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Checklist for Leaving New Zealand After Your Working Holiday

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Practical Things to Do Before Leaving New Zealand

This is a sad one. When it comes to the end of any great travel experience it can be hard to say goodbye to that part of your life. Nevertheless, there are always things to look forward to! So it’s time to tie up your loose ends and prepare to leave New Zealand after your working holiday.

If you have been in New Zealand on a working holiday, it’s likely that you will want to close your bank account, get your tax refund, and quit your job in a respectful manner. We’ll show you have to do it all in this guide to leaving New Zealand after your working holiday.

Other things you’ll want to consider sorting out before you leave New Zealand is cancelling your phone plan, arranging your airport transfer, and selling your car (if applicable).

On a more exciting note, you may even want to consider your next travel plans when leaving New Zealand by visiting a nearby country. After all, it’s not often that you are this far down south in the Pacific! Without further ado, here’s all the stuff to do before leaving New Zealand.

7 Things to Do Before You Leave New Zealand

In a nutshell:

  1. Quit your job
  2. Close your bank account
  3. Sell your car
  4. Get your tax return
  5. Cancel your phone plan
  6. Get rid of excess luggage
  7. Consider other countries to travel to
  8. Sort out your airport transfer.
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Quit Your Job (Respectfully)

If you are working up until the point you decide to leave New Zealand, you need to quit your job. To avoid being a d*ck, quit your job respectfully by giving the agreed notice period that you and your employer decided on when you were hired. By leaving on good terms, you will likely have a good reference for future job applications.

So when quitting your job in New Zealand, make sure you hand in your notice in writing. Then your employer will handle ending your employment from there.

To find out more about how to quit your job respectfully in New Zealand, check out Job Quitting Etiquette: How to Quit Your Job in New Zealand.

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Close Your Bank Account

We can’t stress how much easier it is to close your bank account in New Zealand than it is from overseas. That’s why suggest you close your bank account before you leave New Zealand. Bank fees may still be charged to your bank account if you just leave your bank account open and empty. And overseas’ debt never looks good…

Book an appointment at the bank to close your account. Attend your bank appointment by taking your passport and bank cards with you. The closing process should only take 20 minutes at the most.

For more information, check out How to Close a Bank Account in New Zealand.

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Sell Your Car

For those who have been travelling around New Zealand by car, it’s time to sell! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to do this, especially if you are leaving New Zealand in the autumn and winter months.

To vastly increase your chances of selling your vehicle quickly, make sure your WOF is less than one month old at the time of selling.

You can read up on the different methods of selling your car in New Zealand, as well as all the paperwork you must remember to do once the car has been sold in How to Sell Your Car in New Zealand.

 401(K) 2012 on Flickr© 401(K) 2012 on Flickr

Get Your Tax Return

If you have been working in New Zealand, then you can get a tax refund! As long as you have created an online account with New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and have kept it updated, you should receive a tax refund automatically after the end of the financial year. Find out how and when you can expect to get your tax refund in How to Get Your Tax Refund in New Zealand.

Alternatively, there are some tax companies like Taxback.com, who can arrange for your tax return to be refunded into your overseas bank account, should you have missed out on your tax refund.

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Cancel Your Phone Plan

If you have, for instance, a monthly or weekly phone plan on a New Zealand SIM card, make sure you cancel it before you leave the country. For prepaid SIM cards, keep in mind to not top up your phone too much and leave New Zealand with wasted credit!

Once you have made that last call, text or data on your phone, cut up your SIM card and throw it away. It’s over.

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Get Rid of Your Excess Luggage

When travelling for any significant amount of time, it’s likely that you have collected quite a few things along the way. To avoid getting charged at the airport for your luggage being over the weight limit, get rid of all the things you don’t need or want before you leave New Zealand.

There are a few easy ways to get rid of clothes, like giving them to other backpackers who are always happy to get something for free! You can find more ways of clearing out your unwanted stuff (without throwing them in the trash) by checking out 7 Ways to Get Rid of Your Excess Luggage Before You Leave New Zealand.

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Consider Other Places You Could Travel To

A flight from New Zealand to just about anywhere is pretty lengthy! Why not break up your trip home by doing some amazing stopovers in the South Pacific? Check out these 7 Tropical Islands Near New Zealand or 10 Countries Easy to Visit from New Zealand. It would be a great way to end your travel experience with a bang!

Like New Zealand, there are a lot more countries where you can experience a working holiday. We get it, once the travel bug bites… We list them all in the Other Countries with a Working Holiday Scheme.

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Sort Out Your Airport Transfer

Your final travel on New Zealand soil is the airport transfer. You can fly out of New Zealand from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. Auckland is the most common departing airport for working holidaymakers.

For Auckland Airport, airport transfers include the Auckland Airport express bus, taxis, Uber or shuttles. Find out more about your best options to get to the airport in The Cheapest Airport Transfers to Auckland Airport.

And… More Things to Think About Before You Leave New Zealand

Here are a few useful (and silly) articles to help you on your merry way out of the country:

And that’s it for our guide to leaving New Zealand after your working holiday! We hope you found NZ Pocket Guide useful and we wish you the best of luck in the next of life’s adventures.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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