If you are a city person, then the working and saving situation will be different from that of working in the outback. It is harder to save money in cities for two main reasons. One: there are more things to spend money on in the cities. Everything from grabbing a coffee having a muffin from the local baker on your way to work are expenses that add up and may keep you from saving a lot of money for future travels.
Two: Australia is an expensive country, and that is a fact. Housing in cities is expensive (2 bedroom apartment in Perth CBD $2400 per month), produce is expensive ($10 for 1 Kg of bananas) and beer will make you broke ($40 for 30 pack of XXXX Gold at a takeaway). To make working in a city work for you, the stumbling block you have to overcome is understanding that you will not be able to save much money, if anything at all.
Other hurdles for finding work in cities
Finding work in the big cities of Australia comes with other hurdles, one being that a lot of places don't hire backpackers or travelers. The main reason, which many employers will agree, is that backpackers are flaky and employers get itred of being lied to. Backpackers show up hung over, or sometimes they stop showing up altogether.
The work ethic is less than impressive because they have no vested interest in a long term situation so they don't try very hard. Many employers know this and would rather not deal with it, opting to hire a local over a traveler.
When you're trying for a job in the big cities expect to get people who roll their eyes and say something like "oh... so you're a backpacker? If something comes up we'll get back to you." Or "well, we don't usually hire backpackers, but you can give us your resume anyway." Honestly, don't waste paper if that is what they say.
Another requirement that most employers ask, is a time commitment, generally at least 3 months or more. You really won't find work for less than 3 months in the city. However, you could always lie to them and say you can work there for 6 months, get the job then leave after 1 or 2 months. You' can pat yourself on the back as you join the ranks of the thousands of people before you who have ruined the reputation of the backpackers work ethic. Doing that also gives employers less reason to hire travelers in the future, making it harder those arriving after you to find work. Don't do that.
Is city work for you?
This isn't to say working in a big city can't be done or that it doesn't have its rewards. For example there is always something to do, and often times you can find events around the city that are inexpensive or free to do.
If you're a city loving person with the goal to save money during your WHV in Australia, then you have a difficult choice. You could work in a big city and have the option to go out and do things, but choose not to because you want to save. If you do that, then you end up seeing nothing of the city you wanted to live in. Sometimes it's even nice to have the option of going out for a night on the town, even though you can't. Compare that to living in the outback where you don't even have the option.
Otherwise you can get two jobs to really help you save a few dollars, put in 60+ hours per week. You'll be able to save more, but you still won't see much of the city because you'll be too busy working. This is a good option if you're job takes place in several parts of the city.
Finally, you can get a regular job and go out when you feel like going out. Except if you do this you won't be saving much money, if anything at all. This is great if you have already saved a lot from another job or if you have plenty of money anyway.
It is a tough choice, but a choice you will have to make when you get into the job search.
Finding a job in the city
You have to be determined when looking for work in the big cities. Many businesses won't hire backpackers or travelers because of how flaky they can be. Knowing full well that backpackers are here to have a good time, business owners are often hesitant to hire these kinds of temporary staff, even for holiday periods.
That said, there still are places that will hire casual staff in the cities, but it is very important to do your homework to maximize your chances.
What you are looking for is the low hanging fruit, known as casual employment. Casual employees get a smaller wage and are not guaranteed hours. They are basically there to fill in the extra hours that the full time and part time staffers can't. Casual is the type of employment you will likely get.
To keep the odds in your favor, do a bit of homework on the places you are going to. If you want a city job, then you will be limited to about a handful of cities in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide or Darwin. Decide which one you want to spend the most time in, and start there.
Next you need to find out when the busiest time of year is for the type of work you want to do. Every place has a busy season, generally during the tourist season, for the southern parts of the country it's in summer and in the north it is during the winter. If, like most backpackers, you plan to work in hospitality or retail try arriving just before the height of these months to greatly help your chances of getting a job for the peak season.
As well, if retail work is your game, then the busy season for you will be during the Christmas holidays. Walk around the business district and look for help wanted signs in the windows for job leads. You also have newspapers which post help wanted ads in the classified section as well as the internet.
Gumtree is a popular website (comparable to Craigslist in the USA) which allows people to post for everything from apartment rentals to help wanted. This offers the high tech problem of every loser in town sending their details, making managers sift through emails from every unemployed person in the area, thus, you're resume may lost in the clutter.
Job finding companies
Many cities have companies that will assist backpackers to find jobs. While the greatest demand for backpacker jobs is in rural Australia, they also get offers for jobs in the city.
For example, in Perth you have the Job Shop and AussiJobs. I can personally recommend the Job Shop as they did great when searching for a job for myself. This all comes back to doing your research, and knowing about these places before you arrive so that you can make the best use of your time searching for work.
Hostels can also be great places to get job leads or even find work in town. Most hostels have a notice board where local businesses post for help wanted. The other option is actually working at a hostel. This is great for those trying to save as hostel jobs often provide a place to stay for the duration of your employment. Hostel work will include the obvious duties of front desk, bartending, maintenance or housekeeping. As well, patrons of hostels are more forgiving when you show up to work hung over, as they usually are as well.
Finding a job should be fun... right?
If you find yourself spending too much time worrying about a job then maybe you should consider another job option for your working holiday. Remember, this is supposed to be fun, so if you aren't enjoying yourself, then you should change something.
The world is too amazing not to share.
Resources for Travel Jobs Abroad
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