Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. I’ve been trying to post this blog for the past few weeks but I’ve just been so busy with getting settled and back into routine since I arrived back to Sydney!
On my last post I mentioned I would be heading to do my 3 months regional work for my second year visa so on this post I’m going to talk about my experience and give you lots of advice for those who are interested in staying in Oz for another year.
I received so many DMs from people on Instagram interested in where I did my farm work, my thoughts on it & advice so I hope this blog helps all you out!! I’m extremely grateful for your messages because I try to help as many people as possible with my experience.
I arrived around the end of October to Innisfail which is roughly 1 hour outside of Cairns. I stayed at Innisfail Budget Backpackers Hostel which is a working hostel so you stay there and they provide you with the work. Luckily I arrived on a Saturday and started my work on the Monday morning so it was great to get stuck in straight away with no hanging around.
You always have the worst thoughts towards a new situation or place but I was actually excited because my 2 friends were there at the same place so I had company already. The hostel itself is very basic but has everything you need and the area is just a small town but again has your basic commodities like laundry, food shopping, K- MART!!! haha
Being 100% honest my first week was so tough as the work is very different and not something you think your body can handle until you get used to the work it gets easier. Each day is different and I just always tried to stay sane with the friends around me and make a laugh out of the situation. It helps to think of it as a temporary situation and push each other by counting down your weeks.
Just don’t arrive expecting a lot as I seen so many people come and go from the hostel and their first impressions made them leave. At the end of the day everyone around you is in the same situation and living so you all have to just get together like a family and support one another to get through it.
You’re honestly living the most care free life as your only bills are your rent, food & possibly alcohol if you become an alcoholic like I did. This is what boredom leads too! Haha
Rent at Budget Backpackers was $200 per week which included your travel to and from the farm as well.
Other hostels within Innisfail I know are similar priced.
The hostel I stayed at provided flats to those who didn’t want to stay within the hostel, although there was a waiting list. Couples got priority so I only had to stay 1 week in the hostel and then got moved to the flats across the street which are the same price as the hostel living.
You get paid minimum wage which is $23.66 hourly and you get this paid into your account weekly.
You do have the opportunity to make extra cash by working for bars or restaurants within Innisfail at weekends. This is good for people who are willing to save extra to travel & not wanting to spend their wages on drink every weekend lol.
How long to work to qualify for 2nd year visa requirements???
Okay, I have been getting asked this a lot and it is difficult to understand. To qualify for 2nd year visa you only need to complete 13 consecutive weeks of work without missing a week. You need to complete 10 hours per week so if you only work 1 day which is 10 hours long you’ve completed 1 week.
However you also need to ensure you finish on the same date you started for example I started on the 29th October and I finished on 29th January.
Some people get confused on where 88 days come into this but I believe it would take 2 extra weeks if you were to count it as days.
For your own sake ensure you ask your farm before you start if you will be working 88 days or 13 weeks.
My Job (this sh*t is bananas)
I worked on a small family owned farm which was mainly bananas but they also grew dragon fruit. I worked maximum 3 days on my farm which was difficult to save money as my earnings basically covered food & rent.
My job was banana packing so I simply checked the bananas passing by on the banana wheel for bruises or defects, weighed the fruit and ensured the fruit wasn’t packed under or over a certain weight, placed the bananas into a bag and sealed the bag by using a tape machine.
Pretty basic job and very repetitive even worse when your listening to the same radio station that plays the same dreaded songs all day long for 3 months straight. I got my day in by keeping a strong mindset and reminding myself daily why I was doing this.
Some days were more difficult than others as the weather was either extremely hot or extremely stormy, luckily I mainly worked indoors in the banana shed however you did have tasks that would require you working outdoors in the heavy rain and cyclone storms.
The guys work was a lot more difficult than the girls they worked out doors within all weather conditions, from heavy cyclone rain to 44 degree heat. They also work 5 days per week so earn that bit extra than the girls.
Their jobs were to hump the banana bunches from the tree’s which weighed roughly around 80kg and looked about the same size as a human. They brought the bunches to the shed via a trailer and this is when the girls came outside and helped the guys by hanging the bunches up and un-bagging the bananas before they went through the washer.
Is it worth it???
