Australia has become one of the most popular places to visit on a gap year. The wages are high, the sun shines the majority of the year and the beaches are to die for, so who wouldn’t want to spend their year abroad here. The working holiday visa 417 allows those aged 18-30 (or 35 for Irish and Canadian citizens) to live and work in Australia for one year. The maximum time spent working for a company is 6 months, therefore this visa is perfect for those who want to travel around this beautiful country and earn some good money whilst they’re at it. This Complete Guide to 2nd Year Visa Farm Work in Australia is perfect for you if you want to have all the information you will need to stay another year in Australia.   If you wish to stay in Australia for another year, you will be required to work for 3 months in a regional area on a farm. This is more commonly known as “farm work”, a term dreaded by many backpackers, including ourselves. However, once we took a positive approach towards it, we realised we have been given this amazing opportunity to experience a completely different side to Australia, as well as save a tonne of money! Recently, there have been changes made to allow backpackers to work 6 months on a farm during their second year which will allow them a third year in Australia. There are many different options for work accepted for a working holiday visa, all of which are physically demanding and many will require you working outside.  

Please note: the information in this post is directed at those on a working holiday visa 417.

  The Complete Guide to 2nd Year Visa Farm Work in Australia Pinterest Image   Listed below are some of the main points discussed in this guide. We will explore each of these in greater detail later on in the article.    

The Complete Guide to 2nd Year Visa Farm Work in Australia

Before You Start Farm Work

 

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Farm Work

As with any adventure, you need to make sure you are covered in case the worst is to happen. Working on a farm is hard, manual labour, and it is unfortunately common for people to get injured during their time. Although there is recipricol medical care in Australia for a lot of people (Medicare), this doesn’t cover all types of injuries and surguries, therefore having your own travel insurance is essential. To keep our adventures stress-free and enjoyable, we make sure we are covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance. This low-cost and worldwide cover is perfect for backpackers, as they offer a huge range of different coverages and show excellent worldwide customer suport. Get a quote for World Nomad’s right here and get yourself covered.

Where can I do my Farm Work in Australia?

Farm work is available in every state in Australia except the Australian Capital Territory. However, the postcode of the farm that you work on will need to be classified as regional Australia for it to count towards your second-year visa. We will discuss this in more detail below. Farm work in Australia is seasonal, therefore you will need to plan where you would like to complete your farm work according to the seasons.  

What areas of Australia are Eligible for Farm Work

Some states in Australia accept regional work to be carried out anywhere within the state. In the following states, all areas are classified as regional for farm work.
  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • All of Norfolk island is also classified as rural Australia.
Other states will require you to find work at a specific postcode for it to be eligible work for a second-year visa. Make sure you check this before you start work, you don’t want to do all the hard work and the days aren’t even counting towards that all important visa. Below is a table that was sourced from the immigration website, stating which postcodes are eligible for a second-year visa in each state of Australia.  
State/territory ​Postcode
Australian Capital Territory ​The Australian Capital Territory is not classified as part of regional Australia
​New South Wales ​2311 to 2312 2328 to 2411 2420 to 2490 2536 to 2551 2575 to 2594 2618 to 2739 2787 to 2899 Note: Excludes Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong
Norfolk Island ​All of Norfolk Island is classified as part of regional Australia
​Northern Territory ​All of Northern Territory is classified as part of regional Australia
​Queensland 4124 to 4125 4133 4211 4270 to 4272 4275 4280 4285 4287 4307 to 4499 4510 4512 4515 to 4519 4522 to 4899 Note: Excludes the Greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast
​South Australia ​All of South Australia is classified as part of regional Australia
Tasmania
​All of Tasmania is classified as part of regional Australia
​Victoria 3139 3211 to 3334 3340 to 3424 3430 to 3649 3658 to 3749 3753 3756 3758 3762 3764 3778 to 3781 3783 3797 3799 3810 to 3909 3921 to 3925 3945 to 3974 3979 3981 to 3996 Note: Excludes Melbourne metropolitan area
Western Australia 6041 to 6044 6055 to 6056 6069 6076 6083 to 6084 6111 6121 to 6126 6200 to 6799 Note: Excludes Perth and surrounding areas
Source: immi.homeaffairs  
green tractor on an olive farm
Another hard days work in the tractor
   

How Long do I need to do Farm Work for?

