Essential advice for your Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand


If you’ve got your visa, are already here, or thinking of coming to New Zealand, these tips are guaranteed to get you heading down the right path. Follow this advice to give yourself the best starting point for squeezing everything you can from your valuable time in this wonderful country.

Buy a camper

This is probably the best piece of advice you can receive. Unless you’re planning to stay for a short period of time, you should definitely consider buying a camper. If you want to get the most out of your time here, you’re probably planning to visit both islands. If so, the cost of a buss pass will be at least $500. And it’ll cost more to get to popular tourist spots like Milford Sound or Dunedin.

While these passes can be a great option to use without the hassle of owning a car, you’re obviously restricted on how flexible your travels will be.

We like to travel slowly, at our own pace and avoid making too many plans. For this reason, we need our freedom! The bus timetables are pretty accommodating and they will get you around the country on a fairly flexible schedule. You just don’t have enough freedom to fully experience what this country has to offer. We stop when we want, go where we want and sleep where we want. This luxury is priceless.

Visit Both Islands

This is a no brainer. Whether you have a car or not, you absolutely must visit both islands. Each island has it’s own highlights, Tongariro Crossing and Hobbiton on the North, to Milford Sound and glacier country on the South, to name but a few! I couldn’t chose to miss any of them, could you?

South Island Road Trip

If you’re driving, it might cost you around $230 to take the car on the ferry from north to south, depending on when you’re traveling. If you’re not driving, you can cross on the ferry from Wellington to Picton for around $100 for two of you, or just fly.

Read more about the south island highlights: Ultimate 10 day New Zealand road trip: South Island

Extend your Visa

However long your visa is, if you have the option to extend, do it! I would bet a pretty penny that by the time your visa is up, you won’t want to leave. We British are lucky and we can extend for another 11 months. That privilege shouldn’t be overlooked. Take advantage of it if you can! If you’re not sure, then just do it!

Arrive in the Summer

Chances are, you’re gunna’ need a job pretty quick once you get here. If you come in summer time (November to February), there are a load of job options to choose from. Nearly every orchard will be hiring, along with hostels and cafe’s etc. Basically, everything in New Zealand is seasonal.

If finding a job worries you, (and it definitely worried me) arriving when there is more demand for backpackers will mean you shouldn’t be waiting too long for the job offers to come flooding in. So long as you’re not too picky.

Read more: Orchard Work: What it’s really like

Sort out a Bank Account and IRD number.

If you don’t do this, you can’t work. Not legally anyway. And who wants to be in a country illegally?! Not me! So, get this sorted. No one will pay you unless you’ve got these down.

If you research it before hand, it can seem complicated and stressful with various forms and appointments needed for different things. But it doesn’t have to be this annoying. It’s actually extremely easy and I can’t stress enough how quick it can be sorted once you arrive.

But, having said all that, it shouldn’t be overlooked. You do still need to make appointments and wait for a while before you have both. So to save any further disruptions to the beginning of your epic journey, get it done as soon as you arrive.

City and rural life balance

Cities are great. Of course, every once in a while you’ve just gotta go to one. But the countryside is without a doubt the highlight of New Zealand and I personally can’t get enough of it.

Queenstown and Dunedin are probably our favorite cities, but we would skip both of these in a heartbeat for a day out in the bush, or by the coast. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors! And there’s no shortage of incredible sights and experiences here to keep everyone happy.

Find out more: Why you should avoid cities when looking for work.

Think we’ve missed anything, please let us know!

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