Your Comple Guide to Living, Working and Traveling in Australia

Would you like see a couple of kangaroos fighting on your street as you walk out your front door in the morning?

Or maybe you'd prefer to wake up next to casanova koala who snuck into your bed last night for a hug and maybe something more?

If that's the case, then Australia is for you.

Just kidding ๐Ÿ˜€

Growing up in Australia, we often joke about the tricks we play on foreigners, telling them all kinds of wild stories about what kind of crazy animal interactions they are likely to experience.

The truth however is that if you live and grow up in a city, whether that be Melbourne, Sydney or somewhere else, it's very unlikely that you will ever engage with these creatures outside of a wildlife reserve / zoo.

So you can imagine my shock one day when after mocking foreigners for years, I found myself driving in Canberra (our capital city) and saw a few kangaroos hopping on the footpath next to my car.

My jaw dropped to the ground.

I didn't know what to make of it really. 

Suffice to say that I stopped mocking foreigners about their ideas / beliefs about Australia.

So the truth is they do happen occasionally, but you are more likely to experience it in regional areas!

So apart from the cute creatures, why else would you want to work and travel across Australia?

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


Well besides the crazy kangaroos and the hug loving koalas, it's an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. 

You're likely to make lifelong friends, have amazing adventures and see things that are only possible in Australia!

Apart from that, if you work while traveling, you'll be able to not only live comfortably but even save enough money to travel the rest of the world!


The minimum legal wage in Australia is about $17 per hour, and most jobs don't pay below $20 per hour because few people are happy to work for $17!

Yes, you read that right. 

We have strong worker protection laws because of strong unions in Australia.

And in most jobs only backpackers are happy to do, it's higher.

Oh and there's no tax (VAT/GST) on food items.

Because that wouldn't be fair.

Which basically means our supermarket food is usually cheaper than in Eastern Europe. 

Sounds good right?

So why is that?

Because we believe everyone should live a happy, comfortable life, be able to put food on the table, take care of their kids and be able to support their families.

The "fair-go" is the most fundamental Australian value and for the most 
part we try to make it a daily reality in our country.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

Having told you all that I'm now going to cover the practical things in this guide for you that you will need to know to make this trip a reality.

Here is a rough table of contents:

  • Work and Travel Visa A
  • Work and Travel Visa B
  • Skilled Migration Visa
  • Work and Study 
Please don't worry if you're from Greece, Bulgaria or another country that is not on the list of the first two visas available, you are most likely still eligible for the Skilled Migration Visa and or the Work and Study visa.





Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


There are at least 3 legal paths you can take to work and travel in Australia.

Your First Option: Work & Travel Visa Australia
There's a lot of info to read and I don't want to bore you so here are the most important points for you quickly:
  • You have to be under 31 years old (If you're older don't worry I have more options for you below).
  • You can stay for 12 months
  • It will cost you AU$440
  • There are two different kinds, depending on where you are from. 
  • If your country is not on either of these two lists you still have options which I talk about lower down.

The First Kind is open to you if you hold a passport from one of these countries:

• Belgium; 
• Canada; 
• Cyprus;
• Denmark; 
• Estonia; 
• Finland; 
• France; 
• Germany; 
• Ireland; 
• Italy; 
• Japan;
• South Korea;
• Malta;
• Netherlands; 
• Norway; 
• Sweden; 
• Taiwan; 
• United Kingdom.

Click here if you have a passport from one of these countries and want more information and here if you are ready to apply online.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

The Second Kind

If you are a United States citizen, your Republican Congress didn't want to participate in this program at all but luckily you still got included a slightly weaker, watered down version along with people from the following countries :
  • Argentina 
  • Bangladesh 
  • Chile 
  • China 
  • Hungary 
  • Indonesia 
  • Israel 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Malaysia 
  • Poland 
  • Portugal 
  • San Marino 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia 
  • Spain 
  • Thailand 
  • Turkey 
  • Uruguay
Click here if you want more information and here if you are ready to apply.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

If you're country is not on these lists, don't worry! 

You may still have options for working and traveling in Australia which you can discover by using the simple and easy Visa wizard which you can find here which will ask you a few questions and tell you exactly what you need to know.

You should also remember that if you don't want to go through the process of applying for and paying for a work visa, you can still travel around and experience the fun by volunteering your way around the country in exchange for food and accommodation. 

You can do that on a simple tourist visa.

If you answer a few simple questions here you'll get the info you need.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

Your Second Option For Living, Working & Traveling Around Australia : Skilled Migration Visa (457 Visa)

There are many jobs in Australia where there aren't enough workers and the pay is very high which you may qualify for. 

In fact you might be happy to know that there are 248 different kinds of jobs where there are not enough workers!

For example there is a huge shortage of plumbers and electricians in Australia and the typical plumber will charge about $50-$100 for about 10-15 minutes of their time, not including any parts if they actually do anything (crazy!!!).

There are many well recorded horror stories of plumbers and electricians over charging, and basically they get away with it because their is such a huge shortage that people have no other choice.

