Home Job Experiences Backpacker jobs and salaries – Examples of wages in Australia

Backpacker jobs and salaries – Examples of wages in Australia

Backpacker jobs and salaries – Examples of wages in Australia

A lot of people wonder what kind of jobs they can do whilst on a Working Holiday Visa (417) or Work and Holiday Visa (462) in Australia. And more importantly, what kind of salary they can expect! In order to help you to find out, we have asked other backpackers to tell us about their current jobs and salaries. This will help you to get a better idea about what kind of jobs you can do during your trip in Australia and the salaries you can expect.

Work with a Working Holiday Visa in Australia

The Working Holiday Visa is a visa for young people (18 to 30 or 18 to 35 depending on your nationality) that allows you to work in all sorts of jobs and in all fields while in Australia. Indeed, there is no restriction on the kind of jobs you can do on this visa. This visa allows you to work full-time for the same employer, part time or even casual. Seasonal jobs, fruit picking, shop jobs, more qualified jobs…Everything is possible.

Thanks to this visa, you can work full-time for the same employer for a maximum of one year under certain conditions. Among the most popular jobs for backpackers, you find hospitality (restaurants, cleaning, etc.) and also the agricultural sector, which serves to renew your Working Holiday Visa.

What is the national minimum wage in Australia?

The revision of the national salary each year

In Australia, there is a nationally set minimum wage. This is the minimum rate of pay set out in the Fair Work Act 2009. Each July, it is reviewed by the Fair Work Commission, an independent body. Since July 1, 2022, the national minimum wage is $21.38 per hour (€14.41) or $812.60 per week. It will be revised (increased) in July 2023.

Note: Each sector of work activity is governed by a collective agreement (Award) which determines the salary applicable in that industry. This may be higher than the national minimum wage, but can never be lower. If you are wondering about the minimum wage applicable to your job, check the Award that applies.

You can find a guide to minimum wage according to skill level on the Fair Work website.

What to do if the minimum wage is not respected by your employer?

Although a legal minimum wage exists in Australia, abuse and worker exploitation can sometimes occur, especially towards workers from other countries.

In the event of a problem with your employer, you can appeal to Fair Work. This independent organisation assists employees (whether they are Australian citizens or foreign nationals) in the event of a dispute with their employer. They provide a buffer between you and your employer, to allow for an amicable resolution of your dispute.

You can contact Fair Work on 13 13 94 from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Their advice is free so do not hesitate to get in touch with them in you have any concerns or doubts!

Jobs in the hospitality industry

Hospitality and catering jobs are the most common for WHV makers in Australia. You will find jobs there throughout the year, especially during the high season (during school holidays).

Here are some job ideas for your working holiday visa. Be aware that for jobs where you are in contact with customers, you will be required to have a good level of English. For jobs in establishments where they serve alcohol, it’s necessary to get the RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol), a specific Australian certificate.

PNote that salaries will vary by location and workplace.

More generally, salaries vary according to the employment contract under which you are hired.
– If the company that employs you pays wages according to the “industry award”, then you will be paid according to this awards which set the minimum standards that an employer in your industry is allowed to pay for your kind of work.
– If the company applies its own “award” (its own work agreement), then you will be paid according to the rules applied in this agreement.

Remember to always check with the company. The awards for each industry are listed on the Fair Work website. Company awards must be made accessible by the company that employs you.

Kitchen staff

  • Katy is a kitchen hand: $23/h
  • Simon is a baker in Sydney: $26/h
  • Florian is a chocolatier in Sydney: $29/h
  • Aurore is a kitchen hand in a restaurant in the Hunter Valley: $24/h
  • Lucas is a dishwasher in Fremantle: $23/h
  • Antoine is a chef in Karratha: $24/$29/$35 (week/Saturday/Sunday)

Bar staff / waiters

  • Hannah is a waitress and barista: $23/h net
  • Ange works in a Fish and Chips shop: $1060/week
  • Julie is a barmaid: $33/h + tips
  • Djalil is a barman: about $33/h
  • Emmy is a waitress in a restaurant in Perth: $26/h, $32/h on the weekend and $54/h on public holidays
  • Mathilde is a waitress in Sydney: $25/h and $30 on the weekend.
  • Lauren is a waitress on a boat: $25/h and in the restaurant $25/h during the week and $28/h on weekends
  • Emeline is a barmaid in Sydney: $25/h during the week, $28 after 10pm and on Saturday. $33/h on Sunday.
  • Lisa is a waitress in Karratha: $23/$27/$33/h (week/Sat/Sun)

For a waiter working “casual” hours under the industry award, the hourly rate applied is approximately $27 per hour. Increases called “penalties” generally apply on weekends and public holidays. The hourly rate thus rises to around $30/35 on Saturdays, $35/40 on Sundays and $50/55 on Bank Holidays.

