After our Sydney plans fell through, we found ourselves desperately scrambling to figure out where to go and what to do. We hadn’t been able to get our tax number without an Australian address, so we weren’t able to look for paid work. Many of the jobs that were posted for travellers involved skills like carpentry, landscaping, agriculture and bartending, none of which we had experience with. Without the necessary skills we both felt uncomfortable seeking paid work. Instead we found a website that listed work for travellers in exchange for food and accommodation : www.workaway.info. The website enabled me to search all across Australia for the type of work we had experience in, the type of accommodation we preferred and gave us the ability to see pictures of the areas as well. Many of the positions are for the same work that we had already come across (especially working with horses and building) but hosts didn’t expect workers to be experts. Hosts on the site understand that most of the travellers would be young people, leaving home for the first time and were willing to teach new skills.
Lucky for us, I was able to find a listing for a camp near the border of NSW and Victoria that combined farm work with assisting school groups. We had plenty of experience with school groups and we were hoping to learn more about working on a farm (since we were bound to encounter similar positions over the next year).
I still remember contacting the hosts and organizing details of arrival and fretting about whether the hosts would even show up to get us. We worried about food, since I’m vegetarian and Dan eats a LOT. We worried about accommodation and whether it would be what the hosts described or whether we would end up in cramped quarters with a million other backpackers.
Thankfully, after 5 months and 4 workaway stays we’ve had nothing but positive experiences! We have met some really amazing locals and learned about Australian culture (and surprisingly language!). We have also explored many areas that we wouldn’t have otherwise travelled to. But above all, we have saved a ton of money, enabling us to do more sightseeing in between stays. The skills that we have learned over our travels have also been so rewarding. Currently we have two more hosts lined up for the next month and we look forward to the new places and people we will meet along our trip!