No matter how full your wallet is at the beginning of your journey, if you travel for half a year you will reach a point where you need a little cash infusion. For backpackers in New Zealand that usually means picking whatever is ripe at that time: apples, grapes, and kiwis are only a couple of examples.
When we were looking for work it was exactly those orchards we were driving to. After two days and at least 25 orchard-visits (yes, there is that many orchards around one town) we were still without a job. Turns out that we were just to late to prepare the apple trees for harvest and just too early to pick the apples.
Tip numero uno: work when there is work and not when you need to. We were in the desperate need for work because we decided to work on the end of our south island journey. Had we just checked for work during our travels, we would’ve saved ourselves a lot of stress.
Turns out that our misfortune at the orchards was actually really good. Just when we were going to give up, already planning to move the ferry to the north island, we came past a winery and decided to give it a try and ask if they have work there. They did!
”Yeah, I could use both of you. You guys know that its real shitty work, right?“.
It wasn’t that ’shitty’ in the end. Yes it was hard work but we had quite a few advantages over all the fruit pickers. Including us, there was only three helpers on the vineyard at that time so we just had an easy chat with the boss in the generously timed breaks. It was definitely better than the ”slave-like“ experiences some people had on orchards. There was loud music playing in the brakes and the atmosphere was just overall relaxed.
You can probably tell that I highly recommend working on a vineyard. Probably, there are bad experiences, too, but usually a vineyard (producing a more expensive product than the average apple orchard) will treat backpackers in a more professional and humane way. And overall, make sure you look for work early enough. You will most likely find a much more enjoyable job that way.
What are your experiences with working a low paid job in a foreign country? Share them with us!