Solo traveler in New Zealand on top of a mountain with the mountain ranger in the background.
Programs From the US

Working Holiday New Zealand


Live the high life as a lift attendant in Queenstown, play the field fruit picking in Hawkes Bay or cause a stir working as a barista in Wellington.

Why do a working holiday in New Zealand?

Home to ice-carved peaks, cloud-hitting waterfalls and miles of empty golden beaches, New Zealand is spellbinding. Which is appropriate given that until recently, the country had its own national wizard. (Not Gandolf, his name was actually Ian and he lives in Christchurch).
But it’s not just the filmset Lord of the Rings landscapes that make New Zealand such a magical place to live and work. Small and proud, New Zealand has an inspirational culture, outdoor lifestyle and laidback outlook that makes travelers form a lifelong connection – arriving as visitors and leaving as locals. Plus, the NZD $20 an hour minimum wage, chance to work a ski season, and national obsession with pies doesn’t hurt either.

Best work experience ever! I got to meet and work with people from all over the world — a situation that I will never experience again!

This once-in-a-lifetime trip will also give you the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of New Zealand: drive along Ninety Mile Beach, experience the majesty of Milford Sound or swim with the dolphins off the Kaikoura coast. Picture yourself working at a ski resort on the South Island or work at a vineyard in sunny Marlborough! New Zealand is a country that will never cease to amaze you!

Apply to the Working Holiday in New Zealand

Spend up to 12 months in New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa starting with a 6 Night Arrival Package in Auckland through IENA’s in country partner BUNAC. Once your 12-month visa is approved, you would have 12 months to enter New Zealand from the date of approval, and then 12 months to live and work from the day of arrival into NZ!

Pre-arrival Inclusions:

  • Pre-departure online orientation with the New Zealand team
  • Access to WhatsApp group with Travelers arriving to New Zealand
  • Bank account assistance before arrival

In-country Inclusions:

  • Arrival airport transfer to arrival hostel in Auckland
  • Six nights’ hostel accommodation in Auckland
  • Detailed job-hunting workshop
  • New Zealand SIM card
  • Bank account assistance
  • IRD (tax) number assistance
  • Auckland Ferry and Devonport trip
  • Organized social events
  • Long-term accommodation support
  • Mail holding and forwarding service
  • Travel planning assistance
  • Support for the duration of your working holiday visa
  • NZD $20 an hour minimum wage

IEP Work Exchange Program

This exclusive special category visa is only open to US citizens aged 18–30 including those who have previously been to New Zealand on a Working Holiday visa.

  • Basic Working Holiday program package (see above)
  • Visa sponsorship under the exclusive IEP Work Exchange Scheme.


You must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States and have a valid US passport
  • Be between age 18 and 35 (inclusive)
  • Be able to produce proof of support funds equivalent to NZ$4,200 or more on arrival to New Zealand.
  • Not bring children or dependents with you to New Zealand on this program
  • Meet health and character requirements

Job Opportunities

On the IENA Working Holiday New Zealand Program, you can take any job you are qualified to do. The original idea behind a Working Holiday was for visa holders to take casual incidental work to supplement their income while traveling around this amazing country. However, if you would prefer to stay in one location, that is okay too! It’s your choice!

Solo traveler on a hill overlooking a city in New Zealand.

Hostel vs Flatting

If you plan to use the program to travel around the country to gain a true cultural experience, you would be better off staying in hostels. If you plan to stay in one location, then ‘flatting’- renting a shared flat (apartment), would be more cost-effective.

Costs in New Zealand

A room in a shared flat will cost approximately NZ$180+ per week outside of Auckland and NZ$250 in Auckland, a two bedroom flat will cost approximately NZ$500 per week, and you will generally need to pay a bond of 4 weeks rent plus the first 2 weeks rent in advance. On average, you will also need approximately NZ$150 per week for food, etc.

Forest bridge in New Zealand.
Travel Information

Traveling in New Zealand

You can book your own flight and arrive any date you choose, but please keep in mind that orientations are only held in Auckland and you will want to be sure not to miss out on this valuable program inclusion. We will use your confirmed flight itinerary to book your arrival accommodation in Auckland.

The North Island

The North Island is an exciting mix of busy cities and peaceful countryside. Maori culture is a strong feature in the North Island and the opportunity to experience Maoritanga (Maori art and culture) is one of the highlights of any journey through New Zealand. The North Island is known for unspoiled beaches, immense Kauri trees and volcanic thermal activity. Visit Auckland, Northland, Waikaito, Bay of Plenty, Taupo and New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.

