Backpackers and Working Holiday

So you’ve decided to backpack around Queensland? Good for you!  Now it’s time to get your checklist sorted. To help plan your epic backpacker trip, here’s a few serving suggestions of where to go, how to get around and how can you earn some moolah while you’re exploring.   

Where To Go
We must warn you. Queensland is a super awesome state and has so many sweet places to visit. Here’s a few spots to get the ball rolling:

  • Start in Brisbane. You’ll need a few days to do the city sights, swim at South Bank (a beach smack bang in the middle of the city) and kayak along the river with an Aussie BBQ at sunset to fuel you up. If you don’t mind increasing your heart rate, try your hand at abseiling and rock climbing at Kangaroo Point or get your foodie on and do your own food or craft beer crawl around South Bank, the Valley, the city and West End. If you haven’t held a koala or met kangaroos face to face, you have to get to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. For some island fun an hour away from the city, head on the ferry to Moreton Island and feed wild dolphins, go sand tobogganing and snorkel around the wrecks.
  • Head south to the Gold Coast.  Learn to surf at the one and only Surfer’s Paradise.  There’s 70 kilometres of swell-worthy waves to perfect your craft (or just watch from the beach). Dry off with a walk through World Heritage rainforests and see Springbrook National Park’s natural bridge and waterfall. For the ultimate adrenalin day, head to the Gold Coast’s theme parks. There’s loads of great Gold Coast backpacker hostels, bars, nightlife and fun vibes to boot.
  • Scoot up to the Sunshine Coast via Australia Zoo.  You’ll need a full day to see the sights of Steve Irwin’s epic zoo. Here’s how we’d do it (blog) #crikey. Drive further north and dust off your flip flops or hiking boots before exploring Noosa National Park. Don’t forget to look up; you could spot a koala in the wild!  You can test your surfing or cocktail sipping skills around Hastings Street. 
  • As you head north, your next must do stop is Fraser Island! Fraser is the biggest sand island in the world. Meet the locals (including the dingos) and cool off in one of the fresh water lakes like Lake McKenzie or Lake Wabby. Kayak, hike, sail or swim your way around the island or wait for 4WD peak hour traffic on the beach highway along 75 mile beach. If you’re in the Fraser Coast between June to November, keep an eye out for the migrating humpback whales who will share a story or two with you (if you dig whale talk!).
  • Mix up your beachy break with some red dirt and head west to the Outback. While you're there, meet a bilby, star gaze, enjoy sunset from the top of Big Red and share a yarn over a cold beer with a local. Time your visit around an event like the Birdsville Races or the Dirt n Dust Festival. 
  • Next stop is the start of something special, the Southern Great Barrier Reef.  Meet the reef from Bundaberg and head to Lady Elliot Island for manta ray and turtle action.  You have loads of islands options with Heron Island and the Great Keppel Island group as you head up the coast.   
  • Time for a road trip further north to Airlie Beach, a great anchoring point in the Whitsundays. Snorkel or sail your way around the Great Barrier Reef and 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays. Don’t act like you’re not impressed! There are six islands with resorts, the rest are untouched hideaways of white sand and lush greenery. Don’t miss your chance to get your toes busy with the silica sand on Whitehaven Beach, sip cocktails and hang out with super yachties (yes, that’s their official name!) on Hamilton Island.  Once your sea legs are back on dry land, make the most of the pumping nightlife and backpacker vibe in Airlie Beach.
  • Three and a half hours’ drive north of Airlie is Townsville, the biggest city outside of Brisbane with loads of bars and some pretty spectacular ice cream spots on the Strand.  Jump on the ferry and head out to Magnetic Island (otherwise known as “Maggie”) to meet some cute locals hanging out in trees.  Magnetic Island has the largest population of koalas and rock wallabies.  Explore the island on foot, bus or hire an open top pink moke! 
  • Yep you guessed it. We’re heading north to get to know Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland.  The Cairns backpacker scene is pumping all year round. Adventure awaits both above and below the water. Head out on a day tour of the Great Barrier Reef and snorkel or scuba dive til you’ve found Nemo (and the other amazing marine life).  Now that you’ve reefed it up, head north to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. Cool off in one of the water holes, waterfalls or right in the middle of Cairns at the Cairns Lagoon.  It’s green and glorious!  Need some more adrenalin? There’s plenty of options available with raging rapids, sky diving and bungy jumping! Bring. It. On! 

