Fruit picking is an awesome way for backpackers to earn extra cash during their trip when travelling in the countryside of Australia. There are many backpackers using fruit picking jobs as a way of funding their trip, meanwhile they enjoy the stunning nature of Australia!
Locations & Seasons
Seasonal work in regional Australia is a way to extend your Australian Working Holiday Visa for a second year, which is an amazing opportunity to expand your visit for a little longer!
The Seasonal work has to be for a minimum of three months. The Australian government is quite strict about the definitions of both seasonal work and regional Australia. So make sure you check everything here before you start your job as fruit picker.
The fruit picking season in Australia can often differ due to changes in weather patterns and temperatures. However, the picking season usually starts in December and finishes in May. Fruit picking requires physically hard labour, it is therefore important that you are pretty fit and healthy! Make sure you’re prepared for spending all day outside, most of the time in the burning sun – sunscreen and a hat for protection against the sun are essentials. Drinking enough water is very important as well.
Obviously, you want to do fruit picking in order to stay longer in Australia, or to earn some money and enjoy the Australian countryside. What you get paid, is also important to know… As a fruit picker, you can be paid in two different ways; either per hour or for the amount of fruit you pick. The wages are based on the Australia Standard wage rate for casual farm work. Minimum wage for harvest work in Australia is AUD$21.6 per hour. So if you are a good and enthusiastic fruit picker, and get paid for the amount of fruit you pick – you will probably earn a little better than average!
Doing Fruit Picking work in New Zealand is also a way to extend the NZ working holiday Visa.
Locations and times
When & where to go for fruit picking jobs Australia
Before you are going to look for a fruit picking job, it would be useful to determine where you would like to go to. There are many possibilities of different fruit picking jobs as Australia is a huge country with numerous different landscapes and weather conditions.Queensland grows 1/3 of the nation’s fruit and vegetables. Farmers hire migrant workers, fruit & vegetables pickers and other (experienced) farmhands. Farm work varies across the Queensland region – the farmers grow sugar cane, beans, seasonal fruits and vegetables, also cattle, cotton and wool.
In Tully they grow many bananas. Tully is located 180 kilometres south of Cairns and is known for being the wettest place in Australia, receiving an average of 4134 mm of rain per year. In the Tully area there are lots of beautiful beach towns such as Mission Beach and Bingal Bay. The Tully River is also famous among people who are crazy about rafting!
From Stanthorpe in the south to the Atherton Tablelands in the far North; more than 120 types of fruit and vegetable are picked and packed in the state every year all year round so new and motivated workers are needed to fill a variety of fruit picking and harvest jobs.
|Feb – Mar||Pears / Apples||Stanthorpe|
|Feb – Apr||Rock Melon||St George|
|Feb – Apr||Ginger||Sunshine Coast|
|Mar – Dec||Vegetables||Bundaberg|
|Apr – Jun||Citrus||Mundubbera|
|Apr – Oct||Various||Lockyer Valley|
|Apr – Nov||Beans||Mary Valley|
|Apr – Dec||Vegetables / Tomatoes||Bowen / Ayr|
|May – Oct||Broccoli||Toowoomba|
|May – Dec||Sugar Cane||Ayr / Ingham / Innisfail|
|Jul – Sep||Ginger||Sunshine Coast|
|Jul – Dec||Onions||Lockyer Valley|
|Nov – Feb||Mangoes / Lychees / Avocados / Bananas||Mareeba|
|Nov – Jan||Plums||Stanthorpe|
|Nov – Jan||Cotton||Goodiwindi / St George|
|Oct – Jan||Peaches||Stanthorpe|
|Nov – Mar||Cotton||Toowoomba / Milleran|
|Dec – Jan||Bananas / Sugar||Innisfail / Tully|
|Dec – Mar||Various||Stanthorpe|
New South Wales is one of best places to find seasonal farm jobs in Australia. The main produce in New South Wales include sheep, cattle, pigs, hay, apples, cherries, pears, legumes, maize, nuts, wool, wheat, and rice. Farmhands, migrant workers, fruit pickers, and vegetable pickers may all find work across New South Wales in fields and on ranches. November to April is the busiest harvest period which peaks in February. However, the harvest differs per crop.
For example – Griffith is a thriving agricultural and industrial city boasting the third largest population in the Riverina region and many well regarded wineries. Next to grape picking it’s also possible to do orange picking or onion picking at different times of the year. Griffith is located approximately 600 kilometres west of Sydney. This country town is well known for its food, wine and festivals.
|Jan – Mar||Stonefruit||Young|
|Feb – Mar||Prunes||Young|
|Feb – Mar||Pears||Orange|
|Feb – Mar||Grapes||Leeton / Hunter Valley|
|Feb – Apr||Apples||Orange|
|Mar – Apr||Grapes||Tumbarumba|
|Mar – May||Apples||Batlow|
|Mar – Jun||Cotton Picking||Narrabri / Mooree|
|Sep – Oct||Asparagus||Gundagai|
|Sep – Dec||Asparagus||Cowra|
|Sep – Apr||Oranges||Griffith|
|Nov – Dec||Cherries||Young / Orange|
|Nov – Apr||Oranges||Lecton|
|Dec – Jan||Onions||Griffith|
|Dec – Mar||Stone Fruit||Tumut / Batlow|
|Dec – Apr||Blueberries||Tumbarumba|
November to April (peaking in February) is the main season for fruit and vegetable picking jobs in Victoria. There is plenty of work in the central northern areas around Shepparton. The Murray River area is also a great area to look for work; places such as Mildura and Swan Hill often require fruit picking / harvest workers. Main harvests in these areas include orchard fruits, tomatoes, tobacco, grapes and soft fruits.