Here are some stories that will make your eyes pop:

I called ..... to look at a hot water urn that began to leak (a large wall mount unit).  
Ended up being a seal and it took two of them to work out how to pull it apart. Total cost, $650.00.  
I disputed this vigorously and claimed that it wasn't my fault that they sent out someone who had no clue and spent hours trying to work out how to pull it all apart. 
They then took $250.00 off the bill.  
It failed again 6 months later and I ended up doing the job myself in less then a hour and it cost $23.00. Source

For electricians it's the same sort of thing:

the electricity went off
sparky came
walked under the house ...pressed a reset button I didn't know about
He then said "that's $125" Source

So let me be clear, I'm not saying if you are a plumber / electrician please come to Australia and exploit us ๐Ÿ˜„

In fact you'll be doing us Australians a huge favour because the more plumbers/electricians etc there are, the lower the prices will be for us consumers.

So actually, if you are a plumber,  an electrician or have a qualification from one of the other 248 desired skills on this list, you might be in luck. 

If you see a skill you have on that list and you are ready to apply click here.

Scroll down near the bottom of this article to find specific jobs that are currently on offer right now with employers willing to sponsor you for this kind of visa.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

Your third option is to study in Australia and that kind of visa will also let you work a little bit. 

Be aware though that ever since the Conservative government started defunding our universities, they have had to get their money from somewhere and have developed a reputation for treating foreign students as ATMs, with Australia now ranked as the most expensive place in the world to study.

Having said that, keep in mind though that the quality of the universities is quite high and you can legally work up to 20 hours a week using this visa (and some people work more unofficially), so if your heart is set on studying in Australia and making friends with the koalas, don't give up, it's definitely possible. You can read more info here.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

So that you don't have to do too much of this:

Or this:

And you can spend more time doing this:

You will need to do some of this:


This is perhaps one of the more physically challenging jobs in Australia but also perhaps the one that you will find most rewarding.

Prior experience is not a must, but having a good attitude and a willingness to be flexible and try new things are very important. It also helps if you have experience riding a motorbike and / or horse.

Having said that though, I can also tell you that there are a variety of different jobs on a cattle station including driving trucks, cooking, cleaning, checking water troughs, maintenance of the property, vaccinating, and of course earmarking an branding.

Life on a cattle station is challenging and is considered the most dangerous job in the country so think carefully before signing on the dotted line.

If you're heart is set on it, you can start by applying to the following companies

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


This is probably the easiest of all the jobs you will have access to as a backpacker, but also perhaps the one that nearly all backpackers want.

It depends on the hostel manager, but having worked at a few hostels myself, I can tell you that your duties can range and be as diverse as:

- Entertaining your guests and trying to get them as drunk as possible
- Preparing the free breakfast (putting jams and bread on the table)
- Changing bedsheets
- Cleaning toilets
- Reception
- Asking the horny old man neighbour to "please stop hitting on the young girls, it's not going to happen".

You can check out the current jobs of this kind that are currently available here.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


If you decide to work in a bar, it's a bit more demanding than working in a hostel and generally includes one or more of the following responsibilities
  • Bar work 
  • Waiting tables
  • Running food
  • Dishwashing
  • Cleaning facilities
  • Kitchen hand
Wages start from $21/per hour and at that rate, amusing customers are a bonus:
(I take my brother to the pub. He goes to get the first round, which includes a Coke.)
Brother: “Can I have [drinks] and a Coke, please.”
Bartender: “Is Pepsi okay?”
Brother: “Is Monopoly money okay?”
Bartender: “Right, get out. You’re barred.”
(He was allowed to stay after paying a fine into the tip-jar.)

You can check out the bar jobs that are currently available here

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


It can be complicated to compare how much one farm will pay you compared to the next because some tell you they pay you according to how many bins you fill up whilst others pay by the kilogram, and there are many different kinds of fruits, each requiring a different amount of effort due to size/angle etc.

Perhaps the most objective way to compare is to ask the farm how much a person usually makes per day on average. 

Take whatever they tell you and compare it with what is written about them on the internet by other backpackers. If you don't know the name of the farm because it's not listed on the advert, it's worth calling them for their name and also to clarify how much a person usually make per day on average.

It should not be less than $100 per day.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 

Some farms may even ask you to work as a cashier selling their products direct to public.

If you're lucky you may get an easy job on the farm selling direct to the public as one of these backpackers found out:

(I am working as a cashier at a small farm and a man comes to purchase.)
Me: “Hello, how are you doing today?”
Customer: “I’m good. You?”
Me: “Very well, thank–”
Customer: “You d*** teenagers! None of you have any manners anymore! I swear, I have no idea–wait. What did you say again?”
Me: “Very well, thank you.”
Customer: “Oh, okay.”
(I finish totalling his purchase, he pays.)
Me: “Thank you so very much, kind sir. I certainly hope you have the most wonderful day. Please come back soon, if you wish.”
Customer: *sheepishly* “… thanks…”

Besides occasionally rude customers, other bonuses to look for include: 
  • Subsidized/free accommodation 
  • Free transport to work every day.
  • Free internet
You should know that there has to be a written and signed piecework agreement setting out the pay rate per piece and how it is measured. 

