What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?© NZ King Salmon - MarlboroughNZ
What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

© NZ King Salmon – MarlboroughNZ
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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How Much Will Your New Zealand Working Holiday Cost?

Dreaming of travelling to New Zealand? Working and living abroad on a gap year is an amazing opportunity and one you shouldn’t have to miss because of money. That’s the great thing about doing the Working Holiday Scheme in New Zealand; you can work to fund your travels! Thousands of young people do it every year showing it is possible to do a gap year on a budget.

To get an idea of the costs involved in a working holiday, we have put together this guide to the typical expenses associated with a working holiday. Bear in mind that a lot of this trip is funded by the money you earn along the way, as well as getting added extras like getting your tax back.

How Much Money Should You Arrive in New Zealand With?

Of course, you will have to arrive in New Zealand with some funds to get you started and allow you to travel for a short while before settling down for work. See How Much Money Do You Need for a Working Holiday in New Zealand? for the recommended funds to arrive in New Zealand with.

Expenses When “Travelling” on a Working Holiday

For more of the “holiday” side of your working holiday, such as activities, car rental, bus tours, etc., we have put together these expenses in our guide of Typical Costs for Backpacking in New Zealand.

Working Holiday Expenses Before You Leave Home

Remember to consider these costs to budget for before you leave home. They can vary greatly depending on which country you come from:

  • Flight: check out our tips for booking a cheap flight
  • Working Holiday program and support service: see details below
  • Travel and medical insurance: the most cost-effective we have found is OrbitProtect, based in New Zealand.

What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

The Working Holiday Visa

This is your key to being able to work and travel in New Zealand! The Working Holiday Visa costs NZ$35-$455 (price is subject to change) and usually allows the holder to stay for six to 23 months depending on nationality. However, there are some slightly different conditions between countries so, be sure to check: first, whether you are eligible for the working holiday visa in New Zealand and, second, what your conditions are for your visa.

Once you are ready to apply, we have a nifty step-by-step Online Application Guide for the Working Holiday Visa.

  • New Zealand Working Holiday Visa – NZ$35-$455 (price is subject to change).
NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

Working Holiday Program and Support Service

Travelling across the world to work, live and travel in a foreign country is a pretty big deal. There’s all the paperwork to sort out, a bank account to set up, and not to mention creating a CV/resume that is going to be successful in New Zealand. You can be forgiven for wanting some peace of mind and ongoing support when living and working in New Zealand.

By all means, you can achieve all this without a support service, and many do. In that case, you don’t have to pay for a support service and that’s another dollar saved! On the other hand, it is a much lengthier process figuring it all out for yourself and making sure you brought all the right paperwork to New Zealand with you, for example. By the time you are all done and dusted, you might have just spent the same as what you would have spent on a working holiday program through more hostel nights as you wait for an appointment at the bank, for example. And that’s all before you have even started exploring New Zealand.

Browse the working holiday company market to see what sort of services are on offer and if they provide services that will meet your needs. Comparison websites like Working Holiday Starter are a good place to start your research – (even some of the NZPocketGuide.com team used it when they first arrived in New Zealand).

Whether you decide to use a working holiday company or not, remember to consider the cost and time it takes to set up your new life in New Zealand!

  • New Zealand Working Holiday Program – NZ$500-$2,400

What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

Cost of Finding a Job

That moment when you decide to settle somewhere for a while and find a job means you will need to invest a bit of time and a little bit of money on a few expenses like printing off your CV, using the WiFi to apply for jobs online, and using transport to get from one job interview to the next (see below). As you can see, they are not huge expenses, especially if you are prepared for finding a job quickly.

Additionally, many people on working holidays in New Zealand include “woofing” in their itinerary; working for social exchange, food and accommodation. See How to Find Work for Accommodation in New Zealand for more on the subject.

  • Work exchange membership/year – NZ$20-$40
  • Printing/page – NZ$0.20-$1
  • Use of computer and internet/hour – NZ$0-$4.
What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

The Cost of Transport on a Working Holiday

In our Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand article, we go through the cost of travelling nationally around New Zealand. But there may be times during your working holiday when you just need to use transport services to commute to a job, for example, or go to your nearest supermarket. Here are typical prices for transport in New Zealand:

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

The Cost of Phone Networks

There are four main phone networks in New Zealand: Spark, 2 Degrees, Skinny and Vodafone. As working holidaymakers are only in New Zealand for up to a year, it’s more cost-effective to use a prepay phone option rather than committing to a contract you cannot get out of when you leave the country.

When you use prepay or pay-as-you-go, it is usually much cheaper to get a weekly or monthly plan rather than paying standard rates. As always, it’s best to browse the market.

  • Plan of 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 1.5 Gb/month – NZ$17-$21
  • Standard call/minute – NZ$0.40-$50
  • Standard text – NZ$20
  • Standard data/mb – NZ$0.40-$0.60

More information on pricing can be found in our guide, What are the Best Phone Networks in New Zealand?

What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

The Cost of Long-Term Accommodation

Once you have landed an awesome job and living the Kiwi life to its fullest, you will need to find some long-term accommodation. Whether it’s a flatshare or you’re spending some time working for accommodation, this will be your cheapest option when staying somewhere for more than a couple of weeks. Take a look at our list of Long-term Accommodation Options When Doing a Gap Year New Zealand.

The cost of renting a room varies depending on what part of New Zealand you are living in. Living in the centre of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, will be a lot more expensive than renting a room in one of New Zealand’s small towns.

  • Room to rent/week – NZ$175-$350
  • Bond (refundable) – NZ$500-$700
  • Work for accommodations/day – 4 hours of work.

Be sure to check out Working for Accommodation in New Zealand: What are Your Rights? and Working for Accommodation & Pay in New Zealand: What Are Your Rights? for more information about being paid with accommodation.

Siru Jylhankangas© Siru Jylhankangas

The Cost of National Travel, Tours and Activities in New Zealand

So, in this guide, we have focussed more on the “working” part of the working holiday in New Zealand. But, hell, you want to experience the “holiday” part of it too! We have a whole other guide dedicated to just that, so you can see what prices to expect for:

  • National travel via bus, car, flight, etc.
  • Accommodation in hostels and campsites
  • Food and drink when doing the grocery shopping
  • Tours and activities.

Take a look at What is the Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand, as well as NZ Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost? for an extensive price list.

Budgeting Advice for a Working Holiday in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide to the cost of a working holiday in New Zealand. As we have been on working holidays in New Zealand ourselves, we’ve learnt a few tricks for saving money along the way. Make sure you give these guides a read!

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: Everything You Need to Know!


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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