In 2012 I did 8 months of work and travelling within Australia. A good way to earn and save a great amount of cash is to work in a hotel of a country town. You usually get paid pretty well, get food and accomodation for free and have nothing around to spend your money. It might get boring sometimes but if you do this with a fellow travel buddy, it’s mainly good fun and you should always think of what you can do with that money afterwards.
After working there for not even two months, I could travel for about 3 months without working. It’s good to know a bit about these country towns beforehand. I lived in Coorow, a town about a 3 hour drive from Perth in which only 250 people live. I found it a very special time which cannot be compared with anything else which is why I’m trying to explain today how it is to live in an Australian country town.
The people are very friendly and open-minded here. When you start working here everyone wants to get to know you as soon as possible. And that’s what happening. After about two or three days there you might already know a lot of people’s names. They all have a great sense of community. As places of entertainment are limited, the town comes together quite a lot either for drinking beers or sports.
Getting there and around:
Unless you have a car, it can get hard to get away from the town or move in the closer area. In Coorow, there was a bus to Perth twice a week. And that was it. We were lucky as one of the inhabitants took us to the coast on Eastern but that was the only time we got out of the city.
In the end of my time there, I was really ready to leave that town and have the hustle of city around me, have supermarkets to go to, bars to hang out and actually be able to decide to which bar to go and to don’t know everyone. But nonetheless, it was an experience I do not want to miss and it was the best decision for my travel plans afterwards. I was travelling 4 days on the West Coast, went to Darwin, Alice Springs, visited the most important spots on the east coast, travelled through New Zealand for a month and spend a week on Fiji. I did not pay everything from those earnings in Coorow, but nearly.
The country pub will probably be the centre of attention in every country town. It’s where people meet every evening and have a beer or maybe even ten. It’s often full even during the week except there is a sports event going on somewhere in the town.
As I mentioned earlier I worked in the hotel of the city which had a pub inside of it. So work consisted mainly of doing the beds and some cleaning in the morning and barkeeping or helping in the kitchen in the evening. With a bit of luck, you get the job even if you don’t have experience in the field of barkeeping. It depends on the amount of people who are currently in the area of course. But most of the times people do not want to be that far away from the biggest cities, right in the middle of nowhere.
You often must attend a course that you are officially allowed to give alcohol to people – the so called Responsible Service of Alcohol Course or RSA. In Western Australia this can be easily done online. It’s just a bureaucratic thing in Australia. Some licences can be used in other states of Australia and some can’t. So check that beforehand if you plan on barkeeping in other places as well. The work in the pub was fun most days, of course there were boring days or days you do something wrong and your boss doesn’t “like” you. But anyways, you have to give people beers and their food and they’re happy. After a couple of days, you already know who drinks what kind of beer and who doesn’t want to have the salad as a side dish or any special “requirements” in consideration of the drinks. If you remember those peculiarities of them, they start appreciating you really quickly.
A special thing about working their is also that people often leave their purses on the counter and tell you, you should take out whatever the beer costs. I think it’s a great thing considering that there are new girls every couple of months. Give them a new beer if the glass or the can is empty and is put on the counter in a normal way. If they put it sideways on the counter, they do not want a new one.
If people are not working or in the pub, they are probably doing some sports or at least watching it. Main sport activities in Australia include Bowls, Netball and Australian football.
Don’t be surprised if they tell you “Here lives [name]. He’s my neighbour.” and then you drive 20 more minutes until you arrive at the house of that person. As a lot of people are farmers and Western Australia is huge, people consider others as neighbours even when they live more than 20km away.
So it’s a good thing to find a job where accomodation and food is included. Prices in Australia are already high but country town mini markets surpass even those prices. There is no choice and no competition and prices are significantly higher than you can imagine.
Flies can become pretty annoying here. The air is really dry and flies are all over the place. They sit on your face, even in your ears and eyes and you cannot chase them away as easily as normal flies. I don’t know what’s the problem of those flies but try to ignore it as good as you can.
In case you have already lived in an Australian country town, let me know how you liked it in the comments. And if you plan to live and work in an Australian country town, enjoy your time there!
This trip was first published on http://foodandphotosrtw.com/.