Work in the Whitsundays

hill inlet backpackers

If you've ever seen a photo of Whitehaven Beach, or an aerial picture of Heart Reef, you'll know the Whitsundays is one of the top destinations for travellers to Australia. 

Whatever your career goals, there are opportunities for employment throughout the Whitsundays and neighbouring areas. Jobs in the Whitsundays are usually a lot of fun and happen to be in one of the most beautiful parts of the world to work and live in! While they may not have to do with your education or background, there is plenty of work available with on-the-job training and growth opportunities.

The Whitsundays

The Whitsundays is made up of 74 islands, the local townships of Airlie Beach and Cannonvale through to Shute Harbour and Proserpine, all of which generally have work opportunities. With a car, there's easy access to close by mining towns and produce areas such as Bowen, which also are usually hiring tourists and nationals for work. There is public transport available as well, and if you're staying in Airlie most places are within walking distance. There are many ways to get to the Whitsundays, including by plane, buses and trains, or simply driving. 


With resorts, tour operators, charter companies, and all manner of tourism and hospitality related services all central to the Whitsundays, it is most likely job openings will be from within tourism or hospitality. Visitors or potential workers with experience or interest in these areas will usually have the most chance of success for mid to long-term employment.

Sailing Crew

If you are lacking experience and still wish to be involved in the sailing industry or Whitsundays tourism, there are several highly regarded courses that lead to employment in the sailing or tour boat fields, such as a commercial crew certificate, or diving courses. Check here for the chance to get your sailing qualification. You may also look into doing your courses separately, through the local Whitsunday Sailing Club's Maritime Training School

You can also begin by building your resume with valid experience by taking volunteer positions in your dream area. Seek out such volunteer positions by getting out onto the docks and the marinas and introducing yourself in person to tour operators or check out the many restaurants, bars, eateries and cafes and begin networking. Volunteering to do a boat trip as a host not only builds your experience but gives you the chance to see the Whitsundays and have fun while you work. By spending time throughout the islands, potential workers also can get a feel for the area without committing to any one job.

If you take your sailing career seriously, the Whitsundays is the place to gain experience, to build on your skills, and to get a chance at the top jobs in the industry. Work efficiently and professionally in the Whitsundays and you open up many future possibilities to work within the sailing and boating field. You can work on skills and qualifications such as Coxswain, Master IV or V tickets and can find work on the water or under the water with advanced diving certificates and experience.


Farm Work

On the other end of the scale, backpackers and those looking to balance their travelling budget can find fruit and vegetable picking in Bowen (just a 45 minute drive from Airlie Beach) or cane harvesting and general farm maintenance work in Mackay. Expect harvest seasons for tomatoes to run September to December; for vegetables, May to November; and mangoes, November to December. Cane harvests are brought in June to November, while planting takes place March, April, June, August and September; and cane farm maintenance work is generally available March to May.

farm work


If resort living seems a dream come true, then look for employment notices from the island resorts. There are several resort islands in the Whitsundays with varying levels of accommodation and services. Check out job ads for Hamilton Island, Hayman Island and Daydream Island Resorts who are often hiring and are located within the Whitsundays. Chefs, housekeepers/cleaners, and administrative staff are usually required by the resorts as the turnaround is seasonal and positions are often filled on a short-term basis. The bonus benefits of resort employment is that employees are often able to live within the resort or at least on the island and the work is usually on shifts. That means you might have mornings off to lie by the pool and work on that tan, with days off spent on the mainland or seeing the rest of the Whitsundays. 

daydream island

Other Work

If tourism or hospitality is not your idea of dream employment, administrative jobs are sometimes available as well as tour sales in the main street. If you're a handyman or know a thing or two about boat engines, you're likely to find work in the maintenance position at the boat yards or for a boat company. With the number of boat tours, water sport adventures, and charter boats in the Whitsundays, good quality maintenance crew are always needed.

fraser island tyres

Work Visas

For both short term or long term work, the first requirement is a valid working visa or Australian citizenship. If you are entering Australia from another country with the hopes of finding a job, ensure you have applied for the right visa that allows work. Get a resume together to hand out to potential employers, ensuring you include a photo of yourself to personalize your application - remember that tourism and hospitality industries are all about creating a friendly, welcoming vision for customers so a photo with a big smile and an approachable demeanour will win you more opportunities.

The Whitsundays is an active, fun and rather wonderful place of employment, where you can not only find amazing work, but you can also enjoy your time off too.

Ready to start your working holiday in the Whitsundays? Chat live to our local travel experts about how to get started! 

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