Fruit picking in Cobram – “Cobram is a large fruit growing area situated on the Murray River just 250 kilometres north of Melbourne. This region is well known for its irrigated fruit and dairy with large areas of stone fruit varieties. The small farm area expanded after WWII , when a significant number of Italian immigrants arrived and established themselves in the farming community.” – http://workstay.com.au/fruit-picking-cobram-victoria
Fruit picking Yarra Valley in Victoria – “This valley is about 40 kilometres north east of Melbourne. A large variety of cool climate crops have traditionally been grown in the Valley and there are more than 80 vineyards and wineries in the Valley with many different selections of wines.” – https://jobsearch.gov.au/
|Jan – Apr||Tomatoes||Ardmona / Shepparton / Rochester|
|Jan – Apr||Pears / Peaches / Apples||Ardmona / Shepparton / Cobram|
|Jan – Apr||Tobacco||Ovens / King & Kiewa Valleys|
|Feb – Mar||Grapes||Lake Boga / Swan Hill / Nyah West|
|Feb – Apr||Grapes||Ovens / King & Kiewa Valleys|
|Mar – Apr||Apples||Buckland Valley / Stanley / Wandilong / Red Hill / Main Range|
|Sep – Nov||Asparagus||Dalmore|
|Oct – Dec||Strawberries||Silvan|
|Nov – Feb||Cherries||Boweya / Glenrowan / Wagandary|
|Nov – Feb||Cherries / Berries||Wandin / Silvan|
|Nov – Dec||Tomato Weeding||Echuca / Rochester|
Tasmania is all about apples. It grows almost a fifth of the apples in Australia, approximately 55,000 tonnes every year. The main areas are in the Huon district South of Hobart. Tasmania has a relatively short fruit picking season, generally from December to the end of May, fruit picking and harvest jobs are available all around Tasmania. As well as picking apples there are also pears, stone fruits, hops, grapes, berries and much more.
|Jan – Feb||Scallop Splitting||Bicheno|
|Feb – Apr||Grapes||Huon / Tamar Valley|
|Mar – Apr||Hops||Scottsdale / New Norfolk / Devenport|
|Mar – May||Apples||Hunter Valley / Tasman Peninsula / West Tamar|
|Dec – Jan||Soft Fruit||Channel District / Huon / Kingborough / Derwent Valley|
South Australia offers fruit and vegetable picking jobs all year around e.g. picking citrus and soft fruits such as raspberries and strawberries around the Riverland area. February to April work is available around The Barossa Valley picking and packing the grapes.
|Jan – Mar||Dried Fruits||Riverland|
|Feb – Apr||Grapes & Peaches||Riverland|
|Feb – Apr||Grapes||Southern Vales / Barossa Valley|
|Feb – Apr||Apples & Pears||Adelaide Hills|
|Feb – Aug||Brussel Sprouts||Adelaide Hills|
|Jun – Aug||Oranges||Riverland|
|Jun – Sep||Pruning||Riverland|
|Sep – Jan||Oranges||Riverland|
|Oct – Feb||Strawberries||Adelaide Hills|
|Dec – Feb||Apricots||Riverland|
Fruit picking and harvest jobs are available in the Southwest of the state. From October to June you can harvest grapes and orchard fruits. March to November there is also fishing and processing work available for crayfish, prawns and scallops between Fremantle and Carnarvon. From May to October head northeast, around Kununurra for harvest jobs and fruit picking.
|Jan – Mar||Grapes||Margaret River / Swan Valley / Mt Barker|
|Mar – May||Apples & Pears||Pemberton / Donnybrook / Manjimup|
|Mar – Oct||Prawning & Scalloping||Carnavon|
|May – Sep||Zucchini & Rock Melons||Kununurra|
|Apr – Nov||Melons||Coorow|
|Jun – Dec||Melons & Tomatoes||Carnavon|
|Jul – Aug||Bananas||Kununurra|
|Jul – Dec||Wildflowers||Coorow / Muchea|
|Oct – Jan||Mangoes||Kununurra|
|Nov – Jun||Rock Lobster||Fremantle / Kalbarri / Dongara / Geraldton / Broome|
May to October picking melons around Katherine and Darwin is popular. From October to November head to Katherine and Darwin for mango picking and packing jobs as well as citrus and bananas which are grown all year around there.
|Mar – Oct||Melons||Katharine / Darwin|
|Oct – Nov||Mangoes||Katharine / Darwin|
|All Year||Citrus / Bananas||Katharine / Darwin|
|All Year||Asian Vegetables & Cutting Flowers||Darwin|
Information from: http://www.fruitpicking.org/fruit-picking-essentials/crops-calendar