fruit in australia

Fruit picking jobs in Australia – A complete guide

Australia is an amazing country with incredible wildlife and a landscape like no other. There’s no wonder that it’s a popular destination for migrants and tourists alike.

A popular way to see the Australian countryside is to take up a fruit picking job. Fruit picking jobs are good old-fashioned hard work and an excellent opportunity to have a working holiday, make an honest living and meet people from a diverse background.

This article is a guide to fruit picking jobs in Australia, what to expect and how to get a job.

Visas

You’re going to need a visa, even for fruit picking work. A working visa must be secured from your home country before you arrive in Australia. Once you’re in the country all you need to worry about is landing that job! For more information about an Australian working visa, visit this website.

You’ll need a bank account too

When you land in Australia one of the first things you need to do is open a bank account. It goes without saying that it’s an important asset to have so that a potential employer can pay you

What will you get paid picking fruit?

There are 2 ways that you can earn money when fruit picking in Australia. These are:

  1. Wages
  2. Quota

The minimum wage for harvest work is AUD $21.60 per hour. If you’re new to fruit picking this is a great option as you’re guaranteed a living wage. Once you’re a bit more experienced with this type of work you may have become a part of an effective team.

Once you’re established with a good routine and an effective team, you can get paid for the fruit that you pick – which means you could earn a lot more than the minimum fruit pickers wage!

Seasonal work in Australia

Fruit picking exports in Australia for the year 2017 reached 1.2 billion dollars and have been growing year on year for the last 5 years. The industry is growing quickly due to free trade agreements within the APAC regions opening opportunities for Australian exporters. The largest volume of these exports were oranges, grapes, mandarins and melons which constitute 86.35% of this total.

There are many large plantations and orchards scattered throughout Australia, with different states growing different crops due to the difference in climates.

Season

Australia has many different climates. They range from temperate, through to tropical in the Northern Territory. For seasonal work like fruit picking, this means that there is the opportunity to work throughout the entire year- if you’re prepared to travel.

Depending on what fruit and vegetables you want to pick, the growing season typically starts in February. For many crops in the Queensland, the growing season lasts all year.

The harvest period is slightly different in every region and if you’re savvy and keen to travel and see the Australian countryside, following the harvest trail could be for you. Here is a breakdown of what to expect in the various regions around Australia.

fruit picking in australia

Queensland

With some of the best growing conditions in Australia, it’s no wonder that Queensland also has the longest growing season and the most opportunities for seasonal work.

HarvestCropLocation
Feb-MarPears
Apples
Stanthorpe
Feb-AprRock MelonSt George
Feb-AprGingerSunshine Coast
Mar-DecVegetablesBundaberg
Apr-JunCitrusMundubbera
Apr-OctVariousLockyer Valley
Apr-NovBeansMary Valley
Apr-DecVegetables
Tomatoes
Bowen
Ayr
May-OctBrocolliToowoomba
May-DecSugar CaneAyr
Ingham
Innisfail
Jul-SepGingerSunshine
Coast
Jul-DecOnionsLockyer
Valley
Nov-FebMangoes
Lychees
Avocados
Bananas
Mareeba
Nov-JanPlumsStanthorpe
Nov-JanCottonGoodiwindi
St George
Oct-JanPeachesStanthorpe
Nov-MarCottonToowoomba
Milleran
Dec-JanBananas
Sugar
Innisfail
Tully
Dec-marVariousStanthorpe

Victoria

24% of all agriculture in Australia comes from Victoria, which presents many opportunities for seasonal workers. Tomatoes, grapes, apples, strawberries and cherries are all popular crops that are seeking workers for many months of the year.

HarvestCropLocation
Jan- AprTomatoesArdmona
Shepparton
Rochester
Jan-AprPears
Peaches
Apples
Ardmona
Shepparton
Rochester
Jan-AprTobaccoOvens
King & Kiewa
Valley
Feb-MarGrapesLake Boga
Swan Hill
Nyah
Feb-AprGrapesOvens
King & Kiewa
Valley
Mar-AprApplesBuckland Valley
Stanley
Wandilong
Red Hill
Main Range
Sep-NovAsparagusDalmore
Oct-DecStrawberriesSilvan
Nov-FebCherriesBoweya
Glenrowan
Wagandary
Nov-FebCherries
Berries
Wandin
Silvan
Nov-DecTomato
Weeding
Echuca
Rochester

New South Wales

Stone fruit, prunes pears, grapes and apples are what you would expect fruit picking in New South Wales, with job openings all year round if you’re willing to go cotton picking in the winter.