Your boss has to keep the agreement as part of their records and give you a copy also.

If there is no signed piecework agreement, you are not legally a pieceworker and you must get paid the minimum hourly or weekly rate in the award for the type of work you do. 

You can read more detail here.

You can check out the current fruit picking jobs that are currently available here.

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


This is probably the most fun of all the jobs you are likely to do as a backpacker in Australia.

There are many different kinds of promotions jobs and they can vary widely from working in the art industry to shopping center entertainment, to walking the beaches of Sydney handing out flyers to other backpackers.

Yes their is an entire industry that exists purely to cater to the needs of backpackers in Australia. Australia is perhaps the only place in the world I have ever seen the backpacker market so developed. 

I remember receiving a flyer from a backpacker doing this exact job advertising $2 delicious beef steaks at the local pub. The pub was 2 floors and seemed to make most of its money purely from us backpackers who could be expected to drink 3-4 beers with that cheap steak.

You can check the variety of current jobs available here.

There are many websites where you can find jobs that you can do as a backpacker, but personally I prefer this one because it is directly aimed exclusively at backpackers. 

It separates the different kinds of backpacker jobs into categories and into cities/locations - so it's very efficient in helping you find the job you want quickly.

The other benefits is that employers who list their jobs on that site are specifically looking for backpackers like you to work for them, whereas employers who list their jobs only on the mainstream job websites may not be interested in hiring backpackers/signing your work and travel paperwork.

If you are going to Australia on a skilled migration visa (457 visa), these job sites will be a great place for you to start looking for a job specifically in your field:

Flights to Australia with budget airlines starting from $106 


Unfortunately we have had recent stories in Australia of foreign workers working in industries that do not have unions and therefore no one to protect them from being exploited.

7-Eleven is a famous convenience store chain that was recently in the news for doing exactly that, paying its workers less than half the legal requirement. Meanwhile, the owner of the chain is a Billionaire.

Before you read this keep in mind that this is a minority of workers and not something you should generally be worried about, but you should definitely educate yourself so you know what you are worth:

A student from India with three degrees, Pendem came to Australia in 2011 and worked at three different stores under four franchisees in the Gold Coast region.

Pendem still has nightmares from his time working at 7-Eleven, where he worked long shifts of up to 16 hours without a proper break.
Pendem was paid $10 an hour at one store and $14 an hour at another store, which is well below the award rate of more than $24 an hour – not including penalty rates for working nights, weekends or public holidays.
He was doing the job of two people, having to watch petrol pumps (if someone drove off without paying for petrol, he footed the bill), serve customers, clean the store and stock shelves in a busy store all on his own.
The long hours put him in breach of his visa conditions. It gave the franchisees leverage to threaten to go to the authorities to have his visa cancelled if he complained about his salary or working conditions. Source

Thankfully, individual stores were punished with enormous fines once the government found out.

So wherever you decide to work say:

No GIF from No GIFs

To exploitation and consider joining a union

Also be sure to check out what you are legally supposed to be paid and your rights at work on this excellent government website.

And if someone does offer you a job below what is fair, your answer should simply be:


The great news is that more competition between airlines has caused a huge drop in the cost of flying to Australia, additionally, there are now budget airlines flying to Australia from Europe!

Only a year ago the cheapest route from Australia to Europe cost just over 1200 and it was a nasty journey that had 3-4 layovers and took around 35-40 hours!!

It was a super nasty experience I had to repeat every time I flew back home.

To help make sure that you don't have to go through anything similarly nasty and to make sure you get the best deal price wise, we've written a small, free book on how to score the absolute cheapest flights from and to anywhere in the world - The Top 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Searching For Cheap Flights and How You Can Score the Cheapest Flights To Your Dream Destination.

Don't book any of your future flights to anywhere until you've read it first!

Cheap Flights!! 

Oh yeah, oh yeah...

You can get your hands on a copy for free when you join our world travel community group on Facebook where you can also meet other amazing world travelers that you can ask for advice and even find a travel buddy! 

You can join the fun in our world travel community here >>

One of the tips in the book I'd like to mention here is the name of the cheapest budget airlines search engine.

At the time of writing this guide, there are direct flights from Athens to Melbourne for 370 one way and about the same to return. That's about €740 with only 1 stop in beautiful Singapore. Here you go >

Or you can fly from London for a little bit more at 402 one way. Here you go >

Flights from the US have also fallen since Virgin Blue has been allowed to fly the route with the cheapest one way route being US$483. Here you go > 

If you are not in any of these locations or can not get to them, you can check out your options here > Just be sure to fill in the box at the top properly.

If these flights are no longer that cheap by the time you read this, there is a smart method to automatically finding the next cheapest date which we talk about in the book above. 

Working and traveling around Australia may well end up being one of the best times of your life.

Don't miss this opportunity!

I'll say goodbye to you now with some images to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

Images that are not GIFs appear on this page are used under a Creative Commons licence. I would like to thank the following artists for their respective images: imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage, imageimageimageimageimageimage