I know many of us just try our hand at farm work in Australia in order to get a precious second year working holiday visa.
And that’s totally fair enough.
After all, grinding it in the fields all day is relentless, uncomfortable and hard! And that’s not to mention the horror stories we’ve all heard about dodgy farmers, crazy colleagues and unsigned paperwork at the end.
That said however, there are some simple ways you can make sure your second-year visa farm work Australia experience isn’t a nightmare.
In fact, following some of these might even help you like your farm work (*shock horror*) or at least get more out of the experience than just crossing off those magical 88 days.
So to make sure you enjoy your farm work Australia adventure as much you enjoy another year Down Under, here are 8 secrets to ensuring you get the best possible outcome.
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#1 Don’t Leave It Until the Last Minute
If you think you’re going to want to stay another year in Australia, then start looking for farm jobs as soon as possible.
Your 88 days don’t have to be undertaken in one continuous block, so starting some of your days early, and then spreading them out over the course of your first working holiday year, will give you greater freedom over exactly what and where you farm.
This is a sure-fire way to make sure your Australian farm work doesn’t quickly descend into a nightmare!
#2 Research Where You’re Going
Likewise, making sure you do a little bit of research about the area you’re going to do your farm work in, is a great way to get the best from the experience.
So get on Google maps and check out where it is!
Learning a bit about the sort of climate you can expect, the terrain you will encounter and how remote or not a place is, will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Having some clearer expectations then means you’ll have more sense of what life might be like when you’re out there and you won’t be disappointed if you do realise the closest town is over 500km away!
5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strollling, I love mine
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
#3 Be Prepared
Never will your farm work in Australia quickly become more of a nightmare than if you aren’t prepared for it!
Researching where you are going is a large part of this, but so too is learning about what the particular type of farm work you’ll be doing involves exactly.
What are the potential hazards or worst bits? What will your day look like? Will you have to operate machinery or wear special equipment?
Think about it, might you need gloves, hats and boots? Perhaps long sleeves or a thick sleeping bag if it gets cold at night there?
Would it be a good idea to take a large collection of books, a snorkel and mask, or some drawing pencils?
Knowing this sort of information in advance will help you prepare for your farm work Australia experience and will also mean that you’ll turn up with the right kit, making things a whole lot more comfortable and enjoyable!
#4 See It As an Opportunity Not a Chore
Farm work is perhaps something you would never normally consider doing at home, but make sure to see it as an opportunity during your travels in Australia.
No doubt it will give you the chance to learn, experience and do lots of different things and meet lots of different people too.
Try to see the best in these 88 days and arrive with a positive mindset.
Doing so will definitely help you view even the challenges of your farm work as an opportunity to push yourself, rather than just something negative to moan about.
#5 Meet Some Great Travel Buddies
No one can deny there’s nothing quite like picking apples with someone for hours on end in order to get to know them quickly!
And that’s why undertaking your farm work in Australia is a great way to meet travel buddies and make sure you have a good laugh at the same time!
This is especially true if you’re keen to travel after your fruit picking gig because, more than likely, you’ll encounter others wanting to do the same!
#6 Take the Chance to Get Fit
I totally got the best from my farm work in Australia by using it as an opportunity to go on a bit of a health kick!
I know this isn’t for everyone, but you can definitely get a lot more out of your fruit picking gig, for example, by harnessing the physical work involved to increase your level of fitness.
This is a great positive swing to put on the situation and should give you goals to help increase your enjoyment of the whole experience. After all, who doesn’t want bigger guns?!
Also, there’s nothing like a good daily dose of fresh air to make you feel alive, and all that outside farm work is likely to give you day after day of serotonin surge!
#7 Save, Save and Save Some More
Now that you must legally be paid a fair, minimum wage for your 88 days of farm work in Australia, it can be a lucrative pursuit!
Not only are the wages decent for the work you’re doing – think over $22 an hour – but often being situated in regional areas means there isn’t a lot of opportunities to spend your paycheque once you’ve earned it.
