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WHV's can ONLY be applied for; before arriving in Australia. Working Holiday Visa's* can only be granted before you arrive in Australia. For details about applying visit Australia's official website here ( or visit a Travel Agent or an Australian Embassy or Consulate in the country you are in.

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The Workstay Outbackpackers Country Pub Program

We began the Workstay Outback Pub program in 2000 with 3 pubs. Through word of mouth the program has continued to grow and today Workstay can boast the most successful program of its kind anywhere in the world. Not all pubs are suitable for the program and over the years some pubs have been dropped. The program is designed to be win win for everybody and Workstay can boast a 98% success rate. As with most success stories the 'copy-cats' soon appear (after the hard work has been done). One of the problems caused by this is that they are often dealing with pubs that Workstay has dropped and because the program relies so heavily on good word of mouth, bad experiences will reflect unfairly on the Workstay program. If you are considering accepting a Country Pub placement either through a copy-cat operator or from a pub advertising direct, then we simply urge you to check with us before setting blindly off. Some pubs choose to advertise themselves outside the Workstay network and can be fine and we will tell you so, but if a Pub is advertising outside the Workstay network then there may well be another reason.

Workstay originated the Outbackpackers Country Pub Barmaids Program in 2000 but has been around since 1986




After 2 1/2 months of spending my money on traveling, sight-seeing and cheap cartons of wine; it was time to look for a job. Through the Workstay agency in Perth I ended up as a barmaid in a place where the number of inhabitants was 28. The first week of my work was a little bit hard because you don't know anybody. That's why I was a little bit worried about my weekends off - I thought they will be very boring. But after two weeks I already started to know the locals and they started to know me. Every weekend there were people who loved to take me out and show me around. They were happy to see a new face in their town and they loved to show me the things and places where they are proud of. I went with the family of the pub to `Wave Rock' and people from another place picked me up to show me around their farm. I followed some Japanese lessons at the Primary School, I had a look at the local `Pig Farm'. It is really interesting how people in the country live their life and I really loved to be a part of it. One day they took me out for a `real` bush barbecue and it was really fantastic. I baked little pancakes with the mums, for the hardworking men's `smoko`. The men even learned me to ride a motor-bike, and after I knew how to handle the bike they took me for a ride over their land and through a real fascinating landscape. But the most fantastic thing that happened during my time in the country was that a local showed me around, but not by car or by bike, but he took me up in the smallest airplane I have ever seen  and it was absolutely fantastic. The sight that I had from the plane really gave me the idea that I was really in the outback - unbelievable, what a space. All I could see was land, land and more land. I will never forget the time that I lived and worked in the pub. I learned a lot from the job and even more from the people I met. I think the people in the country are the best. One man even gave me some old Australian coins to keep as a reminder of my fantastic experience.
Sharon Brand The Netherlands


I nearly didn't come to WA at all.  What a different year that would have been.  The experiences I have had here in the last six months will keep me going in amusing and inspiring anecdotes for years.  Like many backpackers I've worked in my fair share of bars and hotels, but I can safely say none of them quite compare with my Workstay out in the Western Australian goldfields.

Don said it would be interesting, very interesting and different from your usual country pub.  Well, that sounded ominous for a start.  So a trip on a dinky little Qantas jet later and I'm sitting looking out over an expanse of red dirt and bush with that familiar feeling of apprehension and anticipation.  Still, you never get anything out of life if you're not prepared to be a little scared at times.  A ten minute tour of the town revealed what I'd feared - there's not a lot here.  Forget shopping, clubbing, txting and hanging out in flashy bars and coffee houses.  Mine is a privately owned town run by a mining company and as such its like stepping into a bubble where the outside world seems a distant memory.  As a town its functional;  there's your basic amenities - a supermarket, post office etc, but the closest you'll get to buying the latest fashions is the second hand clothes truck that pulls up in a car park every week or so.  On the other hand, the sports facilities are great - there's a gym, tennis and squash courts and a large swimming pool;.  As for the food, it's backpacker heaven:  three meals a day in the mess, you'll wonder how you ever survived before.

Most of the miners are fly-in-fly-out and work 12 hour shifts - nights or day.  So you've guessed it - they work hard, but when they hit the bar, god can they drink some beer.  The six barmaids lived together in an old donga in SPQ (single person quarters) and worked between the Tavern, bistro, bottle shop and the Wet Mess.  On shift change days, the bar could be packed and that seven hours could just fly by.  On quieter days, you could be cleaning the fridge doors for the third time before the bar was busy enough to keep you occupied.  The days were often long though, sometimes I worked 10-12 hours over a 16 hour day.  By the end of it, however, we would sit back over a beer and relive the evening's events or raid the bakery for fresh pizzas and cakes.  My least favorite shift was definitely early mornings at the wetty.  If you're the kind of person who's not ready to face the world before 11 am, then the 6.30 - 9.30 am shift at the wetty is a must.  There's nothing like serving beer and forced cheerfulness at a time when you should rightfully still be comatose in bed.  You're not there just to stand around and look pretty though.  If you want to fit in, then everybody appreciates a hard worker.  A list of my skills would include barmaid, waitress, cleaner, office temp and part-time gossip.  It was often a case of being willing to do whatever was asked of you and having the confidence to keep going without really knowing what you were supposed to be doing at all.

One of the best things about working out in the bush is that you meet some great characters.  Whether it be kicking back on a day off drinking beers with the boys; sitting out in the sun gassing to the other barmaids; or out playing tennis or at the gym with the kitchen crew, there were always people around.  Admittedly, some of our customers were pretty feral, but they were good value.  Because you're a backpacker you immediately have something to talk about and people are interested in hearing your stories.  You've probably seen more of Australia than many of the Aussie's.  Be prepared for the men to pursue you endlessly and the women to be a little hostile at first as they size up the competition.  I think I've heard some of the best and worst chat-up lines while I've been working over here.  You keep thinking they'll give up, but just accept the fact that you're going to hear the same quality lines for the duration of your stay.

