Work & Travel in New Zealand
With its spectacular landscapes, lively cities, and peaceful countryside, New Zealand is a vibrant place to work and travel!
Greenheart Travel’s Work & Travel program in New Zealand is a chance to spend up to a year exploring and gaining international job experience while making money to fund your adventures!
We’ll help you find short-term work in industries like hospitality, retail, foodservice and agriculture, or year-long work in a full time job that will enhance your career. You’ll work as much or as little as you want, earning the cash you need to travel around this gorgeous country and live like a local.
When you arrive in New Zealand, you’ll have support from our in-country staff as you find housing and work. You will also have an orientation during which you will meet other travelers, set up basic necessities such as bank/phone accounts, and spend a few days in dynamic Auckland.
If you’re looking for an independent adventure abroad without breaking the bank, or looking to add international experience to your professional resume, Work & Travel New Zealand is for you!
Program At a Glance
- Spend up to a year freely traveling around New Zealand
- Work short-term or long-term jobs
- Sufficient salary to live and travel
- Pre-departure and in-country support
- Flexible start dates and job opportunities
You must meet the following requirements to apply
- Must be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa
- Be between the ages of 18-30 years old
- Must be outside of New Zealand for the visa application process
- Be a native English speaker or have near-native fluency
Start dates are available year round. We need 8 weeks lead time to process your application. We’re flexible, so if you are unable to start on these given dates, please contact Greenheart Travel directly to see what we can do.
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If you and a friend go on the same start date, you’ll each get $50 off your program fee.
*Prices subject to change.
- 6 months of international medical insurance
- Pre-departure support and orientation from an experienced Greenheart Travel Program Manager
- Bank account set up prior to arrival
- Airport transfer upon arrival
- 2 nights’ hostel accommodation (shared room) and 2 breakfasts
- Arrival orientation with in-country staff
- 1-on-1 job assistance service, support, and advice
- Resources and support for finding permanent housing
- Assistance preparing tax paperwork upon arrival and before departure
- Assistance with setting up an New Zealand cell phone
- SIM card
- Organized social events and activities throughout program
- International Youth Travel Card (IYTC)
- 24-hour emergency support and service
- “Culture Smart!” guide to New Zealand Customs and Culture
What’s not included in the program fee?
- Visa (currently FREE for US Citizens!)
- International airfare
- Lunch and dinner at hostel during orientation
- Housing costs and living expenses (meals, utilities, etc.)
- Return transfers
- Personal expenses
The cost of living in New Zealand, especially in big cities like Auckland, is likely more than what you’re used to in your home country. So, it is important to budget accordingly to make sure you are financially prepared upon arrival and until you begin to make a regular paycheck.
Here is a rough estimate of your initial start up costs (in USD). Please note that the only amount you’ll have to pay Greenheart Travel is the program fee.
Program Fee: $1150
*this amount is a requirement of the Working Holiday Visa, however, it is a good amount to have to make sure you have enough money to live comfortably until you start working
Average Weekly Budget:
Your salary will depend on how often you decide to work and what work you end up getting into. However, you are guaranteed to make the minimum wage for the type of work you’re doing ($15 – $25 NZD/hour), and as long as you’re working 25-35 hours per week, you’ll be making enough to live and travel on. Participants working in professional fields can generally expect to make more than this.
Wages and rent are paid weekly which makes budgeting your paychecks much easier:
Pay ($20 NZD/hour): +$600 NZD (30 hours/week)
Rent (+gas/utilities): -$200 NZD
Food: -$95 NZD
Phone and Internet: -$35 NZD
Transportation: -$43 AUD
Entertainment/Going Out: -$100 NZD
Leftover: +127.00 NZD/week
These weekly costs will, of course, depend on your personal spending habits, where you live, how many hours you work, and if your job provides a higher pay/accommodation but you should expect to be able to save some of your paycheck every week.
Although you will most likely spend any extra cash on travel opportunities, you have the potential to make back your start up costs:
Monthly Savings = $508 NZD
Yearly Savings = $6096 NZD
Upon your arrival to orientation in Auckland, you will meet travelers from all over the world. Before you arrive, your bank account will already be opened – you won’t have to research New Zealand banks or finalize your account. Instead, the team will have prepared all of your paperwork in advance. They will also set you up for the New Zealand tax system and give you your IRD (New Zealand tax ID) so you can file taxes before you leave.
During orientation you will meet the team and get all of the information necessary to start planning your time in New Zealand whether you want to start traveling or working right away. You will learn about life in New Zealand, when to work, where to work, where to travel and when to travel.
