The Picking Seasons and Regions in New Zealand
A great way to fund your travels and see the countryside is by doing some fruit and veggie picking work. Because picking is a seasonal job, backpackers can usually find short-term jobs at short notice. With that in mind, we put together the typical picking season in New Zealand so you know what type of picking jobs to do at what time of the year.
The varying conditions in New Zealand mean the type of fruit, vegetables and their picking seasons differ across the regions. That’s why we have compiled this quick guide to the picking seasons. So take a look at the article below to see what time of year to apply for picking jobs in New Zealand.
If you need more information on picking in New Zealand, head on over to Working a Fruit Picking Job in New Zealand. Remember, you need a valid work visa to do picking jobs in New Zealand, such as the working holiday visa.
Where are the New Zealand Fruit Picking Regions?
Our quick guide is separated into the popular fruit and veggie picking regions in New Zealand. Check out the links to find out what else you can do in each region.
By the way, have you seen these 7 Tactics to Fill More Bins in Your Fruit Picking Job?
Fruit and veges: Avocados, tamarillos, oranges, mandarins, olives, macadamia and kumara.
Although there is picking work all year round in Northland (they do call it the ‘winterless north’), there is a higher demand for workers in April, May June and July.
Fruit and veges: Blueberries, onions, potatoes and asparagus.
Again, Waikato requires workers all year round, however, you are much more likely to get work in the summer months January and February.
Bay of Plenty
Fruit and veges: Kiwifruit, avocados and feijoas.
As the name suggests, there is ‘plenty’ of seasonal picking work here. It is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export of kiwifruit. There is even a giant kiwifruit sculpture in Tepuke to commemorate this. The best months to find work are April, May, June, July and August.
Fruit and veges: Wine grapes, pears, apricots, plums, squash, asparagus, pumpkin, apples, peaches, nectarines, olives, sweet corn, peas and tomatoes.
Autumn is the best fruit and veggie picking season in Hawke’s Bay. More than half of the nation’s apples are grown here. It also has the widest range of fruit and veges. Most months give a good chance of work: February, March, April, May, June, and November and December.
Fruit and veges: Wine grapes and olives.
The region is known for its pinot noir, so there is an opportunity for working in a vineyard. Although workers are needed for pruning in the winter, the most demanding months are June, July and August.
Fruit and veges: Wine grapes, sweet corn and olives.
Marlborough’s sauvignon blanc is internationally recognised. There is year-round work in the vineyards of Marlborough but the best months are June, July and August.
Fruit and veges: Apples, blackcurrants, raspberries, pears and boysenberries.
With more hours of sunshine per year than the rest of NZ, Nelson produces a large number of apples and wine. You are more likely to get work in February, March and April.
Fruit and veges: Apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, nectarines and plums.
Central Otago has a large summerfruit industry, as well as a growing wine region. November, December and January are the best months to find work in Otago.
The Seasons in New Zealand
- Summer – December, January, February
- Autumn – March, April, May
- Winter – June, July, August
- Spring – September, October, November
Find out more about the seasons in New Zealand in What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?