FAQ & Links

A summary: What is the Coach in Residence Program?

Unfortunately, Orienteering Australia is not currently accepting applications for the program until such time as the Australian international and domestic travel arrangements return to normal.

A great opportunity for you to live in Australia with friendly local orienteering families. In return you will coach our club members or do some mapping or teach school children.

As well as the Coach in Residence Program money, we will pay your entry for many orienteering events and  you will receive opportunities to earn income to pay for your expenses. In addition our friendly club can help you with board and accommodation. You can choose to come in Winter or Summer, for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months ( usually 6 months). We will work out the best location that meets your dates and skills.

Please tell me about orienteering in Australia

Australia is a very big country – about the size of the whole of Europe.  For example it takes 12 hours to drive from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra. In the north of Australia it is hot all year (Winter is the best time to visit there). In the south it is hot in Summer and mild or cool in Winter. (We even have one area with Ski orienteering!) Our highest mountain is 2,228 m and our lowest point is below sea level!

Australia is divided into eight states or territories (ACT, NSW, Vic, Tas, SA, WA, NT and Qld) each with one or several orienteering clubs. There are about 4,000 registered orienteering members in Australia and about sixty clubs. We do mountain bike, ski and radio orienteering but foot orienteering is the most popular. Several of these clubs would like to host a young person to help coach their members. Some clubs would like maps made. All these clubs have combined to host this website. This makes it easy for you as there is only one central place to apply for all Australian scholarship positions.

What is the Australian terrain like?

Because Australia is so large it has a huge variety of terrain. With some of the world’s best granite terrain, plenty of fast forested spur/gully maps, loads of technical gold mining maps, sand dunes and pine forests there is plenty of variety.  We have lots of Sprint Maps too. See the Terrain and Maps.

Do I need a visa?

Please check with the Department of Home Affairs for the latest rules. (see bottom of this page for web links). The following advice may not be correct and you will need to confirm with the individual club / state that hosts you as to what they recommend. This paragraph was written in March 2019.

The visa situation is complicated but put simply there are two types of visa you can apply for.  The majority of the states now require you to obtain a Working Holiday visa (subclass 417 or 462) – these states include NSW, Tasmania and ACT.

  1. Working Holiday visas (subclass 417)  or (subclass 462)  The most useful and flexible (but most expensive) visa is a young persons holiday working visa. It is only available to those of a certain age who live in certain countries. As the rules keep changing we will not list the countries or ages here. It will allow you to work in any employed or paid position (eg. in a bar or restuarant) and also allow you to be legally employed as a coach. This visa will cover any legal issues and also allows you to get other paid types of work. Once you have your visa you will also need to apply for a TFN (Tax File Number) before you arrive and to pay tax if you earn more than your expenses.
  2. Tourist visa. (not for NSW, ACT or Tasmania) If you are doing only unpaid volunteer work then a tourist visa (Visitor visa – subclass 600) may be sufficient. The Department of Home Affairs may ask for a letter explaining how you can support yourself. For example: you can provide a copy of your bank account and say that you will live off your savings, a letter from your parents saying that they will support you, a letter from your state host club can provide a statement explaining that all your food and board will be provided.

The State or Club that hosts you will advise you on what basis you will be taken – paid / unpaid , volunteer / employee.  However in addition you will need to check with the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Taxation Office regarding the latest rules. As a general rule any payments you receive will be minimal and may not cover all of your expenses.

Before you leave for Australia you can apply for a Tax File Number, as soon as you have a visa. If you have a TFN in place as soon as you arrive then work payments can be made at the smaller tax deduction.

The advice given in the above paragraphs is of a general nature and may not be applicable for your situation or for all clubs / states.

Will it be a holiday?

Usually the coach-in-residence is very busy with lots of preparation for coaching sessions. But it is fun and you will have plenty of time for meeting friends and travelling too.

What are the Dates?

Our coach-in-residence program has proved so successful we consider applicants for any time of the year and for any length of time. You tell us the dates you would prefer. Please consider visiting during our winter.

The usual minimum time is 6 months and longer is ideal. But some clubs do accept you for 3 months. Our Winter (April to September) is the best time if you want some high quality events and the weather is mild here – a bit like a European autumn. Our Summer (September to April) is the most popular time for scholars so you will need to apply early for these dates.

We are flexible and applications for any length of time (even a month) are considered.

Most of the work is during School Term time. Term dates. During school holidays you will be free to travel and have a holiday, although sometimes we have a training camp on for four to seven days so we would love you to join us for that.

What events will we pay for?

Each club has its own rules on this. We will let you know those details once we have determined which state suits your needs best  but generally if you stay for at least six months we will pay for all local events, and entry (but not transport or accommodation costs) to selected major national events such as:

  • All National Orienteering League (NOL) events (usually held March to October), and
  • QB3 Long Weekend (early June), and
  • Australian Championships Carnival (9 days – late September), and
  • Xmas 5 Days (Dec 27-31), and
  • Australian Prologue and 3 Days Easter Carnival (March/April), and
  • The National Ultra-Long, and
  • any World Cup or World Ranking Races.

