Working our way around Oz

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 07:49
ThreadID: 10350 Views:2016 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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My wife and I are considering 'up stumps' and spending a couple of years wandering around the country.

To help pay our way we are thinking of picking up odd jobs here and there.

We are only at the consideration stages and are looking for any info re the availability of work.

Have any of you done this recently and what pitfalls issues are there that we should consider.

We have just turned 50yrs young and are relatively fit, but not spring chickens.

Any info greatly appreciated.

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Reply By: Diesel1 - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 09:49

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 09:49
G'day Paul,

I guess the availability of work depends entirely upon your skills and whether or not you are prepared to have a go at just about anything within your capabilities. I am a diesel mechanic by trade and I generally pick up work within my field of expertise, but I have always had an open view to doing anything if it produces a cash injection into the bank account.

A couple of years ago my wife and myself got work in the fruit picking industry (mangoes) and even though it's possible to earn some quick money, we worked our butts off for a miserable $10.50 an hour.

In looking for work when you are on the road, I have always used the local pub as the best place to begin - there is usually somebody looking for a bloke to do a bit of work.

Diesel 1
AnswerID: 45818

Follow Up By: Member - Paul T- Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:14

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:14
Diesel 1

Thanks for your reply. My wife and I are both nurses so if there are local hospitals we would probably pick up casual work, we are also pretty skilled with our hands and not averse to getting them dirty so fruit picking is certainly one avenue.

Off course the real beauty of starting with the 'local' is the taste of some cold beer.

Thanks again
FollowupID: 307818

Follow Up By: Diesel1 - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:30

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:30
I don't reckon you would have many problems picking up work in your field - there is an extreme shortage of nurses in regional areas as you are most probably aware. During the past year I have had to spend a couple of nights in Darwin Private Hospital and not once did I come across Aussie nurses - they were all poms or Irish. I asked one of them what the go was and she told me that the hospital just could not find Aussies to fill the vacancies.

Diesel 1
FollowupID: 307823

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:07

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:07
" what pitfalls issues are there that we should consider. "

Not finding work for months, and car shiating itself, needing lots of $$ spent on it, that you dont have...
Theres squillions of backpackers doing the same thing as you....
AnswerID: 45821

Follow Up By: Member - Paul T- Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:18

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 10:18

Yep, certainly an issue to give some thought to. We plan to dip into the 'kids inheritance' and put some dollars in a 'no -touch' emergency account so that we can cover the cost of at least return to home repairs.

Will alos take out some insurance with NRMA for 'extra cover' which may help with some of the towing and accommodation costs if the worst happens.

Thanks and cheersPT
FollowupID: 307819

Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 11:16

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 11:16
Aahhhh Paul......JUST DO IT!!!!

We spent 5 years on the road with our own craft manufacturing and wholesaleing business. Times were tough now and then and we resorted to fruit picking. What a bugger of a job. You learnt about muscles you never thought existed in your body. Lots of pain for the first week but after that it improved. Yes the pay is lousy but you are free and the air is fresh and if it puts some dollars in your pocket, well why not? Our fuel bill for one year was $15,000 and that is when fuel was still between 60/70cl. We bushed camped for 90% of the time towing a 27 footer behind us. We managed to do 250,000km in that period and wore out two bombs and two caravans in the process. But it was FUN. We stopped at the end of 2000 and settled down to playing house again.

There is plenty of work in all sorts of fields especially in the outback on tourist routes. Alice Springs is a good place to try as is Kununurra in WA and down along the western coastline. With your skills you should be able to find work anywhere.

Out on the Gibber
AnswerID: 45837

Reply By: ianmc - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 12:21

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 12:21
Willem, your way of doing it back then, apart from the expense, just about falls into the "extreme sport" category. 27 footer, 250,000kms,$15,000 fuel, 2 trucks & vans. Should have had a diesel!
Hope you found your right spot when it was all over! Ian
AnswerID: 45851

Reply By: Steve - Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 16:35

Sunday, Feb 08, 2004 at 16:35
Hey Paul,

I am mid-way through a trip around Oz & couldn't recommend just going highly enough.

Do a Google search for "Harvest Trail" which will tell you where there is fruit picking and when, though I wouldn't recommend it - I drank twice as much as I earned picking grapes just getting over the pain of the long 45 degree days. The farmers margins are pretty thin & they don't have a lot to pass on to the workers.

I left Sydney two years ago yesterday & have loved every minute of it, there is work in all capital cities if you are willing to be patient & get friendly with some agencies, and there is plenty of work in outback towns if you just ask around (and are willing to stay there for a while). It may not be your dream jobs but good people & the lifestyle make it really worthwhile.

Good Luck & maybe see you on the road.

AnswerID: 45883

Follow Up By: mijochka - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004 at 14:53

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004 at 14:53
Has anyone had experience of itinerant driving work available?
I'm 57 and hold semi & bus licenses. Pretty fit but realistically probably not up to constant heavy lifting.
FollowupID: 308068

Reply By: Anne from Drysdale River Station - Sunday, Feb 15, 2004 at 04:38

Sunday, Feb 15, 2004 at 04:38
Hi Paul,
Depending on what you can or will do you will be surprised how many of the farm stay / cattle stations / roadhouses / remote tourism opperations want and need short term helpers. The only catch is to be in their area at their busy season. For example you won't get much work in the Kimberley in the wet season.
There are also sometimes jobs to be had out of season caretaking ( not many) while owners of same go on holidays, not a lot of dollars as a rule but all is provided so no costs to come out and I am told by all who have done it, a great experience.
Your age is not a minus but a plus for many of the jobs, experience with people, honesty, reliability, able to take responsibility etc etc tend to be more expected with age. The problems that do arise are normally due to money as mentioned by several others, some people expect $25 plus an hour and (unless you are a mechanic or some such ) you will be pushing to find this sort of dollars in the itinerant / seasonal workplace.
Good luck. I have met hundreds of people doing just what you plan, go with an open mind and you will love it.
cheers, AnneDrysdale River Station
AnswerID: 46748

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Feb 15, 2004 at 21:48

Sunday, Feb 15, 2004 at 21:48

Try Outback International in Rockhampton (07 49274 300), they supply staff, both permanent and casual, all over Qld, NT and WA. Once they have your stats, they can chase positions for you.

The only thing wrong with being 50 or more, is that ones tends to forget that you're not 25 anymore, until you're buggered. This is increased when working with staff in their late teens, early 20's.

Enjoy your time travelling
AnswerID: 46817

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