New Zealand Working Holiday: what you need to know

New Zealand is by far the most beautiful country I have ever been to and totally different to what I have seen and experienced before… 

So! You’ve been granted your working holiday visa, you’ve hopped onto a flight and landed in New Zealand! Hurray! But what now?! 

You are probably going to have to settle for a few months at some point during your travels; when funding has whittled down to a few dollars and you still have so much you want to see and do…after all New Zealand is a very expensive country to travel BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT! 

So I am here to help you with your first steps in settling down and finding a job, a place to live AND important must do’s as soon as you arrive!

1. Travel Insurance πŸ₯

If you hadn’t already organized this before boarding your flight then now is a good time to do it. New Zealand is a very outdoor, active place  and god forbid something happens and you need to fork out on an extortionate amount of money. 

You’re probably going to be hiking, skiing and driving in some unusual conditions; so, organize some travel insurance to let a load off your mind – sooner rather than later. 

2. IRD Number πŸ’°

Without your IRD number you will be taxed shed loads on your wage when you start working. 

Your IRD number is easy to apply for; just pop to your local post office and ask for the form, fill it out and they will send it off for you- free of charge! Try to do this as soon as possible because it could take a couple of weeks to process. 

3. Bank Account πŸ’° 

Now it’s time to open up a NewZealand bank account to avoid those nasty overseas charges AND so your work can pay you! 

There are so many banks to chose from. Please research to your heart contents if you wish. 

Danny and I went with BNZ for the simple fact that we could get a next day appointment, compared to the three-four week waiting list in all other banks! 

Some banks won’t even book an appointment with you until you have your IRD and a job! Talk about making life difficult! 

4. Getting a car/campervan 🚐

New Zealand is definitely a country where a car is a necessity. Public transport is poor in each city we visited and sometimes you just want to wake up one day, get in your car and go for a drive! There are so many beautiful places to visit here in New Zealand and you will feel so restricted without a car. 

Having said that, we still haven’t got a car and are itching for one to venture further out of Queenstown to adventure its surroundings! 

There are many ways of finding a car. You’ll most probably see cars parked on the streets with sale advertisement on them, or your hostel will likely hold a magazine or newspaper with ‘cars for sale’ in them. Also, is a great website to look at for second, third hand cars etc. 

If you are in Queenstown then join the Facebook group ‘Queenstown Trading’, (message the admin and ask to be approved) to find locals who are selling up. Most of the time they are in a rush to sell so you can get some great deals! 

Also ‘Lakeside Weekly’ is a magazine in Queenstown FULL of car and camper ads. So grab yours for free! 

5. Finding a job πŸ’°

These next two are ‘the hard part’, according to a lot of travelers. BUT with a lot of determination and persistance you should have no problem! 

Depending on the time of year you are looking for work will increase or decrease your chances of getting a quick fix. Summer periods and winter periods and more difficult. 

Try for jobs with quick turn overs like, tourist hubs, Hackett Bungy, Au Pairing, farm work, bar work etc. 

If you want to do the ski season in Queenstown, apply early, very early at fill out your application form and fingers crossed they will invite you to an interview! 

We got lucky and bagged ourselves jobs within two weeks! Get yourself to the local library, update your CV, send them out everywhere and anywhere and apply for jobs online. Don’t be too picky and VOILA something will be sure to pop up! 

Other great ways of finding jobs are through websites such as these; 

6. Finding a home 🏑 

I have to admit, this is the tougher one out of the two. Finding a share house is your best bet but finding one that meets your budget is quite difficult. 

For a single person, in Queenstown, you’re looking at approximately $250-300/week. Maybe more the closer to the city you choose to live. 

In those cases, maybe living long term in a hostel would be cheaper. But that is entirely up to you. We like our own space at times so a house share was a great option. We chose to live 10 minutes out of the city and pay $350/week between us in a beautiful three bedroom house share. And that view! Wow, it is out of this world! 🌏 

A few people I know live long-term in their hostel. This basically means that the hostel gives them a room at a cheaper rate and they share with all their friends! They absolutely love it! 

Other people meet a group of friends and then decide to move into a house together. But honestly, there are not THAT MANY houses on offer and you don’t want to live too far out! Taxis are very very expensive! But keep your search going strong and do not give up – you will find somewhere πŸ˜€πŸ‘. 

Google ‘flat/house shares in…’ and then the town you are wanting to live in. So many different websites appear. 

Otherwise, trade me, again, is an option. Or, again, lakeside weekly. That is where we found ours! πŸ˜€ 

You could always sleep in your car or campervan too! There are aplenty campsites about. But brrr, it’s cold during those winter months ❄️. Just avoid sleeping by roadsides or in towns or parking lots – police are hot when it comes to that! No hefty fines wanted, thankyou! 


Now you are well and truly settled into your Working Holiday Visa and ready to take on the MAGICAL New Zealand πŸ‡³πŸ‡Ώ 🌏

Thanks for reading πŸ€πŸŒΈ leave me a comment, I love hearing your thoughts! 

The Pommie Brunette πŸΏπŸ‚πŸ xxx


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