2nd Year Visa A minimum period of 88 calendar days working on a farm is required for your 2nd-year visa to be accepted. This can include weekends, or equivalent days off) during your employment. For you to meet the requirements, you must work the same number of workdays or shifts as a full-time employee would in that job role, in the 88 day period. If you work five days a week continually for a 3 month period, this would be suitable or if you work less than five days a week for a longer period then this will also be accepted. If you are unable to work 5 days in the week, you will need to count each day individually. You can do this sporadically throughout your time in Australia or you can do it all in one go, the employer does not need to stay the same. Prepare yourself for it taking longer than 3 months to complete your work on the farm, seasons can be unpredictable and so can the weather. You may not be able to finish all of your work at one farm due to a change in season and the bad weather conditions may stop you from working 5 days a week.   3rd Year Visa  The same applies when applying for your 3rd-year visa, however,, you will need to work for a 6 month period instead of 3 months.    

What Jobs Qualify for 2nd Year Visa Farmwork?

There are specific industries that are approved for the 2nd year visa and you must make sure that you work in one of these areas to avoid the risk of your visa not being approved.
  • plant and animal cultivation
  • fishing and pearling
  • tree farming and felling
  • mining
  • construction
  Specified work is any type of work described in the list below:
  • plant and animal cultivation
    • the harvesting and/or packing of fruit and vegetable crops
    • pruning and trimming vines and trees Note: This must be your primary employment task and directly associated with the cultivation and commercial sale of plant produce, such as fruit and nut crops (commercial horticultural activities). General garden maintenance is not eligible.
    • general maintenance crop work
    • cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts
    • immediate processing of plant products
    • maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce, including natural increase Note: Maintaining animals for tourism or recreational purposes is not eligible.
    • immediate processing of animal products including shearing, butchery, packing and tanning Note: Secondary processing of animal products, such as small goods processing and retail butchery is not eligible.
    • manufacturing dairy produce from raw material.
  • fishing and pearling
    • conducting operations relating directly to taking or catching fish and other aquatic species
    • conducting operations relating directly to taking or culturing pearls or pearl shell
  • tree farming and felling
    • planting or tending trees in a plantation or forest that are intended to be felled
    • felling trees in a plantation or forest
    • transporting trees or parts of trees that were felled in a plantation or forest to the place where they are to be milled
  • mining
    • coal mining
    • oil and gas extraction
    • metal ore mining
    • construction material mining
    • non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying exploration
    • mining support services
  • construction
    • residential building construction
    • non-residential building construction
    • heavy and civil engineering construction
    • land development and site preparation services
    • building structure services
    • building installation services
    • building completion services
    • other construction services
Work undertaken in the areas of plant and animal cultivation, fishing and pearling, and tree farming and felling must be described in the list above to meet the specified work requirement. Source: immi.homeaffairs   A popular way of finding farmwork is to follow the Australian Harvest Trail around the country. This countrywide map shows each area that will require work at different times of the year. Almost all of this work will be piece-rate and badly paid, however, if you are desperate then this is your best bet.    
olive farm in south australia
Pulling the irrigation pipes into place in preparation for planting new trees
   

How Much Will I Get Paid Doing Farm Work in Australia

The minimum wage in Australia is $18.93, therefore you won’t be paid an hourly rate less than this. Generally, most farm work that is paid at an hourly rate is around $20-$25 per hour. Solar farms tend to pay more, however, these jobs can be hard to come by in comparison to the fruit picking and packing jobs. Unfortunately, many farmers in Australia will pay backpackers piece rate, per tree pruned or box of oranges picked. Farmers will tell you that a lot of money can be made if you are good and quick at this. This may be the case if you have been doing this job for years, however, out of a team of around 50 backpackers giving our all and desperate to make money, none of us were making the minimum wage each day. We discuss further down below how we would recommend going about getting a job. If you are in luck and get an hourly paid job, this type of work can be a fantastic way to save money as it can be common to earn over $1000 a week if the weather is on your side. Being in the middle of nowhere, this is also a fantastic way to save money, as you will not be tempted to go out and spend your hard-earned cash!    

