How to Get Farming Jobs in Australia
Farm work in Australia can be a great way for backpackers to earn some cash and experience the culture of regional Australia whilst travelling and enjoying the unique beauty of the great outdoors.
Farm work in Australia is often also very phsically demanding and you need to make sure the employer who you work for is paying minimum wage and that you can also find suitable accommodation.
The trick is how do you get a good job? Almost all the jobs are located in rural areas, the work is very seasonal and competition for has increased for a limited number of jobs as many backpackers have taken advantage of the option to extend their working holiday visa.
Fortunately, there are some tried and proven ways to get the best jobs.
Top 3 ways to get a farm job:
- Following the harvest trail can be a great way go and many people just follow that however that often means that a lot of people end up competing for the same jobs. Ideally you should make a plan based around where you want to be and where the jobs are going to be.
- Working hostels and hostel noticeboards often provide a wealth of knowledge and you don't have to be staying there to get the information - simply drop by.
- Websites that are Aussie specific and unknown to many backpackers (we uncover the 7 best Aussie websites on page 94 of our Survival Guide ebook)
Regardless of the method you use to find a job be sure you know what the job is really about before you start work:
- What do they pay? (Does it meet mnimum wage)
- How long is a typical day?
- How long does the work last for?
- Is accomodation and/or food included?
Normally accommodation and food is your responsibility, but some remote locations offer this and the quality can vary significantly. Also, knowing how long the work goes for and what a typical day would be like is really important.
Click links here for information below:
- What types of fruit-picking, seasonal jobs, farm work in Australia are there?
- What is fruit-picking and harvest work like?
- What parts of regional Australia need seasonal workers and when is there harvest work available?
- How much can I earn as a regional worker in Australia?
- Essential tips for fruit-pickers and harvest workers and other Backpacker Australia Work
- Useful Links
More people than ever are heading to Australia to take advantage of recent changes to the working holiday visa which allows travellers who have worked as a seasonal worker in regional Australia for at least three months to apply for a second work visa in Australia. So you can make friends, get a tan, and then get a second working visa!
The definition of seasonal work required for application for a second working holiday visa was recently expanded to include not only fruit-picking and harvest work but work in other industries such as fishing, pearling, shearing, butchery and forestry.
Chances are, if it's grown in Australia, you can find a job harvesting it!
Harvest and fruit-picking work availability depends on which area in regional Australia you want to see, and what time of year it is. See harvesting job locations.
There's not only a wide variety of fruits (apples, grapes, plums, peaches, apricots, mangoes, and more) but cotton and tobacco must also be harvested, as well as fresh seafood such as crayfish, prawns and rock lobsters.
You'll most likely be working on a farm or in an orchard, and generally training is provided on the job.
Seasonal Jobs and Fruit Picking - Australia
If you enjoy the outdoors, harvest work is an exciting way to experience the beauty and culture of country Australia.
You'll meet other adventurous travellers and there'll be plenty of time after-hours to explore the breath-taking scenery of regional Australia and to enjoy the outdoor recreational activities many regions have to offer.
Be warned that harvest work and fruit picking in Australia can be demanding labour with lots of bending and stretching, often in hot temperatures and dusty locations. Being physically fit and healthy is important.
In most orchards fruit pickers will start early in the morning at around 6am to avoid the hottest parts of the day but you will still have to wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sturdy boots, insect repellent, and carry water with you.
- Top 5 Highest Paid Jobs!
- Genuine Experiences of Backpackers in Australia
- Tips on finding work
The harvest seasons across Australia vary according to weather and temperature patterns.
In Western Australia there are more days of sunshine on average than any other state, so their apple harvest begins in March and May, whereas in regional NSW apple harvesting generally doesn't begin until July. It's easy to get around in Australia so you can easily visit many different places.
Here are some of the most popular regions, and the times most work is available:
Best time of year: January to April; November to February
Crop and region: Pears, peaches, apples, tomatoes (Ardmona, Shepparton, Kyabram); Tobacco (Murray River Valleys); Grapes (Lake Boga, Nyah West, Swan Hill, Robinvale); Apples (Buckland Valley, Stanley, Wandilong, Red Hill, Main Range)
Visitor info: Go south for an eclectic mix of country and culture. Beautiful rural areas merge with the funky capital Melbourne, where shopping, live music and cappuccino strips reign supreme. Buzzing rural cities like Geelong and Mildura hold their own, and coastal scenery along the Great Ocean Road will blow you away. Victoria holds a special place in the heart of sporting Australia, as the home of Australian Rules Football and the country's favourite horse race, the Melbourne Cup.
