There would be nothing better than an indefinite road trip around Australia and not have to work. Sadly the cost of travel in Australia and the size of the country means it’s not a reality for most people.
We’re often asked a lot about how you can work and travel in Australia.
There is nothing we like more than to help people find ways to travel more without needing hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings. It can be done by getting your hands dirty and in lots of fascinating ways.
Today, we’re sharing a list of work and travel possibilities and useful resources. This is work we’ve done or witnessed others do on our 18-month lap around Australia.
20 ways you can earn money on an Australia road trip
1. Freelance writing & design
We met a couple of people who were freelance writers on our road trip around Australia. Some wrote for publications, others had their own copywriting businesses. We write for other online publications ourselves!
There’s nothing like writing a travel article from your beachfront camp chair. And it doesn’t have to be “travel writing”, if you have other industry writing skills, or editing or design skills, seek those out!
2. Be your own boss and take leave
She hired someone to take her place while she travelled around the country for a year and still had money flowing in. Such an inspiring story. She’s also just been nominated for Australian of the Year. Woop Woop!
3. Mobile coffee seller
This one is great. It is a challenge to get decent coffee in certain regions of Australia and at popular festivals and events. Particularly at the top end of Australia and from the months of May – Oct there are a lot of road trippers passing through craving a good cuppa.
We met a man who had an espresso machine in the back of his van and sold real coffees on the road! So clever. Got dietary requirements? Take some soy and almond milk with you and you might be on a real winner.
4. Chef / cook
Another friend of ours Pete (a chef) who we met on our trip, stopped to work at various cattle stations on his trip around Australia, cooking for the station workers. They earned money, were given food and accommodation for free, and the chance to explore the region when not working.
A handy site Pete used to seek out these jobs was via the Ringers from the Top End Facebook group. Such a useful resource.
Pete’s wife Julie worked as a governess while he was cooking. Cattle stations are remote and huge in Australia. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up some casual or part-time work.
Another option when travelling around Australia (if you have the cowboy skills) is to offer your mustering services. What an adventure to be a Jackeroo or Jillaroo (that is male or female cowhand on horseback) on cattle stations around Australia!
The owner of Rainbow Beach Horseriding, who we met a few months back, mustered on his road trip around Australia and loved it!
7. Have your own travel TV show
Our friends, Jenn and Clint from the TV travel show, Places We Go, travelled around Australia for four months shooting footage for their TV series.
This one might be a difficult one for most people to achieve, but it all starts with a dream right? And if you have previous video and TV production experience, the world is full of endless and surprising possibilities.
A certainty for when you work and travel Australia is to pick up hospitality work. This is often a favourite of backpackers on the Australian working holiday visa. Find the nearest cafe, pub, hostel, and offer your services for a wee while.
Or try Gumtree.
9. Whip cracking
We were thoroughly entertained one evening at our campsite in the Northern Territory by a travelling whip cracking champion. He travels the country putting on shows in campgrounds and sells his amazing handmade whips.
Our friend, Nick could not resist buying one and would wake us up of a morning practising his whipping skills – only to end up with whipping elbow!
(What other unique skills and talents might you have that you can show off in campsites around Australia?)
10. Online business
An online business is the ultimate in flexibility and what we do. You don’t need a travel blog to make it work (it’s actually a difficult way to make it work), but you do need good internet, not the pathetic internet we have, argh!!!
My online naturopath friend Jess, is about to travel around the country taking her business (she has online courses as well as Skype consultations) she can take with her.
Our good friends Nick and Emma, The Blockshoppers, who we traveled with across Outback Queensland, the Northern Territory and Broome actually run The Block Shop online store (yes the one connected to the TV Show) while lapping around the country.
Grab our digital nomad toolkit here.
11. Travelling musicians
Would there be anything better than travelling and being a musician? If only I could sing! We saw plenty of musicians playing in caravan parks, cafes, restaurants, bars and on the streets, earning a few dollars as they travelled the country.
