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Best Backpacker Jobs In Cairns

Updated Fri 11 Nov 2022

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Handy tips for finding work in Cairns

Before you start looking there are a few things you need to get sorted out before your trip to Australia, the most important one is your Working Holiday Visa. Once you have a visa, a tax file number and a bank account you are ready to search for a great job while you wander around Australia. 

As a backpacker, jobs can often be tricky to find and get. So, prepare yourself with these essential tips to make the process easier.

Before you even start applying, make sure you’ve prepared and thought about the following:

  • Is your CV, or resume, ready? A well-presented CV outlining your existing skills and experience are essential for both online and in-person applications.

  • Have you checked local hostel noticeboards, chatted to staff, or checked out online forums such as Backpacker Job Board?

  • Have you thought about working in exchange for food and board rather than money? If you’re struggling to find work, work aways like this can sometimes be pretty rewarding and immersive!

  • Have you thought about what you want to do, as well as what you don’t want to do? Sometimes you may not be applying for your dream job, but remember that it’s not forever, particularly if it’s just for Visa fulfilment. 

Person reaching up into a tree to pick fruit with tongue out


Backpacker Jobs in Cairns

There are many different jobs you can get as a backpacker in Cairns, with work such as fruit picking to restaurant work and bartending to cattle farming on the table. Some lucky backpackers even find work out on the Great Barrier Reef as hosties or dive attendants.

So, here are some of the jobs available to you as a backpacker in Cairns!  The majority will find work fruit picking, others at a restaurant - bar or hostel and some lucky ones will find work on a dive boat as attendants.  


Farmwork

Farmwork is always in high demand and is mostly available all year round, as Cairns is renowned for its delicious tropical fruits and veggies. The closest farms are in Tully, Atherton Tablelands and Mareeba, all of which are about an hour away from Cairns city. While the pay can be low, usually accommodation is provided. 


Hostels

Hostel jobs can either be paid or in exchange for room and board, offering the chance to meet new people, exchange stories and get new ideas of where to go next and tips on the do’s and don’ts when backpacking, hostel work has a lot of perks! Common roles entail cleaning, housekeeping and reception in a hostel.


Restaurants & Cafes

Qualified chefs and "dishys" are in high demand in Cairns. To find these positions, check the Cairns Post newspaper on Saturdays & Wednesdays, as well as online platforms. 


Barista

With cafes on almost every corner of Australia’s major cities, locals take their coffee and brunching seriously. Knowing your way around a coffee machine is a major bonus when searching for work, particularly if you have any speciality skills and work well in busy settings! 


Bars

Experienced bartenders are in high demand, with small classic pubs to posh rooftop bars always busy! A Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training is required, which can be done online. While the nights are late, there are always beers to be poured and fun to be had! 


Waitstaff

The country has an endless number of establishments in demand of Waiters to keep their dining room running smoothly. Experience is really valued when it comes to any hospitality role like this one.


Deckhands & Dive Instructors

The Cairns tourism scene is busy and thriving all year round. With plentiful jobs in this industry such as hosties, deckhands, tour desk salespeople and dive instructors, find work in these colourful and adventurous positions!

Hostel worker explaining something to two blonde travellers behind a desk


For more information on working holiday travel, check out our handy backpacker guide to Cairns! 

Or, chat with our local sales experts to plan your time in far-north QLD! 

Sara
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