Working In The Aussie Outback

As the world is opening up, being able to experience different countries cultures is becoming more and more accessible. The idea of spending a year ‘somewhere else’ has boomed all over the world and Australia, some say, has emerged top runner. Being so vast in size, it is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife in the world, making it the perfect place to gain a 1-year working holiday visa and experience all it has to offer.

Most tourists who choose this visa option tend to sign 3-month contracts with different companies, enabling them to save money and travel around when it finishes. This is referred to as ‘casual contract work.’ Within this casual bracket is something called ‘seasonal employment.’ As the name implies, these types of jobs only run at certain times of the year, let us have a look at the main four.

Cattle Stations
Cattle stations are huge farms whose focus is the rearing of cattle. However, animals such as sheep and pigs are also found at these stations. Situated in the outback, they are normally family run and employ people from all over to help in the daily management and duties of the farm. South Australia is home to the world’s largest cattle station named ‘Anna Creek.’

The head honcho of a cattle station is known as a ‘grazier.’ Living on site, he will be your top-level boss although the person managing you on a day-to-day basis is referred to as a ‘station hand.’ The title you will be given, if this is your first time on a station is known as a ‘Jackaroo.’ These low-level positions are designed for those who have little or no experience and perfect for many tourists looking for seasonal work. The name interestingly enough comes from an indigenous language meaning ‘wandering white man.’ The focus of a Jackaroo is the upkeep of the farm and its livestock. This includes herding cattle, cleaning out the pens, keeping all tools and machinery clean, and making sure all animals are in good health. It is hard manual labour; however, you will learn some amazing skills such as sheering sheep, riding a horse, and being a dominant force over some powerful animals.

If the atmosphere is right up your street but the manual labour side of things is a bit too much, you might be able secure a teaching position. Due to many of these ranches being so far out from anywhere, children are normally home schooled using the renowned Australian system called the ‘school of air.’ It is worth noting that you will need some sort of certification and teaching experience to get this type of placement.

Fruit Picking
Fruit picking is possibly the most popular option for those on WHV. Being something quite different and its tranquil settings, fruit picking can be a memorable experience. Farmers employ help at certain times of the year to help manage the harvests they produce. Most will pay workers by the hour although some are known to pay for the quantity you pick daily. Many report that working on the west coast is a lot more fun than working on the east as working conditions are known to be better due to there not being as many backpackers trying to make a quick buck. Another cheeky tip is to try to get a job picking fruit rather than vegetables as they are more edible.

Mining jobs if you can find a decent one are the best paid for those working on a holiday visa. Perth and Western Australia are the hub for mines and many head over these ways to find work. Companies such as Rio Tinto have huge mines here and employ hundreds of people per year. However, mining positions are a lot harder to find due to some sort of experience and qualification needed. The positions that are normally available for tourists are ‘fire watchers’ and ‘combined space advisors.’ You will be responsible for the safety of the workers and to make sure the mine is maintaining a stable, non-dangerous environment. As these positions are well paid and not much experience is necessary, they can be great for those stopping and travelling around.

Whilst the pay for a ‘professional miner’ is great and the career path can lead to many different opportunities, this type of job for someone on a working holiday visa may feel limiting. As a company will invest in training you, flexibility and being able to travel around might not be as available.

Whatever you choose you to do, wherever it will be in Oz, you will gain some great experience and just as importantly make some wonderful friends from all around the world.

This article was written by Misty Angel on behalf of Broome Kimberley tours specialists, Kimberley Tours. Misty Angel is a keen traveller with a whole host of top tips for those interested in seeing the world.