If you consider to work a second year in Australia then you will have to work in a rural area for 88 days. Usually backpackers do fruit picking as it's a good option to share this experience with other travellers
If you consider to work a second year in Australia then you will have to work in a rural area for 88 days. Usually backpackers do fruit picking as it's a good option to share this experience with other travellers and save some money at the same time. Even though it's possible to work in different places during these three months most backpackers will tell you that this is not necessarily the best part of their stay in Australia. Indeed working in a rural area means that you have to live in the very isolated Australian countryside not always with the nicest locals! On top of that work can be really hard and many farmers really take advantage of backpackers who would do pretty much anything to get their second year visa.
Is fruit picking my only option to apply for a second year visa?
No! The good news is that this is not the only option. More and more people prefer doing wwoofing (willing worker on organic farms), it means that they only work a few hours every day (usually between 4 and 6) for individuals in exchange of free food and accommodation. I've chosen this alternative which seems interesting to me as beyond work it's a great opportunity to establish both a human and cultural exchange thanks to the integration within an Australian family. It's also a great way to escape the typical touristic trail and live in different environments. For example during my 3 months of work I had the opportunity to work and live in a ranch, a rainforest and a banana farm !
The best way to find a place to wwoof is The Australian Wwoof Book which is a kind of directory where host's adds and contacts are listed together and classified by states and cities (http://www.wwoof.com.au) You need to become a member of this organisation to get this book. You can apply for your membership on line. It costs 65 dollars for the year and also includes a one year insurance that will cover you in case of accidents.
There is also another organisation which is very similar and called helpx : http://www.helpx.net. It's a website that gathers together adds from individuals looking for wwoofers all around the world. You can create your own profile and see all the adds. However you need to register if you want to see people's contact details. The membership costs only 20 dollars and allows you to see everyone's contact details for two years but also contrary to the wwoofing book, it allows you to see the references written by other wwoofers after they've stayed with a host. That should give you a good idea of what to expect and maybe sometimes encourage you to apply for a wwoofing position – or in the contrary dissuade you to get in touch with some people!
Personally I've applied for both helpx and wwoofing and I don't regret it. I would say that it's not necessary to apply for both but one would definitely help you when your time will come to start your adventure in the rural world which I'm sure will leave you with unforgettable memories and maybe even change you forever !
My Australian farms tour has started on the 28th May 2012...