The South Island

The South Island, or the Mainland, is a showcase of everything New Zealand is famous for. The landscape is diverse and beautiful, from farmland to mountains, deserted beaches to rainforests, and glaciers to vineyards. It provides the ideal environment for outdoor activities. Skiing, jet boarding, bungee jumping and world-renowned tramping are but a few of the activities you can experience. Visit Nelson and Marlborough (check out the wine festival held every February), West Coast, Canterbury, Queenstown, Otago and Southland.

What to See and Do in Auckland

  • Bungee Jumping originated in New Zealand so it is a must do activity. The Auckland Harbor Bridge Bungee is a great first try. It’s a 40 meter fall with an optional dip into the harbor!
  • Bridge Climb – If Bungee isn’t your thing you might like the Auckland Harbor Bridge Climb. You will be harnessed in while walking and climbing over one of Auckland’s famous landmarks.
  • Sky Tower – Auckland’s Sky Tower is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere and arguably Auckland’s most famous landmark.
  • Sky Jump – For all the thrill-seekers out there – leap off Auckland’s famous Sky Tower – 192 meters straight down!
  • Sky Walk – Walk 1.2-meter-wide walkway around Auckland’s Sky Tower – 192 meters above ground, no hand rails and nothing but air either side of you!
  • America’s Cup Sailing – The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy and ultimate yachting regatta. Auckland is the city of Sails so why not jump aboard a yacht and experience the city from the water.

Skiing and Snowboarding

New Zealand has some of the best skiing and snowboarding locations in the Southern Hemisphere. Great for those who are looking for an alpine adventure.

  • North Island – Whakapapa Ski Area is on the north-western slopes. Turoa Ski Area is on the south-western slopes. Mt. Ruapehu is home to New Zealand’s largest Ski Areas with 1,800 hectares of serious room to move.
  • South Island – The most prominent ski fields in the South Island are Coronet Peak and The Remarkable, Mt Hutt, Cardrona and Treble Cone
Apply to the Working Holiday in New Zealand

Interesting Facts About New Zealand

  • New Zealand’s Southern Alps are bigger than the Swiss, French and Austrian Alps combined! They rise to over 2,000 meters in a spine across the back of the South Island.
  • There are nine sheep to every human in New Zealand.
  • Ninety-mile beach is only 55miles long.
  • Kiwi refers to New Zealand’s native flightless bird and is also used as a slang term for a New Zealander. Kiwis call the fruit kiwifruit, also known as Chinese Gooseberries.
  • You drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand, and always give way to cars on your right.

Mountain lake view in New Zealand.
Application and Fees

Stage 1 of the Application

Please set up an IENA account and complete the online IENA Outbound Program application. We will assess your application and then invoice you for payment of our program fee. After payment is processed and you are accepted to the program you will be emailed stage two of the application process.

Stage 2 of the Application

  1. Applying for your visa — don’t worry, IENA will provide step-by-step instructions and guidance on how to secure your visa!
  2. Booking your flight to New Zealand – IENA’s preferred travel provider can assist with flights.
  3. Purchasing travel and medical insurance — it is a visa requirement that you have proof of medical coverage (including medical evacuation and repatriation of remains) on entry to New Zealand. Note: You will not be covered under the socialized medical system in place in New Zealand.

APPLICATION DEADLINES: Please allow a minimum of 6 weeks for application processing.

Program Fees

Other costs to consider for all options:

  • Flights – You must have proof of a pre-paid flight into New Zealand and exiting New Zealand.
  • Travel insurance – You can provide your own insurance or purchase a policy from IENA. Medical, accident and repatriation (insurance is a mandatory visa requirement)
  • Support funds equivalent to NZ$4200 (this is a visa requirement, and you may be required to provide proof upon arrival)

Cancellation Conditions

Basic Working Holiday Program

If you cancel from the program before your step 2 deadline, you will be charged a cancellation fee of $200. If you cancel after we have received your step 2 materials, no refund is possible. In the extremely rare event that the New Zealand Visa Application Center denies your visa application you will be refunded your program fee minus a cancellation fee of $200. If your visa application is denied for reasons which you had not previously disclosed to IENA, you will forfeit $400. In either case of visa denial, if you have purchased IENA insurance the insurance premium is fully refundable.

Please note that the above cancellation conditions apply to the IENA Working Holiday New Zealand Program fees. Separate cancellation conditions may apply to any flight bookings you make.

Any cancellation must be received in writing and is only effective from the date we receive it. Please note that separate cancellation fees and conditions will undoubtedly apply to any flight bookings you make.

Apply for Working Holiday in New Zealand
Silhouette of a group of people in a field at sunset.
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