How to Find Farm Work in Australia

How to Find Farm Work in Australia

Farm work – inevitable struggle that backpackers in Australia need to go through in order to get the 2nd year working holiday visa. Well, it doesn’t have to be farm work (check eligible fields here), but most of us backpackers end up doing their 88 days on farms. I believe most of us have heard horror stories about farm work and I have also met many backpackers who decided to let go of their second year visa because of bad experiences on the farms.

Here are my tips on how to find farm work in Australia to get your second year visa.

My experiences

Struggling with farm work may have given me few extra gray hairs, but I survived and so can you. In my case, the major cause of extra panicking was the fear that I’m running out of time. So my first tip is:

TIP 1: Start looking for 2nd year visa work early! Earlier the better. Seasons can be unpredictable so you may not be able to finish your farm work on the same farm. Also, prepare yourself that it can take more than three months to get your visa days. Farm work is usually really dependent on weather, so you may not be able to work every day.

I ended up doing my farm work on four different farms, of which half were good and half not so good. The time spent on the worst farm, which was the first farm I worked, was actually only time I have seriously considered going back home. Then again, the time spent on the good farms ended up being the best time I’ve had in Australia.  So as a conclusion:

TIP 2: If you end up working on a farm where you don’t like to be and are not running out of time to get your days – leave. There is no point wasting your limited time here in Australia by being miserable. I know farm work is not always too easy to find but there is still good farms out there.

Read More: 7 Things I learned When Working on Farms in Australia

Working on a farm in Australia

Finding farm work

Before you start looking for a farm job to get your 88 days, you should first learn the rules to know what kind of work is eligible towards your visa.

Read More: 88 Days – FAQ About 2nd Year Visa Work

Harvest Trail

If you have no idea about farm work or no knowledge of seasons and what grows where, the harvest trail is a good place to start. They have a phone number where you can call and enquire open positions and ask for ongoing or upcoming seasons. They also have a pdf version of the harvest book (open here), that gives you some insight of the seasons.


Gumtree is a bit controversial platform for job hunting. There is a lot of jobs and especially many small farms find their employees through gumtree. But, because anyone can post an ad on gumtree there is also a lot of scams. It is advisable to act extra cautious with gumtree – always google the farm, see if it has bad reviews and check if the ABN is real.

You can either look for open positions or post your own job application, which we did and got our first farm job. We didn’t like working on that farm but it paid a minimum wage and signed visa days. The farm where we worked hired people only from checking the resumes section on gumtree. I suppose many small farms do this since they don’t have enough resources to go through applications they would receive if they would post an open position ad.

We got actually quite a lot of calls and messages from our gumtree application, but most of them were either too far or didn’t qualify for the second year visa (=did not pay minimum wage). One reason why our application got interest was that we owned a car. Farms are located outside public transport so you need to have your own transport to either to get to the farm or get out from the farm to do grocery shopping etc. The farm where we worked hired only people who owned a car, which was the main reason they contacted us in the first place. In bigger farms ride shares are quite easy to organize, but on the small farms, it can be difficult.

TIP 3: Having a car increases the number of potential farms.

Read more: How to Buy a Backpacker Car in Australia


Fruit Picking Jobs posts quite a lot of open farm positions so it is a good page to keep an eye on. Working Holiday Jobs and Backpacker Job Board are good pages to look at, they post also other jobs than just farm positions. You can also try to ask backpacker groups about potential farms.

Job search websites

The biggest ones are:

There are also some sites only for backpacker jobs for example:


Many, especially small farms do not advertise open positions on job search sites. They either receive enough applications anyway or have some other means to find employees.

When we were looking for farm work we spent a lot of time just googling farms and sending e-mails to potential farms. Quite many even had some forms or directions how to apply for a job. Although, I have to say it is not always easy to find farms’ websites because they: a) don’t exist or b) are so hidden that you have to use some serious detective skills to find them. Still, there is a lot of ‘hidden’ farm positions you just have to put some effort into finding them.

Information centers

Some town’s information centers do have information or leaflets about seasonal work nearby, especially if there is a lot of farms around.

