Pros and cons of “fruit picking” jobs
On the plus side…
“Fruit picking” is more than just a job—it’s a quintessential Australian and backpacker experience. Sure, it’s tiring and you won’t make that much, but most WHV holders have fond memories of their farm job experience.
Picture yourself in the back of a pickup truck at sunset, after a long day on the farm—no seat belt, hair blowing in the cool evening breeze, almost falling asleep to the sound of the engine, feeling good, free and happy. This is what fruit picking is all about. It’s tough but it’s not a job you take home. You can disconnect completely from it as soon as it’s over—and meanwhile, on the farm, you’re also disconnecting from the rest of the world, virtual and real.
Fruit picking is a job where social status and traditional roles are irrelevant. Experienced, native-speaker workers with post-secondary degrees are on equal footing with employees with less impressive resumes or backgrounds. Everybody dresses the same, completes the same tasks and feels sore at the end of the day.
Fruit picking is an outdoor experience and a complete change of scenery for anyone used to an urban environment. You’ll get to enjoy the weather, feel the sun on your skin, handle food you usually only see in supermarkets.
You can make good money with a fruit-picking job if you’re efficient and work on a piece rate. It’s also easy to save up if you get paid hourly and work in a fairly remote region since you won’t even have the chance to spend your money!
Fruit picking is a fairly social job, especially if you live on site. If feels like being part of a community—you’re all in this together and workers tend to relax together as well. Expect long discussions, card games, movie nights, pub crawls, karaoke, snooker tournament, etc.
Fruit picking is the perfect job for travellers—you can explore Australia and work along the way, as needed.
But heads up, it’s tough!
At this stage, it’s worth stressing that farm work is hard work and it’s not for everyone.
Fruit picking is exhausting—the day starts very, very early but doesn’t necessarily end early. You get sore and dirty and you’re exposed to all kinds of weather conditions (it’s not always dry and sunny in Australia…). You may have to be on your feet all day, reaching up if you’re picking fruits, kneeling or bending down if you’re working with specific crops. The work itself is pretty boring and repetitive. Allergy alert as well—some fruits may trigger an allergic reaction. Finally, fruit picking doesn’t always pay well given the energy and sacrifice it requires.
Read on for advice for allergy sufferers, the best ways to find jobs that match your physical abilities and the “easiest” fruits and vegetables to harvest!
To close this chapter on a more positive note, it’s worth remembering that fruit picking is a job that pretty much all WHV holders are able to do regardless of their language abilities, experience and background. In such work environments, you’ll meet unique people from all over the world and all walks of life.
And don’t forget that if you work 88 days in a specific job in a rural area, you may be eligible for a second Working Holiday Visa—a small price to pay to enjoy Australia a bit longer!
Main articles about the WHV to Australia
16 Good Reasons to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller
Applying for a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) To Australia: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide with Screenshots
Globe WHV insurance policy highlights
Your first steps in Australia with a Working Holiday Visa
15 Tips for a Successful WHV Experience
Working in Australia: Opportunities, tips for backpackers and job search advice
Fruit Picking Jobs in Australia: What, Where, How (and Why!)