Living in Byron Bay is like living in a fantasy. The small town is constantly buzzing with unique and interesting people, love is given in abundance and the weather is generally beautiful. Byron Bay is in many ways the epitome of Australian living; with surfing, beautiful beaches and a chilled out vibe.
Many people visit Byron Bay for a few days and end up yearning to stay longer. And you should, I firmly believe that Byron is a time that can only really be experienced if you’re there for a while; in which instance it can literally be life changing. Although it is very possible to live in Byron Bay on a budget – camping at the Arts Factory (which is a fantastic way to live!) is only $105-120 a week and all of the magic that makes Byron Byron can be experienced for free – finding a job in Byron Bay will help those pennies go further.
For a small town with as large backpacker population as Byron Bay, job hunting can be kind of overwhelming. But while it’s definitely tough to find work in Byron Bay on your Australian working holiday visa, it’s not impossible. Here’s my best tips for getting a job in Byron Bay – and for more tips for the whole of Australia, check out this finding a job in Australia guide.
The best time to look for work in Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a seasonal place; while it doesn’t get cold in the winter, the odd day can be chilly and it rains more. So visitors flock to Byron Bay during the summer, when the days are long and the weather is scorching. Your best bet is to look for a job in September/ October or early December, these are when the big hiring seasons are as the tourists start to flock to Byron Bay. Jobs can of course be found other times in the year depending on staff turnover, but these months are when staff are in need.
Different kinds of jobs in Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a small town, popular mainly with holidaymakers. Therefore the predominant industries to be hired in are the catering and hospitality industries. It’s fairly easy to bag a job as a waitress, bartender or cleaner in Byron Bay.
Other popular jobs in Byron Bay include being a travel representative at one of the travel companies lining the street or doing labouring work. If you have any particular skills, such as teaching or healthcare, these jobs can be found in Byron or the surrounding region (you’ll probably need a car!) Office jobs in Byron Bay or the surrounding area are hard to come by, but the odd job does pop up on Gumtree.
Waitressing Jobs in Byron Bay
Restaurant jobs in Byron Bay are probably the most popular with backpackers, and for good reason. Byron Bay is a food lover’s paradise, with restaurants from every corner of the globe dotted around the town center.
Pretty much all of these restaurants ask for applications in person, so when you get to Byron Bay, trawl the streets with a comprehensive CV. What these restaurants really want to see is past experience, so be sure to draw emphasis to any you may have on your CV. Be creative; think about how your experience makes you a great candidate for a restaurant job in Byron Bay!
When a restaurant takes your CV, they’ll ask if you have your RSA. This is a qualification you have to take in Australia to give you the power to serve alcohol, and its a requirement for a restaurant job in Byron Bay (if they serve alcohol). Most restaurants will be unable to give you a trial until you have it. So at very least tell them that you’re in the process of completing it!
Other questions a manager might ask is how much experience you have in the industry – at which point you should talk about whatever experience you have detailed on your CV with a lot of enthusiasm – and how long you’ll be in Byron Bay for. Most want to hear that you’ll be there a while before they’ll even consider a job offer.
Be sure to hand out CVs when restaurants are quiet. If the place is a day joint, it will be quietest around close. If it’s just an evening restaurant, best to go as soon as it opens in the evening, or if it’s open all day, try midafternoon.
Here’s a few restaurants in Byron Bay that are often hiring and that people I know have enjoyed working at:
- Miss Margarita
- Hog’s Breath
- Fish Heads
- Main Street Burger Bar
- Get Toasted
- The Mez Club
- Balcony Bar
(note: there’s still lots more restaurants in Byron Bay that will hire long-term backpackers, but there’s a chunk to get started! )
If the manager likes the look of you and your CV, you’ll probably be invited for a trial shift. These are normally between 1 and 2 hours and are unpaid, just to show the company how you work and to see if you’re a good fit for the role. Before your trial shift, try and prepare by learning a little about the company and the food it offers. But just relax during the shift and be yourself!
One word of warning about restaurant jobs in Byron Bay – while a lot of the owners are great, some aren’t very nice at all. They’re used to backpackers working short term and leaving at short notice, which isn’t great for them as a business but sometimes means that they really don’t treat their backpacker employees very well. I had an experience like this at a restaurant I worked at for my first three weeks in Byron Bay; they paid under the minimum wage and threatened to drop me after a month. The owner was also very rude when I spent more time than he thought necessary handling a customer complaint. There’s a few stories of these kind of circumstances in Byron Bay, so be very wary about certain places.
I won’t mention the actual restaurant I worked at in this post but if you are thinking of getting a job in Byron Bay and have any questions about it, feel free to contact me.
Chef Jobs in Byron Bay
Chefs are fairly in demand in Byron Bay. If you have chef experience, hand out CVs in the same way as above but be sure to be very explicit about past jobs and any qualifications you may have. While chefs are often needed, restaurants are often very fussy about who they hire, and quite rightly so – you’ll be creating their product after all!
