Jul 26, 2022

What you need to know about fruit picking jobs in Australia

Are you a traveller looking to visit Australia and experience all the country has to offer without burning through your savings? 

Fruit picking jobs in the agriculture industry may be the perfect opportunity to strike a balance between work and play – and right now, seasonal work is ripe for the picking from coast to coast. 

Agri Labour Australia has a wide range of roles available for travellers to fund their adventures Down Under, providing they have the correct work visa. 

Most fruit picking jobs are found in regional and remote areas of Australia, where much of the nation’s fresh produce is grown. These positions are a great way for temporary foreign workers and locals alike to explore and experience all that a regional lifestyle has to offer.  

If you’re ready to make money while exploring a new environment, short-term agricultural work may be the answer. Often the process begins with a simple application. Before taking that step, however, it’s important to make sure that you know the realities of fruit picking and what to expect. Whether you’ve worked in the field before or not, it’s only natural to have a few questions. Perhaps you’re wondering:

If you’re considering funding your Aussie backpacking trip with a job in the agriculture industry, you may have a few questions about the process of finding work. For example, our candidates often want to know:

What skills do I need to become a fruit picker?

How do I become a fruit picker in Australia?

How much do fruit pickers earn in Australia?

Where can I find the best fruit picking work in Australia?

What else is there to do while I’m in Australia?

To help you pick the right job for you and get your working holiday started sooner, we’ve collated the answers to each of these questions below.  

What skills do I need to be a fruit picker? 

Physical fitness, the ability to work quickly and consistently for long periods of time, and a can-do attitude are the most sought-after qualities in workers on fruit farms. 

Fruit picking jobs can be physically demanding, often requiring workers to make repetitive physical movements like squatting, bending and climbing ladders. The workers best suited to these jobs are those who genuinely enjoy practical work. 

While speed on the job is important, especially in piece-rate jobs, workers must be nimble enough to practise gentle harvesting techniques and pick fruit without causing damage to the produce. It’s also important that workers have enough basic knowledge of fresh produce to separate and discard fruits showing signs of decay or insect infestation. 

Finally, flexibility in terms of working hours is also essential as working hours will often depend on the amount of produce waiting to be picked. 

How do I become a fruit picker in Australia?

Many fruit picker jobs in Australia do not require experience or industry-relevant qualifications, which makes them ideal for enthusiastic young travellers. While there are several potential pathways into fruit picking work, it’s important to keep compliance in mind. Below are a couple of popular approaches: 

Go through a recruitment agency
In the agriculture industry, contacting a specialist recruitment agency is the best way to make sure that you secure work with a compliant organisation. A good agency will advocate for you during the application stage, assist you with acclimatising to your new environment, and give you all of the information and support you need to be successful in your new job. 

Apply via a job search website
Websites like Seek and Indeed often list farm work jobs, fruit picking positions included. Unless you are familiar with the employer in question, taking this approach to job applications in the agriculture industry involves some inherent risk in terms of ensuring compliance and negotiating agreements. If you decide to take this approach, be sure to carefully check the details of each listing and the contract information.  

How much do fruit pickers earn in Australia?

The pay fruit pickers receive will depend on the pay structure, whether piece rate or hourly wage. Jobs paid at an hourly rate offer the benefit of compliance, paying at or above the industry standard minimum wage. While piece-rate workers now also receive a minimum hourly wage, the pay structure still incentivises workers for speed and efficiency, allowing them to increase their earnings. Either way, it’s important that candidates have a good understanding of what they will be paid before applying for or accepting a new job. 

Where can I find the best fruit picking work in Australia?

While fruit pickers are needed across the country at different times of year, job availability depends on the weather conditions and the fruit being harvested. The latter is determined largely by the season, and while peak picking season generally runs from December until May, this timing can vary based on conditions. In the southern states, from South Australia to Victoria and New South Wales, November to February is peak picking time, whereas the season typically lasts until May in northern Queensland and New South Wales. 

With limited accommodation available, it’s also important to consider housing as a key factor when applying for and accepting jobs. Increasingly, workers are turning to nearby towns for accommodation within easy travelling distance of their workplace.  

What else is there to do while I’m in Australia?

From Queensland’s sprawling Daintree Rainforest to the idyllic beaches in Western Australia, there are more tourist attractions Down Under than there is time to explore them all! If you’re planning on working in one place, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know the local area and immerse yourself in the community alongside your workmates. 

On the other hand, if you plan to see as much of the country as possible, Agri Labour Australia’s Harvest Trail opens up wide-ranging opportunities to earn money and make memories in Australia’s agriculture industry. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef of the North Queensland coastline, visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge or head down to South Australia and ride a camel. When you have access to ongoing work, the options are as broad as the country itself! 

Want the pick of the best jobs in Australia?

There’s so much to explore around Australia and with harvests ongoing throughout the year, fruit picking is a great way to achieve your travel goals. With a fruit picking job that aligns with your travel plans, you’ll have the opportunity to experience life on the land like so many of the candidates who have become part of #myagrifamily. To find out more about what it’s like to work in the Aussie ag industry, check out candidate testimonials or read stories from our past candidates on our blog

Talk to the agricultural recruitment specialists  

If you’re looking for work in the Australian agriculture industry, Agri Labour Australia has a wide range of opportunities to suit your skills and preferences. We have been recruiting workers in the agricultural industry since 2010, and our candidate care policy makes us an employer of choice for thousands of workers across our international networks. When you secure a position with Agri Labour Australia, you don’t just take a job – you become part of a family. Our thousands-strong #myagrifamily candidate network is always growing.

Want to join us on a job? This is your chance to earn and experience more. Click here for more information about our available opportunities.

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