Pearling Jobs Australia

For backpackers who seek a real Aussie adventure and want to save some money but do mind bit of hard work, a job in pearling can be a great option. 

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- Top 5 Highest Paid Jobs!

- Genuine Experiences of Backpackers in Australia

- Tips on finding work


Click links to take you to the information below

What is pearling?

Pearling is the farming of oysters for pearls and associated products. The heart of the Australian pearling industry is in Broome, north of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, but there is also work available in the industry in the Northern Territory and Queensland. 


Where can you find pearling work in Australia?

Western Australia

Broome, Western Australian is a favourite destination for backpackers looking for pearling work. It is a top tourist destination and has superb weather around the peak harvest time - around 30 degrees Celsius during the day and 18 degrees Celsius at night. It also produces some of the best pearls in the world.


Currently there are less than fifteen pearl culture leases operating in Queensland waters. Spat hatcheries produce shells for pearl farming have also been established in three Queensland locations: Albany Island, Turtle Head, and Fitzroy Island.

Northern Territory

Pearl culture operations in the Northern Territory are centred on the Coburg Peninsula to the north-west of Darwin. Pearl cultivation also occurs in Darwin and Bynoe Harbours.

When and how can you find pearling work in Australia?

Casual work can be picked up all year round but the busiest season is the harvest season from April/May through to September/October when most places double their amount of staff (most of which are backpackers).

In WA the biggest pearl cultivators are Paspaley Pearls, Cygnet Bay Pearls and Clipper Pearls.

During the season, you can generally pick up work quite easily as there are constantly workers coming and going. Rather then just emailing a resume we recommend calling to find out what is really happening. Here are some phone numbers we found so you don't have too. Be prepared to be polite and patient, many of these numbers are general phone numbers and you will need to ask for the mobile or another number. Good Luck! 


Paspaley Pearls - (08) 9192 2203 (only employ from Darwin)

Clipper Pearls - apply via website Clipper Pearls main farm is located in the NT, near the town of Nhulunbuy (Gove).


Willie Creek Pearls is tourism based so may employ you for tourism based jobs.

Cygnet Bay Pearls - (08) 9192 4283 has a pearling department, tourism and retail side.

If you are a pearling company or backpacker with an alternate number, please contact us to help keep this list current.

Best ways to find a job in pearling

  1. Just Travel - actually being where the action is will often lead to a job once you start making enquiries. (For information on seasons - see below)
  2. Contact compaines directly (phone numbers provided below)
  3. Check our Free Listings for jobs.

What is pearling like?

The work is not suited to everyone. You'll need to like the sea and early mornings! Boats usually leave around 6am and finish at around 4.30pm. The work is physical and can be quite monotonous, dirty and smelly. Many girls work on the farms and can take jobs that are less physically demanding.

With some companies you can work and live on boats, so you may not set foot on land for a couple of weeks. Others sleep on land and work on the boats during the day. Most farms are in sheltered and protected waters so you don't have to worry about getting seasick (but check with the company how far out they go!).

There is a great social aspect to the job as there are a lot of travellers and time off after work can be spent swimming, fishing and socialising. Many travellers who go pearling love the opportunity to see (and fish) some of the incredibly diverse and beautiful Australian marine life. You will get to see sea snakes, turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales and all types of fish.

For more information - Government of Western Australia, Department of Fisheries.

How much can you earn?

The current minimum standard based on the 2010 National Aquaculture Award  ranges somewhat, depending on whether meals and accommodation is provided, skill of the individual and hours in the day.  However, a casual unskilled backpacker is likely to earn between $18 and $24 per hour based on a 10 hour day.

Different pearling companies have different rates and rosters, so the frequency of work varies. Some work two weeks on then one week off. Others work by the neap tides which is about eight to 11 days on and four to six days off. 

The best part is you can't spend any money while you're on the boat and you get three good quality meals a day.


Get our free "Tips from Backpackers Living and Working in Australia" PDF 

includes the

- Top 5 Highest Paid Jobs!

- Genuine Experiences of Backpackers in Australia

- Tips on finding work

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