How to Find Farm Work in Australia

In our opinion, it is best to hunt for farm work and complete it as soon as you can at the start of your visa. This will ease the stress of not getting it completed on time or not being able to find a job. Despite the apparent shortage of labour in Australia, there is very high competition for work. It is highly unlikely that you will get given the first job you apply for, so the best thing you can do is apply for every single job you see and take the first offer. If this turns out to be unsuitable, you can then search for another job whilst still getting your days. This is what we did. By working as an orange-picker on piece-rate and slave wages, we were able to add that all-important “farm-work experience” that other employers look for. From this, we were able to apply to another hundred or so jobs and finally get hourly paid work after three weeks of piece-rate. Job adverts will go up on the following websites and we would recommend applying for as many jobs as you can. We applied and called well over 100 jobs and heard back from 3.   Gumtree This is where we were offered all of our jobs from. Many smaller farms will post their job adverts there, however, there will also be a lot of scammers. Before you go to a farm, make sure you check their website to make sure that they are a legit farm. Never go to a job without speaking to someone on the phone and receiving your work contract, the companies ABN and business address to complete background checks.   Facebook Groups  Be wary of Facebook groups as these are rife with scammers and fake jobs. You should NEVER pay to apply for a job, this is the most common scam out there.  These jobs are usually ones that sound too good to be true, and the link to apply will be in the comments. Once you click this link you will be requested to pay for a “headhunter” to look for work for you. If you do pay for this you can wave goodbye to that money. Some of these groups will allow you to post in the group asking if anyone knows of any work going. This is sometimes helpful, however due to the huge size of these groups, a job with one or two vacancies will receive hundreds of applications within minutes. The best use of these groups is to perform background research on a company. If you do receive an offer you can search for previous mentions of the company in these groups to read any bad experiences with them from other backpackers. Below are two of the Facebook groups that we used.   Job Search Websites Other websites that are useful for finding work are the ones listed below. These usually update new jobs every day, however, once again they will fill up with applications within seconds. You will, therefore, have to apply for A LOT of jobs before you will land your dream one. Before we got our hourly work, we applied for over 100 new jobs every day for a week.   Harvest Trail The Australian Harvest Trail is a great place to start when you are looking for farm work. Here you will find out when the seasons are and you can even call to ask about any jobs that are currently advertised.   Recommendations from Other Backpackers Another way to find a job is by reaching out to friends to ask where they worked and finding out the contact details of the farm. ask for recommendations, find out contact details of farms search hashtags and speak to people   Go to the Farms There is no harm in stopping by a farm when you see it and asking if they have any vacancies, you never know and you might just be in luck!   Wwoofing You may have heard of the term wwoofing before in relation to the 88 days of work eligible for your visa. This type of work, as it is voluntary work, is no longer accepted as eligible for your 2nd-year visa. There are also rules in place that state you need to be earning minimum wage and cannot be working in exchange for your accommodation and meals. This is in place to protect backpackers and avoid them being exploited by farmers. Despite a lot of confusion in this area, these rules are aimed at hourly rates and will not piece-rate work. In other words, if you are doing piece-rate work and are not earning the minimum wage, you are still eligible for 2nd-year visa work.  
Campbell pruning the olive trees
   

Things to know about Farm Work

Working on a farm is physical, hard work. We thought we had a good level of fitness, but our bodies still took some time to get used to the different muscles that were being used. People will tell you it gets easier and that seems impossible to believe, however, your body will eventually get used to it. Most of the jobs are based outside, therefore it is smart to try and plan this around the seasons. However, the work is also seasonal so it is good to find out when the harvest periods are and when and go there. It is also essential to pack the right equipment to stay fit and healthy. This means packing suncream, water, and plenty of snacks. We would recommend that you have some knowledge about first aid and what to do in the event of a snake bite. Depending on the season, it is not uncommon to see a snake around a farm.    

