Top 6 Gap Year Jobs in Australia

Top 6 Gap Year Jobs in Australia

If you want to work in Australia while on a gap year, you’re probably going to be doing one of these jobs. These are the 6 most popular types of jobs for backpackers and other young travellers to Australia. 



1. Home Helper, Nanny, Au Pair

A popular line of work for gap-year travellers to Australia is to be an au pair, nanny or home helper. The demand for these support workers often increases during school holidays, especially in the Australian summer (December through to February).

In busy times, there’s a good chance of securing at least some short-term work. The jobs fetch good wages, usually at or above the national minimum wage. As an au pair, however, you receive less in take-home wages since room and board expenses are usually factored into the pay rate.

The majority of employers in this job category are private families and households. To find employment, it’s generally best to use an agency (which can connect you to potentially many different households).


2. Restaurant, Bar and Cafe Jobs

Finding a restaurant, bar or cafe job in Australia is not difficult, especially in the bigger cities and towns. Restaurants, bars, and cafes often have open vacancies in months where there’s an influx of tourists (which may include you).

You don’t have to go through an employment agency typically. You can pass your resume to the establishment’s management in person, which is also a chance to impress them with your friendly manner. Remember to gain Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification first for licensed (alcohol serving) premises as this is a strict job requirement.

As for the earnings, most jobs pay the national minimum wage (which most gap-year travellers find is reasonably generous). The minimum was $18.29 at the start of 2018. If you’re lucky, you might be able to boost your earnings with tips.


3. Hotel and Hostel Jobs

Job openings in the hotel industry come up all the time because of turnover and seasonal demand. You can become, for example, a dishwasher, hotel housekeeper or hotel receptionist. Hotel jobs usually pay at or close to the national minimum wage.

You can also find a job in a hostel, which could be with the hostel you’re staying in. As you’d expect, hostels are mainly clustered in the areas where backpackers, students and other travellers like to go. These include major cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.


4. Farm work

If you don’t mind the hard, physical work that goes with being a farm hand, many job opportunities are normally available. Because most farm jobs are considered ‘regional work’, visa rules may allow you to extend your work permit up to a total period of two years – especially if you're set to work a certain number of hours in the future. It’s common to live on site, with employers deducting room and board expenses from worker pay.


5. Fruit picking

Fruit picking jobs in Australia can be found in remote locations, so you’ll probably live on the site. These jobs are popular with backpackers and other young travellers. Work availability depends on the season and the fruits being grown in the region. The job can physically challenging, so you need to decide whether it’s a good fit for you or not. Employers may pay on an hourly basis or make it depend on the amount of fruit you pick.


6. Retail Jobs

If you don’t mind serving the public and love interacting with people, a retail job may be a good option. You can become, for example, a shop clerk, customer service representative, or retail assistant for a hardware store. Part-time work is commonly available, giving you extra time to explore the city or region of Australia where you’re living.


Getting a Work Visa

To be eligible for work while on a gap year, you can obtain a one-year working holiday visa (see visa options here). Working holiday visas are available to people under 31 and entitle you to work and travel in Australia for 12 months. For further details about employment opportunities, have a look at working holiday visa jobs.

You can also work while studying abroad in Australia on a student visa. The amount of work you are allowed to do is limited to an average of 20 hours per week. Check out these study abroad tips if you are thinking of being an international student in Australia.


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