From my experience, I highly recommend farm work compared to city work for several reasons:
- Easy money: either you are paid minimum wage which is 21$/hour for 38hours/ week (extra hours: 32$/hours) or your paid for what you pick, if you are rather fast you can make quite a lot of money. (Example if you are picking cherries in Queensland you earn 1$/kg, in general we use to make between 160$-300$/a day).
My recommendation is to work in orchards (cherries, apples, etc) which is the easiest if you don’t want to end up with a sore back or else, do fruit and vegetable sorting (easy but a bit boring).
Just be careful, some people take advantages of WHV workers, if you are making less than 160$/day, it isn’t worth staying.
- No rent to pays. All the money goes in your pocket. Most farms have a field where workers pitch their tents and park their vans with very basic toilets and showers. Some farms may make you pay but it will be insignificant (25$/week). Some will even house you fo free.
- Easy to find. No need to give out Resume (CV). You’ll soon find out that Australia’s agriculture workforce is based on WHV especially for seasonal work such as picking.
Basically you need to follow season and crops. The National Harvest Guide is a great way to know where there is work depending on location and seasons. You can get it for free at any information center or on internet https://jobsearch.gov.au/documents/harvest%20guide%2020150225.pdf. You can plan your trip according to fruit & veggetable picking. Example – November: picking cherries 3h from Sydney, March: picking apples near Hobart, August – picking potatoes, in Queensland, etc. Simply Knock from farm to farm. If they are recruiting, they will take you in, if not they might indicate you someone who is. Also you can find work on social media groups. You can also write a post on Gumtree and you can be sure that some farms will contact you. Last technique, locate farms thanks to Google maps.
- Ideal if you are doing a road trip. You can alternate work and travelling Work 3 weeks in one place, travel, work again. Nomad life is very enticing; It allows you a lot of freedom. If the work doesn’t suit you, move on.
- Free food: sometimes if you get along with your employers you can also benefit from free fruits, vegetables & eggs freshly off the farm!
- You’ll probably be in an international environment If you are picking fruits or vegetables with other backpackers and get a glance of life in the outback or remote areas. If you want to get a taste of the real outback life, you have to go deep into the mainland.
- If you work 88 days of farm work you can do a second year WHV. It’s good to keep your options open just in case. 1 day of work is only counted if you’ve worked 7-8h hours minimum. Farm work is only counted for the 88 days in certain regions, look it up beforehand. Weekend count if you do the 88 days in just one farm, otherwise it does not so anticipate!