12. Fruit picking
There are plenty of opportunities to pick up agricultural work when travelling around Australia. Fruit picking is popular for backpackers on an Australian working holiday wanting to fulfil their rural employment requirements to gain an extra year on their working holiday visas.
Great resources are:
13. Photography services
A friend of ours, Greg Snell travelled half of the country, taking incredible photos and selling them to the tourism boards and travel companies to use for their marketing materials. If you’ve got the skills think about all the businesses that might love your images.
Greg also won the Best Job in Australia for South Australia and had incredible travel experiences in the State. Greg is now travelling the world producing videos of people who actively empower positive change in the world. Check out the amazing videos here.
14. School of the Air
We met a lady who continually lapped around Australia picking up jobs. One of those was to work in the School of the Air office in Alice Springs. Plenty of the teachers we met at the same School of the Air were passing through and decided to stay awhile to teach.
15. Provide educational services
Our friends, Israel and Belinda from The Root Cause, just left on their Australia road trip in a big green bus – The Root Cause. They are planning on educating children around the country about the importance of diet and good lunchbox nutrition. How super cool is that?
16. Landscaping and labouring
You can usually find work labouring or landscaping pretty easily in Australia. There are plenty of jobs around for those who are good with their hands and using their muscles.
17. Mining industry
Although, mining is on the decline and jobs are hard to find, if you have the qualifications, it’s one way you can pick up work around Australia that is paid well. There are plenty of mines in Australia with Western Australia reigning over the mining industry!
18. Pearl farming
Again, another industry on the decline in Australia. It took a huge hit in the Global Financial Crisis. But, you still might get lucky. Back in 2003 we worked for 5 months on a pearl farm in Broome. It was an awesome experience, allowed us to explore the region and made fantastic money. Kuri Bay farm is no longer open. But we met plenty of transient workers when we visited Cygnet Bay pearl farm at Cape Leveque in the Kimberley.
19. Tour guides and hosts
Of course, if you find a place you love and a great tour company, you can always see if you can become a tour guide or host. We met plenty of transient travellers doing that. Some stayed on more permanently, others moved on to find other work.
20. Caravan parks
We met a lot of people pausing their travels for awhile to help manage caravan parks. There’s an endless amount of jobs you can do: maintain the gardens and grounds, cleaning, office management, hosting entertainment and kids clubs, shuttle bus drivers.
How to find jobs on your Australian road trip
Be prepared with the right certification, visas, and tickets. Australia can be strict with having the right safety tickets for construction and mining, and RSA for hospitality, and all sorts of things.
When you work and travel Australia, have an idea of the types of jobs you want to pick up and research what you might need for it.
Ask people in the area
Locals don’t only know the best things to see and do in an area, they can also let you know of any developments happening and work opportunities. Strike up the conversations and ask what they know.
Craig found his first construction job in the USA by chatting with the guy who sold us our car. He had a friend looking for workers and he started the next week.
Ask your accommodation
Accommodation providers are often looking for an extra pair of hands. We saw plenty of signs up on our travels around Australia. Ask and be careful to check the conditions.
It might be just for accommodation exchange, but if that suits then go for it. They might also be able to point you to the right job opportunities within the town.
Look at community notice boards and papers
There are plenty of them around in supermarkets, visitor centres and community gathering places. You might be surprised at what you might find. Of course, the papers will list many opportunities as well.
Gum Tree is a popular classifieds website offering all things for sale, plus jobs and services for hire. Similar to Craigslist in the States.
Offer your services
See an opportunity somewhere. Pitch your services and how you feel you can help that business.
Work and travel Australia Resources
There are hundreds of resources on the web that can help you for your specific needs related to your travel style and where you are travelling from. I don’t know enough to recommend them.
We have a lot of recommendations and resources on this page for those on a Working Holiday Visa. (Aussies, I’m sure the job finding sites will be useful to you as well)
I can also recommend the following we have discovered since!
This organisation offers support with your Australian working holiday experience and share many job listings and opportunities around Australia.