Top Tip: Do make sure you’re not paying through the roof for accommodation and transport as part of your 88 days as this will soon swallow your cash!
Make sure you get the best from your farm work Australia experience by using it as an opportunity to save some cash, not spend it – that way you’ll have more funds for fun when you do start travelling again.
#8 Experience a Different side to Oz
And lastly, don’t forget that undertaking your Australian farm work will likely mean travelling to, and living in, a remote area.
This is an awesome chance for you to see and experience parts of this great country you never normally would.
See it as an opportunity to get off the beaten track in Australia and as a real adventure, one that gets you away from the cities and into a different pace of life and culture.
Use your days off from the farm work to explore the surrounding area too, and in doing so, you’ll really be able to say you’ve travelled Australia!
So those are my 8 secrets to ensuring your 2nd-year farm work in Australia isn’t 88 days of nightmare!
But do let me know if you’ve already got through your 3 months and have any other tips to share.
What was the best place to go and what’s the best work to do? I’d love to learn from you guys in the comments box below…
11 thoughts on “The 8 Simple Ways to Ensure Your 2nd Year Farm Work in Australia Isn’t 88 Days of Nightmare!”
Wow, I am way too old to pick fruit I think :> Sounds like hard work. Hat off to you Steph.
Where do you live in Aus these days? I am from Melbourne but living in Zurich. Funny how we end up on other sides of the world no matter where we are from :>
Absolutely Roger isn’t it amazing! I’m currently based in Fremantle, WA, which is my favourite place in Australia to live by far (before this I was in QLD), so I feel really lucky to be here. Melbs is too cold for me! Hows Zurich?
This is such a great post! I’m currently in WA trying to finish my farm work myself, and I have to agree with all your tips. I’m using it for a health kick too! Aaaand I’m also using it as a chance to spend my evenings blogging of course. I’m sure you can relate…
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Oh yes Ellie, I can definitely relate! I’m in WA at the moment as well, wherabouts are you? Hoping it’s not too cold wherever you are … and that the health kick is going well 🙂
Hello! thank you so much for sharing your tips. I’m thinking about taking a farmwork in case I can’t make it with hospitality (I hold the 462 class). I have to be honest, the whole idea scares me a little bit mostly because of the stories about employers that don’t want to pay and so on.
I have some questions about it, if you don’t mind…
What is the best way to find farm work? what do you think about working hostels? the thing is that I am a solo traveler and have no car…so any advice would be great!
Hi Camila, these are all great questions to ask – not least because there are lots of bad stories I’ve heard too, so you definitely want to make sure you get those 88 days right and don’t waste your time. In terms of finding farm work, word of mouth and Gumtree are the predictable options, but the ones I’ve heard work time and time again. You just have to be very active – checking gumtree daily – and be very flexible with where and when you go. To be honest, I’ve heard very mixed things about working hostels and would suggest avoiding if you can. Try to go through the farmer direct, although this isn’t always possible in places like Bowen etc where everything seems to be organised through the hostels. Having no car might make things a little more difficult, but not impossible for you. I know others who have done it without their own transport too, so don’t worry. Check out Gumtree for rideshares, investigate coseats.com too and regularly look at Facebook backpacker groups. It is hard, and finding 88 days may take over your life for a bit, but it will be worth it in the end!
I’ve just been granted my first working holiday visa and I too am going to be travelling on my own and without a car… I know this post was 2 years ago, so I hope you had (perhaps still having?) a fantastic time! How did you get on? Any advice on travelling under these circumstances?
Hiya! I’m in the same boat as you and wondered if you had had much luck in how to go about getting work?
Mollie – from NZ 🙂
Hi Mollie, it’s really hard to find farmwork in Oz, I know. I was lucky enough to most of mine through friendly contacts. Sorry I can’t help further. Good luck, Steph 🙂
Hi, There is many good things on your post and I would like to ask you do you know is it possible to do fruit picking job having an accommodation on the farm? I don’t have a car and am not excited living in work hostel. What can I do?
There are so many farms in Australia, with so many options, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something you need. Good luck, Steph 🙂