How to get around
  • Bus - There are bus services that travel all over the sunshine state including Greyhound and hop on and hop off bus options and packages.
  • Hire - If you’d prefer to explore from behind the wheel, hire a camper van or car to drive yourself to the must see spots in Queensland.
  • Tour - If you’d rather a little less responsibility, join a tour to meet other fun people to share the experience with.
  • Rail - Queensland Rail has you covered for rail journeys up and down the east coast and a good way to experience the Outback 

Read more

Working Holiday Visas and Job Opportunities

Working Holiday Visas
One of the best ways to discover Queensland is with a Working Holiday Visa (class 417 and 462). This Visa is intended to allow young people who are not residents of Australia to work legally and earn money to extend their travels. The programme allows passport holders from eligible countries, aged between 18 and 30 to visit Australia for up to 12 months. For more information and further requirements visit the Australian Immigration Department.

Backpacker Jobs
Once you have your Working Holiday Visa sorted, you may be looking for a short term job. There are loads of websites that can help you find jobs throughout Queensland. Whether you’re planning before you head Down Under or you’re already on the road, make sure you check out these sites for jobs and advice.

Backpacker Job Recruitment 

Backpack AroundWork and Travel Company | Backpacker Job Board | Work Stay 

General Listing of Australian Job Search Sites 

Plan your Holiday

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Great Keppel Island Hideaway

Great Keppel Island,
  • Deals
From AU$60 - 300
Great Keppel Island Hideaway welcomes guests to share their barefoot island paradise, an authentic locally owned Island resort situated on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, merely 30 minutes ferry from Yeppoon.

Stranded Beach Stay Yeppoon

Capricorn Coast, Livingstone Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$65 - 135
Stranded Beach Stay Yeppoon is a unique affordable beach stay guesthouse situated directly across from Yeppoon main beach and esplanade. Boutique style accommodation offering a collection of five private guest rooms and creatively styled shared lifestyle spaces including a fully equipped gourmet kitchen.

Gold Coast Backpackers

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$30 - 95
Gold Coast Backpackers is a purpose build luxury backpackers, offering a variety of rooms to suit all budgets. Located within walking distance to Gold Coast iconic beaches, Surfers Paradises Shopping and Party Strip - The Cavill Avenue and the famous Q1 Sky Walk and observation deck is right next door.

Nomads Noosa

Noosa Heads, Noosa Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$22 - 30
Nomads Backpackers Noosa is a Hostel and Resort situated in the heart of Noosa opposite shops, restaurants, cinema and only 900 yards to Noosa Main Beach and famous Noosa National Park. Nomads is surrounded by tropical gardens and guest have direct access to the communal kitchen, bar, resort swimming pool and volleyball court.

Orchid Guest House

Townsville, Townsville Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$54 - 85
Orchid Guest House offers budget travellers or business visitors the option of staying in a quiet, homely atmosphere, where they can expect a peaceful sleep (no noise after 10pm) and to relax in a tranquil setting amongst the palm trees and orchids.
From AU$30 - 110
Become part of Brisbane's history with a stay at Nomads Brisbane Hostel - more than just a great location! Party up in the world-renowned Down Under Bar before sleeping it off at their historic site. They want their guests to have the best experience possible with them so they will be keeping you entertained 7 days a week with free activities.

Base Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
From AU$10 - 125
Base Backpackers is located right on the beach and is the only place to Stay and Play on Magnetic Island There is a choice of dorm rooms at Base from mixed dorms to the female sanctuary dorms which includes a sanctuary pamper package on arrival.

Innisfail Accommodation Centre

Innisfail, Cassowary Coast Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$40 - 90
Set in the Tropical Paradise of North Queensland, Innisfail Accommodation Centre is a home away from home. Accommodation is fully air-conditioned, each room fitted with a flat screen television, free Wi-Fi and fully furnished.

Nomads Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$25 - 90
Nomads Airlie Beach is the perfect place to stay before or after a trip to the Whitsundays. Located right in the heart of Airlie Beach opposite the famous swimming lagoon, Nomads is no more than 50 metres away from all that Airlie Beach has to offer.


Townsville City, Townsville Area
  • Free WiFi
From AU$24 - 209
Rambutan is Australia's first ever resort-style backpacker hostel offering an impressive 58 rooms to accommodate a multitude of travellers in the heart of Townsville. This boutique resort is oozing with character, quaintness and style.
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