Farm Work (aka Fruit Picking)

When I first arrived in Australia in June 2006, I was desperate for work. I flew into the Gold Coast, and eventually decided to try my hand at farm work. I was offered a job over the phone at a small place called Dalberg.

I made my way North, and finally got picked up in Ayr and was driven the 100km to the farm. I was picking zucchini and squash.

I mustn’t have been good, after a week they fired me because I was too slow. I hated it, and truth is, I hated the way I was treated.

I have heard some awful stories of the way people are treated, and I have also heard some good stories.

But there is no hiding it, if you want to stay in Australia for a second year – you have to do it for 88 days and bam! – You get a second year visa.

Due to this, there can be some fierce competition amongst travellers in certain areas for work and some farmers take advantage of this by way of bad pay and conditions for backpackers. In my eBook I go into other details to really help you prepare for everything.

However, if you are lucky, it can be a great experience where you make friends for life with other independent backpackers. You can even save up some cash, and enjoy some free fruit and vegetables.

The work can involve picking, packing, driving, planting, and numerous other related tasks.

If you are going to do farm work, I think it is best if you just get some second-hand clothes from op-shops (charity shops); K-mart also offers some cheap clothes, and if you are lucky there may even be some left over clothes from other travellers on the farm itself.

If you don’t want to stay in Australia for a second year I wouldn’t suggest farm work. I think other forms of work are much better.

Once upon a time you were able to do volunteer work, such as wwoofing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for the 88 days, often with better conditions, but the Australian Government has since revoked this, which I think is crazy.

It helped the already expensive organic industry – so I am disappointed to see that go.

I suggest if you know you are going to want the second year visa, get this work done and out of the way early, so you don’t run out of time.

Check forums and other specialised websites for other alternatives. I met a backpacker recently who had a great time on a crocodile farm!

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Facts

  • Suitable for short term work
  • Good for those with lower levels of English fluency
  • Can be tough physical work
  • Great to find if you are travelling with a van or car
  • Seasons of crops depend on region
  • Often includes free or cheap accommodation
  • You need to do 88 days to get a second year visa
  • Each State offers different produce in different seasons

How to find work

  1. Search on the internet
  2. Find a job agency that specialises in farm work
  3. Call farms direct by phone
  4. Travel to farms and speak to farmers directly (good in season)

Resources

http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/417-

http://jobsearch.gov.au/job/search/harvest

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