One of the most frequent questions that are asked in our Facebook group – Planning a Lap of Australia is how to find work when travelling Australia. For most people -including us – travelling long term without the need to stop for work, is just not financially possible.
In this post, we outline how we are doing it. You will find some links to websites and also some Facebook pages and groups that regularly have jobs listed for working around Australia. We also asked some other full-time travellers to tell us how they find work travelling Australia in a van.
JOB SITES AND GROUPS
When we were in the early stages of planning our new life on the road we did worry about how hard it would be to find work on the road. Brenden has been a truck driver for most of his working life, with a couple of stints in management. I have worked for Woolworths for 10 years so have customer service skills as well as management skills.
I did a lot of research and found that there are some great websites and Facebook groups that advertise jobs and grey nomads jobs. Some are general sites and some are industry-specific. The number of jobs that I saw advertised gave me confidence that there is plenty of work when you are travelling around Australia.
Here are a few of the sites that I see work advertised on all the time.
- Workabout Australia – become a member to see jobs first
- Grey Nomad Jobs – register to be able to apply
- Australian Sugar Cane Farming/Harvesting – Facebook Group
- Jobs for Families Travelling Australia group – Facebook Group
- Working On The Road In Australia – Facebook Group
- Australian Rural and Remote Jobs – Facebook Group
- Harvest Jobs Australia – Facebook Group
- Working while living on the road – Facebook Group
- Short Term Bush Jobs For Travelling Tradesmen – Facebook Group
- Farm Work Australia – Facebook page that shares job ads
- The Farm Army – Facebook page and website advertising rural jobs
- Bush Recruitment – website for finding rural work
Also don’t dismiss the various employment agencies that can be found travelling Australia. Try the following –
- Programmed Employment – recruit for a variety of jobs
- Rural Enterprises – harvest and farm work
- Caretakers Australia – Caravan park and motel relief
- AgriLabour – Website advertising rural positions
- Ag Workforce – Website advertising rural positions
There are many, many more. Just do a google search for the area you are in or going to visit next.
Also don’t dismiss sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace both for finding jobs advertised or advertising your skill-set and you might be working travelling Australia sooner than you think.
HOW WE HAVE DONE IT
As we were preparing to leave the Gold Coast last year I saw a post in a Facebook group looking for Relief Caravan Park Managers. I was in two minds as to whether to contact them as we had NO experience. But in the end, I sent them an email outlining our skills. After a chat on the phone, the owners were happy to give us a go. So after a couple of weeks of learning the ropes, we did a two-week relief.
Now I have to tell you – it was pretty hard work. The days were long and most days we were pretty busy. We were paid for our work and a site for our van was also provided free of charge. But this is not always the case. There are places that will ask you to pay for your site or deduct it from your wage. So always ask what is included before agreeing.
Would we do it again? Yes, but it would have to be the right circumstance for us.
WORD OF MOUTH
Brenden’s second lot of work came from meeting a guest whilst doing the caravan park relief. He was from Queensland and had travelled to NSW to work at a silo during the grain harvest. He told Brenden that they were looking for more workers.
Recruiting for this position was done through Programmed Employment. So once Brenden had signed up with them, he ended up working at two different sites. One in NSW and the other at Dimboola in Victoria. Work of this nature generally starts around the beginning of October and goes through until the end of January.
Brenden has just completed his second season and I have just worked my first. I was in the Sample Hut and also on the weighbridge. There were a couple of days of training to learn the ropes for the sample hut. It was all very new to me but after a few days of actually doing the role I had picked it up. Some days were extremely full-on – 9 to 12-hour days with minimal breaks. Some days it was very hot and dusty but I actually did enjoy the work.
VIRTUAL ASSISTANT WORK
This kind of work is something that has only come up in the last few years. I do a couple of hours of work a week managing social media for a small company. From that, I make a couple of hundred dollars a month. Certainly not enough to live on but every little bit helps and I enjoy doing it.
Aside from Social Media, you can find this kind of work in areas like bookkeeping or data entry.
