Tips & tricks for moving to New Zealand

This September, myself and Paul packed our bags (again) for a move far far away to the land of looming green mountains, crystal clear lakes or “middle-earth” as the darlings of Instagram like to call it. Yep, you guessed it (or maybe you haven’t) we’ve moved to New Zealand. I can’t get any further from home, can I?! We’re working our way through those Working Holiday Visa’s ain’t we – Canada (tick), Australia (tick) and now New Zealand.

Heli flight over the Bay of Islands

 New Zealand wasn’t our first choice, okay, it wasn’t MY first choice. I really really wanted to move to Capetown, South Africa, it was going be somewhere different a bit “off-the-wall” as my mother told me. But getting a work visa for South Africa is a bit of a nightmare. Basically, after speaking with an immigration lawyer we were told it could take up to 8 months for us to be approved by the South African government even with a job offer. So, alas it was not to be. We told ourselves we will get there one day but, we were itching to leave again, so, Plan B rolled into place. 

Like the love child of Hawaii and Ireland – this part of New Zealand is beautiful

New Zealand was Paul’s first choice and, so it was decided. Getting a work visa for New Zealand is pretty simple – you fill out a short online form with Immigration New Zealand, pay the $208 fee and wait. We waited just a few days for the work visa to come through to my email. It’s a hell of a lot easier and less time-consuming than our work visa for Canada (some of you may already know that Paul was waiting a long-time for his Canadian visa –  if you don’t well, that’s a story for another day).

As soon as the visas came through, Paul went into what I like to call “travel agent mode” researching cheap flights to New Zealand, a good stop-over destination and what part of the country we would settle in first. He found a cheap deal with Malaysian Airlines (FYI – we like to use Google Flights rather than Skyscanner as it gives more airline options & always works out cheaper). This flight gave us a free week stopover in Malaysia (actually – we had to pay $20 in taxes I think), most of the Asian airlines offer this so it’s a brilliant option to break up a long flight. Next time, I think we’ll do Singapore. Malaysia is the perfect country for a quick stop-over & it’s cheap too. Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city, a little similar to Bangkok. We also visited the UNESCO heritage town of Melaka which was unique and less tourist-heavy making it a more authentic experience. I’ll be writing a blog post about our time here very soon, so stay tuned!

Pink Beach, Matauri Bay

Flights booked, goodbyes said, bags packed, cheeky stopover in Malaysia for a week and then we were here in Auckland. We stayed for a few nights, visited some friends, bought a car and then drove to the Far North of New Zealand to a little town called Kerikeri. I was offered a job at the No.1 hotel in Australia & New Zealand and I couldn’t refuse. It’s a lot different to my previous job in Whistler – it’s a lot smaller, more intimate but the setting is spectacular. The hotel has 3 private beaches and its own helicopter! Paul has struggled to find construction work here, since it’s technically ‘off-season’ there’s not much happening in that field yet. But, the locals here have been so helpful – in the local bank and shops people have been so quick to offer names and numbers of builders in the area who are hiring. It helped a lot and now he’s working full-time for a small construction company in town.

Life here is slow, and I feel more at home here than “city boy” Paul. We have a little house in the town with a wraparound deck and a garden filled with orange and lemon trees. We can drive 10 minutes to the beach or walk to the rivers and waterfall in town. It’s different for sure, especially since our last home was in the adrenalin-packed Whistler, but it’s good different. We are saving money (rent is cheap here) and earning decent wages and so we’re already planning lots of travel. Fiji, Samoa, Tonga & Hawaii have all been added to the list and all are a reasonable and short flight from here. Also, we were very excited to find out that internal flights in New Zealand are very cheap (a lot different to Canada)

A Matauri Bay sunset (close to my new job)

For anyone thinking of making the move to New Zealand – I say DO IT (x100). The visa is easy and quick to obtain, the country is beyond stunning (and we’ve only seen a tiny snippet of the country so far), the people are so warm & welcoming and a little similar to the Irish if I’m honest. My attitude is – life is short, the world is big so explore it while you can. I don’t think anyone can say that we haven’t lived our lives. Yes, moving to a new country can be scary & daunting especially if you’re doing it alone but I promise the benefits once you do it far outweigh these fears. 


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23 Replies to “Tips & tricks for moving to New Zealand”

  1. I’m all about small towns, so I’m looking forward to reading more about Kerikeri and New Zealand, which is actually very high on my list. Moving there for a while would be a dream! I don’t see that happening for a while as we have a two-year-old puppy. But, when the time comes I’d love for it to be an option.

  2. Wow, I envy you. Didn’t think of applying for work visas, working around and traveling the world!!! I met my husband quite late, at 60, so we just retired and traveled! And it looks like you can find work quite fast.

  3. New Zealand is indeed home to some of the most stunning landscapes on earth and brims with natural beauty. The country is indeed a nature lovers paradise. You are indeed blessed to get to live in this amazing country and enjoy its treasures.

  4. NewZealand is indeed beautiful and it is a great choice to move to because the country is relatively not that big and very easy to get around. There are a lot of places in the Pacific Ocean to explore, too. Hopefully, you will get to see those places and share with us what do you think!
    @ knycx.journeying

  5. Amazing article, I love the description of all this adventure, Im curious about what you decided to live in Capetown and why is so difficult to get a work visa for going there? Meanwhile that happen enjoy your time in NZ and let us know how life is going there!

    1. Just felt a connection with Capetown (never been there by the way), it’s difficult to explain. I don’t think it’s so much difficult to get a visa – just very time-consuming (an average of 8 months waiting). Thank you, we are loving life in New Zealand so far!

  6. Great post. I loved New Zealand. I enjoyed Queenstown heaps when there. Hubby is Australian but says he wants to retire here someday. Your photos are beautiful.

  7. Congratulations on the move and it sounds like you are settling in very well. It sounds almost unbelievable how smoothly your visa process went. That’s really exciting. Have actually never considered moving to New Zealand, but it is on my list of places to visit. The sunset shot is stunning!

  8. Congratulations on the move and it sounds like you are settling in very well. It sounds almost unbelievable how smoothly your visa process went. That’s really exciting. Have actually never considered moving to New Zealand, but it is on my list of places to visit. The sunset shot is stunning!

  9. This is so helpful! While I hadn’t considered doing a work visa there, but once I am done school who knows. I am definitely swooning over the photos and can imagine it must be quite the place to live 🙂 Pink Beach, in Matauri Bay is seriously stunning!

  10. Visa stuff can be such a pain so glad to hear the NZ one was easy. Had you been to NZ before or did you decide to move without ever going. I do really want to visit NZ. Then after that could consider living there, but it is just so far from family.

    1. Hi Anisa, I visited New Zealand for 2 weeks while I lived in Sydney and loved it but only to the South Island and now we live in the North Island, both arevery different. Yes. I agree it’s only downfall is how far it is from home (Ireland for me).

  11. I wish I’d known about the working holiday visas when I was younger. Getting to explore such a gorgeous country long term would be a dream come true for me. New Zealand has long been my top destination, I just need to find someone to go with me.

  12. Woah! It is nice to know receiving work visas in New Zealand is easy, but the fact that y’all already bought a car and house is whats amazing to me! Also, that is awesome about your job! MY husband and I both work in the hospitality industry and being able to just move around and find jobs easy would be the life! Very inspiring 🙂

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