If you have no chef experience, you could enquire about kitchen porter jobs. These jobs are often available for people with less proficiency in the industry and can be a stepping stone for other positions in the company.
Barista Jobs in Byron Bay
If you have barista experience, you may be in luck when finding a job in Byron Bay. There’s lots of cafes and a relatively high turnover of coffee trained staff. Draw lots of attention to your barista experience, but if applicable, offer other skills (such as waitressing) as well.
If your barista experience needs topping up, I’d recommend taking a coffee course. The Australian Barista School’s one day course is an interesting and varied course covering all the essentials of good coffee as well as a coffee art lesson!
Bartender Jobs in Byron Bay
There’s a good chunk of bars in Byron Bay with a high turnover of staff. If you have bartending experience and like working evenings, enquire in some of these places. An absolute essential for bar work is your RSA; best to actually have the qualification before searching for a job – or at the very least make sure you have it before a trial.
Cleaning Jobs in Byron Bay
Cleaning jobs in Byron Bay are fairly easy to come by. A gumtree search or going around to individual hotels or motels with your CV is the best way to find one. There are a few companies hiring casual cleaners as well; so asking new people you meet if they have any contacts is a great way to find a cleaning job in Byron Bay.
Most hostels in Byron Bay offer work for accommodation opportunities. These mainly involve cleaning and making beds in exchange for free accommodation. While the hours for these jobs are sometimes very long, making the job seem underpaid, they are a great way to save money on rent when you first arrived and can sometimes lead to paid employment. After I worked for accommodation for a month, I was offered the job that funded my time in Byron Bay and subsequent travels; a paid, full-time cleaning position, five days a week for 6-9 hours per day. I worked incredibly hard at this job, starting at 6:30am most days, and it did definitely impact my time in Byron Bay a lot, but it was worth it to allow me to stay in the town for the length of time I did and to fund my travels afterwards.
Hostel Jobs in Byron Bay
Some hostels hire backpackers for reception or other jobs. You’ll need relevant experience and to be a long-term backpacker, but many hostels will be happy to chat about the possibility of hiring you if they have a vacancy.
Labouring Jobs in Byron Bay
If you’re feeling strong, there’s a few chances for labouring jobs in and around Byron Bay. Often you need your own car for this and it can be very tough work; but the pay is good, it means that you’re outside much of the time and it’s a great workout!
Labouring jobs are often found by word of mouth. Once you get to Byron and get to know people working there, ask around for anyone with any contacts. These jobs can range from just a few days to more long term positions.
Travel Representative Jobs in Byron Bay
If you have the gift of the gab then consider a travel rep job in Byron Bay. These jobs aren’t for the faint hearted; you have to stand on the street and draw people into your shops, and the companies put a lot of pressure on these sales, but if you enjoy a sales environment and love chatting to people you might enjoy this kind of job. The pay is excellent and they often come with freebies or huge discounts!
Travel agencies are often hiring, especially around the summer months- check out signs in the windows of the shops or pop in with a CV to ask.
Farm Jobs in Byron Bay
Byron Bay’s postcode – 2481 – is actually one of the postcodes permitted for farm work to get your second year visa. There’s a few farms in walking distance from the town centre but generally, you’ll need a car for more further out jobs. This work is best found on gumtree and the pay can be by hour or (if fruit picking, a popular second year visa job) by bucket picked.
Other Jobs in Byron Bay
I’ve covered the most popular jobs in Byron Bay, but there’s a few others that people I knew were doing while I was in the town. You could be a pedicab driver, a jewellery seller or even a professional busker; life in Byron Bay is about creativity, and you’ll often find people doing unorthodox jobs to earn money, tapping into their skills to fund the lifestyle that they’ve chose to live in Byron Bay.
If you’re stuck with finding a job in Byron Bay, think outside the box! I’m lucky enough to earn a chunk of money through freelance writing, so this along with the housekeeping job saw me save up a good amount.
General Tips for getting a Job in Byron Bay
If you’re trawling the streets looking for a job in Byron Bay (or anywhere!) remember the following:
- Look smart – you won’t spend much time dressed up in Byron – I definitely didn’t – but if there is a time to put on shoes and a clean white top, job-hunting is just that.
- Introduce yourself by offering your name and always act friendly and personable to any members of staff – ask for their names too. Try to leave a lasting impression!
- Remember the staff’s names – if needed keep a note on your phone of who you speak to at each business
- If you don’t hear back in a few days, do the same rounds again. This is very normal in Australia, especially in a place as busy as Byron Bay where dozens of people enquire about jobs every day. If you show your face multiple times, the business owners are more likely to remember you and your eagerness to work with them!
- Don’t lie but always focus on the positives of your experience and your CV. Constantly remind any prospective employers why you would be a great asset for your company!
Competition to get a job in Byron Bay is definitely tough, but it’s doable, as long as you have a little persistence and a dash of creativity! If you have any questions about the above, feel free to contact me, either in the comments box below or over on Facebook! 🙂
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