Gap Year New Zealand
Can I participate if I’m not from the UK?
The Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand is available to citizens of several countries aside from the United Kingdom. If you are from a country outside the UK and are interested in a gap year in New Zealand, you can find out if you qualify for a Working Holiday Visa at the following website: www.immigration.govt.nz.
Do I need special references or experience in order to participate?
No. No experience or references are required in order to participate in the gap year in New Zealand. However, prior work experience will be helpful to you during the job search.
Do I need to take a test to prove my English skill level?
No English test is required, but you need to have good English skills in order to participate in our gap year in New Zealand programme.
Is there an age limit? How old are typical participants?
New Zealand’s Working Holiday Visa is available for people between 18 and 30 years of age. Most participants in this TravelWorks programme are 20-25 years old, but anyone age 18 to 30 is welcome to participate. Your age at the time of your application for the Working Holiday Visa is important. If you are 30 years old at the time of application, you may still enter or remain in New Zealand under the visa after you have turned 31.
Can I participate with a friend?
Yes, it is possible to participate with a friend. You will be able to list the name of your travel partner when you sign up for the gap year in New Zealand programme, and you and your friend should apply on the same date. You will stay in the same hostel as your friend at the beginning of the programme and will take part in the informational workshop together.
You should both be aware that travelling with a friend will reduce your flexibility and will make the job-search more complicated, since you will be trying to find a job in the same general location as your travel partner.
Can I combine my work in New Zealand with a TravelWorks programme in another country?
It is often possible to combine the New Zealand programme with programmes in other countries. Please contact TravelWorks for more information about this option.
What resources will be available to help me find a job in New Zealand?
Within the first two days after your arrival in Auckland, you will attend an informational job workshop in your hostel. The workshop will provide you with a great deal of useful information to help you with the job search. Our partners constanlty update an online job databank with hundreds of current job openings, exclusively for TravelWorkers and participants with our partner prganisation. Our partners will also assist you as you open a New Zealand bank account and apply for a tax file number.
Your personal initiative and enthusiasm are the most important things you’ll need in order to find a job during your gap year in New Zealand. It is best not to be too picky about your work. You may end up with a job that is poorly-paid, boring, or strenuous. You may have to move to another town to work, or buy work clothing, such as safety shoes. Be aware that just like in your home country, you will have to put in some effort to find a job; work is not going to just fall into your lap.
What sorts of jobs do participants end up doing?
The sky’s the limit when you’re on the search for a job during your gap year in New Zealand! From harvesting Kiwis to working in a planetarium, the possibilities are endless. With a Working Holiday Visa, you are allowed to engage in any field of work, and our participants have recently been allowed to stay with the same employer for a full 12 months.
Many participants work in hospitality, tourism, supermarkets, on farms, and in hostels. Through the organisation WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), you can engage in unpaid work in exchange for meals and accommodation on an organic farm. Other jobs specific participants have done include:
- Shearing sheep
- Coaching tennis
- Filleting and packing fish
- Working in a football stadium
- Working in an oyster factory
- Doing housework in a Buddhist centre
- Ski-lift work in skiing areas
…and the list goes on.
What happens if I cannot find a job?
If two or three weeks go by and you are still unable to find work in New Zealand, talk to our partner organisation at the hostel, and they will make finding a job for you their priority. You will not have to fly home from New Zealand if you cannot find a job right away.
Can I choose the city/region where I would like to work?
Yes. You can work wherever you can find a job during your gap year in New Zealand. Where you apply for jobs is completely up to you.
How much can I expect to be paid for my work?
Since you will most likely be doing odd-jobs and seasonal work during your gap year in New Zealand, you can expect to make about NZ$ 12-15 per hour, minus a current tax of 19.5%. Our partner organisation will help you apply for a tax file number and will assist you as you open a bank account.
Will I have money left over from my work in New Zealand when I return home?
Probably not, although it is not impossible. In any case, you should not go to New Zealand planning to make a profit, because it is very unlikely that this will happen. You will want to travel around New Zealand and have fun, of course! The money you make on location will most likely not be enough to cover extra expenses such as travel, when you factor in that you will also be paying for your own meals and accommodation for the duration of your gap year in New Zealand.
In order to enter New Zealand, you must prove that you have at least NZ$ 350 for every month that you plan to be in the country. You will probably end up spending most of this money over the course of your time abroad.
How do I prove that I have NZ$ 350 for each month of my time in New Zealand?
When you arrive in New Zealand, you will be required to present a current bank statement, proving that you have access to at least NZ$ 350 for each month that you plan to be in New Zealand in your home bank account. This is a requirement of the New Zealand government for your Working Holiday Visa. You will most likely spend this money in the course of your gap year in New Zealand.
Will I have to open a bank account in New Zealand?
Yes. Our partner organisation on location will help you to open a bank account in New Zealand. A New Zealand bank account is required, because employers must transfer your pay cheque to a bank account in New Zealand. Our partner organisation will also help you as you apply for a New Zealand tax file number.
