Work and Travel Australia in times of Corona:
This journey is my dream and I won’t give it up that fast!
Hello to all backpackers or would be backpackers!
I am Joana, 20 years old and I have been in Australia since December 2019. My first month here was great. I had a really great time in Noosa getting over my jet lag and on the training farm getting ready for farm work.
Olivia and Felix
Cattle mustering on motorbikes, quad bikes and helicopters …
… that was the main job of Olivia and Felix from Germany, both 18 years old, who worked on farms in Queensland for several months. With the money they have made, they are now travelling in their own car in Australia. In this exciting video they talk about their wide-ranging experiences with Farm-Work and Travel. (English subtitles available)
I experienced and learned a lot …
My name is Svea. I am 19 years old and I come from Berlin. I came to Australia just over four months ago and I am very happy to have made my Work & Travel adventure with Highschool Australia. Everything was taken care of following my arrival; travel, accommodation, all the paperwork (TFN, account opening etc.) was done and I had no problems finding a great job.
An absolutely positive experience!
I am currently working on a race horse training farm – Newhaven Park – near Boorowa / Cowra, about one hour from Yass and two hours from Canberra.
Everything has gone wonderfully so far! The time in Noosa was of course very nice and I felt very welcome there. The week at the training farm was incredibly positive. We had a lot of fun and also learned a lot. The coaches were very good at explaining everything to prepare us for our upcoming jobs, dealing with Australians and tall about Outback life. I was offered three job and decided for Newhaven Park because the boss sounded relatively sympathetic, he described the job in detail, the pay was good and a friend of mine got the same job offer and we therefore could come together.
The thing I like most here is that Australian’s receive you well and they have a very friendly and helpful attitude. In the beginning I wasn’t too sure about how I would be received but these fears quickly disappeared. Its all be an absolutely positive experience!
My work here has been a real life experience and I will take back many good experiences that I have learned here.
I like working here so much that after I go travelling from September to February I will come back to work at my farm again with all my old colleagues.
The Outback Experience
After a great week on the training farm, I took a job as a station hand on a sheep and cattle station with four thousand heads of cattle and six thousand sheep – which in Australia apparently counts as a small place.
Apart from me, there were two other backpackers on the station and we lived together in a small cottage a couple of hundred yards away from the main house. Working closely together under sometimes extreme conditions for often 70 and more hours a week formed a strong bond between us. I knew that I could always count on the others to help me out in difficult situations.
Since all places like that are fairly secluded, and outside help is very hard to come by, or insanely expensive, we did everything that needed to be done on the farm. As a result, it was always something different and kept the work really interesting, since I learned something new nearly every day. A few of those different tasks were: checking and cleaning the tanks and troughs for the cattle on a bike, taking care of the 15!! working dogs, some construction work, like the building of a big iron shed, and general maintenance work like servicing and fixing the huge amount of machinery used on the station.
And then of course there was the stock work, the reason why I chose this particular job and also a big part of the reason why I came to Australia in the first place. We mustered everything from wild goats, over sheep and horses to (docile and a lot less docile) cattle. Since my horse-riding skills are somewhat limited at best and I’m not that biggest fan of it either, I did most of the mustering on an off-road-bike and sometimes a 4–wheeler. I had very little experience on a bike beforehand, just the few days on the trainings farm, so riding a bike on very rough and often sandy ground while chasing cattle and other stock, came as quite a bit of a shock and a challenge… but it also was incredibly fun. Since the paddocks were quite large, we normally mustered with 4 and more people, some on horseback, others on bikes and most times one in a gyrocopter, which is like a mix between an ultralight aircraft and a helicopter.
Once all the stock was mustered in, the yard work – at least with cattle and sheep – would begin. First they had to be drafted, which meant pushing them through the yards and sorting them up, while trying not to get trampled, kicked or charged by some “mongrel” bull. Then the calves had to be branded, ear-tagged, dehorned, and castrated. Depending on the situation, the other cattle had to be processed in the required way, which could mean drenching them against parasites or weighing them for the meat works, and so on. Both types of stock work were quite hard and exhausting, but I hugely enjoyed them anyway. And of course nothing tastes better than a well-deserved beer or two, or some Bundi and coke, after a hard day of work.
Overall, I had an amazing time during my four months on the station, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a more extreme experience. I will absolutely work at a similar place again, but now I’m looking forward to my well-earned vacation.
Sheep, Sheep and More Sheep
Since the middle of August I am performing a job I had never heard of before in my life. This is simply an incredible feeling!
The training farm had placed me with a shearing contractor for whom I am working as a shedhand now and with whom we travel with a shearing team around New South Wales in order to shear sheep. We always have around four to eight shearers with us and a team of seven shedhands or “rousies”, as we are called. Our team consists of girls from Sweden, Germany and Tasmania and I have to say that working as a team really brought us together very closely. We can rely one hundred percent upon each other and are functioning as a perfect team in the sheds by now. It is wonderful to know that we all have each other’s backs and are there for each other whenever we can!
