Harvest work provides flexibility, friendships – and the occasional quokka sighting

Harvest work can be so much more than just extra money. For traveller Tamara Kartheininger, it’s about meeting great people across the country, experiencing all types of work, and seizing the opportunity to see some incredible wildlife.

Tamara and her partner are engineers from Germany. They came to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa chasing opportunities and adventure.

In 2020, the couple found an advert online which led them to their first horticultural job in Australia – on a cactus farm in Western Australia.        

Since then, Harvest Trail Services has helped connect them with a variety of harvest work taking them to different places across the  country. The flexibility of short-term harvest work has allowed the couple to experience Australia to the fullest.                                                   

Earn money while travelling

“Harvest work definitely pays for good travelling. I have had so many amazing experiences here in Australia. I saw a few wild dingos on Fraser Island, had Quokkas smile at me on Rottnest and met some friendly wombats in Tasmania.”

Coming to harvest work with no expectations, the experience has been rewarding on a personal level for the couple.

Tamara picking pears in Ardmona, Victoria.

“I am so thankful for the people I’ve met or worked for, and the many things I’ve learned. I didn’t expect it but it is really rewarding work.”

No experience and good working conditions

Prior to coming to Australia, Tamara and her partner did mostly office work, but she says the Harvest Trail Services team offered the support she needed in finding work and accommodation, whilst meeting visa requirements.

And in all her roles, the working conditions have been great.

“The physicality of the work sometimes was challenging at first as I have previously done mostly office work, so I reckon if I can do it, anyone can,” says Tamara.

“Whether it was the supply of safety gear or the hours and pay, I have experienced great work conditions at all my harvest jobs. Without exception, my bosses or supervisors have treated me with great respect. “

The couple’s most recent gig was picking apples at Plunkett’s Orchards in Ardmona near Shepparton, where they were paid an hourly rate.

Tamara admits that the first week was hard.

“We had long days and my muscles were really sore but once I pushed through that, it was great. I didn’t expect it but it was a really rewarding work. I enjoyed being outside all day and the beautiful sunrises in the orchard.”

Tamara has also appreciated the multicultural environment of the orchard.

“The challenges around working in a multicultural environment are worth it. We all communicate with hand signals for smoko, lunch and finishing for the day.”

“At Shepparton, we stayed in a dorm room with shared facilities. It was enjoyable to cook together and socialise with the other backpackers and seasonal workers after a day’s work.”

Now on the road exploring New South Wales and the east coast, Tamara and her partner plan to return to Western Australia and work for the cactus farm again. “They have become our Australian family.”