50% of backpackers will tell you its easy to find work, 50% will be struggling to find jobs. It is important to realise that not all backpacker jobs are created equal, some give you rubbish hours and a useless hourly rate, others allow you to save up copious amounts of money. I touched on the subject of finding jobs in the How To Start Your Working Holiday‘ piece. In this piece I disuss which jobs allow you to save the most money.
Working in Melbourne, Sydney or Cairns
In these cities you will not struggle to find things to do or people to hang out with. During my time in Melbourne I went on loads of nights out, dined at cafes, attended food festivals and visited ice cream parlours. These activities were fun but not free. It is very easy to spend money in the big cities.
The other issue with finding work in these cities is you can end up competing with 1000’s of Australians who do not have the same visa limits as you. I know some backpackers who just ended up recieving the least favourable shifts.
Working Outside of the Major Cities
In the same way not every job in England is based in London, Manchester or Birmingham, not every job in Australia is based in Melbourne or Sydney. There are 45 cities in Australia, lots of towns and you can also work on farms.
In these quieter parts of Australia, there are less things to spend money on day to day, which forces you to save money. The downside to this, is that you days off can feel very dull. Some of these quieter communities can be 100’s miles away from any other community, this makes it difficult / impossible to spend your days off in funner more lively parts of the country. If you find work in one of these places its worth stocking up on films and swapping your phone network to Telstra.
In different parts of the country, the essential day to day costs (food, rent, transport) will cost different amounts. I am working in Moronbah, the town is 2 hours inland of Mackay. The job came with accomodation which costs me $120 dollars a week, my Melbourne accomodation was costing me over $200 a week. My Moranbah accomodation is within walking distance of my workplace, thus meaning my daily transporation costs are $0. Plus the accomodation has a washing machine it meaning my weekly laundry costs are also $0.
The Australian minimum wage for bar work is brilliant, my normal hourly pay is $24 dollars:
- When I work between 7-12pm, my hourly pay is $26
- When I work on Saturdays, my hourly pay is $30
- When I work on Sundays, my hourly pay is $36
- When I work on bank holidays, my hourly pay is $48
Most weeks I tend to work about 30 hours and save around $500 dollars a week. My weekly costs are $120 dollars for rent, $80 dollars for food, $50 dollars for a carlton of alcohol. As the town does not have a nightclub myself and the fellow staff just tend to socialise at each others houses, it goes without saying that buying alcohol from the bottle shops is substnatially cheaper than buying alcohol from nightclubs.
After working in Moronbah for 6 months, activities such as the Whitsundays and Bungee Jumping in New Zealand have now been come afforable. In the UK I can easily drink in nightclubs, the same cannot be said about snorkeling with turtles. I do not mind sacrificing nights out in the cities, if it means I can afford these extreme sports and big activities.