Are you not afraid to get your hands dirty and want to get to know rural Australia better? Working on the land is a great way to have new experiences and earn some money at the same time. Sometimes finding work can be tough but other times it can be incredibly easy. A little luck always comes in handy but if you look for work the right way it shouldn’t be too hard. Good luck!
Types of jobs
Almost all jobs in rural Australia include farm work. There are some jobs here and there at local pubs but they are hard to find. Most jobs are:
- Fruit picking
- Fruit packing
- Construction/maintenance work
- Other farm work
- For the true adventurer: Jillaroo or Jackaroo (work on a sheep or cattle station)
Most jobs are paid per hour but there are many jobs that are paid based on how much you do: piece work it is called. You are for instance paid per kilo or per bin. I recommend you to stay away from this kind of work because the pay is usually not good. Hourly paid work is 99% of the time better paid than piece work. Currently the hourly minimum wage is $21,61 per hour. The piece rates depend on the type of fruit or vegetable.
How to find work
– Job websites
On the following websites you can find farm work:
- Backpacker job websites such as: backpackerjobboard.com.au or jobs4travellers.com.au
- Harvest trail. The harvest trail is a government website on which jobs are advertised and you can find information on crops and farms all over Australia. From the homepage you go to harvest jobs, then click ‘ view harvest town and crop information’ .
- Gumtree. This is a website where you can mostly sell or buy stuff but it also has a section for jobs. It is possible to make your own advertisement that you are looking for work.
- Indeed. On this website you can find any kind of jobs. Every now and then farm work is advertised.
– Visit farms
The ultimate way to find a job is to go knocking on doors, a car is needed to do this though. The best way is to find out via the harvest trail website where the harvest season is starting. Go there and ask around what the best farms are to find work. Drive to the farms and ask if they need people. If they don’t maybe in a few months time they might have something or you could ask if they know other farms that might have farm work. It might take some time but it’s definitely the best way to find a job.
This is how I found work. I asked around about good farms and I got very helpful information. I went to the recommended farm and told them who sent me, I was basically hired on the spot and started the next day.
– Working hostel
If you don’t want to buy a car or don’t want to go through the hassle to find a job yourself a working hostel is a good option. A working hostel provides farm work for backpackers. They started some years ago due to a lack of accommodation for backpackers that work on farms. For farmers this is an easy way to get employees, they don’t have to make an effort to find anyone.
Staying in a working hostel is not cheap though. A bed in a dorm could be the same price as a room in a big city. Also they are usually not the cleanest places and there are a lot of scams around. So be careful. Make sure you check reviews. If you’re alone working hostels are a great way to work and meet people at the same time.
Where to find working hostels?
If you google ‘working hostels Australia’ there are websites that show up that give information about working hostels. The best thing to do is to decide where you want to go and just call them to see if there is any place and work available.
– Local job agencies
In most places where there is a lot of farm work there will be job agencies that help backpackers find jobs. It is possible to find the agencies through Google. You could send an email before you go but the best thing is to go in person because there are many backpackers that promise the world but never show up. When you walk in it is a lot easier to get things done.
You might wonder where you are going to stay when you work on a farm. There are always
places to stay for backpackers if there is work around.
- On the farm. Most farms will provide housing for some backpackers. These places are usually good because the people on the farm take care of it themselves. It’s most of the time also cheaper because they are usually far away from anything and the owners do not necessarily want to make a profit.
- Working hostel. As mentioned before you can stay in a working hostel. They usually drive you to work so you don’t need to have a car to go to work.
- Camp. If you have a van the best way is to camp out. Every town has got paid or sometimes unpaid campgrounds. In the winter this might be a bit chilly but during the warmer months a great way to save some money.
- Rent a room. This is only feasible when you want to stay longer than a few months. For a short period of time it will be hard to find a landlord that wants to go through the trouble.