13 Best Places to Work if You’re Backpacking Australia

13 Best Places to Work in Australia


For those not in the know, I first arrived into Australia, almost 3 years ago now, on my working holiday visa (WHV).

This great visa is available to people aged under 30 from many different countries around the world and is favourited by many budget long-term travellers and backpackers as a way to visit Australia cheaply.

The reason being that this incredible visa allows holders to come and work temporarily in Australia while they travel.

Initially lasting just 1 year, although it can be extended (learn how to get your second year Australian working holiday visa), the WHV provides a way for travellers to financially support their adventures in this vast island.

As an expensive country to travel in, being able to work in Australia is a massive advantage when it comes exploring the land Down Under.

I’ve done my fair share on wandering and working in this great country (in fact I’m about to do even more via a mega Australian road trip) and have seen a lot of good and not so good places.

In the spirit of sharing therefore, here are the 13 best places for backpackers to work in Australia.

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#1 Sydney

Sydney Opera House

The kingpin of Australia, the bustling city of Sydney has a ton of opportunities and a wealth of things to enjoy in your free time.

From office gigs to sales work, hospitality stints to tradesman shifts, there’s every chance you’ll land a job easily in this beachside metropolis.

Then, during your time off, you can easily explore some of Australia’s most famous attractions, including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, or head out of the city to enjoy some of the best day trips from Sydney.

Win win – Sydney is def one of the best places to work in Australia!

When you first get to Sydney, I recommend staying in Kings Cross Backpackers, which is right in the centre of the action, has an awesome roof terrace and free wifi.


#2 Cairns

Strand Market Palms

The adventure capital of the country, Cairns is a great place to work in Australia if you’re looking for farm work, hospitality work or tourism work.

There are always a ton of backpackers around and with some great diving on the Barrier Reef, as well as skydiving, kayaking, boating and hiking opportunities, this is the place to get your adrenaline going in more ways than one!

Plus, there’s some great working hostels in this area too.

For all these reasons, Cairns is absolutely one of the best places to visit on your North Queensland holidays if you’re backpacking Australia.

My favourite place to stay in Cairns is Travellers Oasis, a fantastic hostel with a clean, homely feel and great relaxed atmosphere.


#3 Margaret River

Tucked down in the corner of Western Australia, the gorgeous town of Margaret River is certainly one of the best places to work in Australia.

Stunningly beautiful, famous for its vineyards and with gorgeous nature all around, Margaret River is a small place with a big reputation.

Work in the wineries is plentiful during the season and you’d be hard-picked (pardon the pun!) to find a better spot – I mean, who doesn’t think winemaking is one of the best jobs for backpackers in Australia?!

Check out some tips for surviving this notoriously expensive part of Australia on a budget here.

Margaret River is a small town and there isn’t a huge range of hostel options, but the Margaret River Lodge is a great backpacker choice!


#4 Melbourne


As the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is a great place to find a job if you’re looking for a more arty or trendy place to base yourself.

With plenty of entrepreneurial start-up companies, small craft businesses and a great food and drink scene, there’s plenty to keep even the hungriest hipster fed, watered and in work!

In your spare time, you can explore some other great parts of the state of Victoria, including the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road, or just take a tram and kick back on St Kilda’s beach!

Learn some great insider secrets about how to visit Melbourne on a budget here.

The award-winning Habitat HQ is the best Melbourne backpackers in my opinion. Check it out here.


#5 Hobart

HobartAustralia, Tasmania, Hobart

Perhaps an unconventional choice, but the capital of Tasmania, Hobart, is a great place to work in Australia if you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy a real sense of local life.

Famed for its more seasonal weather, Tassie is a great place to relax a little with smaller populations and a more rural way of life.

That said, it is remarkably beautiful and everywhere the great outdoors is very accessible.

Check out these 13 most incredible places to visit in Tasmania to get some ideas!

Hobart also has a growing name as a place with a lively art atmosphere, plenty of awesome markets and some incredible restaurants.

Check out the super Nook Backpackers for a trendy, clean hostel with the perfect Hobart location.


#6 Byron Bay


Now well and truly on the traveller map, Byron is still a gem of a place to work in Australia for backpackers.

If you’re looking for the alternative hub of the country this is it and with all the beautiful beaches and countryside surrounding the town, it’s also a popular tourist spot.

From making coffee in organic cafes, to yoga teaching in a great studio there’s plenty of work going here for seasonal nomads and loads of awesome free things to do in Byron Bay too with your time off.

No shortage of backpacker hostels in Byron can make it hard to choose. The Arts Factory is the eternal favourite, but is set a little out of town. In the heart of the action, Backpackers Inn on the Beach continually gets great reviews.


#7 Adelaide

The surprise pick of the state capitals, Adelaide is actually one of my favourite cities in Australia and a real gem when it comes to a great work / life balance.

See my post about the best way to spend 24hrs in Adelaide to get some idea why.

There are less tourists here and a much more down to earth feel, making Adelaide a great place to work in Australia if you want to meet some locals and get off the tourist track a bit.

