Some of you may be thinking, why on earth would you want to work on a farm in a country that’s home to some of the most deadly spiders and snakes. I’m about to tell you why. My Experience Working on a Farm In Australia / Tips.
Well here’s why. Completing 88 days or a solid three months of farm work enables you to extend your one-year working holiday visa to two years.
Farm Work in Australia, How Does it Work?
Here’s how it works. You can work on different farms and each full day you work, you get it signed off by the farmer. But very often completing your 88 days can take a huge amount of time. I’ve met people who have been doing their farm work for 6 to even 8 months! This is because most of the work Is highly weather dependant and many farms only provide a couple of days of work each week.
The best option is to find one farm that can supply you with work for three whole months. This way the amount of days you work doesn’t matter, as long as the farmer can sign you off as a full-time worker for three months.
This is so much quicker than working on multiple farms counting 88 days.
When I first started working towards my second-year visa I was counting individual days working on multiple farms including lime and potato farms. After three weeks of very little work, I secured myself a job on a potato farm that had guaranteed three months of employment. Sometimes I worked ten days straight and had ten days off, sometimes it was just a two day week, and I even worked 28 days straight with no breaks praying for rain so I could rest.
Working Hostel Or Farm Accommodation?
So when searching for farm work you must decide, are you going to choose a working hostel or are you going to go straight to the source and find a farm directly.
If you have access to a vehicle, finding farm work for yourself is doable. You will be able to find your own accommodation if you can’t stay on site. There are many websites you can use to find work like, Gumtree, Seek, Jora, Backpacker Job Board and The Job shop (Job Shop only covers WA and NT). If you find yourself in a town you’d like to work near, go to the job shop, sign up and make friends with the staff, they can help you (especially if they like you).
If you have no car however your options are pretty limited to a working hostel as they do provide transport to work each day.
How Do Farm working Hostels Work?
Most working hostels make sure every bed is filled, year-round. This is so they can be making maximum money out of backpackers who are desperate for work.
To fill these beds, they advertise jobs, all the time, even when there is no work.
These hostels are usually very expensive and can be anywhere from $180-$280 a week! The working hostel I stayed in charged $180 a week if they don’t find you any work or $250 if you had worked a full week. Even if you had not been given many hours they would still try to take more money. Wifi, food, and laundry were not included in the weekly price and they took a deposit for kitchen utensils.
The working hostel I stayed in would send out a group message each night at 6 pm with a timetable stating who would be working the next day, and which farm you would be going to. Everybody was desperate for work, yet only about a quarter would be lucky enough to work each day. Frustrations grew as new faces appeared and old ones waited patiently.
How Do You Get Paid Working On a Farm in Australia?
My most valuable piece of advice for anyone about to embark on their farm work journey would be: Do not accept piece-rate pay.
Piece pay means that the wage is not based on how many hours you work, but the weight of the fruit you pick. The reason you should avoid this is that in most circumstances the farmer is only paying piece-rate to get away with paying less than the hourly wage.
I’ve met people who earned as little as $5 per hour on piece pay when the average hourly wage is $22ph.
So how much money can you make?
I made $7000 (AUD) in four months. I didn’t buy any alcohol and I spent only $10 a week on food. That’s why I was able to save so much.
I saw so many people spend all their hard-earned money on alcohol and expensive food, and they couldn’t work out how I had left with a year’s worth of travel savings, well now you know.
Concluding all this, just read lots of reviews, go with your gut instinct and talk to people.
I’m wishing you all the luck in the world because I had some really bad experiences with my farm work. I stayed in a place called Tolga Lodge and they tried to scam me on a weekly basis. The owners were the nastiest people I came across in all of my years of traveling. That’s all I’m going to say because I want my blog to be a positive place. I know many people who do get lucky and have a positive experience, I hope you do too.
Thanks you for reading about My Experience Working on a Farm In Australia / Tips. I hope this has been useful!
⁃ The Lost Girl