07 May, 2020
Last updated on 13 November, 2021
Posted by Spaceships Crew
The most heard words among backpackers are “farm work”. Well, there are some other popular topics but for those, you’ll need the money and then the talk switches to farm work again. Where to go, how to find it, how to get there and where to stay? Especially now, in the new normal caused by COVID-19. This blog post will help you out. It has all the latest info about farm work in Queensland.
COVID-19 has changed a lot. We all had to change our travel plans, had to rethink the things we wanted to do & see and had to stay inside or at least in one place for a long time. But now’s the time to get moving again. Travellers & working holiday people turn into workers, so let’s focus on finding farm work in Queensland.
What are the new rules around travelling & working?
We’re in this together. COVID-19 and the new normal of a 2-metres-apart (social distancing) society affects us all. Everyone must help him/herself, their neighbours and their community in a safe way. Always follow Queensland’s public health directions for COVID-19 if you plan to do farm work in Queensland.
There are lots of seasonal work opportunities available in Queensland. Farmers need you as the Australia consumer needs its fresh Australia-grown produce. The Australian government has a page dedicated to backpackers and travellers in times of COVID-19. And make sure to check the official COVID-19 Australia info.
Can I travel to Queensland to do farm work?
Yes, you are allowed to travel to Queensland, from other Australian states, if you’re going to work on a farm in Queensland. However, there are some rules to follow.
Important: you must have your job lined up before heading to Queensland as there are still border restrictions in place.
Further, you must abide by the following rules when travelling from other Australian states to do farm work in Queensland. You must have:
A letter or email from your employer proving that you have secured work, including your start date and period of employment
Accommodation details proving you have accommodation organised in Queensland
A record of your work and residence in the last 14 days
If you have been in a declared Covid-19 hotspot at any time in the past 14 days, you will be required to self-quarantine at your own expense for 14 days on arrival prior to commencing work. You may choose to self-quarantine prior to entering Queensland, however, you must provide documentation from the interstate health authority at the border crossing.
This flow chart will make it even easier to see if and how you can travel to Queensland for farm work or commercial fishing.
Easy to see your options for travelling to do farm work in Queensland - Queensland Government (CC BY 3.0 AU)
How to get to my farm work? What travel options are there?
Doing farm work is different than working in a city or town. You might have guessed it but most farms are in remote locations. You would need to have your own transport to get from your accommodation to your farm work. Queensland is 1,852,642 km² which is roughly the size of Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and a big part of Germany combined. You will need a car to get to your farm to start your farm work. And then for your daily commute.
Contact the friendly Spaceships Australia crew to see if they have any long-term hire farmworker specials available. From time to time there are these specials tailored to travellers that need transportation for their 88-days aka doing farmwork.
Advantages of having your own transport to the farm
Freedom and flexibility are the biggest advantages of having your own car or campervan. No need to look for a ride-share or to use the more expensive transport options that farms offer. Transport to a farm can cost $7 per person per day, which comes to $28 if its 4 of you travelling (together is more fun, right?). That's lots of money saved when getting your own transportation.
Your visa in times of COVID-19
You must apply to stay longer before your visa expires. Immigration Australia has outlined several options for overseas travellers & workers and their visa.
Check your current visa: is it still valid and when will it expire?
Finding farm work in Queensland is always the hardest part. Not because it’s hard to find farm work, but because it’s the first step to take. And maybe it’s your first-time doing farm work. It’s just something you’ll need to get used to, just like finding any other job.
Yes, there are plenty of farm jobs out there. Articles like “Demand for workers remains strong in central Queensland” (on ABC News) will show you that there are various opportunities for working in agriculture. It's the perfect time to do farm work in Queensland.
Check out these websites to see where farm jobs are available:
Fruit Picking Jobs website, no explanation needed as it’s all in the name (visit this site)
Ready to start your farm work in Queensland? (photo: James Dimas)
What kind of farm work can I do?
Farm work or working in agriculture is the common name for a lot of jobs on farms or orchards that (often) count towards the 88 days to get your second working holiday visa or towards the 6 months to get a third year working holiday extension (if these are available for your nationality). Popular farm jobs are:
Fruit picking or harvesting - helping out on an orchard to pick the fresh fruit or vegetables from the trees or plants to get it ready for packing and shipping to supermarkets or stores. You can work in the orchard itself or at the packing station.
Jackaroo or Jillaroo - working on a sheep or cattle station to help out or to gain experience in this field
Station hand - working on a large sheep or cattle farm.
Stablehand - working on a horse ranch or stable to feed and care for the animals
Where to stay during my farm work?
Try to find long-stay accommodation (relatively) close to the place where you’ll be doing farm work. Queensland has various of these accommodation options available. For example, if your place of work is in the Lockyer Valley, Grantham Farmworkers Lodge is a great accommodation option for you.
This is a brand new & purpose-built lodge with short and long-stay options available. It’s located 100km west of Brisbane and 10km east of Toowoomba. They have beds and private rooms available. Worth checking out if your farm work in Queensland will take place in that area.