Australia and New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Comparison

Australia or New Zealand for your next backpacking adventure? We've done the hard work for you...

01 Nov 10:28

You threw the dart at the map and it landed on the Tasman Sea and now you’re faced with the big question, Australia or New Zealand for your next backpacking adventure? Unsure which country suits you best? We’ve done the hard work for you…

Working Holiday Visas
  • Australian working holiday visa - 12 or 24 months
  • New Zealand working holiday visa - 12 or 23 months
  • Cost? Aus - 440 AUD, NZ - 208 AUD
  • In Australia, you can work for up to 6 months with one employer, NZ is 12
  • In New Zealand you can only work for 12 months regardless of the length of your stay Both Australia and New Zealand offer working holiday visas, however there are some pretty big differences that could affect your choices.

The first difference is the price. An Australian working holiday visa is going to cost 440 AUD, which sets you back roughly 265 of your English pounds. A working holiday visa for New Zealand comes in at 208 AUD or £125, less than half the price.

When it comes to employment, they have some pretty similar restrictions. You won’t be able to accept any permanent job offers, but the amazing part is that the options are plentiful - you can work in any type of job, so whether it’s hospitality, retail, admin or farm work that takes your fancy, you’ll be in full control.

In Australia, you can only work for an employer for up to six months, whereas in New Zealand you can stay in your role for up to 12 months, but you can only work 12 months in total for your entire trip, even if you extend your stay to 23 months, so keep that one in mind when it comes to budgeting.

Speaking of extending your stay, both countries have an option to extend your visa once you arrive in the country, but they will need access to your medical records. In addition, if you want to extend your stay in Australia you’re going to need to work 88+ days in the agricultural field. Pineapple picking is said to be a lot of fun though, if you like that kind of thing.

For more information getting your New Zealand working holiday visa, read our visa application guide.

Finding Accommodation
  • Australia has wider choice, with dorms costing 15-35 AUD a day
  • Australian rentals tend to be furnished, NZ rentals are unfurnished
  • Some NZ rental apartments don’t allow couples

If you’re looking for a true backpacking experience, dorms and all, Australia has a much wider range to choose from, and you’ll be looking at spending around 15-35 Aussie dollars a day (£10-20). New Zealand is a little more high-end, but you can still find some budget dorms if you’re willing to pay a little more at 25 AUD a night.

If you want to settle down and really live like a local, there are ways to do this too. In Australia, it’s Gumtree, and in New Zealand your new best friend will be TradeMe. It’s relatively easy to find a fully furnished place in Aus, with a low deposit but in New Zealand you tend to find that most places to rent will come unfurnished, and a lot of them won’t allow couples to take a room. However, rent tends to be much cheaper in NZ and you can find budget furniture in vintage stores and places like the Red Cross.

Jobs and Wages
  • In Aus, minimum wage is 17.70 AUD
  • In New Zealand, minimum wage is 15.75 AUD
  • Seasonal jobs are popular in both countries
  • You can secure a job at a ski resort in NZ before you fly out, with our Kiwi and Kiwi program

If you want to fund your travels while you’re abroad, finding a job is essential. Australia has long been a popular choice for gap year travel and the high population and sheer vastness of the country means there are many job opportunities available. Minimum wage is 17.70 AUD compared to 15.75 in New Zealand, but New Zealand is a relatively new gap year destination so the job market is less competitive than in Sydney or Melbourne. For a wider selection of job opportunities in New Zealand you’re going to want to head to Queenstown or Wellington, the largest cities on the South and North Islands.

Both Australia and New Zealand offer a range of seasonal jobs so opportunities may vary depending on the time of year that you visit. Seasonal jobs are perfect for backpackers, as the contracts can be much shorter, which suits you if you’re planning on moving through different cities for shorter periods of time. So whether it’s picking strawberries on a farm, lifeguarding at the beach in Aus, or hitting the ski slopes in NZ as a rental assistant, you really can move with the seasons.

New Zealand also has the added benefit of having a lot more resort jobs available, so if you love the outdoors, snow sports or adventure travel, it’s a great starting point for you. You could even save yourself the stress of job hunting and secure with your dream job before you go with our Kiwi and Kiwi package.

Cost of Living
  • Generally higher living cost than you might be used to
  • High standard of living and good quality of life
  • Rental costs are a lot cheaper in NZ
  • Gasoline is 40% cheaper in Australia

Cost of living always ultimately comes down to your own style and preferences, but one thing is for sure, beer is much cheaper in New Zealand than in Australia. We’re talking an extra pint per round at the bar. However, if the cost of beer is not a factor for you, then the cost of living is quite close between the two countries, as they are both equally as well developed with a high standard of living. Cost of living in general down under is a little more than you might be used to in the UK, and you’ll also need your bank balance looking nice and healthy before you depart, as part of the visa application process.

Travel Experience
  • New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world
  • Australia has a great mix of beaches and natural sights
  • Both countries give you epic bragging rights

The biggest decision to make when choosing between these countries depends entirely on what kind of experience you’re seeking. Australia is a country for checking off bucket-list experiences; working in the outback, visiting famous beaches like Byron and Bondi or taking in the colour-changing wonders of Uluru.

New Zealand is fast becoming known as the adrenalin capital of the world. Thrill seekers can bungy jump on Auckland Bridge, freefall at Canyon Swing or ski down the Queenstown mountain slopes. Perhaps you want to channel your inner hobbit? You can take a day-long tour around Hobbiton, experiencing Middle Earth up close.

We’ve done the research but now it’s up to you to decide. Wherever you choose though, just know that the adventure of a lifetime awaits.

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The Ultimate New Zealand Working Holiday