Working Holidays in New Zealand

A brief description of New Zealand regions and where some work opportunities exist for visitors on working holidays.

New Zealandis a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and young travellers. Those that want to explore the country and stay a while can take advantage of the seasonal work opportunities in many regions.

South Island

Ski fields in winter

The South Island of New Zealand is the winter wonderland and attracts snowboaders and skiers during the winter months. The ski fields and surrounding areas offer lots of employment, either on the ski slopes or in the hospitality sectors.


Queenstown, situated on the shores of Lake Wakitipu and based near the ski fields is popular in both the summer and winter seasons. Adventure tourism and amazing scenery make it New Zealand’s top holiday destination, so there is a continuous demand for workers in the hospitality industry.

Christchurch and Dunedin

A more cultural and art orientated experience can be found in the South Islands larger cities, Christchurch and Dunedin. These are the more historical cities in New Zealand, being amoung the first to be colonised once European settlers arrived.

Dunedin is a city with Scottish origins and its surrounds are home to some unique wildlife. Sea lions, yellow eyed penguins and albatross colonies can be viewed from the local beaches and are an inexpensive day trip.

Historic buildings, arts centre, tramway and the river Avon wending its way through Hagley Park give Christchurch city a unique character and charm. Unfortunately the recent earthquakes have taken a toll on many older stone and brick buildings, but the city has undertaken to rebuild so is still well worth a visit.

Fruit picking

Seasonal work also exists in the South Island fruit growing regions over the late summer to autumn periods. The Otago region, in the lower South Island has a strong horticulture industry, with vineyards, and stone and pip fruit orchards. Another grape growing area is the Nelson/Marlborough region at the top of the South Island.

North Island

Seaside towns in summer

New Zealand's North Island is a more temperate climate and the tourism is often focused around its stunning coastline. Seaside communities come alive in summer and lots of temporary work is available in the hospitality industry.

Auckland, Rotorua and Taupo

Auckland in the north, is the country’s largest city, nestled in a large beautiful harbour. Three hours south of Auckland is Rotorua, the most popular tourist destination. Rotorua is renowned for its Maori culture, volcanic and geo thermal activity, lakes, and opportunities for thrills and adventure.

One hour south again takes you to Taupo with New Zealand’s largest lake. Trout fishing is a big attraction here, but the lake and surrounding National Parks also offer lots for outdoor and adventure lovers.


Work opportunities in the North Island are available in the three main horticultural regions,- Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty. Gisborne and Hawkes Bay are more general fruit growing areas, while Te Puke and Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty is the kiwifruit centre.

The kiwifruit industry has year round work opportunities, but the busiest time is in March, April, and May when the harvest is underway. There is huge demand for kiwifruit pickers and packers. Kiwifruit packhouses often rely on overseas workers to fill their workforce.


Backpacker accommodation is usually the cheapest option for visitors on working holidays. The YHA NZ Hostels has a network of hostels across New Zealand. An alternative network is the Budget Backpacker Hostels (BBH). BBH backpackers are NZ owned and operated. Often hosts have developed relationships with a number of employers in the area and can offer help with finding seasonal work  for their guests.