Are you thinking of heading to the Land of the Long White Cloud for a working holiday? Certainly, there are a dozen reasons why New Zealand is a special destination for a lifetime work-travel adventure. Playing host to slightly over 5 million people, the Island country has lots more going for it besides the unique Maori culture, breathtaking mountain vistas, and the sprawling farms with millions of sheep that outnumber the humans. From zorbing to bungee jumping, jet boating, and whale-watching, there are so many thrilling activities to make your holiday memorable.
Fun and adventure aside, New Zealand provides numerous opportunities for travellers on a working holiday. Retail, horticulture (fruit picking), farm, and hospitality work are readily available. You can also find au pair or interning jobs, especially if you have connections. But before you pack your bags and get on the plane, here are tips on how to prepare for the holiday.
1. Research widely
Start by doing extensive research to learn more about New Zealand. For instance, find out the eligibility requirements for the working holiday visa to know whether you qualify for the program. Research where you want to stay or visit and determine whether you can afford it. Also, decide on the types of jobs you want and their availability in your planned destination.
2. Apply for a working holiday visa
A working holiday visa enables you to work and get paid once you get to New Zealand. You qualify for the visa if you’re 18-30 years, though some schemes extend eligibility up to 35 years.
Usually, the visa is a 12-month working permit available through the Immigration New Zealand website. Canadian and UK citizens can get a 23-month visa, but they must provide a medical/x-ray certificate.
3. Budget for the holiday
As much as you plan to find work once you arrive, you need adequate funds to qualify for a working holiday visa. Basically, you must have money for the return ticket and at least NZD 4,200 in your account.
Accommodation and other daily expenses are high and vary depending on the location and amenities you use, so you should have a detailed budget for the entire trip.
4. Reserve the bookings and prepare for your flight
Once you have received your visa, you should book your flight and accommodation for the first few days. This way, you will have a place to stay before you find more permanent accommodation.
New Zealand requires working holiday participants to have medical insurance, so get your travel insurance. You might also find driving yourself around more convenient; hence you need your driving license or an International Driving Permit if your license is not in English.
You should also have all the necessary paperwork before flying as the immigration will want to see your visa, bank statements, and travel insurance. Lastly, as New Zealand experiences all four seasons, ensure you should pack for the climate.
5. Start your working holiday
Once you arrive, you might want to search for a lesser expensive place. Hostels are the most common accommodation for travellers on a working holiday, though Airbnb’s are also available. Alternatively, you can hire or buy a campervan, especially if you plan to travel a lot.
There are various means of getting around, including buses, trains, local post service, and shuttles. However, if you want more convenience and travelling flexibility, hiring or buying a car is the better and more affordable option.
Then, of course, you need to find a job. Various jobs are available, including farm work, waiting in restaurants and bars, fruit picking, au pair, working in hostels, and even interning. Some are paid, while others offer accommodation in exchange for your services. You can find work on sites such as SEEK and Backpacker Board, hostel noticeboards, and local newspapers.
Lastly, you need to open a bank account and get an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) tax number to start receiving payments from your employer. Also, consider transferring your money from your bank account back home to your New Zealand account.