Your obligations to our club members (unpaid) – we ask you to:  

  • Assist with organising events
  • Prepare coaching sessions
  • Provide free training sessions to club members
  • Help our members become better orienteers
  • Produce a table each term listing all your sessions including numbers / places / times / and what you taught
  • Produce a short (300 words) written report at the end of your stay.

Further opportunities (usually partially paid to offset your expenses) : 

  • Join in with our ‘Schools’ program and teach orienteering to school children
  • There will be an opportunity to earn pocket money to reimburse your expenses by teaching orienteering in schools.
  • Make some maps for us
  • Non-orienteering work. For example in a bar or restaurant (with optional work visa)

You will pay the following

  • Airfare and other travel costs
  • Optional working visa fee
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Transport to and from events

Your host club pays:

A $1,500 scholarship (for 6 months, pro-rata if less) and up to $1,000 towards

  • Free membership of the club for 12 months and free colour magazine – worth $100
  • All entry fees to all local events for 6 – 9 months
  • All entry fees to major national events listed above. You will need to pay for transport and accommodation costs but often we can give you a lift or you can share accommodation.

The scholarship $1,500 is usually paid 2/3 on arrival and 1/3 on departure.

You will need

  • To be a good orienteer. You do not need to be an elite.
  • A police check (we will assist with this). This is called a WWVP card  (working with vulnerable people) and takes 8 weeks to process, so please apply for this early.
  • To attend a couple of one day workshops here (and perhaps give a lesson)
  • To have good English, and communicate well.
  • No formal qualifications in coaching are required but some previous experience is essential.
  • To complete an Australian Government ASC on line coaching course (This takes 3-4 hours).
  • If you know how to make maps that will help but is not essential.
  • If you can use OCAD to make training maps such as corridor or contours-only maps that will help but is not essential.
  • You will need a driving licence and to purchase a car as public transport is limited (and you will need one to visit the local beaches!) We can help you find one.


  • You will be billeted with various club families.

When should I apply?

Applications can be made any time of the year. The sooner you apply the better your chances. There are several “closing dates” each year. They are listed on the Apply Here page. We usually check the email box on the First day of each month and try to reply within 10 days.

Do I need to apply to each state? 

No. All applications are handled via the one central email address. There is no need for you to choose a location.  You tell us your dates and skills and we will match you to the best suitable location.  Please read all of this FAQ page and then see the Apply Here page for details.   

What will I need to provide?

You will need:

  • a WWVPL (Working With Vulnerable People) police check
  • a work visa if you want to work in a bar or restaurant
  • Medical insurance – medical costs in Australia can be very high
  • If you will be working you can apply for a Tax File Number before you arrive.

Can Australians and New Zealanders  apply?


Who can apply?

Males or females of any age.

Are there any Biosecurity (quarantine) issues?

Yes Australia is an island and is free of many weeds and pests. You will need to clean all your shoes, gaiters, tent pegs, etc of seeds and dirt. Heavy penalties apply if you bring plant material, seeds or food into the country. What can I bring into Australia? 

What coaching will I need to do?

We are very flexible with the program. It depends on your skills and your preference and the exact location where you are posted.

Here is an example of the the Canberra (ACT) Coach in Residence is expected to do over a 6 month period – listed in priority of importance

  1. Summer: Fourteen Wednesday evenings 4.30 pm – 7pm. (Unpaid)
    We envisage you producing training maps (eg. contour only, memory, window maps, etc.) that are available for members to use instead of their usual course. There may be 20 or so people attending each of your training sessions so you may only be able to give fairly brief instruction and answer individual’s questions briefly.
  2. Autumn: Twelve Saturday mornings 9am -11am (Unpaid)
    Moderate and Beginner workshops for 2-3 hrs
  3. Four Whole Sundays (Unpaid)
    Advanced training workshops lasting all day on a bush map one hours drive from town
  4. In School Coaching “Body and Brain” Workshops (see link Sporting Schools on our Juniors Page) – some money available (up to $75 per hour including preparation time, depending on school booking and number of coaches involved). Dates vary and are by negotiation and depend on your enthusiasm. We are likely to have plenty of opportunities for you to earn pocket money to reimburse your expenses in this area. This requires applying for WWVP registration (Working With Vulnerable People – also known as police check or purple card) in both ACT and NSW, a one day training workshop and other requirements
  5. Club Training Navigational Workshops (Unpaid)
  6. Mapping Workshops (If you have the skills) (Unpaid)  These could be mid-week evenings. Ideally you would be able to teach some of our volunteers how to use OCAD.
  7. Mapping activities – some money available to pay your expenses. There are several areas that need mapping or remapping.
  8. Private coaching – for individuals or small groups, by negotiation and depending on your enthusiasm (participants pay by negotiation)
  9. Contribute to broader community promotion, engagement and outcomes (community profile activities) as well as general helping out at club events on occasions. (Unpaid)

Will I have time to travel?

