Farm work Australia: a very rewarding adventure for backpackers, but it’s not for everybody! The work itself is often physical, repetitive and tiring but it allows you to discover an aspect of Australia that you will not find anywhere else. You will discover authentic Australian culture by enjoying its unique flora and fauna.
Australian farms specialise in the cultivation and harvesting of fruit and vegetables as well as in the breeding of animals.
Farm work Australia: a widespread, very popular way to earn money for travellers on a working holiday visa. Each year, thousands of backpackers contribute to the success of host farms by offering a dynamic and temporary workforce.
The Australian government is actually encouraging young backpackers to work on Australian host farms to get their second Working Holiday Visa.
Farm work Australia: how does it work?
Living on a farm can be a great way to make money fast thanks to the high hourly rates often linked to performance (the more efficiently you work the more you earn) and the low cost of accommodation.
Farm work Australia: a job that can last from a few weeks to a few months.
Most farms offer accommodation and meals. Besides, they have for the most part their own “youth hostel” to welcome their seasonal workers.
Farm work in Australia is a great way to experience Australian rural life and meet other travellers from around the world to share the same experience.
Payroll is usually calculated per hour based on performance. The salary is paid weekly or every two weeks.
Picture: Workers on organic farms
Farm work Australia: some advice
Australia is a huge country. Don’t look for farm jobs in Australia from the big cities and then make the trip to go there: before you arrive, these jobs will already be taken and you will have made the trip for nothing. The best idea is to move to the areas where the farms are. So get your camper van ready!
It is possible to find farm work all year long. However, before you start your journey to find farms, make sure you go to the right places: the harvests are seasonal and the seasons are different from one region to another.
To find out where and when to get the best chance of finding a job on a farm, you can check the Australian Harvest Guide. It contains all the official and useful information on opportunities, working conditions, transportation and work on farms.
For more information, you can contact the National Crops Information Service by phone at 1800 062 332.
Regional work for your second year visa Australia
Working on a farm can allow you to get a second year visa Australia.
If you decide to apply for second year visa jobs to extend your visa you need to log about 3 months (88 days) of regional work. You must complete the work in a rural area. There is a list of Postcodes that are considered rural. That’s where you should be working to get you second year visa. It can be a great opportunity to visit an area of Australia you’ve never seen before!
There are many industries to chose from (not only farm work). These industries include: Plant and animal cultivation, farming, fishing and curling, construction and mining. Here is the list of industries.
Farm work Australia / second year visa jobs: more tips
How to find a farm? First of all, you need to know in which region and at what time of the year there are crops to be harvested.
You can check the Harvest Guide which lists all the harvests according to the region and the time of the year. That way, you will be able to define a travel itinerary in your van according to the jobs available on the farms.
You should contact the farms /wwoof hosts that interest you by phone or email and wait to see if they contact you back to start the fruit picking harvest season.
Or even better: visit the farms directly to introduce yourself. Potential employers will get a chance to know you, and they might ask you to start working the next day!
Sometimes, you also have to register in a temp agency and wait for them to call you. You should try to adapt to each situation!
What are the work conditions for backpackers on farms?
If your farm offers a room where you’ll be able to sleep, don’t expect a 5 stars hotel… but as a backpacker, I guess you knew that already! Sometimes the rooms can look very plain, with shared showers and toilets for all workers on the farm. Often, farms prepare sandwiches for lunch, and there’s a canteen in the evening.
You’ll have to get up as early as 6:30am, and often you’ll be expected to work 6 days a week!
Some farms pay by how much work you do. If you’re strong and motivated, you can make a good salary! The first few days can be difficult: you must understand the technique to use to become fast and efficient. But after 1 or 2 months, picking apples, peaches and pears will have no secrets for you!
Farm work Australia: what about the salary ?
It can be difficult to give an average salary for farm work in Australia as you’re often paid according to your performance. For example, our first days were catastrophic and we earned less than a dollar after deducting our room and meals, while we were making $ 200 days at the end of the season!
For the other farms where we worked, the salary was around $ 17 an hour working between 7am and 9am daily and between 5 and 6 days a week. In terms of taxes to pay, in the document you must fill in Australia, if you check “non-Australian resident”, you will pay 30% tax, which reduces your salary at the end of the week! If you’re Australian and you tick “Australian resident”, you only pay 13% taxes. In both cases, you can recover these taxes and get money back at the end of your trip, either 30% or 13%.
Farm work in Australia can be a very good experience and the easiest way to find second year visa jobs, but you must be in good shape. You must also be OK with living with other people in conditions that can be a bit cramped. The other workers are, for the most part, also young people who come from abroad, and the atmosphere is great. This is a nice opportunity to meet new people and share unforgettable moments!