When people think of Oceania, they tend to think stereotypically of the Land Down Under: Sydney Opera House, beautiful beaches, and friendly Aussie surfer dudes. However, Oceania expands across many islands across the Pacific Ocean. This region is a medley of mountains, deserts, reefs, forests, beaches, and multicultural cities, and it is truly a magnet for travelers from around the globe. Why not trade in your tourist visa and really get to know the Land-Down-Under lifestyle by working abroad in Oceania?
Oceania is not just a place for blonde, tanned, surfer hotties; it’s a land filled with people from all over the world. Nicknamed the “backpacker region,” travelers can make friends with people from Sweden, Chile, and China all in the same day. But this region’s diversity is found in much more than its people. Whether you want to spend your free time petting kangaroos in Australia, skiing down snow-capped mountains in New Zealand, trekking through jungles in Vanuatu, or swimming under waterfalls in Fiji, you will find everything you’ve ever dreamed of in Oceania.
Australia is one of the most popular destinations for travelers from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. From beaches to harbors and bustling cities to pure, authentic outback, there is so much to explore in Australia. Head to Sydney to check out the iconic Opera House and climb the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge. Explore the graffitied streets of Melbourne, where you can spend hours at hole-in-the-wall cafes or join the sunbakers in Brisbane, with their extremely laidback lifestyle and plenty of waves to catch. No matter the location, you’ll have heaps of opportunities to join sports fanatics watching the footy, hit the pokies, work on your tan, and meet new mates from across the globe.
New Zealand calls to all adrenaline junkies. You’ll fall in love with the islands’ clear turquoise waters, lush green fields, and truly, majestically purple mountains. Queenstown, the extreme sports capital of the Southern Hemisphere, is the perfect place to bungee jump off bridges or ski through snow-capped mountains. In the North Island, you’ll find the iconic Lord of the Rings’ Shire, where hobbits roam with their big hairy feet. Some of New Zealand’s bigger cities, like Auckland and Wellington, combine rugged beauty with city life, so there’s something to keep everyone happy.
The Pacific Islands are another popular location to work abroad in Oceania. Countries like Fiji and Micronesia offer a truly unique cultural experience, different from what you find in Australia or New Zealand. While there are more cultural and linguistic differences, you’ll undoubtedly be surrounded with positive vibes that come from close knit, hospitable communities and constant hearty laughter. Head to the islands for white sands and clear blue waters where you can surf, snorkel, swim, kayak, and even trek over volcanoes.
Jobs in Australia & Oceania
For most people, working abroad makes it possible to enjoy an extended stay in a foreign country; with the job opportunities in Oceania available for travelers, you will enjoy all the benefits that come with working abroad: travel, meeting new people, making some moolah, expanding resumes, and having new adventures.
Many travelers in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands seek out jobs in the hospitality industry. This could mean working in bars and restaurants or in hostels and guesthouses. Most of hospitality jobs in Oceania include perks like free meals or accommodation in exchange for work, a fun atmosphere, and, of course, the opportunity to meet heaps of new mates. This field of work is great for shorter time commitments, schedule flexibility, and location-based travel itineraries.
For those looking for a truly immersive experience, try au pairing in Oceania. Au pairs have the opportunity to travel the world and earn money, while living with a host family who will house, feed, and treat you like their own. These jobs usually include a weekly stipend, along with full accommodation and meal coverage, so every cent you earn will go straight to your pocket! And since Australia and New Zealand have such huge au pair communities, it will be easy to meet friends through your work.
While au pairing is less popular in the islands and Southeast Asia, it is very easy to find English teaching jobs. Whether you have a TEFL certificate or not, you can head to Oceania and teach English to local children. You can live cheaply, make a decent living, and have plenty of time to travel to (cheap) neighboring countries. While you’re teaching your language, sign up for your own local language classes to boost your experience too!
Salary & Affordability
With a range of destinations in the Oceania region comes a range of living costs. While some countries are cheaper than others, most travelers will be able to find work that will cover their living costs and leave enough to save for travel afterwards.
Just because Australia and New Zealand are some of the top international travel destinations, doesn’t mean everyone can afford to live there. Rent is slightly higher than that in the United States, meals out at an inexpensive restaurant average almost $20, and forget about finding a cheap bottle of liquor! At the same time, minimum wage in Australia is more than double compared to the United States, and New Zealand’s is similar. So for those working full time, no matter what job, you will make more than enough money to live comfortably. And if your job offers a homestay, your stipend will be nothing but pocket money, so save up and have fun!
The cost of living in the Pacific Islands is significantly low, except in biggest tourist destinations. Travelers heading here may feel like millionaires at first, and will be able to easily survive on $30 a day! But even if you’ve spent your time working abroad in the Pacific Islands, you’ll be able to make a lot more money than you’ll spend, making it a great place to work abroad in Oceania.
If you need some help covering the plane ticket to this part of the world, consider starting a crowdsourced fundraiser through FundMyTravel.
Accommodation & Visas
Most people don’t realize how easy it to pack a bag, book a flight, and find temporary work in the Oceania region. From visas to finding a place to call home, the process is a lot less daunting than any preformed opinions about it.
Australia and New Zealand both offer working holiday visas for travelers under the age of 30. All it takes is a quick online application form, and your visa approval will be emailed to you within the day. No paperwork needed; a one-year working holiday visa will be electronically linked to your passport. The best part of this visa is that it truly encourages you to work and travel. Visa guidelines say travelers can work anywhere, full-time, for six months under one employer. While you can switch jobs after six months, the point is to work, save, and explore the rest of the country.
While the rest of the Oceania region doesn’t offer the same working holiday visa, it is fairly easy to obtain a visa. In Fiji and many other Pacific Islands, most jobs will endorse you throughout the process, while in others, there will be other options for nonimmigrant visas. The process and requirements will ultimately depend on your nationality, so check out GoAbroad's Embassy Directory for more information.
No matter where you decide to work in Oceania, you will be able to find housing to suit your needs. Au pairs will have accommodation provided in home stays, while teachers will usually have housing options provided through their teaching contracts. If all else fails, look for house-shares. In Australia, Aussies tend to move around the country just as much as international travelers, so people are constantly looking for flatmates.
Benefits & Challenges
Anywhere you choose to work abroad in Oceania will offer you the chance for adventurous travel. You can spend a year in a foreign country, making money on what feels like an extended vacation in a beautiful place, what could be better? You’ll have the opportunity to explore reef, mountain, desert, and beach locations all while making lifelong friends.
While it’s easy to get a temporary work visa in Oceania, permanent residence is extremely difficult to acquire. You may fall in love with your new home, but forget about moving there permanently, unless you find yourself a nice bloke/sheila to marry! Enjoy each day to its fullest and leave a lasting impression with your employer; maybe you’ll impress enough to be invited back?
The Oceania region is scattered across the Pacific Ocean, from the Australian outback to Kiwi mountains and winding roads to Fijian villages. The region is full of different cultures, languages, and people, but is united by the ever-present ocean and laidback lifestyle. What more could you ask for while working abroad?