For those who love the outdoors, New Zealand is the ultimate destination.

It’s impossible to argue against the sheer natural beauty that you can find across both North and South Island, with towering mountain ranges standing tall next to expansive plains. Throw in activities such as skiing, a sports-crazy nation, and a population that shows the proper level of respect to its indigenous Maori people. Together, it’s easy to see why New Zealand comes near the top of most “countries to visit before you die” lists.

If you want to secure a backpacker job in New Zealand, then the opportunity is aplenty. Yet it’s very dependent on the path you want to take when you arrive in the country.

Major cities such as Auckland or Wellington have thriving business hubs, meaning those with a relevant background will no doubt be able to find a well-paying job that furthers their career. The country also thrives when it comes to tourism, so you can find a range of travel, tourism, and hospitality jobs throughout the entire country.

Another big draw is its ski season. It attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the world from May to October looking to secure a ski backpacking job in New Zealand.

The North Island boasts an active volcano as it’s primary ski slopes, whereas the south plays host to some of the world’s most beautiful towns and ski resorts, including Queenstown and Wanaka.


Secure a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

Whakapapa Ski Slope on Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand.
Photo by Matthew Buchanan on Unsplash

Like their neighbours Australia, New Zealand requires that UK passport holders who wish to secure a backpacker job in New Zealand have a working holiday visa.

You can apply for one or two years, although the two-year application will need to complete things such as a medical. You can apply for your second year whilst in New Zealand, so the majority tend to apply for the quicker one-year application first. They’ll see if they settle and then move forward with the second year once the time is right.



Credit: Unsplash.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

It’s a cheesy yet true statement that takes the lead when it comes to job hunting. Just as you’d prepare a cover letter, thorough application and a CV here in the UK, you must do that and more when looking to land a backpacker job in New Zealand.

You’ll want to tailor each document to the country, as well as ensuring you state that you have the right to work there.

Being an English speaking country means there’s a lot of opportunities if you’re from the UK, but that means nothing if you don’t prepare.

Don’t think you’ll walk into a backpacker job in New Zealand. There are hundreds of thousands of other backpackers vying for the best backpacker jobs, so be sure to do your work to stand out.


Backpacker job in New Zealand – Opportunities before departing

Credit: Unsplash.


Many agencies exist to help place people in relevant work abroad.

Being a major ski season and tourist country means that you’ll find a lot of different businesses that act as the middleman between you and finding your dream backpacker job in New Zealand, such as STA travel here.

The support structure they put in place is based on years of experience and relationships with employers, meaning they know what’s required and what people go through.

If you’ve got the money, it can be a good way to secure a role before you even leave the country.


Job boards

The two major job boards, Seek and Indeed, list thousands of different job roles.

By scoping these out before departing, you can see what’s available and tailor your approach to fit it. There are also sites like NZ Backpacker Board that deal in regional or hospitality backpacker jobs in New Zealand, so there’s something for everyone.

One note would be that most employers will only respond to applications with a New Zealand number. So it may be worth scoping out specific jobs a day or two before arriving, get a New Zealand sim on arrival and then hit that submit button.



To avoid paying middleman fees, some companies will advertise directly on their company website.

If you feel you have a specific skill set that suits a business, there’s no harm in checking their Careers page or reaching out directly to see if there are any current opportunities.



Working on a farm is commonplace for backpackers.

It’s a fun alternative to your normal home life, a great way to save and to also be working outdoors in such an incredible country. There’s a lot of farm work websites that can point you in the right direction, such as NZ Farming Jobs, so it can be a good way to give you some direction before arriving.

Just be sure to check on the correct seasons, remembering the fact that the Southern Hemispheres seasons are reversed compared to ours.


Backpacker job in New Zealand – Opportunities on arrival

A photo of Mount Maunganui, New Zealand from high up.
Photo by Koon Chakhatrakan on Unsplash

Pop in and say hello

Hospitality is the people’s person industry.

You have to prove your good in a customer-facing role, with a friendly demeanour and good conversational skills. What better way than doing that with the boss immediately?

Most places accept CV’s over the counter, and if you make a decent impression, you’ll get asked in for a trial shift if roles are going. It’s then up to you.


Use local networks

As is the case in most backpacking countries, your direct network holds the key to a lot of opportunities.

Job boards in hostel kitchens work well, as does that ‘mate of a mate’ who ‘knows a guy’ who’s working somewhere where there are jobs.

The key is to keep connected and keep your ear to the ground, as opportunity does sound out for those that can hear it.


Being one of the major backpacking routes, there’s no surprise that there’s a huge amount of backpacker jobs in New Zealand going for overseas workers.

It’s also no surprise that they’re well sought after by the thousands of travellers that arrive into the country every year.

But if you’re prepared, determined, and make the most of the opportunities in front of you, you can secure a backpacker job in New Zealand that will fund one of the best years of your life, in one of the world’s most premier destinations.


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