Working hostels

Probably the easiest way to get a farm job, but money wise maybe not the best one. I don’t have personal experience of working hostels, but I have heard good and bad stories about them. I know many working hostels charge you quite a lot for accommodation and it is not even guaranteed that you get a job. It is maybe a good idea to ask some references if you are planning to go in one.


Generally, Australians are really helpful so if you have any connections, try to ask if anyone knows anything about potential farms. My friends learned about one farm where I worked by asking from a guy who sold coffee at a rest area that does he know any farms around. The guy knew this farm which happened to be hiring at that moment so they got the job. Moral of the story: it never hurts to ask.

Go ask from the farms

I haven’t tried this but some people just go ask straight from the farms that do they need employees. Especially many small farms you cannot even find online,  so going out in the field is the only way to reach these.

TIP 4: If you happen to come across a Yellow Pages book (seriously, people still use that in here instead of Google), there is usually some “farms” section where you can find contact details.

TIP 5: Because competition is hard you will have better chances of getting work if you are not there where everybody else is. This, unfortunately, is there where the weather is nicest: summer in the south and winter in the north.

Usually, if people want to pick some particular fruits they go into a place where they know a season is coming. If you are planning to do this go early, a bit before the season starts. You have better chances of getting a job when you are already there available to start when needed.

Working on farms in Australia

Writing an application

Farm work isn’t really rocket science, but because competition of the places is really tense you have to write a proper application!

Do not write an application that just says “I need money and visa days please hire me”. Farmers do know that these are the main reasons why backpackers apply for a farm job, but you have to give some reasons why you are the person they should hire.

Applying for a farm job is like applying for any other job, except your application doesn’t have to be very formal. The most important thing is to convince the farm why they should hire you and not someone else. Read the job ad and if there are any specific requirements that the farm wishes you to have, try to include those in your application. Some qualities that are generally good for farm work are at least:

  • motivated
  • hard-working – days can be long and who would benefit from a lazy worker
  • flexible – farm work is usually really dependent on external factors (like weather conditions or amount of orders) so it requires some flexibility
  • fit – farm work can be physically hard so it really helps if you are in good condition.

The application doesn’t have to be too complicated. Usually, it’s enough to include:

  • some information about yourself and what you have done previously
  • why you would like to work on this farm and
  • some reasons why the farm should hire you.

If you don’t hear back from your application and really want to work for that farm, call after it. It makes an impression that you are serious and generally in Australia calling to places is the way things work.

Hourly Paid vs. Piece Rate

Before doing any farm work we had only heard bad stories about piece rate work, so we decided to apply only for hourly paid jobs. Our first farm job was hourly paid, but we didn’t like the farm so we left. Later we got a job from a farm that was piece rate and paid 24$/h for an average picker, which was the minimum wage for piece rate work (21,61$/h for hourly paid on that time).

We ended up making more money with piece rate than with hourly paid work and we also liked the piece rate work much more. I guess biggest mistake people do with the piece rate work is that they leave too early. It does take some time before you learn the technique and start earning.

My recommendations

I would say it is really dependent on people do they like to do piece rate or hourly paid work. Some people didn’t like to do piece rate work at all because it is a bit competitive. Also, if you are slow or just lazy you don’t really earn much.

Personally, I find the competition and the piece rate pay system motivating. I found piece rate work more relaxed. Nobody’s there looking over your shoulder and complaining if you are not working fast enough. Also, you can keep your breaks whenever you want – it is just all out of your pocket if you are not working. I did also some hourly paid work on the farms (packing and pruning) but I just found it super boring. But again, it is totally dependent on people which one they prefer. If possible, I think best would be to try both and see which one you like more.

If you have some other tips about farm work in Australia, please share in the comment box. 🙂

Good luck!

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55 thoughts on “How to Find Farm Work in Australia”

  • Hey Helena,
    Your website has been so unbelievably helpful I cannot thank you enough.
    Im currently living in Melbourne but very flexible with where I can go for farm work.
    I was hoping to hear about the farms you actually attended and enjoyed/ could handle!
    Are you able to send me some names/ information?
    Thanks a million.

