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Youth hostels and backpackers’ lodges everywhere are a goldmine of information for people working their way around the world. And nowhere are they better than in Australia. A growing number of hostel managers, especially in the major fruit and vegetable growing areas of Queensland, run their own informal job-finding service and try to put backpackers in touch with local employers. The disadvantage of being hard to contact when based in a big city hostel has largely been overcome by the mobile phone.You may find employment in the hostels themselves of course. Stephen Psallidas describes the proliferation of work, especially on the ‘Route’ between Sydney and Cairns:I’ve met loads of people working in backpackers’ hostels. Typically you work two hours a day in exchange for your bed and a meal. Work may be cleaning, driving the minibus, reception, etc. and is always on an informal basis so there are no worries about visas, etc. I will be jumping on the bandwagon myself soon. I’ll be completely shattered from picking tomatoes so I’m going to ‘work’ in a hostel in Mission Beach, where the owners invited me to work when I stayed there earlier. I’m going to rest up in a beautiful place before continuing my travels, and not spend any of my hard-earned dollars.There might be night work, especially at the big city hostels, for those who are up to the job of keeping non-residents out and rounding up residents swilling beer in the garden at 4am.Australia has 131 YHA hostels, many of which distribute details about employment available within their region. A free booklet listing all hostels and state offices is widely available (www.yha.com.au). One of the most successful groups of non-YHA backpackers’ hostels is VIP Backpackers Resorts of Australia which is especially strong in New South Wales and Queensland.