Long Term House Sitting Central Queensland: Mackay, Bundaberg & Hervey Bay

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Want to secure long term house sitting Central Queensland-wide (Mackay, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Hervey Bay)? Here are the secrets to free beachside accommodation in Queensland’s lesser-known, but equally beautiful, coastline. Travel on a budget and share your journey with adorable pets. Let’s see how…

house sitting central queensland
“Queensland Wikivoyage map” by Hshook (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Check out posts for Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast if you’re heading south or north to Cairns.

What Is House Sitting?

House sitting is a trust-based transaction between a homeowner and a housesitter, who cares for the home and pets while the owner is away, in exchange for free rent and utilities*.

*A minority are paid, but mostly for short periods, or when the house sit requires additional pet health care or property maintenance.

Homeowners save money on boarding for their pets, while increasing security in their homes by having someone there. You save money on accommodation while travelling or saving, all while receiving endless pet snuggles and sniffs. House sits can be short-term (a few days) or long-term (up to a year or more).

After house sitting for two years in Australia, this post contains the secrets that I have learned during that time, so you too can successfully score long-term house-sitting in Central Queensland (or further afield).

Why House Sitting Central Queensland?

For those who are looking for urban glamour, places like Brisbane and Gold Coast might be the best choice, but for those looking for a laconic, relaxed beachside experience – Central Queensland is a great location.

Townsville, Mackay, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg are the major towns in the region, with a “sub-tropical climate with hot, moist summers and warm, dry winters, with occasional frost in the south. The average annual temperature is 21°C. Summer average temperature is 27°C, autumn is 22°C, winter 15°C and spring is 22°C”.

Central QLD (also known as ‘Capricornia’) contains numerous natural wonders such as The Great Barrier Reef, Great Keppel Island and Canarvon Gorge/National Park. Hervey Bay is famous for its whale-watching tours.

Yet, on Aussie House Sitters, there were only 20 Central Queensland house sits listed in the proceeding 7 days, compared to 83 in Brisbane. So, you’ll need these tips and tricks to secure one of the limited opportunities.

(c) Kate Zarb - Oh, Nomad! [ohnomad.com]
Do you want to the secrets to travelling and living for free with adorable animals? Image © Kate Zarb / ohnomad.com

Queensland (QLD) and Brisbane Public Holidays

Many people plan their holidays around public holidays, adding any accrued leave from their jobs to the dates in which their workplace is closed. Or, they leave at this time so that they can spend time with friends and family during ‘the holidays’ – especially Christmas and Easter.

If you want to secure a long-term house in Central Queensland, being available during these times means that you are much more likely to ‘lock something in’ and will have greater choice than at other times of the year.

Australia/Queensland Public HolidaysDate/s
New Year’s DayJanuary 1*
Australia DayJanuary 26
Easter (Good Friday, Easter Saturday/Sunday/Monday)Early-Mid April
ANZAC DayApril 25
Labour Day1st Monday in May
Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane only)1st/2nd Friday in August
King’s Birthday1st Monday in October
Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)December 24-26#
*If New Years Day falls on a weekend, the public holiday may be on January 3.
#The Holidays Act 1983 provides for an extra public holiday to be added when Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day falls on a weekend.

Many locals with caravans and campervans leave during the ‘wet season’ (between November and April), so you can increase your success rate by being in Queensland during this time. Equally, those who love the warm weather often leave during the milder winter months (June to August) to travel to warmer parts of the country. It’s worth keeping these periods in mind.

House Sitting Central Queensland Locations

Popular tourist destinations like Hervey Bay and Rockhampton have the most competition for house sits, so if you are willing to travel some distance away, you will maximise your chances of success. Smaller inland towns are less popular than coastal locations but can be amazing gateways to the region’s national parks. House sitting in towns like Charters Towers and Emerald will provide you with a very different ‘outback’ experience.

Hervey Bay (among other central QLD locations) are whale watching hotspots. Photo by Sue Rump on Unsplash

Meet With Homeowners For Central Queensland House Sitting Opportunities

While Queenslanders are, in general, a relaxed bunch – homeowners like to get to know the house sitters that will take care of their home – especially long term. For house sits over a month, as soon as I’ve spoken to the homeowner over the phone, I try and organise a ‘meet and greet’. If I’m in another city, I let them know the dates that I will be near them and schedule an approximate date to meet.

I believe that this shows commitment to the house sit and this gesture will make you stand out from other applicants. It’s a great opportunity to be introduced to the pets and to get a ‘feel’ for the house, the location and what will be required from you during your stay.

If you meet with difficult or disrespectful homeowners, I’d rather know this before I spend months in their homes! Yet, you often meet with people in person only to find that you quickly bond and agree to the house sit.

Finally, to maximise your chances of getting that long term house sit in Central QLD, here are some tips:

  • Apply for a QLD Police Certificate ($42AUD) to reassure homeowners of your suitability;
  • Provide a link to your social media accounts and/or full name in your application, so homeowners can ‘Google’ you;
  • Keep it all about them – ask questions about where they are going, how they like things done around the house and their preferences. Read their ad, listen carefully and take notes of these for later. Clarify anything unclear about their expectations.

In a trust-based exchange like house sitting, the more that you show yourself to be a considerate and trustworthy house sitter, the more success you’ll have. Once you have a few good references (in addition to being available on public holidays, meeting with owners quickly and being flexible in your choice of location), you’ll be long term house sitting Central Queensland-wide before you know it.

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