Looking for jobs to fill the 88 days for the Second Year Visa is getting harder and harder. I know this myself, the only offers are either super low paid, or you have to shell out hammer hard weekly rents in a working hostel to be allowed to work there!
When I was in Australia I thought: “There must be other ways to get the damn second year visa”..”
And there are also! You just have to know where!
One of these possibilities is the mango season in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Here you can earn really good money and at the same time get the 88 days for the Second Year Visa. If you do the whole 3-4 months, you don’t have to work the rest of the year.
No shit, I did it myself.
I have worked two seasons on different mango farms and I can assure you: it is worth it!
In this post I tell you how to imagine such a job as a harvester, what you earn and of course how to find a job.
Where and when does the mango season start?
The mango season usually starts in the Northern Territory with farms near Darwin beginning to harvest their fruit in mid to late September. From here you can work your way over to Queensland where the season ends around the end of February. There are many farms along the way where you can work as a harvester and once you start somewhere it is really easy to find a new job.
There are many mango farms here:
|Humpty Doo, NT||September – November|
|Berry Springs, NT||September – November|
|Katherine, NT||October – December|
|Townsville,QLD||November – January|
|Mareeba, QLD||December – February|
|Bowen, QLD||December – February|
If you want to combine traveling with working in Australia this is the perfect season to do so, as there are numerous jobs all the way from Darwin to Cairns and endless things to do or see along the way. I call it “The Mango Trail.”!
What kind of jobs are there?
In the Northern Territory alone, up to 2000 seasonal workers are needed every year for the mango harvest. You can find jobs in the packingshed as well as in the field, all very well paid and for most of them you don’t need any experience at all. And the rumors that it is easier to find a job as a man are not true at all. The farmers don’t give a shit if you are a man or a woman as long as you work hard and do your job. Some work is even often given preferentially to girls, such as packing or sorting the mangoes.
Jobs in the Packingshed
Jobs in the field
Most of these jobs are quite boring, because you do the same thing all day long. Also, the mango juice that comes out of the stalks can irritate your skin and even cause a very itchy rash called mangorash. But there are also positive things. For example, you’ll meet a bunch of new people and make friends with backpackers from all over Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Korea and many other countries. The money you earn is more than good and as already mentioned you can see a lot of Australia during the mango season.
What do you earn as a harvester?
Ok, now it comes to the interesting part of the mango season – the money. As I said before this was one of the best paying jobs I have done in Australia and I am not kidding when I say I will probably never make as much money in as short a time as I did during the mango season again.
However, there are two different salaries as a harvest worker. The people in the packing shed are always paid per hour, while those who go picking are paid either per bin, kilogram or also per hour. This is handled differently depending on the farm, but is not so important in the mangosaion anyway. Here you can earn really good money even if you are paid per bin or kilo.
An average week in the Packingshed:
|Working hours||7:00 am to 7:00 pm|
|Unpaid breaks||1 hour|
|Working days per week||6 – 7 days per week|
|Hourly wage||AU$ 21.00 per hour|
If you do the rough math you will end up with 70 hours per week. It’s a lot but it’s also well paid. If it’s a busy week, you might have to work up to 90 hours, but that’s rare. The most I have worked is 96 hours and 87 hours. In these weeks you will drink a beer after work if at all and then fall dead tired into bed. So be prepared to work, eat, sleep and then it starts all over again.
Granted, the hours are tough and there are better things than working 12-13 hours a day in a packingshed, but when the payslip flutters in at the end of the week it’s all forgotten and when the season is over you’ll have a full bank account and can enjoy Australia.
An average week as a mango picker:
|Working hours||9 – 10 hours per day|
|Working days per week||7 days (day off if it rains)|
|Salary||0,14 AU$/kg (approx. 400kg/bin)|
|Bins per day||15 – 25 bins per team|
|Team Members||5 pickers per team|
Let’s say you are in an average team and you manage to pick 20 bins a day for a week. Then you will have a net wage of $1364 at the end of the week. Of course, there are many factors that play a role in whether or not you can pick that many bins. For example, what type of mangoes are picked, motivation of your team members, age of trees, how well machines are maintained, and farm management in general. But if you don’t manage to fill a certain number of bins per day, every good farmer will pay at least the minimum wage, which is about 21 $ per hour.
Another thing to remember is that every day you work, whether in the Packingshed or in the field, counts towards the 88 days to get the Second Year Visa. You need that anyway to stay a second year in Australia, why shouldn’t you earn good money at the same time instead of working for a pittance somewhere just to fill up those days?.
How and where to find a job?
As mentioned before you don’t need any experience for most jobs in the mango season, so anyone can apply and get a job. If you already have experience as a harvester, for example as an avocado picker, which is pretty much the same thing, then it will be even easier to find a job. The best chance you have, with or without experience, is to apply to different job agencies that are looking for workers in the described locations for the farms.
Here are 3 job agencies I know or have worked for myself:
If for whatever reason this doesn’t work out (which is unlikely if you apply in time), you can of course also go directly to the farms and ask for jobs. If you don’t know where they are exactly I would just take a look at Yellowpages Australia or Localsearch.com.au and search for the following categories:
- Fruit growers
- Fruit&/or berry growers
- Fruit& vegetable packing&/or packs
- Fruit picking
- Fruit& Vegetable Growers& Packers
With that you already get some addresses and you can just drive around there. Most likely there are numerous other farms in the area that are not listed online.
And then we’re off! Have fun fruitpicking! 😉
How have your experiences been so far working in Australia?? All cool, or relatively hard to find something good? I am glad about your comment!