Working Holiday New Zealand – 2019


Did I just take a leap of faith? As I write this post (right now on 27 Jan 19), it is still not a 100% certainty that I will be utilizing my visa which I applied last November. To be honest, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether I should just YOLO my way to NZ but now that I’m ‘down’ with a 245 NZD commitment plus I just met a bunch of ‘seniors’ that shared a whole lot of experiences, I’m leaning more towards the decision of going..

This post shall remain as a ‘dark’ post on my website as I can’t exactly go public on my decision yet. If you miraculously found this page, I’m glad that google is doing their index-ing well. Eventually, I plan to be using this page as my personal planning guide with useful links and information so let me start with the timeline of events leading up to today.


[Nov 2018]

  • Applying for the NZ working holiday visa had been on my mind since Aug/Sep 2018 and it was the second last year I could qualify for this programme. This programme was only limited to individuals under 30 and a whole bunch of not-too-difficult criteria found on their website
  • Prior to the application, I had to set up an account (pretty seamless) and standby all the relevant documents (like your passport number etc.)
  • In recent years, the 200 application slots (for Singapore) is getting snapped up really quickly and if you’re certain about the program, you should standby to apply on the date and time that the application opens.
  • Note: The next application date is 10 Nov 2020, 5AM (SG Time)

[14 Nov 2018] 

  • I set my alarm for that morning and standby my credit card –  YouTrip MasterCard debit due to the favourable exchange rate. To be honest, I was feeling somewhat jittery as I was afraid of not being able to be the first 200 applicants. At the same time, I was worried about my future if I do go for it – will I be able to secure a job when I return? Am I splurging half/all my savings into this YOLO travel and the thoughts just keep coming by.
  • Well, I told myself – it is now; or never. I paid 245 NZD to get that delayed option. If I get it, yay – and I still get to decide if I will eventually fulfill the obligation for the next 11 months. If I don’t, there’s still next year and at least I tried.
  • The website was a little slow that morning and I didn’t get in at like 05:01 or 05:02am. At that moment, I was thinking to myself – did the website crash and not load? Thankfully, something moved and the ‘APPLY’ button became clickable. As I had pre-created the account, there were some fields that were pre-filled and I eventually manage to fulfill the payment portion by 05:10am (according to my YouTrip app). yay.

[25 DEC 2018]

  • Then came the agony – there was no confirmation email from the immigration saying that the amount you paid have been received. According to sources online, they usually approve your application within 2 to 3 weeks but for us, it seemed to take forever.
  • I was so afraid that my visa would have been rejected as I did not fulfill the ‘graduate within 3 years criteria’ but in the application form, there was no request for education certs or educational background. I was so afraid they asked for further documentation which I couldn’t prove but thankfully nothing was asked.
  • Finally on 25 Dec 2018 at about 3am (I guess their automated system works on christmas day), I received the confirmation email with the title
    • Immigration New Zealand has approved your application for a work visa

  • Yay. Let the adventure begin.. in n moths time.

[27 Jan 2019]

I attended my first YMM Club gathering and I got to meet the ‘seniors’ who were more than willing to share their tips & experiences about NZ. I shall update this portion in the coming week.

  • There are lesser job opportunities in winter, but it is not impossible to find one.
    There are more jobs in summer, but it also means more competition.
  • Job Search is always about timing, less of your skillset. If you’re able to show up (preferably with a car), it is easier to get employed than emailing your resume across.
  • The most important skills you need to have is driving (with a license) and cooking.
  • South Island is a lot more beautiful than North Island. If you visit South Island first, then North Island, you will question yourself why you’re wasting time in North Island. If you have time for only one part – just go straight to South Island.
  • Things are a lot easier when you have a car. That being said, it is not impossible to get around without a car. Just that it is a lot harder and you’ll miss a lot of good sights along the way.
  • Never get a car that’s older than you. Maybe 1997-99 and above should be fine.
  • Driving in the snow is very dangerous, especially when you have no experience. It is wiser to just wait for the snow storm to be over. Should you face with a situation of ‘black ice’, never step on the break or accelerator and do not panic.
  • If you want to stay beyond 6 months in New Zealand, you need to find your horticulture/agriculture job really early and secure your 12-weeks payslip. If you only start worrying about it in your final 3 months, employers may not be keen to hire you as your visa extension is not guaranteed.
  • Even if you have no intention to work long in a particular job role, you should just tell them that you intend to work long (to increase your odds of getting hired). Nobody will want to hire someone who intends to work for only 2 weeks. That being said, the notice period is usually one day (for either side) and ‘getting fired’ can be a reality, especially when you are ‘too efficient’ and finish up the job quickly.
  • Ski Jobs – start your application early but nothing is guaranteed until a face-to-face interview. It may be on the ‘fun’ side but most jobs pay the min. rate of $16.50/hour. Don’t expect yourself to earn much from it but the experience would be really precious!
  • To earn money the faster and more guaranteed way, jobs like waitressing and housekeeping (aka chambermaid) is better. Agriculture jobs are weather dependent and if it rains/bad weather, you will not get to work and you will not get paid.. Indoor jobs are more guaranteed.

[Useful Links to Bookmark]


[Jobs Portal]


North Island

South Island


  • May (Bluff Oysters Festival) 25 May 2019 –

Things to do before arriving in NZ

  1. Purchase Travel Insurance
    • Obit Protect (i chose this in the end)
    • Safety Wings
    • World Nomads

Things to do after arriving in NZ

  1. Open Bank Account in NZ
  2. Apply for IRD:
    • needs bank account


Heading to NZ in 2019 and want to say hi? Leave a comment below or email me at

As of now (Jan 2019), I am intending to travel alone and I’m open to finding buddies along the way. I haven’t decided on the exact month that I would love to be there but it should fall sometime between 1st May and 1st Sep.

Update: As of March 2020, I have returned to Singapore (well, kind of earlier due to COV-19). If you wish to read more about my adventures, you can start with..

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