So you think you know your mids from your supers, your EB from your VB and your glasses from your middies, schooners and pints?  Excellent - well get out there and experience a bit of Aussie living.  It's the kind of experience that builds character, but try and take a little with you from the start.  You don't need to be the loudest, wildest girl in your dorm, but you do need to have the confidence and resilience to keep smiling and make the most of your time there.  Looking back, while I certainly had my bad days, they're far outweighed by the good ones.  I have so many memories that just make me laugh and I will still be laughing about them for years to come.

Helen Myers, 26 U.K


Barmaid in Western Australia!

So girl, what's your crime?"...I slowly and apprehensively looked up and my eyes met his - a cross between Popeye and Ned Kelly...and so began my first night as a Workstay barmaid, located in a wheat and sheep farming town 2 hours north-east of Perth. This strange looking character was my first meeting with a local. "My crime?" I tried my best to respond with a witty retort but could only manage a kind of half smile, half silly look on my shining new barmaid face..all the while begging help from a higher force and thinking what the hell am I doing here.. what to reply to this wild man who obviously has better things to spend his money on, other than shavers and haircuts. If you spun him around you would not be able to tell where the beginning or the end of his face was. From somewhere within the hair where his popeyes resided followed "yeah mate, ya know, wheredoyacumfrom..howdidyaendupiherethen?" Okay, that I sort of understood and was about to begin the whole speech but I didn't get far before he interrupted.."that's sweet darlin... giveusamiddyofEBwouldya"...? The rest of the locals who followed that night were soon to realize that I knew absolutely dada, nil, niente about beer nor how to pour the stuff... (with a perfect head etc). Its amazing how upset a person can get if he/she doesn't get the head they wants on their beer!! but no can go a long way with a smile and a giggle in a country pub. So in my learning process the sweet creatures did help me along by giving me the colour of the tap instead of the name of the beer.."a green and two red please sweetheart"...As my first night progressed Mr Wildmanpopeyekelly ended up on the floor on all fours looking like a mad (and pissed) bull attacking a friendly, helpless and confused dog. The friendly dog had its tail far up between its legs and seemed to look at me with eyes pleading "please help me call Amnesty and I'll be yours forever". I'm pleased to say that both the dog and me, and the floor survived my first night and the next many weeks to come. Living and working in the country, where rain, fertilizers, strong wool and T.A.B. tickets are some of the topics of conversation is quite a unique experience in itself but the people and their unique language and philosophies...well you just don't meet them anywhere else. You arrive all Miss Sweet and Fuzzy with absolutely no comprehension for things like; public burping or comments like "howsaboutshowinusyourtitsluv". but by the time you're leaving you know what each customer drinks, the lyrics of every AC/DC and Cold Chisel song, you know exactly what to say and how to say it when the testosterone in the air gets a bit too thick, you stop taking all the marriage proposals and desperate pick-up lines seriously, and when the music is playing and the Beams are many, you'll find yourself dancing on the bar together with the local party animals that made your stay in their country pub one of the most remarkable and memorable adventures you'll have. (And furthermore, you'll probably slip out a little burp on your way back to civilisation...) I had a ball.. My Workstay Country Pub Barmaid work experience was entertaining and diverse and to anyone else thinking of doing one, make sure you have plenty of blank pages in your diary because there's going to be a great deal to write about...bloody oath!!

Mona Rasmussen, Denmark


We were really keen to get involved in the Workstay program primarily because we felt we needed to be free of the 'tourist' element to backpacking. We were fed up of only ever meeting other backpackers like ourselves and wanted to experience 'real ozzie life'.  Although we were warned that we would probably hate the first week, it was quite the opposite, we loved our little town immediately and it soon became our home.
The locals were all really keen to get to know us and make us feel we were one of them. We were invited to experience 'proper' ozzie barbies in the bush, visit farms, go sheep shearing and attend countless parties.
We both had bar work experience from back home but working in the country was completely different, although we never did consider it as work, we had too much fun to call it that! During our Workstay we also experienced a Bush Rally, Bush Races and sporting events. It has been the best part of our traveling experience. We made some good friends which we are still in contact and with and whom we have arranged to visit in the near future. The Workstay program is a must for those, who like us, want to get the most from their traveling experience by doing something a little out of the ordinary. Its a once in a lifetime experience and we both feel very lucky to have been a part of it
Endless Thanks Workstay,Suzanne Kelly, UK.


Coming to Western Australia

I decided to come to Western Australia at the last minute, hoping to find some work to save up for the home leg of the journey. I heard spending some time in the outback was a good way to save some cash. I am now on my final week here having spent eight weeks all-together (longer than I originally planned) and I am really dreading the thought of leaving. My workstay placement here as a country pub barmaid has certainly surpassed all my expectations - in fact I've really had the best time of my travels so far. I've made many great friends, had some fantastic experiences and loved working in the bar (in spite of the fact that I had no previous bar experience). The locals have been great. Within a week of arriving people were offering to take us out to their farms and we got to witness everything from sheep shearing to shooting with spud gun's; we had many late nights and its surprising how much fun you can have without city nitelife. All in all it will hold many lasting memories for me in my trip down under and I strongly advise anyone considering these placements 'to go for it!' You'll surprise yourself once you give it a chance how much fun you'll have. I would gladly do this all over again

Clodagh (Ireland)

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