Wanting to hit the Harvest Trail?
Sounds great, doesn't it? 3 months of harvest work and you get a second year long working holidaymakers visa! Plus you get a great tan and get fit doing it....Where do you sign up?Hang on before you do, there are some things that you need to be aware of.
Harvest work is hard work! yep, you get a tan, you usually work outside, you get fit and you can often work long hours or on contact to earn more money. But it can also be hot, heavy, dirty, and physically challenging. You really need the right attitude to it and if you don't think you're up to the job, then you probably won't be.
Be prepared to work
Much of the work is located in smaller regional areas before you spend time and cash travelling to these places, a little thought and research may help you to get the best out your harvest trail experience.
Don't just turn up somewhere and expect to find work immediately. Also be aware that is difficult for working hostels to predict work availability, work depends on the farms, the weather, how many others check in before you on the wait list and even moon cycles! Be prepared to wait for work but do talk to others at the hostels to find out whether the hostel has a good name for giving accurate working availability information.
Most farmers want to staff for at least one or two weeks. Picking, planting and packing do require training and some skill so the growers prefer staff who stay longer!
Before you start you will need to arrange some or all of the following :
A valid Australian Work Visa
A signed Tax Declaration form for each farm that you work on. You have 28 days to give your Tax File Number (TFN) to the farm - if you don't provide it, you will be taxed at the max tax rate of 47%!
An Australian bank account. Some farms pay by cheque or cash, but make sure you always take your bank account details to a new job- that way you will always be paid on time.
Proper work clothes: - closed shoes. Most harvest work will not allow thongs or sandals.- long pants (depending on job), a long sleeved shirt or arm protectors. A thin long sleeved shirt will protect you from sunburn in summer. You will be amazed at just how quickly your skin will fry in the harsh Aussie sun, gloves, sunscreen, at least 4 litres of water, your lunch.
You can get cheap working clothes mostly run by charities. Ask at your working hostel where the nearest op shops are- you will probably be able to pick up clothes for only a couple of dollars.