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Working Holiday in Australia

Updated on May 11, 2011

Why Work in Australia and What do I Need?

For those who are out of work, want to travel, or experience another culture, a great option is to take a working holiday in Australia. This country has largely avoided the effects of the Global Financial Crisis. In fact this country is booming if anything and has a shortage of skilled workers.

To obtain a working holiday visa the applicant needs to be from an eligible country, be between the ages of 18 and 30 when applying, and pay a $235 AUD application fee when submitting the visa form. Further information on eligibility, accepted countries, requirements and application forms can be found on the Australian government website .

Work Available in Australia and Where to Live

When the visa has been granted, flights have been booked ,what kind of jobs can a person do upon arriving in Australia? This depends on ones skills, experience, current funds and other variables.

For highly skilled office workers, bankers, accountants, marketers, administrators, HR ect, I would recommend trying to find a job before arriving in Australia either in Sydney or Melbourne. Finding a job there is the same as finding a job anywhere. Search online and register with recruitment agents . Salary and benefits in Australia can be very generous for people with the right skills and experience.

A couple of warnings if moving straight to a city though. It can be very costly for accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne. Renting an apartment usually requires a large bond or deposit along with the first months rent. It is expensive to rent nice apartments in the city and beach suburbs and during the summer months extremely competitive to even secure an apartment. Make sure one has sufficient funds to set up that lovely new home. Find apartments on noticeboard websites.

For those who have experience manufacturing, laboring, or with other kinds of manual labor my advice on finding a job in Sydney or Melbourne would be to move to one of the suburbs with cheaper rent. This will be pretty far out from the city centre and away from the beaches but if work is the primary concern it is necessary to budget. Register with recruitment agents in industrial areas, close to manufacturers and building companies. Temporary jobs crop up often.

If looking to work on a building site, legally the applicant will need to complete a health and safety course, also known as a white card. There are many training centers that offer this service. Prices vary but average at around $ 80 AUD. There are other types of jobs that require courses and cards to be obtained. If looking to drive a forklift an Australian licence is required. A popular job choice for working holiday makers is to operate a stop-go sign or lollipop for road construction. This I found to be overly competitive due to the amount of applicants but by all accounts is well paid if one can secure a position.

People looking for bar work or a position in an off-licence, bottle shop or any establishment that sells alcohol will also be required to take a course on the Responsible Service of Alcohol or RSA. Keep this in mind if planning to work in this area and budget accordingly. Courses cost around $65 AUD. There are many RSA courses throughout Australia.

Australian Winery

Seasonal and Harvest Work

For those with a low budget, people looking for a way to live cheaply and find work, or anybody looking to work in the great outdoors ,I highly recommend doing some farm work in a rural area. This work can range from pruning fruit trees, picking bananas, harvesting melons, packing fruit, driving a forklift and more. The benefits of going to a rural area to seek this kind of work is that rent is profoundly cheaper than moving to a major city and work can be well paid. Working three months in a rural area is also a requirement to apply for a second working holiday visa.

Harvest and farm work can involve long hours(as much as 70 a week) in extreme heat but can be rewarding none the less. Typically workers will live in a communal hostel and pay around $100 AUD a week and can earn as much as $800 AUD and more a week. So how does a person find a job? Check the harvest trail website and look for areas that work is available. Travel to these areas and register with local recruitment agents. Look for working hostels in the area. These are hostels that house seasonal workers and can also find work for you. These hostels are often the best way of finding a good job.

Research chosen hostels well as some are better than others. Many hostels will promise to find a lodger work but when they show up constantly delay and say there is no work. Look for reviews and talk to people. Certain hostels also have better jobs and contacts for lodgers looking for work. Whilst it is possible to find a high paying job any job is good to start. Build up some experience, make some contacts, ask around and eventually you'll find that better paying job. The information is out there.

One of the best kept secrets in Australia for seasonal work are wineries. During the harvest season which roughly runs from February to May the wineries employ a lot of extra casual workers. Mostly they will be looking for vintage cellar hands who assist winemakers in the production of wine. This job is mainly suitable for males but the wineries also employ extra laboratory staff where many females work.There are websites dedicated to wine industry jobs.

The wineries typically start hiring in September/October to fill these positions so check regularly and often for new positions as they fill up fast. Cellar hands typically work 6 days a week for 12 hours a day but the remuneration can be fantastic. Workers can expect to make at least $1200 AUD a week. The wineries want workers who have performed long shift work in the past, have experience driving a forklift, are reliable and fun. A lot will only look for people who have already worked a vintage but some will take on newcomers and foreigners to make the vintage more interesting.

Australia is also an engineers dream due to the amount of natural resourses the country has at its disposal. Many of these types of jobs can be located in Perth and Western Australia.

Whatever your planning to do in Australia don’t forget to have fun!


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    • profile image

      Nicholas Schneider 6 years ago

      hello, why not visit for free and low budget travelling. On staydu hosts from australia and from all over the world offer their accommodation for work, for money or for free!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting hub and very useful. My dad wanted to move us to Australia back in the late '60's but it didn't happen. I wrote about it in a hub: Sacrifice of Fathers. Nice work here.

    • The Write Way profile image

      The Write Way 6 years ago from Ireland

      Hey wyte, thanks for the comment, I'll add some photo's soon

    • wytegarillaz profile image

      wytegarillaz 6 years ago from Australia

      Interesting just needs photo's found you while hub hopping!