If you’re looking to stay in Australia for a second or third year on your working holiday visa, then you’ll know all about getting those precious days of regional work under your belt. But where to start? One of the first steps is to find out exactly where the main growing regions are. These areas have the highest production numbers and therefore also have the most jobs available. Employment is highly seasonal, so it is also good to be informed of which crop is grown where and when the season starts. Below is a simple guide to introduce you to the 8 best locations for your Australia farm work.
Update 2022: Australia and the UK have agreed to put in place the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement. When the new arrangements commence, UK passport holders will be able to be granted up to three Working Holiday visas without having to meet any specified work requirements.
What is the best spot to find farm work in Australia?
There is not really the best place or town for Fruit Picking. On the other hand, there are agricultural regions that are better known because they employ more workers throughout the year. The disadvantage is that these areas are often packed with backpackers. The best way to find a good Fruit Picking job is probably to go away from the coast and avoid “popular” areas. Workers are more sought after in these regions, but then again, there is also less work.
Before starting a job, make sure to check that the kind of work and the region are eligible for your Second Year Visa.
The Fruit Picking Map
Are you looking for a job in Fruit Picking? Get free access to more than 400 farm contacts via our interactive map.
Map of the 8 Best Locations for your Farm Work in Australia
Atherton Tablelands, QLD
Up near Cairns in Far North Tropical Queensland, the Atherton Tablelands is home to a wide range of Australia farm work opportunities. Atherton Tablelands is around 90 kilometres south-west of Cairns.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: Avocados make up a large part of the harvest, as well as mangoes, citrus, bananas and sugarcane.
Best season: Work is available mainly during the hot summer months between December and March.
Situated just above the Whitsundays, the large town of Bowen is a remarkably sleepy town for its size, that is until picking season starts in May! Then the town is flooded with hoards of backpackers all looking to do their farm work and suddenly the place is buzzing.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: huge diversity of crops from mango and zucchini to tomato, corn and capsicum.
Best season: there is a large variety of crops all of which need picking at slightly different times. In turn, this means that the season starts in May and stretches for a long period of time and you should be able to find some work at some point during it.
Just up the road from Bowen, the town of Ayr is smaller and more compact, but just as busy when the picking season hits. Here too, most of the accommodation is provided by hostels that also work as sub-contractors to outsource the Australia farm work to backpackers.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: huge diversity of crops from mango and zucchini to tomato, corn and capsicum (similar to Bowen)
Best season: The season in Ayr is similar to Bowen. Start trying to find work from around March.
In the south of Queensland lies the small town of Stanthorpe. Not much to do there, but perfect if you are looking for a fruit picking job!
Fruits / vegetables to pick: This place is famous for its apple production. With over 30 different varieties grown in the region, apples here are big business, so if you don’t mind climbing ladders, this is probably the spot to head.
Best season: The season is running from February to June.
Crossing over the border into New South Wales, Griffith is a small town known for its diversity of crops.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: grape, citrus and stone-fruit.
Best season: The grape season starts around mid-February and lasts for six to eight weeks.
The citrus harvest runs from November until March.
Down in the state of Victoria, the large harvesting area centred around the town of Mildura. Accommodation and transport to work are usually provided by backpacker hostels, who offer complete packages for those looking to work the season.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: citrus, grapes and vegetable production.
Best season: At most times of the year someone somewhere needs something picked!
Tamar Valley, TAS
Down in Tasmania, it really is all about the cherries and the berries. This fruit is picked right across the island, but perhaps most popularly in the Tamar Valley.
Fruits / vegetables to pick: cherries and berries.
Best season: The season runs during the summer months between December and February, when it’s warm enough to be down here!
Margaret River, WA
With over 130 vineyards, Margaret River in Western Australia is the grape picking destination. A quiet little surfing town, the gorgeous setting of this place is well worth a visit and has certainly wooed more than a few people into staying and looking for work!
Fruits / vegetables to pick: mainly grapes.
Best season: The season has two main highs – June to September is the pruning period and February to April is the grape picking time.
What is the best season to find farm work?
The best season to find farm work depends on the region you are in. In the southern part of Australia, the highest demand for labour is between November and February (harvest period). In the north, where the climate is tropical, you find work throughout the year. Some fruits or vegetables are obviously picked at a certain time of year. The best way to learn about the seasons is to have a look at the calendar of Fruit Picking in Australia.
You can also check the seasons in the National Harvest Labour guide, which is published every year and available for free online or at tourist information centres.
How to find farm work in Australia?
There are different ways to approach employers, either by phone or by contacting farmers in person. Download our Backpackers guide to access contact details of over 400+ farms.
If you have a vehicle, the best way to find a job during the harvest season is to go from door to door and ask.
You can also find a job online, by searching on job boards or the website Gumtree, which publishes all kinds of classified ads. Apart from that, you have to watch out for scams!
A great way to find a job in fruit picking is by word of mouth. Also, ask around in hostels.
Working conditions, housing & wages
Working conditions vary from farm to farm and are also subject to the weather.
- Cherries: easy to pick as the fruit is light and is at an accessible height in the trees. Prefer harvesting before summer to avoid high temperatures.
- Oranges: fruits are heavy, the trees are very tall and the branches are thorny. Be in good physical condition as you will need to carry the oranges in your bag to the top of the ladders. Prefer harvesting before summer to avoid high temperatures.
- Lemons: lighter, lemons are also harvested all year round. Prefer harvesting before summer to avoid high temperatures.
- Fruits and vegetables grown on the ground: they also require good physical conditions, because you spend your day leaning and your back will let you know.
If you have your own vehicle
Do you have a vehicle that allows you to sleep in it? You will probably have a better chance of finding a job on a farm. Ask to move into the property to reduce your gas and housing costs. How ? Talk to the farmers. They often have a free piece of land with a water point, a fridge and a shower. Otherwise, campsites or caravan parks and freecamps are often close to the farms.
If you don’t have your own vehicle
No vehicle? No accommodation? Go to a backpacker hostel. In these agricultural areas, most are “working hostels”. They offer to find you a job on the farms. Arm yourself with patience, because you will have to pay for your accommodation until a spot becomes available!
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Wages and payment methods are unique to each farm. Usually, wages are decent in South Australia because farmers need labor all year round. This is all the more true since the covid crisis, which has led to a significant lack of labor in the agricultural sector.
It is possible to be paid by the hour or at a piece rate. In general, it will depend on the fruits picked. The minimum wage will be different depending on whether you are paid by the hour or at a piece rate. Note that at present, the minimum legal wage in Australia is $20.33 per hour or $772.60 per week.
Since April 28, 2022, pieceworkers are guaranteed a minimum hourly wage (for full-time, part-time and casual employees).
Full-time or part-time workers need to be paid at least $23.38 per hour. For casual, the minimum wage is $29.22 per hour.
There are no maximum hours per day or per week. You may be required to work many hours depending on the farm. Find out well in advance.