Farmers across regional Western Australia say they have never seen anything like it as hundreds of backpackers flock to farm-gates looking for work.

The number of backpackers undertaking agricultural work in order to stay longer in Australia has jumped by more than 25 per cent in a year and it appears to be linked to the economic downturn in Europe.

While most of the backpackers are English and Irish, the most rapid increases have been among continental Europeans.

Laura, Ronja and Lisa are from Hamburg in Germany and have been travelling around Australia for eight months.

Like them, hordes of young backpackers work in farms and orchards to help fund their journey.

The girls tried a variety of jobs.

"Peppers were very hard work because you had to bend over to pick them and you had to carry very heavy bags," they said.

"Then we got a grape-picking job which was very good, except it was out in the sun and the heat all day, and the flies were very annoying."

The trio has now travelled as far as Broome, in the far north of WA, and are again in need of cash but the work has dried up.

There are too many young travellers competing for the limited amount of casual work.

Ronja says they are hearing the same thing from backpackers in each hostel they stay in.

"I think two years ago it was much more easier than now because I think the backpacking wasn't that popular two years ago and now it's very hard," she said.

In the east Kimberley town of Kununurra, the Job Shop manager, Carol Zunker, says the significant spike in travellers looking for work is a trend being seen across regional Australia.

"It's just a sudden influx of backpackers all over Australia; I've heard there are so many in Perth, so many in Darwin," she said.

"I get calls probably about 30 times a day from backpackers looking for work, it's just crazy."

Ms Zunker is working on the frontline of the influx putting travellers in touch with mango and melon growers looking for casual workers.

"At the moment we have over 200 backpackers in town and it's just crazy," she said.

"With all the phone calls I get, just don't come here at the moment because we've got an influx of people."

Visa extensions

Immigration Department figures show the number of young people being granted working holiday visas jumped 22 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

The biggest jump and the reason that's leading backpackers to fight tooth and nail for work, is in those wanting to extend their visas for a second year.

Immigration laws mean only those who complete three month's agriculture or construction work can do so.

The number of backpackers wanting to extend has jumped 30 per-cent in the space of a year and 85 per-cent of those were allowed to stay by doing agricultural work.

Jackie Jarvis is the WA manager of the Harvest Labour Service, which helps match up backpackers with growers looking for casual labour.

Lately she is finding farmers have not been needing her help.

"I think if you speak to any farmers anywhere in Australia, where it's a known agricultural or horticultural region, what's happening is they're being literally inundated," she said.

"They're getting people turning up at the farm gate looking for work.

"In some situations where there might be say, 25 fruit picking jobs available, we're hearing stories of hundreds of backpackers turning up because of word of mouth."

Ms Jarvis thinks the increase in backpackers trying to find work is also linked to the global financial crises.

"With the massive downturn in job opportunities across, a lot of people have graduated university and found there's no job for them," she said.

"So, we're generally seeing an older backpacker who's finished university and had no job to go to."

The trio from Germany agree the economic climate at home is fuelling the wanderlust of some Europeans.

"We've met a lot of Italian people who say the working situation in their country is very hard and that's why they want to stay here, or even move here," they said.

"We've met a lot of people who don't want to stay in Italy."

Mem Beard runs a backpackers hostel in Carnarvon and provides transport to some of those working for local growers.

She says she has noticed an increase in Europeans, particularly from Italy, arriving earlier than usual looking for work at local plantations.

"I have had some conversations with some of the Italians saying that in their own country the opportunities for work are not particularly good at the moment," se said.

"So, it's a good opportunity for them to travel and while they can work it's an added bonus."

Ms Jarvis says there are obvious attractions to working in Australia.

"Wages in Australia are some of the highest in the world, I mean our workers are some of the best paid in the world," she said.

"So to be able to come to Australia and do pub work or fruit-picking work and get paid more than what you would do if you could even find a job in Europe, seems to be the main attraction."