Best time of year: Work is available all year round
Crop and region: Bananas (Coffs Harbour); orchard fruits, cotton and asparagus (November to April in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange); grapes (February to March in Griffith)
Visitor info: With spectacular Sydney as its capital, and thriving coastal cities like Wollongong and Newcastle, NSW is full of great places to live and visit. For wide-open spaces you've got friendly rural towns like Griffith, Bathurst and Dubbo or get a real bush experience in the Southern Highlands.
Best time of year: Work is available all year round
Crop and region: bananas and sugar (Tully); fruits and vegetables (February to March in Childers and Bundaberg); ginger (February to March on the Sunshine Coast); vegetables (April to December in Bundaberg and the Lockyer Valley); beans (April to November in the Mary Valley); broccoli (May to October in Milmerran and Toowoomba); sugar cane, bananas and tobacco (May to December in Ayr, Ingham and Innisfail)
Regional information: You'll be in some of the hottest parts of the country, but you are also closest to some of the most spectacular scenery and beaches in the world. Depending on where you get work, there is the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, rainforests and gorges, and beautiful rural areas, all in the same state. There is so much more to Queensland than backpacker jobs in Brisbane or Cairns.
Best time of year: February to August; and October to February
Crop and region: citrus (Riverland); dried fruits (February to April; in Riverland); grapes (February to April in the Barossa Valley and Southern Vales); brussels sprouts (February to August in Adelaide Hills); strawberries (October to February in Adelaide Hills)
Regional information: SA is known for its wine regions and the peaceful, scenic capital Adelaide otherwise known as the City of Churches.
Best time of year: All year round
Crop and region: grapes and orchard fruit (October to June in the south and west); crayfish, prawns and scallops (March to November on the west coast from Fremantle to Carnarvon); rock lobster (March to June in Geraldton and Fremantle); bananas (July to August and October to January in Kununurra).
Regional information: The biggest state in Australia, WA spans the entire west coast of the country. Visit the pearling town of Broome, taste the caf? culture in the capital Perth, surf some of the best beaches in the world or enjoy a tipple in famous wine regions in the southwest.
Best time of year: December to May
Crop and region: orchard fruits (March to May in Huon Valley, Tasman, Peninsula, West Tamar); soft fruit (December to January in Houn and Derwent Valleys, Kingborough, Channel District); grapes (February to April in the Huon and Tamar Valley); hops (March to April in Scottsdale, New Norfolk, Davenport)
Regional information: Not many travellers consider Tasmania as a destination, but it is a gem lying beneath Australia, full of rolling green hills, historical sites and natural beauty. The island is known for its fresh, rich produce and crunchy red apples, mountain ranges and the small but sturdy capital, Hobart.
Check out our guide to Australia's states and territories for more destination information.
Some land-owners and growers will pay you by the hour and $10 an hour is a good rate but most places will pay you by the quantity of fruit you pick. Not good news for slackers, but great news if you're prepared to work harder for greater reward! Meals and accommodation are usually provided so you won't have to worry about those extra costs, but everywhere differs so check when you apply. You will normally be paid weekly or fortnightly.
Plan your adventures: Where do you want to travel in Australia? Do you want jobs in the Australia outback, visit the beaches of Queensland or the vast wineries of Western Australia? Research your destinations well and get a job close to where you want to be. Having said that, everywhere in Australia is a great place to travel!
If you're not used to Australian weather, you won't be used to the heat and humidity. Believe us when we say you should always wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and carry water.
Sometimes if there is a lot of rain fruit can't be picked and your wages will be affected. Don't worry its not like the UK, Europe or Canada where it can rain for weeks but make sure you have some cash to fall back on.
Jobaroo screens employers before we put them on the site. So if you aren't using Jobaroo for your job contacts, be sure to check the legitimacy of the harvest organisations before you accept positions or travel for a job. There's no need to be overly suspicious but some individuals sometimes take advantage of working travellers. If possible: Ask advice from other travellers who have done harvest work.
If you want to apply for a second working holiday visa after your harvest work, make sure you are working in a region recognised under the scheme, and obtain an employment verification form. Make sure you keep evidence of your employment. See more information on Working Visas.