Working on a farm is hard work but it’s later dubbed by many backpackers “the best time of their lives”. Here’s how to find farm work in Australia!
Best Locations for Backpackers Farm Work In Australia
If you’re looking to stay in Australia for a second year on your working holiday visa, then you’ll know all about getting those precious 88 days of regional work under your belt. But where to start, you ask? One of the first steps is to find out exactly where the main growing regions are; these spots have the highest production numbers and therefore also have the most jobs available. Employment is highly seasonal, so it also good to stay informed of which crop is grown where and when the season starts. Below is a simple guide to introduce you to the 8 best locations for your Australia farm work
Australia Farm Work: Atherton Tablelands, QLD
People ask ‘what is the best thing about the region?’ Well, there’s more than one! Firstly, the gourmet food and wine trails that cris-cross our ‘food bowl of the tropics’. Secondly, our wildlife with a particular emphasis on bird watching and unique marsupials like the tree kangaroo. Thirdly, the waterfalls and stunning rainforest backdrops. Finally, there’s the region’s natural wonders such as Mount Mulligan, Chillagoe Caves, Curtain Fig Tree, Lake Tinaroo, Mt Hypipamee Crater, Undara Lava Tubes, Broomfield Swamp, Paronella Park and the twin crater lakes of Barrine and Eacham just to name a few!
Up near Cairns in Far North Tropical Queensland, the gorgeous Atherton Tablelands are home to a wide range of Australia farm work opportunities. With avocados making up a large part of the harvest, as well as mangoes, citrus, bananas and sugarcane, the season in one of the prettiest Australia farm work destinations runs largely during the hot summer months between December and March.
Australia Farm Work: Mildura, VIC
From enjoying abundant fresh local produce and award-winning wines, to drifting aboard a luxury houseboat, to a round of golf or exploring so many nearby natural wonders, Mildura is a holiday region that caters for all ages and interests. Well known for its warm and consistently sunny Mediterranean weather. Long-recognised as an important Australian food bowl, Mildura’s adjacent and prolific agricultural districts are bursting with grapes, citrus fruits, almonds, olives, countless varieties of vegetables plus much more.
Down in Victoria, the large harvesting area centred around the town of Mildura has tons of citrus, grapes and vegetable production farms, which means at most times of the year someone somewhere need something picked! Accommodation and transport to work is usually provided by backpacker hostels who offer complete packages for those looking to work the season.
Australia Farm Work: Stanthorpe, QLD
At the heart of the Granite Belt, Stanthorpe gives easy access to big sky panoramas, spectacular countryside dotted with precariously balancing prehistoric granite boulders and a generally cooler, temperate climate (there’s even an occasional winter snow-fall!)
Originally established by tin miners in the 1870s, nowadays, thanks to its unique microclimate and granitic soil, the region is nationally recognised for its winemaking and diversity of produce. Look out for apples, pears, berries, stone fruit, persimmons, figs, olives and a huge range of vegetables in season. Those with a more adventurous palate should follow the Strange Bird alternative wine trail, which covers some of the more unusual varieties including viognier, mourvedre and tempranillo. If you’re more interested in the grain than the grape, there are microbreweries in Stanthorpe, where you can sample locally brewed beers on tap including Kolsch, Pilsner, Wheat Beer, India Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale, a Porter and a specialty beer each season.
This place is famous for its apple production, with the season running from February to June. With over 30 different varieties grown in the region, apples here are big business, so if you don’t mind climbing ladders, this is probably the spot to head.
Australia Farm River Work: Margaret, WA
Discover the hidden sights and scenery of Australia’s premium wine region. With over 130 vineyards, Margaret River in Western Australia is the grape picking destination. A quiet little surfing town, the gorgeous setting of this place is well worth a visit and has certainly wooed more than few people into staying and looking for work! The season has two main highs – June to September is the pruning period and February to April is the grape picking time.
Australia Farm Work: Bowen, QLD
Situated just above the Whitsundays, the large town of Bowen is a remarkably sleepy town for its size that is until picking season starts in May! Then the town is flooded with hoards of backpackers all looking to do their farm work and suddenly the place is buzzing. With a huge diversity of crops from mango and zucchini to tomato, corn and capsicum, there is a large variation of crops here all of which need picking at slightly different times. In turn, this means that the season stretches for a long period of time and you should be able to find some work at some point during it. Bowen offers visitors a veritable paradise with eight beautiful beaches to enjoy and explore. The inner reef is just metres from many of Bowen’s bays, within minutes of donning your snorkel you can be swimming above a rich environment of corals and fish. At low tide you can walk towards the North Head Lighthouse and be amazed by the bountiful sea life, admiring giant red starfish, feather stars and green sea turtles. Coupled with a rich diversity of local produce and seafood, Bowen is the perfect place to unwind
Australia Farm Work: Tamar Valley, TAS
Stretching 60 km north from Launceston to Bass Strait along either side of the Tamar River, the Tamar Valley is one of Tasmania’s prettiest regions. Both banks of the river and the wider valley are packed with things to do and places to go. Spectacular views abound and the roads are good, making it easy and enjoyable to tour around. Down in Tasmania, it really is all about the cherries and the berries. Picked right across the island, but perhaps most popularly in the Tamar Valley, the small soft fruit season runs during the summer months between December and February, when it’s warm enough to be down there.
Australia Farm Work: Ayr, QLD
Just up the road from Bowen, the town of Ayr is smaller and more compact, but just as busy when the picking season hits. Ayr is a substantial rural service centre north of the Burdekin River at the heart of one of the most productive sugarcane-growing areas in Australia. Here too, most of the accommodation is provided by hostels that also work as sub-contractors to outsource the Australia farm work to backpackers. The season in Ayr and the types of crops harvested are similar to Bowen, so start trying to find work here from around March and you’ll hopefully be top of the list when things to do kick off.
Australia Farm Work: Griffith, NSW
Crossing over the border into New South Wales, Griffith is famous for its grape production as well as its citrus and stone-fruit season. Griffith is a little piece of Italy in the heart of the Riverina. It still has the extraordinary statistic that 60% of the city’s population has Italian ancestors and it still celebrates Italian culture with extensive vineyards in the region, providers in the town selling local produce, and excellent cafes and restaurants where the pasta and coffee can be favourably compared to the best that Sydney (and Italy) can offer. Today the city’s dominant Italian culture has been enriched by substantial populations of Tongans, Samoans, Afghanis, Indians and Aborigines. Grape season starts around mid-February and lasts for six to eight weeks. The citrus harvest runs from November until March. At either of these times, there is bound to be loads of work for you to get your teeth stuck into.