Under the “Hospitality industry award”, bartenders and baristas must be paid a minimum of $26.15 per hour on weekdays, $31.38 on Saturdays and $36.61 on Sundays.

Get your RSA in Australia (with special discounts!)

Pay less for your RSA course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). With this certificate, you are allowed to work in all places where alcohol is served or sold.

Cleaning / housekeeping

  • Jo Hanna is a housekeeper: $24/h
  • Katy is a cleaner in a resort: $25/h
  • Camy is a cleaner: $23-$33/h
  • Jane is a housekeeper in Melbourne: $24/h     
  • Cedric is responsible for laundry/housekeeping: $1140/week
  • Elo is a cleaner in Sydney: $25 and $29/h (two jobs)
  • Alexis is a housekeeper: $23 during the week, $27 on a Saturday and $32 on a Sunday
  • Jordan is a housekeeper on Rottenest Island (Perth): $25/h

On the Fair Work website, under the “Cleaning services award” category, casual hourly rates range from $27.14/h to $29.59 on weekdays and from $48.85/h to $53.26 on Sundays.

If you work in housekeeping in a hotel, you will be under the “Hospitality industry award” category with slightly lower hourly rates. On weekdays the base rate is $26.15 per hour, on Saturdays $31.38 and $36.61 on Sundays.

Receptionists / hosts

  • Flora is a receptionist in a hotel: $25/h, on Saturdays $28 and on Sundays $33. An average of 40-45 hours a week
  • Anne-Sophie is a hostess on a private yacht / from Airlie Beach to the Gold Coast (QLD) : $525/week + food + accommodation

Delivery drivers

  • Adrien is a pizza delivery driver: $17/h + $2/delivery
delivery job in australia uber eats

Jobs in the agricultural industry

Fruit picking is a good way of making money and travelling around Australia. It’s also one way of getting a second year visa in Australia.

Since 2019 you can also get a third Working Holiday Visa for Australia. It is necessary to work in eligible jobs and regions during your second WHV for 6 months to apply for renewal.

For fruit picking, note that the FairWork imposes a minimum rate of $25.41 per hour under the “Horticulture Award” category. However, in practice, you can be paid by piece (number of bins, weight harvested).

Since April 28, 2022, pieceworkers are guaranteed a minimum hourly wage. This change applies to full-time, part-time and casual employees. For the horticulture sector, for all full-time and part-time pieceworkers, the minimum wage is at least $23.38 an hour. For casual workers, they must earn at least $29.22 per hour. The aim here is to avoid the exploitation of fruit pickers in Australia.

Below are a few examples of salaries you can expect for farm work in Australia:

  • Julien works on a pineapple farm: $24/h
  • Katy is packing mandarins: $1200/week
  • Lionel is a lumberjack: $25/h
  • Max is a labourer: $25/h
  • Lorene works on a farm: $24/h and for picking $12/bin
  • Alexandre is a stacker in an orange factory: $26/h
  • Franck works on a farm: $1100-$1400/week: 23-26/h
  • Elsa works on a government farm (weaving): $27/h. 7,5h a day
  • Alexandre works on a cotton farm 60-70h a week: more or less $1600
  • Clement works in the banana fields in Tully $25/h
  • Marvin works on a farm: $25.5/h
  • Lee works on a farm: $29/h and $45/h Saturdays, Sundays and between 6pm and 6am. 75h/week + free accommodation
  • Marion works on a farm (packing, picking, thinning) (avocado, plums, nectarines): $24/h
  • David works on a vineyard: $26/h – 55h/week
  • Riyad works as a pearler: $4400 per month, room and meals included
  • Guillaume works on a farm: $24/h
  • Max works as a harvester: $28/h – 70-90h/week, accommodation and dinner.