The beach is near and so are the hills, plus the city has an awesome fringe festival; so whether it’s working for a small business firm or large landscape gardening company, there’s plenty of opportunities here.

The Guesthouse – Backpack Oz is a top hostel choice in Adelaide with free wifi and some wicked reviews!


#8 Perth

Capital of the west, Perth is the most remote city in the world and literally in a different timezone to much of the rest of the country.

This doesn’t make it a bad spot to work in Australia however.

With the vastness of WA to explore in your time off, pumping surf, hot summers, museums, international art festivals and markets, it’s a bustling place to be.

Check out the best free things to do in Perth and the best Perth day trips for some of my favourite recommendations.

When it comes to staying in Perth, I actually recommend basing yourself in nearby Fremantle instead. Having lived there for 10 months, I can highly recommend the Old Fire Station Backpackers.


#9 Airlie Beach

Palm Trees Airlie

Near to the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is a good place to party hard and work hard.

Bars, hostels, restaurants, travel agents and shops line the main street and there is always seasonal work going for those who want to put down their bags for a while.

The Whitsunday Islands themselves also offer some great work opportunities in resorts, hotels or with activities.

So, if sailing, diving, snorkelling or SUP-ing is your thing – try your luck in Airlie, there’s a ton of free things to do in Airlie Beach on your days off.

I strongly recommend Nomads Airlie Beach. These guys are one of the only places to offer camping in the heart of town, making them the best bargain by far!


#10 Noosa


Nestled at the top of the Sunshine Coast, just north of Brisbane, the Queensland town of Noosa is one of the country’s top tourism spots.

As such, restaurants, cafés, shops and surfers abound and there’s constantly opportunities to work in hospitality or retail here.

The quality of life, beautiful setting and superb weather of Noosa are had to beat and there’s always a lively tribe of travellers passing through that are looking to have a good time if you want.

Check out my post about the best budget-friendly things to do in Noosa if you’re looking for some inspiration, having lived there for over a year I definitely know this town’s best bits!

And when it comes to somewhere to stay in Noosa, Dolphins Beach House is a beauty!


#11 Broome


Right up in the steamy tropics, the little town of Broome in the northwest of the country is almost as remote as it gets in Australia.

Head here for work if you’re dying to see the sunset over the water and get a taste of humidity and something a bit different.

Not many backpackers make it this far, but there are plenty of 4wd vehicles coming in and out of Broome often as part of an Australian lap tour.

Make sure to visit Broome in the winter months of May-Sept if you’re looking for work, as this high season.

With the heat more bearable during this time, you can also enjoy some of the best Broome attractions, like a camel walk on the beach!

Check out the top 10 free things to do in Broome too!

Beaches of Broome is the best hostel in the area, situated right near the magnificent Cable Beach.


#12 Burleigh

This gorgeous little part of the Gold Coast has a real community feel to it, a wealth of gorgeous cafes, a great beach and a lovely stretch of national park to amble through.

Enjoy sunrises over the ocean before work, a surf at lunchtime and a swim in paradise at the end of the day.

For nighttime fun, the busier parts of the Gold Coast, such as Surfer’s Paradise, are only a short drive away.

What’s not to love?!

Learn more in my list of the 30 best budget adventures to enjoy in Australia.


#13 Darwin

Australia, Darwin, Mindil Beach

Capital of the north, Darwin lies in the steamy tropical heat of the territory.

It’s miles away from anything and generally a law unto itself – a vibe you pick up on quite quickly as soon as you set foot here.

As the central hub for a vast array of remote populations, Darwin is the focus point of trade and commerce in the Northern Territory and, as such, there are plenty of jobs going with government services, in labouring, or within tourism.

There also some great free things to do in Darwin too, so if you want to check out some more of the fabled Outback , as well as some awesome remote and wild locations like Kakadu National Park, then Darwin is a great place to work in Australia.

When it comes to Darwin backpacker hostels, the Gecko Lodge gets my vote everytime!

For more tips about the best jobs to do when working and travelling (in Australia or anywhere!) and how to find them, check out this post I wrote.


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5 Essential Packing Items for Australia

Australia, Karratha, Red Dog

#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!

#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strolling, I love mine

#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together

#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!

#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.


Travel Insurance for Australia

Me, Australia, Laptop

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s great Nomad Insurance policies.




So backpackers, that’s my list of the 13 best places to work in Australia.

Have you worked in any of these spots?

Which was your favourite?

Let me know about anywhere else you think that should be on the list too!


2 thoughts on “13 Best Places to Work if You’re Backpacking Australia

  1. Alain says:

    Thanks. I have lived in Australia for the best part of the last 28 years and now preparing to embark on a journey around the country as a backpacker. I wanted to see what was the advice out there. You helped me.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Alain, this is really lovely to hear and I appreciate you taking the time to leave such a comment.
      Wishing you the best of luck on your exciting adventures ahead.
      Happy travels!
      Steph 🙂

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