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Dusting Off an Old Post: Fruit Picking in Shepparton (November 2010)

Almost all my recent posts have been about cycling, Scandanivia and cycling. Let’s throw in something else for a change. In this ‘old post‘ I’m talking about the first job I picked up in Australia. It was two and a half years ago…

…And after my first weeks in Australia (going out, being a tourist and, most importantly, buying a car) it was getting quite clear I was going to need a job.

Shepparton, Australia.

I found my first job in Australia on Gumtree – you can read all about it in this guest post I wrote a while ago – and it turned out to be an amazing experience. Fruit picking is kind of like the ultimate backpacking job. In mid-November 2010 I ended up in Shepparton, Victoria, in the middle of the so-called ‘Fruit Bowl’ of Australia. I would spend more than a month there, picking cherries, planting tomatoes and pruning trees. It was fantastic!

Cherry farm in Shepparton, Australia.
Cherry farm in Shepparton.
Cherry picking in Shepparton, Australia.
Ladder in the cherry orchard.

Everyone was there for the same two reasons, working and saving money, which immediately created a connection and making friends had never been so easy.

The first couple of days we stayed in a (working) hostel, but we soon moved. There was this Australian guy who had some spots in his front yard where we could pitch a tent.

Shepparton, Australia.
‘Home’ for a month.
After rain comes sunshine, Australia.
After rain comes sunshine.
Shepparton, Australia.
Afternoon hangout.

In the end that saved us a lot of money. One week in a tent cost as much as one night in a dorm. And staying in your own tent instead of a dorm for a month definitely has its advantages.

Camping in Shepparton.
Tents in the front yard.
Sunset in Shepparton, Australia.
Awesome sunset.
Cute kittens.
Cute kittens.


A typical day would be like this: get up before sunrise (6am), drive to work, start working at first light, finish work at around 2pm (too hot!), go home, eat and drink some beers and/or goon and go to bed.

Cherry farm in Australia.
Cherry farm.
Cherry picking in Australia.
A day in the office.
Relaxing after a hard day's work.
Relaxing after a hard day’s work.
VB in Australia.
Relaxing after a hard day’s work, part 2.

What I liked about picking cherries was that you got paid per bin. Therefore, the harder you worked, the more money you made. A great motivation. Also, after a few weeks you’ll have gotten a lot better at it. It takes a while to really get the hang of it, but at the end I was making twice as much money as I did in the first couple of days.

Cherry bins in Shepparton, Australia.
Money in a bin!
Lightning.
Lightning!

As mentioned before I also tried planting tomatoes, but I found that kind of work incredibly boring. I pruned fruit trees for a couple of days as well. That was great and well paid.

Beautiful rainbow in Australia.
Beautiful rainbow.

The thing was: if you wanted to work, you could actually make a decent amount of money there. It was really hard to spend money too, even if you tried to; there wasn’t a lot to do around there. If you add up those two facts, you know that you’ve got yourself a great way to get back on track financially.

Spring flowers in Australia.
Spring flowers.
Rain in Australia.
A rainy day…

Although it wasn’t always easy to get up in the morning, it was all totally worth it. I made some great friends, some of which I still keep in touch with today. And in the end I saved up enough money to go back to Sydney and spend the winter (or is summer?) holidays there.

Merry Christmas from Shepparton, Australia.
Sunny Christmas.
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