Frequently Asked Questions

Please read through the FAQs before making your application. If you have any questions that are not covered here, email the program coordinator at

What is the Coach in Residence (CIR) Program?

The CIR program is a great opportunity young young people to live in Australia with friendly local orienteering families. In return you will coach club members of all ages, from juniors to veterans. Typically, this will take about 20 hours a week. 

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, for example making maps, or teaching school children to orienteer. You will stay with a local orienteering family, who will look after you and teach you everything you need to know about being an Aussie!

What is orienteering like in Australia?

Australia is a very big country – about the size of the whole of Europe.  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! 

Australia is divided into eight states and territories (Australian Capital Territory, where the capital of Australia, Canberra is located; New South Wale; Victoria; South Australia, Western Australia; the Norther Territory; Queensland and Tasmania. Each state or territory has several orienteering clubs, and some – like NSW and Victoria – have many. We also some great mountain bike orienteering (and a small amount of ski and radio orienteering), but foot orienteering is by far the most popular.

Because Australia is so big, it has a huge variety of terrain. This ranges from very complex rock features (which we call ‘granite terrain’), to very complex terrain made up of broken ground, pits, high points and erosion gullies left over from tin or gold mining (which we call ‘mining terrain’), to complex sand dunes and fast, open forests with broad spurs and wide gullies (which we call ‘gully/spur’).  We also have many detailed sprint maps in our cities, mostly around schools and university campuses. In other words, there is plenty of variety! 

For examples, see Terrain and Maps.

Do I need a visa?

This depends on a number of things, including your country of origin and the state or territory that is hosting you. 

Your host state/territory you will advise you about whether you are considered to be in a ‘paid’ or ‘volunteer’ position, which will determine whether you need a visa (and what type).  You will also 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 (TFN) as soon as you have a visa. A TFN is needed by all people who earn income in Australia, and it ensures the right about of tax is taken out of any wages you earn. 
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. 

The usual minimum time is 6 months and longer is ideal, but some state and territories do accept coaches for 3 months or less.  Our summer (September to April) is the most popular time for scholars so you will need to apply early for these dates. Our winter (April to September) is the best time if you want some high quality events. The weather can be cold but it is generally much milder than a European winter!

What events will we pay for?

Each state or territory has its own arrangements, but generally if you stay for at least six months we will pay for all local events. We will also pay entry fees for selected major national events, and some states and territories will cover your costs for the Australian Schools Championships if you take on an official role (e.g. assistant manager of the state school’s team). The events you might expect to attend include:

  • National Orienteering League (NOL) events (usually held March to June)
  • Australian Championships Carnival (8 days – late September to early October)
  • Oceania Orienteering Championships – held every second year in Australia, including January 2023
  • Australian 3-Days Carnival (4 days – Good Friday to Easter Monday)
  • any World Cup or World Ranking Races

What coaching will I be asked to do?  

This will vary from state to state, but your activities will most likely include:

  • Organising coaching sessions for local orienteers
  • Helping to organise local events
  • Assisting on training camps
  • Helping to coach schools teams at the Australian Schools Championships
  • Attending club meetings
  • Producing a short written report at the end of your stay.

The program is very flexible.  Most coaches find they spend about 20 hours a week (which includes some weekend work) fulfilling their coaching duties. 

Are there any further opportunities for paid work?

Yes there are! These include:

  • Teaching orienteering to school children, as part of our ‘Sporting Schools’ program
  • Making local orienteering maps – usually sprint and urban
  • Non-orienteering casual work, if you have the appropriate visa

What do I need to pay for?

  • Airfare (upfront) and other travel costs
  • Optional working visa fee
  • Travel and health insurance

What will my host state or territory pay for?

A scholarship of up to $2000 (pro-rata for less than six months) and up to $500 towards:

  • Club membership and state association fees
  • Entry fees to orienteering events
  • Travel to training and orienteering events where you are organising or helping
  • A Working With Vulnerable People (WWVP) check

The scholarship is usually paid 3/4 on arrival and 1/4 on departure.

The host state or territory will also provide full board (accommodation and food) with local orienteering families. 

What skills and experience to I need to have?

You will need:

  • to be a good orienteer and have some experience coaching. No formal qualifications in coaching are required but some previous experience is essential. We will ask you to provide evidence of this. 
  • a WWVP card. You can apply for this online and it is best if you get started early, as it can take more than a month to finalise. 
  • to be able to speak English and communicate well.
  • a driving licence and be comfortable driving on the left hand side of the road!

When should I apply?

Applications can be made any time of the year. The sooner you apply the better your chances.  We try to reply as soon as possibly, but if you haven’t heard anything in two weeks, please contact us again. 

Do I need to apply to each state? 

No. All applications are handled via the one central email address and there is no need for you to choose a location. You welcome to express a preference but please bear in mind that the location you prefer may not be taking coaches, or may already have one!

Who can apply?

Males or females over 18 years of age. Older orienteers are welcome to apply, but some visas are only available to people under 30 years of age. 

Can Australians and New Zealanders  apply?


Are there any Biosecurity (quarantine) issues?

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. See What can I bring into Australia? for more information. 

Are there any COVID restrictions?

As with many countries around the world, Australia has some restrictions (including travel restrictions) to help combat the spread of COVID-19. While these restrictions are gradually being eased, each state and territory has different rules and regulations and some remain in place. 

For the latest information about COVID-19 in Australia, see International Travel.

Will I have time to travel?

Yes! Most activities occur during our school term, and you will probably be very busy during this time.  However, in school holiday you will have more time to travel. Each state and territory has slightly different government school term dates. For 2022, these can be found here.

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. Most states will arrange for you to borrow a car and a computer to use for orienteering-related work, but it is also helpful if you have your own laptop. Your host state will arrange for you to use the software necessary for course setting and mapping (if needed).

How much can I earn?

Apart from the $2000 scholarship, you can also earn money teaching orienteering in schools or making maps. Expect rates of $30 – $35 per hour.  In addition you can do non-orienteering work, for example at a bar or retail store if your visa allows it. This usually pays about $25-$30 per hour.

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. You will also be able to race for the local club that hosts you. 

How do I apply?

To apply, 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.