Put simply, a big fat yes is the most appropriate answer. This question however, just like the farm work it entails, is a complicated one. A yes or no does not do it justice, let me explain.
For a very fortunate few, the 3 months rural farm work in Australia is the fondest memory of their time down under. The stories that make it into backpacking folklore, a couple that within a week of getting to Australia found themselves herding llamas on a quad bike earning $25/hour staying on a family farm with free accommodation and breakfast in bed each morning. That’s easy farm work if there is any, unfortunately there is very little of that going in the vast country that is Australia. These people really are the lucky ones that found themselves in a scenario that seems a mere myth or fairy tale to the rest of us backpackers who are breaking backs, whilst suffering from severe dehydration and sun stroke to make the extra dollars out on a vineyard.
There is such a variety in the type of work eligible for that illusive second year visa, many different locations, wages, and aspects of each job that would determine whether it’s an easy time, or straight up toughest 3 months of your working life.
What makes it hard? Chances are the job will involve manual labour of some kind, and for most people, particularly those that aren’t physically fit or used to laborious working days, then it will certainly be hard. Your body will ache from top to bottom after two days and getting out of bed at 6am the third day will be equivalent to climbing Everest. I reckon a free visa situated at the summit of the tallest mountain on Earth would motivate a few backpackers to attempt the climb, given the desire for that second-year visa by some! The same motivation drives you on to another day towards the 88th. Remarkably, the only thing that’s certain is that it can only, and often does, get easier!
Not only can farm work be hard physically, it can become a mental challenge too. Maybe you aren’t testing your physical capabilities each day at work but find yourself working in a factory of sorts doing one of the dullest jobs you can imagine, for example grading potatoes. No music allowed, the soundtrack is the constant whirring of machines and your company is someone not able to speak your language, leaving yourself with your own thoughts for 40 hours a week for 3 months whilst only being able to observe a million potatoes flying past you quicker than you thought was possible.
Another aspect that can be difficult for some, is the fact that you’re out in the sticks of rural Australia, miles from any real civilisation with not much for entertainment. The one thing I can say is to try and make the most of the unfamiliar situation you are in, find new ways to entertain yourself and most importantly get to know the others that are around you, make new friends, chances are it’s an alien experience for them too. And remember, it’s only temporary!
I know this hasn’t painted a pretty picture for you, but one thing to take away from it is to be prepared for anything, and an easy time is not one of them! Keep your fingers crossed for the llama farm as that’s perhaps all you can do. Remember why you’re doing it, get through 88 days and another year Down Under is all yours to enjoy!