-free with some sweet travel perks. Working as a travel agent in the city? You may be offered a commission-based role with an hourly rate. Whatever the pay, the fun and travel experiences will be epic!

Communication and Sales

JOBS INCLUDE: Call Centres, Charity Fundraising, Customer Service Representative

MAIN REGIONS: Australia-wide. Predominantly cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne & Adelaide.

Got the gift of the gab? Talk of targets and commission bringing music to your ears? If you thrive in high energy settings and you’re looking for a job with good earning potential, look at a sales or fundraising role. Backpacker jobs in call centres and face-to-face charity fundraising are relatively easy to come by and offer good entry-level experience in sales roles.

$$$ – As these jobs are usually commission based, the earning potential is also high. The more you put in, the more you can earn.


JOBS INCLUDE: Shop floor assistants, cashiers, customer service representatives

MAIN REGIONS: Australia-wide.

If working in a city fashion chain store, a sleepy surfwear shop or a boutique homewares store tickles your fancy, why not consider applying for a job in retail? Great for sociable and energetic personalities, you can expect to be on your feet and interacting with customers all day. Retail jobs are usually ‘casual’, meaning your hours will not be guaranteed. However, you can enjoy flexible hours and a mix of week/weekend work. Whilst prior experience is valuable, training is often provided on the job.

OUR TOP TIP: Although available year-round, a lot of retail jobs tend to pop up just before Christmas, with employers looking for casual staff to cover the busy summer period. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

$$$ – Expect between $20.33 – $30/hour with higher pay rates for casual work and bonus pay for working weekends and public holidays.

Ready to start searching? Check out our guide to finding work on your working holiday in Australia.

Keen to mingle with other travellers when you land in Sydney? Check out Wake Up! Sydney – the perfect start to your Working Holiday in Australia.

Take a look at our backpacker resource blog with EVERYTHING you need to know about travelling and backpacking in Sydney and Australia.

You've landed in Australia on your working holiday visa and now ready to find some backpacker jobs? Base yourself at Wake Up! Hostels - the perfect base for starting your job search, with plenty of support from the onsite team.

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