Fruit picking in Australia

Fruit picking is the most common job among backpackers. Discover everything you should know in this article.

Jobs in construction

Working in construction can often get you a better salary than working on farms or in hospitality. You need to know, however, that in order to be able to work in construction, you need to have a White Card, a specific certificate. You can apply for this card online.

Get discounts on your White Card course

Take advantage of our special offers to get your White Card and work in the construction industry.

Here are a few examples of construction jobs salaries for backpackers in Australia:

  • Working on a demolition site: $1300 a week.
  • Labourer: $26/h before tax in Sydney.
  • Painter: $33/h
  • Skilled labourer: $25-$30/h
  • Kevin is a trade person: $450/day
  • Jonathan is a roof cleaner: $45/h. ($280/day, from 8 am to maximum 2pm)
  • Tam is a traffic controller: $2300/week for approx. 72h ($32/h)
  • Rem is a plaster delivery guy: $25/h – 35 to 45h/week
  • Reda works in demolition: $25/h during the day, $28/h during the night, more or less $1100/week
  • Romano works as a builder: $35/h
  • Emilie does house restumping: $22/h


  • Oley works in a Warehouse : $26.9/h
  • Nils is a driller assistant: $325 a day net
  • Christophe is a general hand: $25/h
  • Jerome is a mover: $22-$25/h, $28 for overtime
  • Kiwii is an electrician: $30h, overtime $45 and $60 on Saturdays – $1450/week
  • Steve is a landscaper/ truck driver/ excavator operator/ labourer : $27.60/h (Melbourne)

Sales and retail

It’s also quite common to work in a shop, work as a sales person or in promotion. In general, a good level of English is expected.  

Here you find a few examples of jobs and salaries in the sales/promotion sector:

  • Antoine is a Fundraiser: $24/h
  • Loic is a Promoter: between $100 and $750 a night
  • David is a salesman for Levi’s: $26/h on average
  • Thomas does stacking for Kmart in Brisbane: $24-$26/h
  • Fabien is a salesman: $25/h during the week, $27 on Saturdays and $30 on Sundays
  • Jordan distributes the yellow pages in Sydney: $40/h
  • Emeline is a casual retail assistant at k-mart: $25/h
salaries australia

Au pair

With your Working Holiday Visa, you can also be part of the daily life of an Australian family as an au pair. The salary varies between towns and hours effectively worked in a week. But it also depends on the number of kids you are looking after. Also, keep in mind that certain families ask you to do some household chores in exchange for a bit of extra money. In any case, you get food and board with your host family.

Here you have a few examples of salaries for girls working as an au pair in Australia:

  • Mel is an Au pair in Sydney: $250/week, kitchen $20/h , household $30/h
  • Laurie is an Au pair in Sydney: $150/week
  • Eugenie is an Au pair: $300-$450/week
  • Wendy is an Au pair : $500/week
  • Marine is an Au pair: $250/week + $60 for cleaning the house and ironing. She works 10h min/day, 5 days a week
  • Julie is an Au pair: $200/week – More or less 30h/week + many non paid extra hours
  • Marine is an Au pair in Bunbury: $400/week, food, board and a car to use
  • Mathilde does Babysitting: $25/h

Read more: Au pair experience in Sydney

More qualified jobs 

Depending on your qualifications, you can also apply for more qualified jobs. Some employers are hesitant because you are limited to 6 months of work on your WHV. Note that you can require permission from the government to work longer with the same employer. It can also be a good way to prove yourself and obtain a TSS (sponsorship) visa!

Some examples of salaries in more qualified jobs in Australia:

ProfessionSalary per year
A school teacher$70 000 - $160 000
Childcare teacher$65 000 - $95 000
Nurse$75 000 – $115 000
Sales manager$75 000 – $110 000
Marketing coordinator$63 000 – $93 000
Graphic Designer$70 000 - $107 000
Web designer$80 000 - $140 000
Data scientist$101 000 – $156 000
Business Analyst$85 000 – $130 00
IT Project manager$115 000 – $168 000
Junior architect$62 000 – $100 000
Construction project manager$100 000 – $180 000
Environmental Engineer$70 000 – $145 000
Civil Engineer$90 000 – $140 000
Real estate Agent$55 000 - $115 000
Production Manager$90 000 – $130 000

Source : au.talent.com

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The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


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