Like most people the place to start is Google, a generic Google search will throw up numerous websites advertising all sorts of rural farm work, there is the larger job advertising sites such as Indeed or Jora however this is where everybody looks and you’re likely to be competing with a large number of backpackers! Similarly there is the Backpacker Job Board which can be helpful but often is often the same story.
If you are prepared to be a bit more proactive, check out the Harvest Trail which gives insight into the fruit and veg that is in season in each state of Australia so can inform you where there is likely to be work for the more seasonal produce. Many jobs are available through working backpacker hostels which are set up in rural areas where there are often jobs available, they all operate on a first come first serve basis and require you to stay at the hostel to secure the work so you have to venture there and find out.
Some of the most insightful information with regards to farm jobs is spread through word of mouth, so when you are out and about with fellow backpackers chat to them as there’s a good chance they’ve completed their 88 days and willing to help. Similarly there are useful Facebook groups that offer a similar service as well as job postings from farmers themselves. The one thing to watch out for is a scam, as unfortunately there are people out there trying to take advantage of the many backpackers travelling throughout Australia. Always do your research and keep your wits about you!
My tip would be try and go to the unpopular places, at unpopular times. Every backpacker in Australia wants to be in Queensland, picking Avocados in the sun during the winter. If you move to Bundaberg or Childers in July, you’re probably not going to get much work. Do your research and pick up the phone, most farmers don’t do computers, we are based in South Australia because we get the most jobs for backpackers here. Plus you can live right in Adelaide and still get your days.
Anyone who works in recruitment will know there are certain techniques we can use that don’t work for individuals looking for jobs, approaching a CEO in a pub you know he drinks in or attending industry events gives us a major advantage. We also use LinkedIn but I’m not sure how well that would work for individuals, that said we do see business pages searching for workers fairly regularly. We have also found great success with techniques anyone can replicate, our Head Of Recruitment Tom Little has some top tips for you.
The 88th Day app on iOS & Android is the place to start, its free to download and we have put 1000s of hours into making it the most convenient way to browse through almost 3000 eligible employers in all 6 states plus the Northern Territory. You can access the phone numbers, email address, websites, locations and information regarding the different types of work and when its best to apply. Everything you need to secure yourself work that leads to a second year visa here in Australia. We worked through the entirety of the governments rural postcode policy, so you can apply to employers safe in the knowledge they are based in rural postcodes. You will notice the huge green region marked on our map, this is area in which we provide share house accommodation. If you are willing to move to South Australia then take a look at our accommodation page and we can make sure you have a nice place to stay while you complete your farm work.
Yellow/White Pages - Type the correct terms into these pages and you will find a long list of businesses in the industry. I find most of the pages contain at least an email but what you’re looking for is a phone number. Call the number and you will likely find yourself speaking to a receptionist, find out how the factory/farm does their recruitment. Often they will use a recruiter or a labour hire company, ask for their details and contact them. Sometimes though these businesses can be quite old fashioned and will rely on CVs that are handed over in person, if this is the case get yourself down there with an updated version of your CV.
Directories - Many farms and factories can be difficult to find using conventional methods, often they have very poor websites and search engines wont find them. These are the ones you want to find, while the average backpacker browses Gumtree and Facebook you can get on the phone to these businesses directly. Use broad terms to describe food, if you know the area produces tonnes of lemons, oranges and limes find the directory for citrus producers in that area. Most producers will be part of a group, find the website for the group and on there you will find details of individual companies.
Aussie Farms - This method is a little unethical I will admit, if you are unwilling to work with meat then this will not interest you. Some of the best hourly paid jobs you can complete your specified work with are in the meat industry. Vegan activists have done me a huge favour in creating this repository listing over 3000 farms and packing facilities, we have mined it extensively to find jobs for backpackers. It’s free and open source, use the details on the site to contact the companies directly, but I probably wouldn’t let on where you found them.
Use these methods correctly and you will find yourself a good job, my advice would be to get off Gumtree and Facebook, it’s easy to apply through these links and often farms are inundated with responses. Get off your arse and meet the employers face to face, you aren’t applying to work in a tech firm, consider what farmers are normally like and what would make you desirable to them.