Will I have free time for travel?
Of course! How you organise your time in New Zealand is completely up to you. Some people work 9 months and travel for 3. Others work 3 months and travel for 9. If you’re ready to quit one job, you can travel for a while and then find a new job. You can travel when you first arrive and find a job later, or vice-versa. It all depends on what you feel like doing during your gap year in New Zealand and how much travel you can squeeze out of the money you have.
How will I find a place to live?
Your first two nights in New Zealand are included in the programme price – we’ll reserve a bed for you in a centrally-located hostel in Auckland. Most participants live in hostels during their gap year in New Zealand. These hostels are practically everywhere, and are the meeting points for backpackers from around the world. Hostels in New Zealand usually have a kitchen, washing machine, and a television room, and it isn’t hard to meet other people here.
If you want to stay in a city for a while, you might consider living in a flat with New Zealanders or other backpackers. If you really want to travel on a low budget during your gap year in New Zealand, you could also camp – camping grounds are all over New Zealand, and many backpacker hostels also have small camping sites. Camping in the wild (not at a camping ground) is illegal in New Zealand! It’s worth it to bring along a sleeping bag, or to buy one when you arrive in New Zealand.
In Auckland, you can also become a member of WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). Through this organisation, you can engage in unpaid work on organic farms throughout New Zealand, in exchange for meals and accommodation.
How will I meet other people when I arrive?
When you first arrive in New Zealand, you will meet many fellow backpackers in our partner organisation’s hostel, where other TravelWorks participants will also be staying. After this, you are sure to meet many more backpackers from every corner of the world, as New Zealand is a veritable backpacking paradise. Hostels are always good meeting points for travellers.
Will I be able to contact other participants before I depart for New Zealand?
Yes. Before your departure, we will send you a list of the international TravelWorks participants who will be arriving in New Zealand at about the same time as yourself, including their e-mail addresses.
Is there a workers’ base?
Our partner organisation’s office is located in the Auckland hostel where you will spend your first nights in New Zealand. This is where you should go with any questions or concerns you may have during your gap year in New Zealand. A member of our partner organisation is always in the office and ready to help you.
What is the health/safety situation in New Zealand?
New Zealand is a very safe land for travellers, with a low crime rate and good health standards. Female backpackers can travel safely in New Zealand.
Do I need vaccinations?
You may need vaccinations in order to enter New Zealand, especially if you have a flight stop-over in another foreign country. Please consult your doctor several weeks before your departure, to see if you need any vaccinations.
When do I need to apply for the Working Holiday Visa?
Citizens of the United Kingdom can apply for the Working Holiday Visa at any time of the year on the website of the London branch of Immigration New Zealand.
You should receive confirmation of your visa about 2-4 weeks after you apply. Your passport must be valid for at least two more years in order for you to receive the visa. In order to work in the social or medical fields, you will need a medical examination, which will lengthen the application process.
If you are from outside the UK, you can find out if you qualify for a Working Holiday Visa at the website above.
Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes, you should definitely get travel insurance to protect yourself abroad. WorldNomads offers flexible travel insurance for short-term and gap-year travellers like yourself. Note that this is only a recommendation. Feel free to search for the travel insurance which is right for you.
What additional costs will I have to pay?
The amount of money you spend during your gap year in New Zealand will depend entirely on your personal lifestyle. Aside from the programme price, you should factor in the following expenses:
- Visa application fee
- Accommodation, meals, transportation, personal expenses (£ 25-40 / US$ 55-75 / 35-50 € per day, depending on your lifestyle)
- Travel insurance
- Excursions, etc.
What is the best way to travel in New Zealand?
Many backpackers travel with relatively cheap long-distance coaches. We strongly discourage participants from hitch-hiking, which can be dangerous! You can, of course, carpool with other travellers. In most hostels, you can find notice boards, where people post carpooling opportunities. In many cases, you and other travellers can ride along with someone in exchange for splitting up the petrol costs.
What luggage should I take with me?
The fundamental rule of backpacking is: You pack it, you carry it. Therefore, it is wise not to bring too much luggage. The most important things you can bring along on your gap year in New Zealand are a pair of sturdy shoes, sandals, several light pieces of clothing, a pullover, and a thin jacket. If you are travelling during the winter and spring, you will need to bring warm clothing as well. Aside from this, you should bring a sleeping bag and several older pieces of clothing, especially for farm-related work. If you are planning to look for a job in hospitality or in an office, you should also pack some nicer-looking clothing.
What are my next steps?
If you decide to participate in the gap year in New Zealand programme, just fill out the PDF or online Booking Form. Please note that if you are booking online you will need a credit card (we accept Visa or MasterCard). If you choose the PDF booking form, please print, fill out, and sign the form before faxing it to TravelWorks. As soon as we have received your application, we will process your booking. At this point your application will be legally binding. We will contact you if we need any additional information.
You will receive various application materials by e-mail after you have applied for the programme. These documents need to be completed and returned to TravelWorks.