New Zealand – a place which, for a lot of people, will bring up images of lush green rolling hills, Hobbits and sheep. While you will find these, it is also easy to find mountains, Maori/Pacific Islander culture, beautiful deserted beaches, geysers, dolphins, fjords, a laid back island lifestyle, rare Kiwi birds, volcanoes, and a surprising amount of cows.

Many people also believe New Zealand to be a ‘one in a lifetime’ destination due to its isolation from…well, pretty much everything. If you do decide to embark on the marathon trip from North America or Europe to get to New Zealand (and I strongly urge you to)….why not stay a while?

I’ve written several articles about working holidays in New Zealand. If you’re just looking for an overview of how to get your NZ working holiday started, then look no further – take a look at the summary below

If you’re a first time traveller wanting more detail (or you just feel like a bit of a read!) then have a look at my descriptive working holiday guide

Or here if you just need the working holiday visa info

From campervans to buses to tours, learn how to travel around NZ

Want ultimate freedom? Buy a vehicle in NZ


Before you go

Visa – luckily for British citizens these are unlimited so you can apply all year round. Apply on the New Zealand government’s website, and receive it withi the week.

Insurance – buy travellers/backpacker insurance that covers you for work, plus any activities you want to do i.e. skiing/snowboarding, climbing, bungy jumping. True Traveller and World Nomads both offer comprehensive working holiday specific policies.

Book – Reserve the first few nights (maybe a week or more if you’re arriving in summer or around a holiday) in city centre hostel or AirBnB before you leave

On arrival

At airport – Have visa confirmation email print-out, proof of funds (recent bank statement), and your passport ready to show immigration to get your visa.

Inland Revenue number – Download IRD (tax number) form from NZ’s Inland Revenue website, print and fill-out. You will also need photocopies of two identification documents (see form). Then you’ll need to take the copies and the forms to a NZ Post Shop or Automobile Association office. Your number will be sent to the address on the form within 8-10 days

Open bank account – some banks need your IRD number as well as your passport, others not. Shop around for an account; some have high monthly fees.

Mobile phone – Buy NZ Sim card for Vodafone, 3 Degrees or Telecom.

Work – search online (NZ Backpacker Board’s Job listings is a good place to start), check newspapers, hostel notice boards, shop windows, ask in businesses. Try WWOOFing (look here) if you want to get out into the countryside and are up for some hard work in exchange for a unique Kiwi experience.

Travel – New Zealand has loads of ways to get around and see the country. Consider buying a car or use buses, trains and planes

=Abel Tasman Kayaks


One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.

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