A working holiday in New Zealand is a popular option for many travellers. And no wonder, with beautiful scenery, great skiing and snowboarding, vibrant cities, indigenous Maori culture to discover and for Hobbit fans, it is home to Middle Earth.


New Zealand working holiday visa

For many, a quick visit to New Zealand isn’t enough so thank goodness young travellers aged 18-30, or 18-35 in a select few countries can apply for a working holiday visa to allow you to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the United Kingdom or Canada.

Basically, if you are within the mentioned age range and from one of the following countries you can apply for a working holiday visa. Countries that New Zealand currently has working holiday visa arrangements with include: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay and Vietnam.

For details and to apply: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/work/thinking-about-coming-to-new-zealand-to-work/working-holiday-visa

The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangements exists between Australia and New Zealand and allows citizens from each of these countries to reside and work in the other country, with some restrictions. For more details: www.immigration.govt.nz



First things first on your New Zealand working holiday

Once you’ve got your visa and arrived you will need to do a couple of things before you begin to work. Firstly you will need to organise a New Zealand Bank account that is fully functional. To help you the Inland Revenue Department have produced an information advising what a fully functional bank account is and how to get one. Once you have this you can apply for an IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number – if you don’t get one of these before you start work you will find yourself being taxed the emergency tax rate of 48% which can be a huge chunk out of your hard earned cash.

What types of work are there on your New Zealand working holiday?

New Zealand has a number of work options for working holiday makers.

  1. Agriculture

Picking fruit and vegetables is a great way for travellers to make money to continue their travels. New Zealand has eight main agriculture regions each with unique weather conditions that grow different crops. You can literally work your way around New Zealand picking fruit and/or vegetables. You don’t necessarily need to be a ‘picker’ though, there are other jobs in the industry to be had such as working in the factories grading and packing the fruit or you may find yourself in the office monitoring fruit and vegetable sales. The best sources to find work is through sites such as www.picknz.co.nz or www.seasonalwork.co.nz.

Another option here is Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Basically in exchange for a few hours work each day you will receive food and accommodation. It can be a great way to help you move around the country. Visit www.wwoof.co.nz.

  1. Ski field staff

New Zealand has some of the best ski fields in the world and every year hundreds of travellers are employed in a variety of roles to ensure visitors love their time in the areas. Positions can range from selling chair lift tickets, to maintaining the equipment, to hiring ski equipment to working in the ski lodges and in the cafes and bars not only in the resorts but the large towns that are often situated near the ski centres, such as Queenstown in the South Island. Check out our blog on the ski centres of New Zealand.

  1. Trade and Construction Work

Currently working in a trade, then you are in luck as many travellers pick up casual work. In particular, new buildings are being built all the time, mostly in the major cities of New Zealand however, after the devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch you could make a difference by helping to rebuild this city by finding construction work. Best to head to Christchurch and register with a recruitment agency if interested. Check out https://www.trademe.co.nz/jobs

  1. Child Care / Au Pair


Being a child carer or Au Pair in New Zealand will not only ensure you have a job but takes care of finding a place to live as most jobs are live-in. On top of this you should receive a small wage and use of the car.

  1. Hospitality

There are literally hundreds of places to find a job as a waiter/waitress or bartender not only in the major cities, but in the ski fields and smaller towns around New Zealand. You don’t necessarily need to have experience either but having some does help.

  1. Farm Work


New Zealand has a very health farming industry and seasonal workers are often required for the dairy industry. Most jobs are in the North Island as 71% of the dairy herds are found there, particularly around the Waikato region.

  1. Hostel Worker

Many travellers stay in hostels during their travels around New Zealand as hostels provide basic, clean and cheap accommodation. But did you know a lot of travellers are the ones usually running the hostels. They take on a variety of roles from reception to cleaning to maybe running the bar or café (if the hostel is large enough to have these). Many work for free lodgings and board but often a small wage is included. Check out Hostel World as it is not only a great booking engine but a great place to find out where the hostels are and which ones you might like to work in. Read our blog on working in a hostel.

  1. Tourism industry jobs

The tourism industry in New Zealand is large as there are many things to do such as canyoning, bungee jumping, jet boating, sky diving, etc. And you could be one of the people pushing people off bridges amongst other things. Pick up the brochures and ask if jobs are available.

9. Administration, clerical, accounting, etc. jobs

Typically this type of work can be found in the major towns and cities and are best unearthed through recruitment agencies.

Some Job search sites include:




Don’t forget to tailor your CV to the job you are seeking.

Where will you live – your accommodation options

New Zealand has lots of accommodation options available ranging from hostels to house-shares. Depending on the type of work you might do you might set up home in a major city or you might move around the country. There is plenty of short-term accommodation available in hostels, motels and camping grounds. You can easily book these through booking sites such as HostelWorld and Bookings.com, click on our links below to get yourself sorted. If camping is your choice then you will be spoilt for choice of the variety of places you can stay.

Longer term accommodation is not always that easy to come by. You can book holiday homes www.holidayhomes.co.nz for instance.



Time to enjoy your New Zealand working holiday

Once you have your work and accommodation sorted you can begin to experience all that New Zealand has to offer. Explore the vibrant cities, get in to the extreme activities, be amazed by the beautiful countryside and immerse yourself in New Zealand life.



About the Author: Sharyn McCullum has lived, worked and played in many countries around the world. Being from Australia she has visited New Zealand a number of times as it is so close. She currently writes the content for a number of websites including www.liveworkplaytravel.com and www.shazzatravels.com.

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