Jan-MarStonefruitYoung
Feb-MarPrunesYoung
Feb-MarPearsOrange
Feb-MarGrapesLeeton
Hunter Valley
Feb-AprApplesOrange
Mar-AprGrapesTumbarumba
Mar-MayApplesBatlow
Mar-JunCotton pickingNarrabri
Mooree
Sep-OctAsparagusGundagi
Sep-DecAsparagusCowra
Sep-AprOrangesGriffith
Nov-DecCherries Young
Orange
Nov-AprOrangesLecton
Dec-JanOnionsGriffith
Dec-MarStone fruitTumut
Batlow
Dec-AprBlueberriesTumbarumba

South Australia

The agriculture sector is the 10th biggest employer in South Australia. There are plenty of opportunities for seasonal workers in vineyards, strawberry fields and apple and orange orchards.

HarvestCropLocation
Jan-MarDried fruitsRiverland
Feb-AprGrapes
Peaches
Riverland
Feb-AprGrapesSouthern Vales
Barossa Valley
Feb-AprApples
Pears
Adelaide Hills
Feb-AugBrussel sproutsAdelaide Hills
Jun-AugOrangesRiverland
Jun-SepPruningRiverland
Sep-JanOrangesRiverland
Oct-FebStrawberriesAdelaide Hills
Dec-FebApricotsRiverland

Western Australia

Western Australia is the home of mining. There are also many opportunities for vineyard workers in the famous Margaret River region. Western Australia has a unique climate that allows it to grow various crops all year round, giving seasonal workers the option to work as many hours as they can handle.

HarvestCropLocation
Jan-MarGrapesMargaret River
Swan Valley
Mt Barker
Mar-MayApples
Pears
Pemberton
Donnybrook
Manjimup
Mar-OctPrawning
Scalloping
Carnavon
May-SepZucchini
Rock Melon
Kununurra
Apr-NovMelonsCoorow
Jun-DecMelons
Tomatoes
Carnavon
Jul-AugBananas Kununurra
Jul-DecWildflowersCoorow
Muchea
Oct-JanMangoesKununurra
Nov-JunRock lobsterFremantle
Kalbarri
Dongara
Geraldton
Broome
All yearFishingBroome

Tasmania

Tasmania provides about 10% of all of Australia’s vegetable crops giving keen workers opportunities for vegetable picking. The harvest season lasts from December through to late May with a break from June to November. During this downtime there is still plenty of work to do like preparing the orchards for harvest, repacking and many other activities.

HarvestCropLocation
Jan-FebScallop
Splitting
Bicheno
Feb-AprGrapesHuon
Tamar Valley
Mar-AprHopsScottsdale
New Norfolk
Devenport
Mar-MayApplesHunter Valley
Tasman
Peninsula
West Tamar
Dec-JanSoft fruitChannel District
Huon
Kingsborough
Derwent Valley

These tables were sourced here.

Where to stay

Australia is a big country and most orchards and plantations are a long way from the major centers. If you’re flying in from another country to go fruit picking you should first understand what accommodation is available on the orchards before you arrive. There have been cases around the country in fruit picking regions where fruit pickers have had to sleep in their cars due to accommodation shortages. This is because some towns are still getting accustomed to the in flux of people that come with seasonal work.

Here is a directory of backpackers hostels in Australia

Where to find harvest work

Because Australia is such a large continent it can be hard to identify individual employers for the upcoming season. There are several great websites that offer directories for fruit picking opportunities in Australia.

Here are 2 large online job directories to help with your search.

Fruitpickingjobs.com.au

Backpackerjobboard.com.au

Working outside is very rewarding

Fruit picking can be very rewarding work. You literally get rewarded for the effort you’re willing to put in, and you spend all day outside. If you’re prepared to work hard and follow the work around the country, you can make great money while seeing the parts of the countryside outside of the tourist traps.

When you start receiving your pay cheques, remember to use a reputable online money transfer company such as OrbitRemit to send your money back home.

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