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Working on a cattle station

Working on a cattle station

Working on a dairy farm can be a unique experience and an ideal way to renew your WHV in Australia. Melissa, a backpacker from Quebec, worked on a cattle station in the Outback of Western Australia while on a Working Holiday Visa. Read on to find more about how she found the job and how life is like on a cattle farm… 

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. One of the best option is to post an ad on Gumtree, HelpX and Facebook. After some dodgy replies, you will get some real responses. And why not working on a cattle farm in exchange for food and accommodation. A unique Australian experience!

Renew your WHV by working on a cattle farm

As you surely know, to qualify for a second WHV in Australia, you need to work 88 days on the farm. So there are many eligible jobs, you can choose to do fruit picking, work in the mines, on solar farms…. but you can also choose to work on a dairy farm!

In any case, make sure that the postal code of the place where you work is indeed eligible! The jobs must be done in rural areas of the country!

Note that you can renew your WHV for a third year in Australia if you work 6 months in a job in an eligible region while you are on your second year of visa. Eligible jobs and regions are the same as for your first renewal.

Working on a cattle farm – Melissa’s experience

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.


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.


Advantages of working on a cattle station

If you’re wondering why work much longer than 88 days, here are some reasons why:

  • The possibility of working several hours per week (between 30 and 60 hours per week)
  • The option of living on the farm at low cost
  • The ease of saving money (living far from a city, it is easy not to spend every day)
  • Experience on farms in Australia makes it easier to get a job or even a HelpX later on
  • Getting a second or third year of visa.
5/5 - (7 votes)
Melissa Giroux is a full-time backpacker and a travel writer. She is originally from Quebec, Canada and she is backpacking her way across the globe.