Spectacular coastline, extreme sports, beautiful wineries and vibrant cities; these are just some of the reasons young wanderlusters are choosing to explore New Zealand. A working holiday visa allows travellers aged 18 to 35 from a select few countries to visit New Zealand for up to 12 months (or 23 if from the UK) and immerse themselves in the Kiwi way of life by taking up casual employment.
This type of visa is perfect for those wanting to base themselves in one place where they can make friends and experience the NZ way of life, while also earning money so they have the flexibility to explore everything the country has to offer in their free time. And all that exploring can come at a cost, so here’s our pick of the best-paid backpacker jobs in New Zealand so you can nail that work-life balance that the working holiday visa is all about.
9 Best Paid Backpacker Jobs in New Zealand
1) Bar Work and Hospitality
The good news for those looking to work in hospitality while travelling around is that the minimum wage rate in New Zealand is one of the highest in the world. As of April 2019, bar jobs will take home an hourly minimum wage for an adult sits at $17.70 plus any tips you might make. It’s a pretty sweet deal and you could earn a higher hourly rate depending on where you work and the skills you have. It’s also a great way to make friends and since this is a year-round job, you can take your bartending or waiting skills to seasonal hotspots like ski resorts, wineries or beach towns – just be sure to get there early as these kinds of positions are snapped up fast!
While au pairs might not see a lot of money going into their bank accounts, they also don’t see a lot going out. Being an au pair is a great way to enjoy the New Zealand lifestyle with many families sweetening the deal with access to a family car, a place to stay, meals and other perks included on top of your wage. Families are normally looking for English-speaking females with at least three months of childcare experience to take these roles which are perfect for those who want a little more security on their travels.
3) Fruit Picking
These are two of the most common roles for backpackers in New Zealand, with many choosing to get a role on a farm so they can really immerse themselves in local life and enjoy a teamwork environment. Be warned, this is hard work with many fruit pickers only getting paid for how much fruit they pick (this is called a ‘paid per bin’ arrangement), although this is great for those looking to get stuck in to reap the rewards. With hostel-style accommodation often also provided this is a rewarding way to make some mates and break out of your comfort zone.
4) Farm Work
There is a lot of sheep in New Zealand and that means a lot of wool that needs shearing. Similar to fruit picking roles, many farms will offer hostel-style accommodation in exchange for your services. The hours can be long and the jobs can be relentless, but if you’re looking to tough it out and help the locals then you may find farm work very rewarding.
5) Admin and Clerical Jobs
It might not be the most exciting work, but jumping behind an office desk can pay pretty well. If you’re looking for reliable hours, no weekend or evening work and a stable income then there are plenty of businesses looking for help. Plus, with the booming tourism industry, roles in hotels and travel companies pop up all the time and can allow you to combine your love of travel with your need for cash.
6) Sales and Promo Work
If you’ve got the gift of the gab then getting a job in sales & marketing or perhaps events & promotions could be a great way to bring in some money, with commission often an added perk when it comes to these type of roles. The law in New Zealand states that commission-based jobs must be paid at least the hourly minimum wage and the benefit of this kind of role is that you can apply for positions in companies that might provide relevant experience that you can take home, add to your resume and use to secure your dream next job once your working holiday adventure is over.
7) Tour Guide
How does seeing New Zealand’s most amazing sights and getting paid for it sound? Becoming a tour guide is a win-win scenario for those on a working holiday visa. Of course, you’ll need a passion for the outdoors, full drivers license and outgoing personality to secure one of these dream jobs, but if that sounds like you then you could be on to a winner.
8) Construction and Labour Jobs
If you have a skill then you’re in luck as the construction and labour industry pays very well in NZ, with places like Christchurch always looking for people to work on important jobs to help rebuild their city. Be sure to travel with any necessary documentation to prove your qualified and plan ahead as the recruitment process may take longer than other types of roles.
9) Ski Instructor
Hit the slopes and live the New Zealand dream with a job as a ski instructor. If you’re qualified head to the mountains before the ski season starts to secure one of these in-demand jobs that pay well and allow you to live an awesome lifestyle at the same time.
So what are you waiting for? New Zealand is a melting pot of adventure, friendly faces and great experiences just waiting to be explored and Backpacker Job Board can help match you up with your perfect role so you can make it all happen.