Once You Have a Job

Once you find a job for your 2nd-year visa farm work, it is time to start preparing for the work itself. This means sorting out things like accommodation, transport, work clothing and other equipment that you will need in rural Australia.  

Types of Accommodation

This was a huge thing for us as we are quite the early risers and early bedders and would much prefer to have our own space without a huge expense. Some farms will only offer you a job if you stay at the accommodation, which can be very expensive so if this is something that you don’t want to pay for, be mindful of confirming whether or not this is the case before you arrive.   Australia farm work hostels Working hostels are popular amongst backpackers looking for farm work. If you are a solo traveller then this is a good way to meet other backpackers in a similar situation to yourself. By staying in a working hostel you will have your work organised for you by the hostel as they would correspond with the local farmers and hand out jobs to the staff.  

On-Site Rental Accommodation

There are a lot of farms that have their own preferred accommodation near to the property. This can either be an absolute steal or a complete nightmare. Between the two farms we worked at, we heard a bit of both. The first farm we worked at charged $180 per person, per week, for a bed in a shared room with 5 other beds. The house itself looked clean and tidy, with good amenities, however, this is still a ridiculous price to pay. The second farm we worked at was a lot more reasonable, offering a private room with your own shower for the same price. This job was also an hourly rate, so the rental price was only a small portion of your paycheck. The difference between these two options shows the true motives of the employer, with the former using accommodation as another income and the latter simply wanting their employers to have a comfortable life.   Campervan We would highly recommend buying a car or campervan for this part (and the rest) of your Australia trip! This is a huge money saver and also gives you the freedom to get out and about and explore on your days off. This also gives you peace of mind and safety as you can leave the farm when you want to if you are uncomfortable there. In our experience working on piece rate, those who chose to stay in the farm accommodation would live in a shared bedroom for almost $200 per week! Whereas, we parked up at a free campground down the road for free! We have seen some adverts offering accommodation for $100 per week and some job adverts stating that staying at the farm accommodation is compulsory. A vehicle also gives you the freedom to get to the shops when you want, if you are staying at an accommodation with no vehicle then there will maybe be one day a week that you will be able to go for your food shop. Some farms will also prefer it if you have a vehicle as they may have no other way to transport you or offer you a trip to the shops. If the van life is not for you, then you may also be able to check in the local town for cheap accommodation. Make sure you organise transport with your employer prior to this to find out how you will get to and from work.  

Read our full guide to buying a campervan in Australia for all of the information you will need.

   

Transport

A lot of jobs will say that having your own transport is essential, so a car or a campervan should already be something you look at buying before leaving for your farm job. If, however, you do not have the funds to get your own transport, most working hostels will offer (paid) transport to and from work and to the shops once a week. This is obviously a very restrictive lifestyle, being told when and where you can go. Think very carefully about what you want your farmwork experience to be like before you set off without your own transport. Three months being told where you can go and when you can go there is a very long time.      
a bin of oranges that we picked whilst working on a farm
$28 earned from picking these oranges!
   