USE THE SKILLS YOU HAVE
Look at what skills you do have. If you have a trade such as an electrician or a hairdresser, consider taking that on the road with you. Many caravan parks will let you pop a sign up to advertise whilst staying there. Always ask the caravan park owners though before you display your sign.
I have worked for Woolworths for the last 10 years. As a casual I only need to do one, three-hour shift every three months to stay on the books.
Teachers, nurses, dentists and even doctors are in high demand in many parts of Australia, especially in rural and remote locations. You may find there are extra incentives to work in these places such as subsidised accommodation or travel.
Can you up-skill? For example, if you have a truck licence, can you upgrade it to a multi-combination licence? Have you worked in hospitality but don’t have an RSA?
JUST ASK THE QUESTION
Don’t be afraid to ask anywhere and everywhere if they have work. I met a lady in Emerald a couple of years back and she won a week’s worth of work in a local coffee shop. She had been in there for a coffee, could see they were flat out and just asked if they needed a hand.
This approach often works well in caravan parks, take-aways and pubs as well. Even just chatting to the locals in the pub could lead to work.
Sometimes you don’t even need to be looking for work and it will be offered to you. Recently we were offered work at a pub in outback Queensland and Brenden was asked if he wanted to drive a water cart. So the work is definitely out there.
TRACK YOUR ADVENTURE
Keep track of all your adventures with this Map of Australia Sticker. Choose from either UV Outdoors or Fabric Indoors.
A WORD ON BLOGGING
I know there are many people who start a blog or a Facebook page to document their travels around Australia. I’m also sure there is a portion of those people who think that the sponsorship will just roll in and they will begin to make money or get free stuff.
Now I can assure you this is not the case. Blogging is actually a lot of hard work. Unless you are very lucky it will take you a long while before you actually start to see any returns. It really has to be a passion project to start and there is actually a lot more to it than just popping up a couple of pics on Instagram and tagging a few businesses in it.
We have been fortunate to work with some great brands in the last ten years, but it was a long while before we got our first offer. Those offers are also very infrequent.
Currently, we make a small amount each month from affiliate sales. But it is certainly not enough for us to live on. And I have to say, we’re happy with that.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE DONE
So what have other travelling families or couples done to find work when travelling Australia? We asked a couple of other full-time travellers to share their experiences.
NOT GREY NOMADS
Crispy and Frannie have been travelling Australia now for 2.5 years (not including the Coronavirus bit!) We’ve both tried things we’ve never done before since we’ve been on the road, which is an exciting part of the whole adventure. Our first job on the road was at a remote NT Cattle station. Crispy was a Bore Runner/Station Hand/Essential services officer. Frannie was a Take-Away Cook/Customer Service/Cleaner/General Assistant for whatever needed doing, in the station store that serviced the local remote community of about 300 people. Talk about a life-changing experience! We found that Job on Gumtree Jobs.
We then got a job through a local Facebook jobs group for Crispy driving Dump trucks and Excavators for a mine near Cloncurry. No experience, but they needed a bum on that seat. He had an HR Licence, which is a great ticket to have. We both have these, and Frannie was a Bus Driver a few years back now. Frannie went into the Woolworths to see if they needed anyone. She ended up almost full-time as a front-End supervisor! The good thing about a company like that is your training is nationwide, so you can then go to other Woolies and be ready to hit the ground running.
Once we got to larger towns, you will find you need to deal with job agencies more and they are not all as helpful as each other. Some don’t want anything to do with you unless you are on Centrelink payments. Some won’t accept you walking in off the street without having applied online first. There are some out there that get it and are more than willing to help if you show you’re adaptable and easy to work with. Without fail, you will make an impression if you turn up with all your documents. Like your ID, resumes, licences, references contact details, etc in a digital form, and can provide anything they might ask for then and there, on the spot.
While we are back in our home state for a while, we decided to get our forklift tickets. There are definitely a lot of jobs that require it, so it’s another great ticket to have. One job agency told us they had rejected our application without even looking at it, as we didn’t have that ticket, even though we were both very suitable candidates for the role! Crispy ended up getting that job by approaching the employer directly – Sneaky! After meeting us they told the agency they wanted to give him a go. In fact, he was much more suitable than the candidates the agency had been sending to them!
