Working in Cairns Backpackers Guide ..

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Want to work in Cairns?  Well there are a few things you need to get sorted before you start looking such as a visa, a tax file number (Australian Taxation Office Website) and a bank account.

If you have any queries please contact us

0r free call us from any where in Australia 1800 058 440

Finding a job Around Cairns.


So you have a working holiday visa, tax file number and a bank account already and are ready to start looking. Most backpackers will either find work in the hospitality , working in bars, restaurants or on tourist boats, or  fruitpicking work. Other jobs tend to be hard to find with most employers preferring locals to short stay backpackers .   The best way of finding a job is to register with the various employment agencies-get some resumes printed and drop them off at their offices or just about every where. Dress appropriately for the sort of job you are looking for and be ready to start , a  contact telephone  number is handy.

Employment agencies in Cairns

  • Signature staff  (330 Sheridan Street) specialize in hospitality jobs.
  • Drake International (Level 2, Cairns Central Apartments, Cnr of Mcleod and Aplin Street) are good for finding temporary jobs.

Online resources for Cairns jobs

  • Career One, the biggest online service with ads for jobs in Cairns.
  • Backpacker Job Board  a good online service specifically aimed at backpackers .
  • Travellers at Work , another good online service specifically aimed at travellers.
  • Jobs 4 Travellers a great online service specifically aimed at WHV.
  • Fruit Picking Org  an online service for backpackers looking for fruit picking work.
  • Minder Find  a new online service for babysitters and child minders.
  •  Try looking up  Gumtree   website in the jobs section  bit of  hit and miss.

Fruit picking jobs for backpackers

The good thing about fruitpicking work in Cairns is that it is available all year round. The best locations are  Atherton /Tablelands and  Mareeba, to the south Tully and Innisfail, only a 1 hour drive from Cairns. Accommodation will usually be provided by the farmer and pay usually depends on how much you pick. It can be lucrative but also extremely exhausting work. The Fruit Picking Org is a good place to start looking for fruit picking work.

Mareeba and Atherton

Mareeba  1 hour west of Cairns and is the biggest agricultural hub in the Far North , Citrus fruit ,bananas , papaya are harvested all year round, with avocados (February to May) and Mangoes (November to March)Lychees, longans, pineapples and peanuts are other fruits harvested .Regular buses Transnorth Coaches  leave from the bus stop on the ground floor car park of the Cairns Central Shopping Centre. . For current jobs try this harvest trail Mareeba link.

Tully and Innisfail

Both Tully and Innisfail are hubs for banana picking.  However, banana harvesting goes on all year round so it is one of the best places for finding work. Banana picking is hard work though, if you are a guy you will be required to cut and carry large weights of bananas. Females will usually be given the easier job of packing. Innisfail is only an hour south of Cairns, along the main highway, whereas Tully is another hour south of Innisfail. For current jobs in Tully try this harvest trail Tully link and for Atherton try this harvest trail Innisfail link.

Finding chef, Restaurant or Bar jobs in Cairns

If you are a qualified chef  there is always a long list of jobs advertised in the Wednesday and Saturday edition of the Cairns Post . (also in Career One).  If you looking for  bar  work you will need a RSV  (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate. you can get the online for around $60 try  Etrainu or with restaurant work the best thing is to go from door to door and  present yourself with your resume.

The first one is to register with the employment agencies above, especially Signature Staff. This will more likely get you short stint contracts. anything .

Hostel jobs

There are 2 types of jobs in hostels.  work for accommodation and paid work. Most jobs at hostels will be work for accommodation, and usually consist of hostel cleaning and housekeeping type of work. Dreamtime  use  3 backpackers to help assist our head housekeeper.  Call us a couple of weeks before recpetion area you are due to arrive if you are interested. You need to do 2 hours of work a day in return for staff accommodation (twin share) it includes your free wifi .  Many other hostels in Cairns do the same type of thing.

Paid hostel jobs tend to be either driving jobs  or reception jobs. If you are looking for reception work having previous experience will help . Some of the smaller hostels in Cairns do use backpackers for reception .

Other jobs

There are other jobs out there for backpackers such as room attendant work ( house keeping cleaning hotel or cruise boat rooms), cruise attendant work on dive boats and labouring jobs. Door knocking is the best way to find these types of jobs. If you have any particular skill such as being a dive instructor, an experience horse rider or a tradesmen then you have a much greater chance of finding work and you should just take your resume along or telephone as many employers as you can.

LOOKING FOR WORK in Agriculture or Farming Got a working holiday visa and need to qualify for the second year visa?

We at Dreamtime GUARANTEE  you well paid WORK in rural and outback Australia for up to 6  months once you complete a safety and  skills course. work such as (stable work, horses, motorbikes, tractors, cattle, sheep).

Hospitality (pubs, roadhouse, rural resorts, farm stays and museums).

Teaching distance education, child care and much more …

All jobs provide food, accommodation and wage.  The wages are the Award (Union negotiated rate) for the job you take – on a cattle or sheep station this could mean about $350 – $450 per week after tax and including food and accommodation.  Machinery drivers tend to be paid an hourly wage and could receive as much as $800 per week to start with.

A short safety training course starts every week taking 5 days and includes riding horses, mustering cattle on motorbikes, driving tractors and operating farm machinery.  You will learn life skills such as making fences the aussie way, using a chain saw safely, learning about vehicle maintenance and farm/outback safety.

The course starts every Monday, while you are on the course you will get up to 5 job offers.  Choose a job and then go to it on the Saturday.  The course fee includes accommodation, meals and all the paperwork necessary to get the second Working Holiday Visa (stay in Australia 2 years instead of one, work and

The course costs $1045    includes 5 nights accommodation, meals, all training and useful information, job leads and offers and the everyday safety skills your employer will require. you choose the job you want.     The courses finish on Saturday morning and everyone leaves to go to the jobs of their choice.   You will need to have enough money to go to the job you choose but sometimes employers will help

If you want to experience outback and rural Australia and get paid doing it contact us here  at Dreamtime Cairns.

If you have any queries please contact us

0r free call us from any where in Australia 1800 058 440

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