Farm Work in Australia

Hopefully you haven’t found yourself at this post with exactly three months left on your first year visa in Australia, trying to figure out where to go to get your farm work done..

I Have Finally Finished My Regional Work!!

Last Day

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been in Australia since June 2013 on a Working Holiday Visa 417. There’s an option of extending this visa for a whole extra year if your willing to work on a farm for 88days.

There are many, many horror stories out there about backpackers and farmers and shit work, but unfortunately, it has to be done.

I decided to try to do the farm work to keep my options open, just in case I wanted to extend my visa, I hadn’t my mind made up for a long time. I’m glad I did it because now I want to stay and I can go forth and apply for my second year visa with ease.

I decided to go to Griffith, NSW. My friend was working here last year on her 1st year visa and said there’s loads of work around. I tried to get into Casella’s winery but my application was unsuccessful :( My partner got in no bother and he said its a grand job with good pay. So my quest for a farm job escalates…

map-of-new-south-wales

Because I wasn’t living in one of the hostels, I had no connections, and people didn’t want to hear from me. I made enquiries on Gumtree but no response from anybody. I was a very willing worker and wanted to start working ASAP to get my days done.

About a week into my search, my new Aussie housemate was friends with one of the owners of a working hostel in the area. As a favor, he hooked me up with a job! Sorted.. I was thrilled!

So then it begins. January 2014. I can honestly say, I have never, EVER, in my entire life experienced such heat. My supervisor said one day it definitely hit 48°C.. it was baking!!

My job was on a nursery. I had to prune trees from 6.30am – 4pm. I got paid contract (paid per tree) and occasionally paid per hour ($16.50). It was tough work. The work that I was doing on the nursery was easy, what gets to you is doing the same thing a thousand times over every single day.. (imagine squatting a thousand times in one day…yeah, not good!!)

My first week was definitely a test of physical and mental strength. Day 3 was the lowest, sorest and saddest. I couldn’t communicate with anyone else at lunch as they were all Germans. I had no friends, blistered covered each finger and I could barely move. I was miserable. Was this going to be worth staying one extra year in Australia…?

The only place to put your lunch and water was in the shade to try not to heat it in the sun. No fridges or food making facilities in places like this!

I could not believe the amount of complaining out of other workers (especially British). I really wanted to shout at some people to Shut Up and Just Get on With It!! It wasn’t easy working there but I bet worse jobs are out
there!! Some people lasted only a few hours, refused to continue and demanded to be taken home. Useless! Come monday after my first week, I was the last one standing from my group, all the rest couldn’t hack it! Wimps!!!

Things got better with time. Everyday I got a little bit faster (the faster you go the more money you make). I didn’t get as sore, I felt fitter and trimmer in my clothes, the bank account was doing good (as there’s not much to do in Griffith), I didn’t wear much make up, only at the weekends when I worked Saturdays in a local hair salon.. I was getting a bit of a color on my skin, and eventually I made some good friends..

If you’re clever, you should stick to working with one company for three months full-time. If you have to break it up with a few different jobs, you need to do 88working days in total, this is almost 4.5months.. why would anyone want to suffer and extra month and a half!!??

My Top Tips

  • Be sure to buy a fly net to go over your hat, or prepare to be driven absolutely demented by them. They are ten times worse on every farm!!
    Smiling
  • Wear baggy clothes and long sleeves.. sounds stupid, but it really works with keeping the heat off your skin!
  • Work boots are essential, when the ground is wet it is very slippery.
    Boots and Hat
  • An Esky (cooler box/bag) is worth the buy (like a true Australian) or else your eating warm lunch YUK!
  • leaving a plastic bottle in the sun can release toxins into the water. Make sure to get a BPA-safe water bottle and keep it in the shade at all times.
    I used to fill my bottle half way with sliced lemons, pop it in the freezer over night and top it up in the morning, it was so refreshing to have enough cold water at the break!
  • Bring plasters for the blisters.
  • SUN CREAM! if your pale like me the morning sun would be enough to get ya. I didn’t miss a day without it.
  • I got a weird tan on my back.. I was getting tanned through my clothes! Yes, Really!!! make sure to get clothes with UVB filter.
  • Wear gloves as much as possible to keep hands soft :)
  • Stock up on Deep Heat.
  • Don’t forget Insect Repellant!! look for something with 40%+ Deet to escape the mozzies!!

The best part was being up early enough to see the most amazing sun rises.. Breathtaking!

Now that my three months are done and dusted, I couldn’t be happier. I actually cried with joy! I’m very proud of myself for doing the three months solid. I was told I wouldn’t last and my supervisor said, after I left, that he’s surprised I lasted so long! I’ve met some wonderful people.

I’m a true girly girl but deep down underneath I think there’s a bit of a hard-working farmer in me!

Now to the Next Chapter! I will say goodbye to Griffith this week. I’m taking a month off to travel the East Coast of Australia. I’m starting in Port Douglas and driving all the way down.. exciting times ahead! Watch out for many travel blogs on Anything But Marzipan!

x Until Next Time x

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Did you have an interesting experience doing your regional work in Australia? Need any tips or advice from me?? Please leave your comments below, I love learning about other people’s experiences! :)

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