    • Hi Taylorie,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, none of the farms where I worked have a season going on at the moment so my information wouldn’t help that much. I wish you the best of luck in finding farm work though!

  • Hey Helena!
    My partner and I have really been struggling to find farm work and his Visa days are quickly running out!! Do you have any advice for finding farm work quickly? Is there somewhere we could go to get some help? We are really desperate and trying anything to get help! Thankyou!

    • Hi Nicole,

      My best advice would be to contact harvest trail to find out whereabout there are seasons going on. Unfortunately there is no way to make the process any quicker – sometimes you can find a job easily and in a short period of time but there is no guarantee this will happen. You can also try working hostels but in my understanding, also in those you sometimes have to wait for a long time to be able to start working. I wish you the best of luck!

  • hello Helena, very helpful blog you’ve made! I am in darwin at the moment but the mango season is not starting yet. I have a car so could go everywhere. do you have any advice where to go in this area so I can start working right away? thanks a lot!

  • Hi Helena

    This info is great, thanks for your help. I am hoping to start my three months in September. Did you work on any farms in NSW that you would recommend?

  • Hi Helena !
    I’ve already done my 88 days but now I need a farm to get money for travelling
    Could you please send me the contacts of the farms where you worked and do you think they hire in June ?

  • Hi Helena, I loved this blog! My partner and I are currently seeking to do our 88 days and are struggling to find a suitable farm. Would it be possible to maybe get some information from yourself about where/ when you did your farm work? Also about your experiences on what you picked/ packed! Thanks so much, Jon.

    • Hi Jon,
      I was doing mostly berry picking (blueberry, raspberry & blackberry). Berry picking is quite easy to do and not physically hard. Unfortunately, there is no picking season going on at any of those farms where I worked at the moment, so I cannot really help you to get a farm job. The picking season for most berries in NSW, TAS and VIC is roughly between September and March.

  • I’m in Nigeria, a local farmer. I need a farm job in australia or new Zealand. What should I do?

  • Hi Helen , my is mentioned above and I m from Fiji,I was working in Australia under a SWP for 2015 to 2016 season in farms at Euston,South Membein and Denmark.its nice and lots of opportunity I ve gone through. I wish to travel over,could you please find a farm under a Horticulture and Agriculture sector.
    Hope to hear from you as soon as possible. I really interested in working in the farm as I was a team leader .

  • I love this post and I really appreciate your enlightenment,I love to experience to work with farms in Australia if I can be given opportunities am from Nigeria in west Africa I love farm work

  • Hi Helen
    This is great information I have just landed km Sydney and I want to get the farm work out of the way as quick as possible 2 reasons more money to travel after it and 2ND year. Do u know of any farms looking now. I have a full license but no car and can fly any where to get it done. I have look on slot of websites and I would like the hourly pay alot of ads I am seeing is you get paid on your bucket filled is this the piece rate .. thanks Adam

    • Hi Adam!

      Unfortunately, I don’t know any farms that would hire at the moment. Most of the picking jobs are paid per bucket/kilo as there are slow pickers and fast pickers. It is true that there are a lot scamming of farms that pay poorly for piece rate picking jobs, but if you find a good farm and are motivated you can actually make good money in those. Hourly paid farm jobs are fewer and everyone seems to want to do hourly paid jobs so it is more difficult to get hourly paid farm jobs.

  • Hi Helena, Im currently looking for farm work on the outskirts of Melbourne that counts for my second year visa. Any ideas/ leads in this area? Im currently leasing a house here and cant afford to move away at the moment. Any leads would be very much appreciated. Thanks 🙂

    • Sorry Jess, I don’t know any farms close to Melbourne that would hire at the moment. Just make sure when you are looking for one that the farm location is in the are of the postcode list. Otherwise, it will not count. I don’t think the outskirts of Melbourne will actually count. If I remember correctly you have to travel quite far from the city that the farm is “rural” enough.