Orientation starts every few days and will last 2-3 days. At orientation, you will:
- Learn about New Zealand culture
- Meet other travelers who have just arrived in New Zealand
- Review the yearly job market; what jobs are abundant and where
- Be introduced to online job boards
- Format and review your resume/CV
- Have the opportunity to meet with staff to discuss job prospects and what your expectations should be
- Receive assistance in finding short or long term accommodation
- Receive IRD and learn how to file taxes when you leave the country
- Set up New Zealand cell phone
- Learn how to buy a car, should you need one
- Discuss both solo and group travel opportunities
- Have the opportunity to sign up for any group excursions before you start working*
- Sign up for additional inclusions such as BBH Club Card or WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) membership
Most of your job opportunities will be in cities, although there are more rural options available as well.
What are the most common job types?
The most common jobs are low-skilled, entry-level jobs. These give you the freedom and flexibility to work part-time and for short periods of time, which will allow you to travel as much as you like! If you have little job experience, or are just looking for work as a way to fund your travels, this is the best option.
Hospitality, customer service and office work are the most common of these jobs, as New Zealand companies report that the high level of service in the US and Canada tends to produce workers who are well-suited for these types of positions.
Jobs in restaurants, bars, hostels and hotels are widely available for shorter contracts in cities and jobs on farms and WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) are also popular among Working Holiday travelers who want to experience a different type of work outside of a city.
While participants can work year round in New Zealand, it is good to note peak hiring seasons for specific industries to help plan your start date.
Start dates for June – October*:
- Positions working at ski resort
- Working in hostels and hotels
*July and August tend to be the slowest months of the year
Start dates for December – May:
- Harvesting and fruit picking
- Working in hostels and hotels
If you have experience in a specific line of work or profession, you might be able to find year-long, full-time positions in that field, depending on your qualifications. Licensed teachers and RNs especially have an easy time finding work.
If you have a professional certification in your home country, you have two options for working in that field.
- You can apply to have your foreign credentials certified in New Zealand. This will cost $1,500-$2,500 NZD, but it will open up the possibility of getting a longer-term work visa. With your New Zealand-certified credentials, you’d be able to get a job like any you’d get at home (teach in a public school, work in a hospital, etc.)
- You can also work in a related job without getting your credentials certified. For example, if you’re a licensed middle school teacher, you’d be able to get work in early childhood education. If you’re an RN, you could work in a nursing home where you don’t have to administer medication.
If you have extensive office experience in a specific industry, some jobs will offer as much as NZD$40/hour.
Skilled laborers are in high demand in New Zealand, especially in these fields:
- Construction workers
Please note that professional work tends to be concentrated in urban areas.
How will I find a job?
With the support of our in-country partner, work in New Zealand participants will have a variety of ways to search and secure a position during their programs. Services include:
- Introduction to finding work: an overview of the basic types of jobs that are available around the country, required skills, resources to find a job and listings of current jobs available for immediate start around the country.
- Job board: Available in the Auckland office of the in-country partner, the board is updated weekly by staff that scans the job market each week for jobs that would be suitable for working holiday participants. All listings on the board are also listed online so participants can access this wherever they are in the country.
- Assistance with certification of foreign credentials, if necessary.
- Weekly newsletters: Unique and exciting job opportunities that come from local knowledge are emailed to participants weekly.
How long does it take the get a job?
This varies. During the busy season when lots of jobs are available, sometimes several job prospects are already awaiting you when you arrive and you can start work right away. Other times it can take up to two weeks. Usually if there is a delay it is because you have rejected initial job prospects because they did not meet your expectations for some reason.
Can I change jobs while I am there?
Yes. You can choose to work in the same place for the full year, or to switch jobs.
How much will I make?
See the Budget page
Where will I live once I’ve been hired?
Some jobs, especially those on resorts and farms, include housing or subsidized housing. Our in-country partner can provide guidance and resources to travelers to help them find other types of housing depending on where they are working. Sometimes the employer can provide assistance as well.
In Auckland, you will probably pay $160-$200 NZD for a shared room (per week) if you are in a short-term accommodation. If you want your own room, it is more expensive. If you are staying a while, think about renting an apartment with some friends or moving in with some Kiwis, as it is generally the cheapest option. However, some jobs will only be short term (1-2 months) and it can be difficult to find a short or open lease, so you may need to spend more towards $200 NZD/week to stay at a hostel.
- Simple, online application
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of Resume
- Electronic terms and conditions
- $250 deposit
- Interview with Greenheart Travel program manager
Reviewing Your Application
Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you to confirm your acceptance. If you have submitted all documents, this can happen as quickly as 1-2 days. Acceptance can only be given after we have all of your required documents, so please submit them to us as soon as possible. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately.
Get started on your new adventure today and apply to Work and Travel Abroad in New Zealand!