However, to make sure we are getting a look in the door, we now can pass the “must-have forklift ticket” test. This means we can do warehousing, pick-packing, courier deliveries, factory work, and even some harvest work. All of these are great places to pick up jobs where it doesn’t matter to them if you don’t plan on spending the next 10 years there when you apply. These places are used to a transient workforce, so they don’t expect massive commitments from you upfront in order to put you on. Makes it much easier when it comes time to move on! Plus it’s not hard to make yourself do a tough, physical or menial job for a couple of months when you know you’ll be lazing on a beach for a couple of months after you are all cashed up again!
Traveling Beans was born from a mobile coffee business I had in Hervey Bay. We sold that and bought a truck and built a coffee pod for the back which could be lifted off with jacks.
How we got work was a lot easier than first thought. People out west are in a drought not only with no rain but also they don’t get the opportunity to pop down to a cafe for coffee and cake like people on the coast take for granted.
I targeted country music festivals and events like rodeos. I was very surprised how well Traveling Beans were accepted when we rolled into country towns.
On the road, you have to plan ahead. Who would have expected the worst fires in Australia’s history and then Covid 19? We advise everyone who is thinking of an adventure like ours to have a backup plan like all advisors tell you, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Traveling Beans will get back on the road soon and hope we can meet more people following their dreams.
BEN AND MICHELLE
Ben and I have been travelling around Australia, on and off, for the past 3 years. We started out in a camper trailer but then upgraded (not by much) to a tiny 40-year-old pop-top caravan.
When our funds run low, we stop for a couple of months and find work. In the beginning, Ben would get whatever labouring type of work he could find, and I’d get office work. We’d generally just register with a local agency in our respective fields.
More recently, Ben got his HR license, so he works as a truck driver, while I work from the caravan on a couple of side hustles.
I’m working on our two blogs: BenAndMichelle.com and RVObsession.com. They’re both growing and bringing in some income via ads and affiliate income, but it’s not a full-time income yet.
So I supplement our income by providing Virtual Assistant (VA) services to 2 clients.
One client is a US-based blogger in the RVing niche, I look after her Instagram account. And the other is a motorhome manufacturer here in Australia; I manage their Pinterest account while also writing articles for them every month.
But my main focus is growing our blogs, and it’s finally starting to pay off. Hopefully, by the end of this year, they’ll be bringing in enough income so that we can keep travelling indefinitely while making money from the blogs.
MY RIG ADVENTURES
When we hit the road, we knew that working along the way was going to be the only way to fund our lifestyle. Unfortunately, there hadn’t been any lotto wins or long-lost inheritance for us!
To be honest, finding work as we’ve travelled hasn’t been too difficult a task. We’ve lived on the road full-time for two years and have managed to keep the dream alive basically by travelling for three months, then stopping to work for the next three.
Allan is a Truck Driver/ Excavator Operator, so he’s been the main breadwinner. He usually starts looking for a job before we get to a town that we know we want to stop in and often has something lined up by the time we get there. We generally pick towns that we know provide cheap accommodation, so that we’re able to pocket more money for the next leg of the journey. House Sitting and Low-Cost Camps have been great for this.
The best places Allan has managed to find work have been the usual avenues that you’d use at home – Seek, Gumtree, Facebook, Indeed etc. The biggest hurdle has been finding short-term work, as employees are often after people who will commit to longer than three months.
I draw in a part-time income through blogging, which is a feasible option if you’re that way inclined. Be mindful though that it’s a long-term game and will realistically take years before you’re living off blogging proceeds, if ever at all. I wouldn’t recommend blogging as an income if you’re not interested in web design, freelance writing and working for love (for quite some time).
As you can see, there is most definitely work available as you travel Australia. If you are prepared to put yourself out there and have a go at new things you will be able to find work.
In this current post-Covid 19 crisis, many rural industries are without their normal ‘backpacker’ workforce. So there are currently loads of jobs available picking fruit and veg etc.
We hope you find the information in this post useful. Do you have any other tips on how to find work when travelling Australia?