Yes. Most of our activities occur during our school term when you will be busy.  In school holidays we may have a training camp but otherwise you are free to travel. Each state has slightly different government school term dates. Private schools are slightly different too.

When do I have to arrive?

You can arrive anytime. We would prefer you to arrive at least a week before the Term  starts. This allows time to prepare you for the activities in that term. We are flexible. We prefer you stay for at least 6 months. The big Australian carnivals are in June, September,  December, and Easter. Our Winter is the best time for major local events.  Most scholars arrive before September 15th for the Summer intake and before April 15th for the Winter intake. Note that Western Australia does not accept applications for the Australian summer season (only for the March – October period).

When do I have to leave?

You can leave anytime but we prefer that you stay for at least six months. Several scholars have decided to stay longer than they originally planned because they enjoyed it so much.

Where will I live and what will that cost?

You will live (be billeted) with various host families.

Do I need a car? a computer? a phone?

It is difficult to travel on public transport to many events. A drivers licence is essential. A car is essential. Previous scholars have purchased a car for their stay and sold it again before they leave.  We could help you with this sale. You will need your own laptop and your own mobile phone. Internet fees in Australia are higher than in Europe.

How much can I earn?

Apart from the coaching program of $1,500 cash to help pay for your airfare and the $1,000 worth of entries/memberships etc you can also earn money on orienteering work in schools to reimburse your expenses. Depending on your enthusiasm this varies. Expect rates of $20 – $25 per hour. We frequently receive requests from schools that want instruction but we are too busy to do it for them. In addition you can do non-orienteering work, for example at a bar or shop (but you need a work visa for this). This usually pays about $17 per hour for an unskilled person.

Can I race in a local team?

Yes. While you’re in Australia you can race in a local elite team in the NOL (National Orienteering League) races.

Is the police check essential?

Yes. Under Australian law you will need to apply for this free check to make sure you are safe to work with children. It is easy and we can help you apply for this.  Details are different from state to state.

Do I need qualifications or to be a good orienteer?

You do NOT need to be at elite level but obviously you have to know how to orienteer well.  No formal qualifications are required.  We expect that you have had some coaching experience. Mapping experience is useful but not essential. OCAD experience is useful but not essential. Please tell us what your major interests are and we will fit the duties to meet your interests. This is not a job!  We want you to have fun! We are sure you will learn heaps whilst you are here.

Briefly – How is the Australian School system organised

Each state is a bit different. Public schools are government run. Private schools are not. Primary School  starts in Kindergarten aged 5 . Then Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Secondary School, also called High School, is Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Years 11 and 12 are sometimes called College. Students sit major exams in year 12 aged 18. Tertiary education is called University or TAFE College.  Most orienteering taught at schools is for Years 4 and above, especially Years 5. 6  and 9.

When should I apply?

Please apply now! Applications are open all year round. Closing dates are listed on the Apply Here page. The sooner you apply the better your chances. Simply state what dates (usually minimum 6 months ) you can come. The more flexible you are the better your chances.  We usually have more applicants than we can place in our Summer. Your chances are better if you apply for a position in our Winter. Western Australian only accepts coaches over Winter.  If we do not have a position available for the time you want we will forward your application to another club somewhere else in Australia. But please apply soon! We are sure you will enjoy it!

How do I apply?

There is no “application form”. Simply visit the Apply Here page and send us an email with all the details listed there.  All applications are handled centrally via this page. You do not need to decide which location you prefer. We will work out the best location for you based on your dates and skills.

Abbreviations used

ASC : Australian Sports Commission
OA : Orienteering Australia
OACT : Orienteering ACT
NOL : National orienteering League – A series of events
WWVPL : Working with Vulnerable People Legislation – Police Check

Links to news articles about what previous scholars did

The Australian Orienteer Magazine – Coaching & Scholars articles

Links to other websites

Tourism Australia  – A great country to visit. So much to see and do. Remember, Australia is huge.

Biosecurity Australia – Do not bring food, plants, seeds or dirt into Australia. Clean all gaiters and shoes. Heavy penalties apply,  What can I bring into Australia? 

School Term Dates. Most of our activities are during term time. training camps are in holidays.

Sporting Schools. The government funded programme to teach orienteering in schools.

ASC on line Course – Coaching Principles. It is mandatory to complete this free Australian Sporting Commission 4 hour course online before you arrive.

Visa & immigration & passport issues.

WWVPL Working With Vulnerable People Legislation issues vary from state to state. the ACT rules are here

Eventor lists all the major and many local orienteering events

Each state / club has their own website. See Locations page.

Apply for a Scholarship ⇒