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How Much Money Do You Need for a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

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How Much Savings are Recommended for a New Zealand Working Holiday?

Getting started with a working holiday in New Zealand is the most expensive hurdle you will probably experience during a gap year in New Zealand. Not only do working holidaymakers legally need a certain amount of “sufficient funds” to enter the country, but there are a few expenses to consider even before you enter the country. To help you budget correctly for a working holiday in New Zealand, we have put together this guide on how much money do you need to have for a working holiday in New Zealand.

Although you are required to have a “sufficient” amount of funds when you enter the country, we think that for most country’s working holiday scheme, this price can be a little on the low side. To ensure you have enough of a safety cushion for the first few months of your working holiday, we have given you are the recommended amount of money you should have for a working holiday.

How to Save for a Working Holiday in New Zealand

If you don’t have a comfortable amount of savings to start your working holiday in New Zealand, then don’t worry! We know a few quick ways to save money for a working holiday in New Zealand.

One of the largest expense when setting up your finances abroad can be the transfer fees between your home country bank account and your brand new New Zealand bank account. To reduce this cost, sign up with Wise or XE Money for free to get your first transfer free of charge and save money on all subsequent transfers.

For more advice on budgeting for a working holiday in New Zealand, take a look at What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand? and What is the Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand? And for any prices not mentioned in those guides, then they’ll be in How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?

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Expenses Before You Arrive in New Zealand

There are costs to consider even before you arrive in New Zealand, from the working holiday visa application fee to flights.

Working Holiday Visa Application Fee

Depending on what working holiday scheme country your working holiday visa is under, your application for the working holiday visa will either be free or NZ$420 (price is subject to change).

Flight Ticket

The price of a flight to New Zealand varies depending on where in the world you are departing from. For advice on getting the best deal, check out How to Book a Cheap Flight to New Zealand and Flight to New Zealand: Return Vs. Open Return Vs. One Way.

Travel Insurance

You might not like it, but having travel insurance for the duration of your stay in New Zealand is one of the conditions of the working holiday visa. For advice on getting affordable comprehensive travel insurance for New Zealand, check out Medical and Travel Insurance for New Zealand.

Working Holiday Program

This one is optional, but some working holidaymakers choose to use a working holiday program to help set up their life in New Zealand and get some extra guidance. The first few days of accommodation, airport transfer and more is usually included in this fee of between NZ$499-$700. Compare the market before you buy and check out our New Zealand Gap Year: Use a Working Holiday Program or Do It Yourself?

Gear for Your Working Holiday

A good backpack, hiking shoes and more travel essentials may be worth buying before arriving in New Zealand. Depending on where you are coming from, it is likely that the price of these travel items are cheaper in your home country than they are in New Zealand. Get some advice from our packing lists and How to Choose a Good Backpack.

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What are “Sufficient Funds” and How Much Do You Need For a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?

One of the conditions for the working holiday visa to New Zealand is that you need to have sufficient funds to support yourself for the length of your stay in New Zealand.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

Upon entering New Zealand, you need to have proof of sufficient funds. This proof can be in the form of cash, travellers’ cheques, bank drafts and/or a recognised credit card with sufficient available credit. However, for safety reasons, we recommend you use the credit card option showing the funds available. Find out more about using money in New Zealand in New Zealand Currency: The New Zealand Dollar. Although Immigration officers don’t always look at this evidence when you enter the country, it is best that you have it prepared just in case.

How Much Sufficient Funds Do You Need for a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand?

The amount of sufficient funds you need when arriving in New Zealand depends on the agreement that Immigration New Zealand has with your working holiday scheme country. A breakdown of the funds is mentioned below:

  • Malaysia and Singapore: NZ$ 2,250 total funds
  • Thailand: NZ$7,000 total funds
  • United Kingdom: NZ$350 per month of stay (so NZ$4,200 for 12 months)
  • Other countries on the Working Holiday Scheme: NZ$4,200 total funds.

Proving you have sufficient funds is not the only evidence you will need to provide when entering New Zealand. Find out about what else you need to provide in Arrival Advice: Passport Control and Immigration.

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How Much Money Should You Have for a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

Although Immigration suggests a certain amount of “sufficient funds”, we believe that NZ$4,200 is the absolute minimum that you should enter the country with. Starting up a life in a new country is an expensive deal, and you will want some money to fall back on just in case all your plans don’t fall into place.

The Recommended Amount of Money to Have for a Working Holiday

We recommend starting your working holiday in New Zealand with at least NZ$5,500 plus enough money for a return flight from New Zealand. This amount of money allows budget travellers to comfortably pay for your first two months’ budget accommodation, travel, a few activities, and other expenses like food. This means you can go for about two to three months without working when you first arrive in New Zealand, giving you time to scope some of the country to see where you want to work, and time to actually find a job. After that, you should still have some money left over. Then you will top up your travel funds with the money from your work.

If you have more money than the recommended amount, then you can be a lot more flexible with your plans.

For an idea of the cost of travel in New Zealand, check out What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand? and What is the Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand?


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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