  • Awesome post! I was simply thinking about whether numerous ranches employ Australian laborers? My companions American and is coming to Australia soon on the year work visa and we needed to take a shot at the ranches together, however, I am from Australia.

  • Hi Helena! Thank you for writing this, it’s really helpful. I am currently looking for a farmjob, not because of the second year visa but because I need to make a little money for travelling. Could you maybe give me the names of the farms where you had a good experience? That would really save my life!
    Thank you in advance 🙂

      • Hey Helena!
        I totally agree with the other people that post helpes a lot. I’m also trying to find a fair place for my 88 days farm work. Could you maybe send me the farm that you worked at and liked as well.
        Greetings Lisa 🙂

    • Hey Helena – I’m in the same position as Rosa; looking for farm work to fund my travels. If you have any advice on good farms I’d also really appreciate it. Thank you <3

  • I want to come australia for it can be possible .what is process to apply farm worker.i have 5years experience in truck driving and tractor

  • I really like reading your blog! Do you know if it’s possible to quit a 2nd year visa work? I just want to work 4 weeks starting in the mid of January 2018.
    Can you please recommend good farms I can ask? You can also send me an email 🙂

    • Hello Anna!

      I’m glad you like my blog. 🙂 If I understood your question right, then yes, you can do your farm work in blocks. For example, 4 weeks in January and the remaining 9 weeks in some other time. You can find more information about the second year visa rules from my FAQ post.

      Unfortunately, I do not know any good farms that are hiring at that time. January is high season for a lot of fruits growing in the southern part of Australia (VIC and TAS) at that time and there should be plenty of farms hiring. However, a lot of people know this and there is also a lot of competition so getting a job might not be easy. Banana season in Queensland is ongoing but I have to say that people I know who have worked in banana farms did not like that job at all. I suggest reading the harvest guide to get an idea where there might be some work available. Good old Google is quite handy when looking for the farm contact details. Hope this helps!

  • Hi! Helena! You only forgot to talk about wikifarms australia, it’s a mobile app. I found my last farm job with it. Anyway it’s a very nice and clear article, it helped me a lot when I arrived in Australia 🙂

    • Hi Bastian!

      Thank you for the tip! I have only listed the resources here that I know or have used myself.
      I have heard of WikiFarms but have not tried it or seen how it works, great to hear that the app helped you to get a farm job. 🙂
      Enjoy Australia!

  • Myself and some couples of ladies are would like to come to Australia for fruit picking, but we have no idea at all, who shall we arrange with, who do we talk to work in his or her farm, what do we need to do to travel, esp, work permit, visa etc. Please can someone come back to me and advise, I would really appreciate your help.

    • Hi Suzanne!

      First thing to do is to check what kind of working visa you can get to Australia. To do that use the Visa Finder on Australian Immigration websites and check what kind of visa you are eligible to. If you are eligible to Working Holiday (417) or Work and Holiday (462) visas those are the easiest visas to get to come to work to Australia.

      If you want to work on the farms you will need your own car to travel around since farms are remotely located and outside public transport. You can read about how to buy a car in Australia from this post. For finding farm work you can find information from the post above.

      Hope this helps!

  • Hey! Great post! I was just wondering if many farms hire Australian workers? My girlfriend’s American and is coming to Australia soon on the year work visa and we wanted to work on the farms together but I am from Australia. Will this be an issue?

    • Hi Jack!
      Thank you, I’m glad you like my post. 🙂 For sure farms hire Australian workers! Actually, most of the farms I worked gave preference to local workers. Usually Australians just are not that keen for doing farm work so that’s why there is mostly backpackers working on the farms. If your girlfriend wants the farm work to count towards her second year visa make sure you pick a farm that is located above the Tropic of Capricorn. Only work done in northern Australia will count towards the second year visa for 462 visa holders which Americans have. Hope you will have great time doing your farm work!

  • Really good post, thanks for writing. I also recommend to start job seeking early and if you can, be on the farm at the start of the season. Based on my experience, those who were “the 1st generation” of the season, got the best roles and most hours (I worked on a relatively large farm and we had different work shifts).

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