Australia: Scoring a Housesitting Gig


Last week I managed to secure a cushy little house/pet sitting gig over in Petrie in the far North of Brisbane.

I didn’t get it through Trusted Housesitters, Aussie Housesitters or any of the other websites that organise these things. Not for want of trying. (Seriously, if anyone knows how to secure these jobs through the website without having references already on the site, then please tell me. I’ve been stalking theses sites for more than a year now with no success at all).

Anyway, this came my way through the friend-of-a-friend route. I got to live in an nice bungalow with a garden, AC, unlimited wifi and cable telly in return for looking after two cats plus some plant-watering duties. Not bad.

The cats were both ‘house cats’; they don’t go out, even to the garden, because of ‘the snakes’. Someone who had done this job previously told me about the problem of keeping the cats inside, since they could open the door and let themselves out.

I envisioned myself standing on sentry duty by the door day and night, in order to stop two kamikaze cats escaping and getting eaten by the psychotic snakes. However it turned out all you had to do was remember to latch the door when you went in or out, so no sentry duties required.

I’m a city person, remember. Latching (and bolting) a door is second nature to me.


Petrie is ok.  There is this little water hole at the bottom of the garden where you can go swimming.  Somebody told me there were sharks spotted in there.  I think it was a joke, a kind of ‘let’s wind up the stupid English woman who’s frightened of all our great animals’.  I can’t be sure though, so I stayed close to other swimmers just in case.

The town itself has anything you need, such as a supermarket and ATM, plus a rail station. From the station you can go either in to Brisbane city or out of it in the direction of the sunshine coast. I did intend to go up to the coast for a day, since I was halfway there already, but it was too hot. It’s too damn hot for anything at the moment.

I’m sure house sitting works for some travellers.  I’m always coming across blogs where people have been travelling for five years and never paid a bit of rent because they moved from one housesit to another.  Like many of the ideas I started out with though, it doesn’t seem to be working for me.

7 replies »

  1. Hello Sarah. Yes I am not sure how I would feel about housesitting to be honest. The cats look OK though, I could manage that. The photos, once again, look stunning, you really are having an adventure. The little shop sounds like a wonderful idea. Count me in! Hugs and love xx

    • Well housesitting wasn’t the easy ride I thought it would be; the white cat started meowing for his breakfast from 4 AM onwards and both of them were jumping on and off the bed all night. But I’m sure they would have settled down eventually if I’d had longer.
      I have a workaway place in a couple of weeks (where you work in return for bed an d board) and I’ve been trying for a year to get one of those too. See if I do any better with that 🙂

  2. Housesitting isn’t always a smooth ride, it does require a bit of life experience and experience with animals. Start housesitting for friends and family and build up your references that way?. Maybe work, and personal references could help. All the best.

    • Yes I think that’s right but it makes it very difficult to start. A bit like the college leaver who can’t get a job without experience yet can’t get experience without a job.
      I don’t think anyone takes references seriously unless they’re on the website. With written refs people think that anyone can just get their friends to write something for them (which is true).
      But yes what you say makes sense.

  3. Hi, lovely to read this. House sitting registration fees are stopping us as we fear not to get a gig and every penny counts right now. Glad you secured one, now you have your reference. We have done HelpX and Workaway too, however, they do tend to overwork you, well some do. Perhaps we will have to consider the latter option after-all. Thank you for such a great article. DL

    • Yes I also don’t want to spend the registration money if I’m not pretty sure I can get something. I think there are just so many travellers on these sites that it’s hard to attract attention.
      Somebody told me to get together refs from other sites, such as workaway or airbnb, and use them as substitute references.
      I got my first workaway last week too, again after a year of harassing people. It was quite reassuring to meet other people who had struggled to get anything together with these sites. I do feel now like it isn’t my fault at least; I was beginning to wonder.
      Good luck with your travels. I hope you manage to get more success with the sites than I have 🙂

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