14 amazing months in New Zealand

A brief overview of our 14 month Work New Zealand trip…

We landed in Auckland where we remained for about a week, met the guys at IEP (BUNAC’s office in New Zealand), organised our bank accounts, mobile phones, etc. and went to the Pasifika Festival 2008 which was great fun – worth recommending to people who are in Auckland at this time of year (March).

We then moved onto Hawke’s Bay, looking for vineyard work or picking of some kind. Had a bit of a rough start with accommodation & work so found a WWOOF for a couple of weeks to give ourselves some breathing space – discovered a gem, Beehive Gardens. By chance we then stumbled across some work in a vineyard where we stayed for 5 weeks on a ‘work for food & accommodation’ basis. Moved onto Tauranga where we tried kiwi picking, found it too tough and worked in the pack house for a couple of weeks.

Bought a car and had a little road trip around Coromandel, ‘Hobbiton’ & Rotorua, ending up in Wellington where we did some house-sitting for properties in the city centre & Otaki in return for cleaning and found cleaning work at Quest. Headed south and tried to set up work in the Nelson area, did a WWOOF for a couple of weeks while we searched & then it all fell into place – our best job, grafting grape vines with the nicest employers ever plus a cheap deal to live at a holiday park out of peak season.

After three very happy months (this area was our favourite) we set out on another road trip, up to Golden Bay & down the West Coast as far as Hokitika where we found another WWOOF, met a German hunter and were taken out shooting rabbits for our dinner! But no joy finding work, especially as it was so close to Christmas so we crossed to Christchurch, still no work, and eventually found a WWOOF in Oamaru.

Spent a single night there & fled, ended up in town with nowhere to go for Christmas, but found a Fairy Godmother whom we stayed with over Christmas (after being offered free accommodation by 4 different people – official, Oamaru is the friendliest place in NZ!)

Another mini road trip followed to Dunedin & the Catlins and then we headed to Cromwell and finally found work in Wanaka on a holiday park where we also had free accommodation & saved loads!

Then it was time for a final road trip back up the West Coast, to Kaikoura, then to say our goodbyes to friends in Nelson & Wellington, where we sold our car, got a relocation deal and had a final road trip in Northland before flying out from Auckland.

In total we spent 14 months in NZ (after sorting out an extension due to the amount of viticulture/horticulture work we had done), divided relatively evenly between each island. An amazing experience!

Find out more about Work New Zealand