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.
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 too “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.
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 harvest 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.
The 8 Best Locations for your Farm Work in Australia
#1 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. With avocados making up a large part of the harvest, as well as mangoes, citrus, bananas and sugarcane, the season in one of the prettiest Australia farm work destinations. Work is available mainly during the hot summer months between December and March. Atherton Tablelands is around 90 kilometres south-west of Cairns.
#2 Bowen, QLD
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. With a huge diversity of crops from mango and zucchini to tomato, corn and capsicum, there is a large variety of crops here all of which need picking at slightly different times. In turn, this means that the season stretches for a long period of time and you should be able to find some work at some point during it.
#3 Ayr, QLD
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. The season in Ayr and the types of crops harvested are similar to Bowen, so start trying to find work here from around March and you’ll hopefully be top of the list when things start to kick off.
#4 Stanthorpe, QLD
In the south of Queensland lies the small town of Stanthorpe. This place is famous for its apple production, with the season running from February to June. 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.
#5 Griffith, NSW
Crossing over the border into New South Wales, Griffith is famous for its grape production as well as its citrus and stone-fruit season. The grape season starts around mid-February and lasts for six to eight weeks. The citrus harvest runs from November until March. At either of these times, there is bound to be loads of work for you to get your teeth stuck into.
#6 Mildura, VIC
Down in Victoria, the large harvesting area centred around the town of Mildura has tons of citrus, grapes and vegetable production farms, which means at most times of the year someone somewhere needs something picked! Accommodation and transport to work are usually provided by backpacker hostels, who offer complete packages for those looking to work the season.
#7 Tamar Valley, TAS
Down in Tasmania, it really is all about the cherries and the berries. Picked right across the island, but perhaps most popularly in the Tamar Valley, the small soft fruit season runs during the summer months between December and February, when it’s warm enough to be down here!
#8 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! The season has two main highs – June to September is the pruning period and February to April is the grape picking time.
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.
Updated 25/03/2020 – Initially published on 10/11/16