Even though we all met at this job for the first time, I have the feeling that I have known the girls for ages and that we know everything about each other since we are together 24/7. That is seriously the best part of this job, I have met incredibly wonderful people here and made amazing friends! I am really thankful for that, because I am pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy myself as much as I am doing if I didn’t have my girls with me.
But back to the job now: As shedhands we are working 5 days a week from 7am until 5:30pm in the sheds, where we are responsible for the “woolhandling”. This means that we have to pick up the fleeces and throw them on the skirtingtable where we skirt them, meaning separating stain and sweat from the good wool. We also have to sweep; first we have to get the crutches – in the very short time before the shearers take a step forward – and then keep the places of the shearers clean and clear of locks.
Everything I am experiencing over here is very very hard to describe, since this is so far away from everything we do in Germany. Yet even though work is very exhausting and physically demanding, I really am enjoying myself here and am looking forward to the summer! I am really thankful for the opportunity to experience something so unique and different, this is incredible!
Maria and Simon
We are very pleased as we had a great job until the beginning of December. Maria helped mostly with house duties whilst Simon helped the farmer, we experienced lots of new things. The family was super friendly and took us to places on the weekends to show us the area. Accommodation wasn’t fantastic but we did not have a problem with it since everything else was perfect.
After the first job we drove from Gympie to Cairns and then to Sydney with our car, wonderful. We applied for a new job as we have to fill up our bank account, we’re curious how the new employment will be.
So far we are very happy!
Training farm Goomeri
„… on our first day we got to know the hard farm life straight away. Off to fencing, digging holes, driving through what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, cutting down trees and take the bark off manually with a hammer. I can tell you one thing for sure: Never in my life had I worked as hard as on my first day on the farm. At night we all fell into our beds completely exhausted.
Thank god, the first day was a test by Justin who wanted to find out how dedicated and enthusiastic we were. He later told Izzy and me when we were working on a pole: “ Listen: there are girls, that you are friends with. Girls, that you sleep with and there are girls, which you will marry one day! – You two are of the third kind .” – Or something like that he said anyway. Cool, he would have married us had he not had a wife yet – what an honour!
The following days were pretty relaxed. I learnt how to ride a motorbike, which is a lot of fun and how you transport poo from A to B with a tractor, that was pretty cool, too.“
Little trip to Australia
I had only just recovered from a motorbike accident, hanging around at home, surfing the internet… when it hit me like lightning: I’ll fly to Australia.
No sooner said than done, a few weeks of paperwork, admin stuff to get everything sorted you need. Travel insurance, passport, flight, authority for the relatives. And regular phone calls to Heike from Highschool Australia. Until you get to go you have to fork out a bit of cash but it’s definitely worth it.
Took off from Frankfurt towards Singapore, forgot to change the time on my watch and almost missed my flight, there are no announcements at the airport! After my arrival in Brisbane we got picked up and into a pretty hostel in Brisbane, with pool and such stuff. Then to immigration to get the sticker for my passport for my future employers. Next day off towards Rainbow Beach. Pretty expensive town but cool. A desert in the middle of a forest and on top of a hill… strange. Since all of us were pretty young we had a lot of fun. Jetlag was gone but hangover moved in.
From Rainbow Beach we got transferred to a training farm. Those of you who believe that’s in the middle of nowhere should wait until they see where they’ll end up for their first job. You get to buy clothes if you didn’t bring everything… since Australia is pretty expensive (which isn’t great in the beginning but soon won’t matter any more as you’ll earn good money) try to bring your work boots without laces or velcro. Don’t need to have steel caps. Otherwise you’ll have to buy some and that’ll be pretty expensive. Bring Jeans and long sleeved shirts and you’ll be able to save a few bucks. After the little shopping spree we went to the farm.
Basically that’s a crash course for farm work. Driving a tractor and motorbike, riding horses, fencing, round up livestock. For somebody from the countryside a nice extension of the holidays, for all others probably quite interesting. During the training week you get job offers according to your skills and interests. That’s how it’ll go: Call/ask what you’re going to do, what kind of accommodation to expect, how you will get paid, per hour or per day (it’s better to go per hour).
After a week on the training farm you’re off to earn money. After a month of work on my first farm I had a girlfriend, bought two dogs, a car and a caravan – ok, I bought them cheap and was able to do them up myself. The farmer offered to sponsor me for a permanent resident visa but I wanted to earn more than the $16 per hour that he paid so I went to a different farm which is where I am now. And how lucky was that. My own house for accommodation and more money! My permanent residence visa I will get not through my girlfriend, much easier and cheaper.
Well, Australia is definitely a cool country, bring a little bit of know how and you can achieve anything in a short period of time. And every now and then you have visitors hopping through your garden.