By Blair Pedersen
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
|Feb-Apr||Rock Melon||St George|
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.
King & Kiewa
King & Kiewa
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.
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.
|Feb-Aug||Brussel sprouts||Adelaide Hills|
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.
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.
|Dec-Jan||Soft fruit||Channel District|
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.
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.
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.
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