110% worth it!!! You have a love / hate relationship with the situation but now looking back on it I know I will never have that experience again in my life!! It’s such a crazy situation you put yourself in working in blood, sweat, rat piss & seeing all sorts of crazy shit like bats, rats, spiders & snakes on a daily basis just became the norm to me.
You work extremely hard and the farmers are so lovely but really push you to your limits of work to get the job done. Sometimes I felt like I was working in a camp and living in Big Brother as there was always drama in the hostel lol.
It’s mentally draining and sometimes stressful. I came with the intentions of attending the gym everyday to stay in routine but it’s so difficult as your absolutely exhausted from your work day with it being so physically draining.
You build such a strong bond with people around you who make the shit living worth it and make the situation feel normal.
On weekends you literally just party on repeat. Oh and your weekend begins Thursday which is “Thirsty Thursday’s”, “Fancy Dress Friday’s”, “Sandstorm Saturdays” & “Sesh Sunday’s”.
Sometimes the hostel would of been mega crazy and too much for me and I’m not going to lie sometimes I love my alone time. So for me this is where I struggled and especially for those of you have stayed in hostels before you know what it’s like. Drugs are such a big deal too and for me who isn’t interested it can be very overwhelming and difficult to avoid as your living so close to these people and can’t escape from it.
I enjoyed getting drunk on Fridays it was so fun to get super wasted with Themed Fancy Dress and end up in a small shitty nightclub called “Rumours”. This is what I lived for all week at work lmao.
For me I knew I was doing my farm work before I even came to Australia because I have no intentions of going back home and would do anything to stay here. Although if your debating it and not fully satisfied that it’s going to be for you and worth it then I wouldn’t do it because it can be a very overwhelming situation and it’s not for everyone.
If you know you want to do it and stay out here for another year but have only arrived to Australia I recommend travelling and sightseeing a little bit first before you make your mind up. As you could arrive to the middle of nowhere and be like how do I know this is going to be worth it when you haven’t seen anything yet to give you motivation.
Living in Sydney for 6 months before my farm work pushed me and gave me that extra motivation on the farm when times where tough as I knew how much I wanted to come back and live in Sydney again.
Although I do believe this experience is different as a couple as you can push & help each other where as if your coming alone it may be more difficult as you’ve only got yourself and your friends around you to help motivate you.
As an overall experience your time here goes very fast and you have that much fun you don’t see your weeks go in!!!
I mainly recommend the area of Innisfail or anywhere around the East Coast of Oz as you have more options to travel. At weekends i always tried to see something new and visited quite a few places which also got your time in.
Within the area there are a few car hire places and I tried to go away atleast 1 weekend a month to get a feel for the real world again lol.
I visited these places & they are all in the surrounding area of Innisfail.
• Windin Falls
• Babinda Boulders
• Mission Beach
• Ettay Bay Beach
• Port Douglas
• Palm Cove
Applying for 2nd year visa…
When applying for your second year visa make sure to double check the website as there are a few fake websites that try to scam you. Also there are a lot of third party websites that may be cheaper but won’t be as quick at alerting you your outcome of your visa.
You don’t have to apply for your visa straight away but I applied for mine a few weeks before my first year visa expired.
However you can decide to leave the country and complete your second year in another couple of years. You have the option of using it up until your 30 years old.
Also I found out that your 2nd year visa gets refreshed so you can go back to your old job that you worked in your first year and your 6 months will be refreshed.
I applied for my visa on the Australian Government website costing $450. It processed so quickly and I literally got it granted within 5 minutes. Absolutely delighted!!! :))
Here is the link for the website for those who wish to get their visa processed quickly through the Aus Government.
For those of you who are interested in going to Innisfail and staying at Budget Backpackers I have contact of the owner Steve who you can call and make aware when your thinking of arriving. If you arrive during the week he will offer you a free pickup from Cairns Airport. Although this is not necessary to contact as there is work available all year around so you can just arrive whenever.
I hope you enjoyed my blog on my 3 months farm work in Innisfail. I’ve tried to cover everything that I’ve received messages about and I know it’s difficult to relate as most farms and experiences can be different but hopefully this has give you all a fair idea of what to expect and the experience you could have.