Melissa, a backpacker from Quebec, was working on a cattle station in the Outback of Western Australia. Read on to find more about how she found the job and how life is like on a cattle farm… 

I and my friend were working on a dairy farm where the wish came up to learn more about the famous cattle stations. We may have already lived on a farm, but we wanted to experience the remoteness –the real one. As we were about to run out of money – living in a campervan was too expensive for us – So I published ads on Gumtree, HelpX and Facebook. We were willing to work in exchange for food and accommodation to experience something new by working on a cattle station.

We got some replies and we decided to start our next adventure on a cattle station close to Mount Magnet in the Outback of Western Australia

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Working on a cattle station – The scenery

The owners were extremely nice! They had about 500 cows (which is not so much compared to other stations), some breeding horses and over  500 000 acres! They had 4 children. The oldest ones were going to a boarding school in Perth. The youngest one was still living with them and got school lessons at home.

The scene around the cattle farm was beautiful; sunsets were colourful, stars were shining, the ground was red and all in all, it was a very peaceful place. We spend four weeks there – It was four weeks out of society & civilisation…

Mount Magnet

Working on a cattle station – A new lifestyle

The owners taught us a lot while we were working on a cattle station. As they were living in the middle of nowhere they had to make sure that they have enough skills to solve all the problems that could happen on the farm.

The owners sourced and generated their own wind and solar power. One night we had a power-cut. Instead of waiting for someone to fix it or just hoping that it will work again soon, you have to fix it on your own. That was a whole new experience for us.

In general, you have to do many things on your own. We cut wood, destroyed fences to rebuild them later. It was hard work! But at the end of the day, we were rewarded with a good meal and homemade ice cream.

When we had days off we had the chance to drive around the Outback. We went to some lovely lakes (there was a hidden lake around 50 minutes away) where we had nice barbecues. Sometimes we were lucky enough to see some cows and even wild donkeys along the way!

Another task of mine was to make sure the youngest was doing his school work.

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Working on a cattle farm – How to find a job

Several Australians are looking for backpackers on platforms like HelpX. It offers a listing of host farms who invite volunteer helpers to stay there short term in exchange for food and accommodation. Others are looking for backpackers on Facebook groups or on Gumtree. On Gumtree it is more likely that you find a paid job. In our case, we had posted an ad on Gumtree, HelpX and Facebook. After some dodgy replies, we decided to work on a cattle farm in exchange for food and accommodation. It was a unique Australian experience!

Updated on the 18th of September 2019. Initially published on the 13th of July 2016.