The Backpacker’s Guide to Fruit Picking in Australia

hands holding berries

Australia’s mild winters, festive summers and generally pleasant weather the rest of the year, meaning there’s no shortage of tourists. The country’s climate also means there’s no shortage of fresh produce to be harvested all year round.

These two—goods and tourists—don’t have to be mutually exclusive, though. For backpackers, especially, the year-round supply of fresh fruits, vegetables and even flowers to be harvested present a great opportunity to earn while you travel.

Intrigued? Here’s what you need to do:

Secure a Working Holiday visa

Like working in any other country that’s not your own, you need a visa that allows you to get a job while you’re here. Thanks to the Australian government’s Working Holiday Program, young adults who want to extend their holiday here can do so and fund their travels at the same time through any job. With this visa, you can stay and work in the country for up to 12 months!

Pick the perfect harvesting time and location

As mentioned earlier, the Australian weather allows for different types of fruits and vegetables to be available virtually every month. But, if you want to make the most of your trip, the most bountiful fruit picking season tend to be the spring and summer.

During these months, the fruits are as fresh as the country air and plenty of farms and orchards are in need of fruit pickers the most. The eastern parts of the country, such as Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales, have the most number of orchards that offer fruit picking jobs. Even better is the fact that these are in cities that are in eligible locations for a Working Holiday visa.

Learn how you’ll be paid and choose the most convenient for you

Obviously, one of your goals for working as a fruit picker is to earn some money as you travel. How each farm or orchard pays migrant workers varies, so you must choose one that’s the most convenient for your needs.

Some fruit picking jobs pay you by the hour, but a lot of farmers pay you for the amount of work you do, meaning how much fresh produce you’ll be able to harvest. In this type of wage, you’ll be armed with large plastic bins to fill. So, the faster you work, the more fruit bins you’ll fill, the more money you’ll earn. Of course, if you’re being paid by the hour, you can’t slack off either.

Be prepared for the working conditions

man picking grapefruits in the farm

If you’ve got your visa and chosen your destination, you must now prepare for the working conditions you’ll experience while working in fruit picking farms.

Jobs like this require good general physical condition. Most of the time, you’ll be working in uncomfortable positions, either from the ground or atop a ladder. You’ll be picking fruits or vegetables while using muscles in your body you didn’t even know existed!

Of course, while being a fruit picker can be labour extensive, it’s also a great way to keep your body in shape. Apart from that, earning money and getting to experience the Australian countryside, this job offers you the opportunity to meet new people and make great memories.

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