Things to Bring With You to the Farm

Toilet roll The majority of places you will work, aren’t going to have a toilet, meaning you will need to do your business out in the fresh air. It’s always good to carry some toilet paper with you in case you need to go. Also, always remember to leave no trace and bury it.   Water There may not be anywhere for you to fill up your water on the farm, so make sure you bring enough with you. We would carry 5 litres between the two of us each day.   Earphones A lot of the work you will find yourself doing maybe a repetitive task that doesn’t involve much concentration. We found a good set of wireless headphones kept us entertained, making our days go by much quicker listening to podcasts or music. On some farms these may be forbidden due to safety reasons, however, thankfully we were able to choose if we wanted to wear them or not.   Safety Glasses This will be a requirement in some jobs, and although it may not be in others it is still good to have a pair. Working in amongst trees or in sandy fields on windy days is not worth the risk to your eyesight as well as it being extremely uncomfortable.   Sun Hat The sun in Australia is so strong and so bright, spending long hours outside in it can cause you to very easily get sunburnt. A hat gives your face a little bit extra protection from the sun as well as from the trees.   Suncream Being outdoors in the Australian sun all day leaves us at risk of some painful and dangerous sunburn. Did you know that 1 in 3 Australia’s will be diagnosed with skin cancer? It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry so make sure you pack sun cream.   Insect Repellant The bugs and mosquitoes will come out in full force during the summer and you will get bitten alive without good protection.   Waterproof Depending on the time of year, there is always the possibility of some rain. We completed our farm work through the South Australian winter and thankfully didn’t experience too much rain but we definitely got caught out a couple of times. Thankfully we were prepared.   Warm Layers Again, this depends very much on where you are in Australia and the season. We always carried a hoodie with us on the farm as when the sun disappeared, we definitely experienced some cold periods.   Sturdy Boots Head to Kmart or Big W for some sturdy boots that will cost you around $30. It is definitely worth the money to have footwear that won’t fall apart and that you are comfortable in as you may find yourself on your feet a lot.   Snacks and Lunch Leaving the most important until last… Snacks! Working on a farm is really physical and burns a lot of energy. We always carried snacks with us to top up our energy levels when we needed to. Chances are you will also not have access to a kitchen, so preparing your lunch in advance is essential.  
Campbell in a blue tractor pulling a trailer full of sticks
Clearing the field in preparation for planting new trees
   

How Do I Apply for Second Year Working Holiday Visa?

The 2nd Year Visa can be applied for on the government website in the same way you applied for your first. At the time of applying for your 2nd-year visa, you will not be required to attach any evidence. This is only necessary if immigration contact you asking for more information. Keep your payslips somewhere safe, such as a Google Drive, as if you are asked, you will need to use this as evidence. You may have heard about a form that has to be signed by your employer, this is no longer necessary as in some cases this type of evidence was exploiting individuals.   Another way to store evidence is by taking a photo of you on the farm each week. If there are any concerns, then you have a photo of you with the location and date stored on your phone. It is also a good idea to take a photo of our work timesheet every week as well, it doesn’t hurt to have some additional information. Back up all of this evidence on Google Drive as well. If you are ready, you can apply for it right here.   We are still to apply for our second-year visa, however, all of the above information has bee thoroughly researched through interviewing other backpackers and reading government websites and articles.    

How Much Does a 2nd Year Visa for Australia Cost?

As with the application process, your second year will cost the same amount as your first-year visa. At the time of writing this, the cost for this visa is $485AUD. As you complete your 2nd Year Visa Farmwork you should make sure to keep this in mind and save for this expense.    

An Experience to Remember

As hard as farm work can be, there are many people who will actually tell you this was the highlight of their Australia trip! Don’t know if we would quite go that far, but we can definitely say it has been an incredible experience that we will never forget. This was our first experience of true remote Australia where we could explore the beautiful regional areas and gaze up at the amazing starry nights.    
a rainbow over the empty field.
It’s all sunshine and rainbows on the farm.. and sometimes some rain!
    So there you have it, your ultimate guide to 2nd Year Visa Farm Work in Australia. If you are thinking about giving farm work a go, or have already completed your 88 days, and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already completed it, let us know how it was and where you worked! What was your favourite part of the job? Did you see any scaley friends whilst working on the farm? Let us know in the comments below! Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that may be thinking about giving farm work a go too. Sharing is caring and we want to share as much information as we can about our experience, to make sure you get the best experience out of this part of your Australian visa too. If you are planning an Australia trip soon or you are already here, then check out our other Australia content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your farm work and other Australian adventures and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.   Now Read:    

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