New Zealand

Tips and tricks for moving to New Zealand

How to relocate to New Zealand in a few easy steps. From someone who’s done it!

Want to know how to successfully relocate to New Zealand? In September 2017, myself and Paul packed our bags to relocate far far away to the land of looming green mountains, crystal clear lakes or “middle-earth” as it’s commonly called. Yep, you guessed it – we’ve relocated to New Zealand. We’re working our way through those Working Holiday Visa’s ain’t we – Canada, Australia and now New Zealand.

how to relocate to New Zealand
Heli flight over the Bay of Islands

Is moving to New Zealand a good idea?

New Zealand wasn’t our first choice – okay, it wasn’t MY first choice. I really wanted to move to Capetown, South Africa. It was to 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 eight 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.

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

We applied for our Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand

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).

READ HERE: for more detailed information on how to apply for a visa for New Zealand 

rainbow falls kerikeri
Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri

Booking our flights to New Zealand

As soon as the visas came through and our relocation to New Zealand was set in stone, 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.

Pink Beach, Matauri Bay

Finding a job in New Zealand

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 best hotel in Australia & New Zealand (according to Conde Nast Traveller). An offer I couldn’t refuse .

This job is a lot different to my previous job in Whistler – it’s a lot smaller, more intimate but the setting is spectacular. The hotel has three 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.

Ake Ake Point, Kerikeri

Insights into our daily life in New Zealand

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)

We highly recommend moving to New Zealand

For anyone thinking of relocating 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.

Tell me – what do you think of my advice on how to relocate to New Zealand? Let me know in the comments below.

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Our advice on how to relocate to New Zealand under the working holiday visa scheme. Including how to get the visa, find a place to rent and get a job!

30 replies on “Tips and tricks for moving to New Zealand”

Just WOW! I cant help but feel happy for you guys! I’ve been looking for a change in my life lately and this has been such a refreshing and inspiring read. Thank you!

“If I got the chance to live in New Zealand I would grab it instantly! Who else will not? New Zealand is very beautiful and organize. I always dream of visiting the country but we are still busy to have a trip. Thanks for sharing experience.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

Blanca check that. Many countries are friends with NZ, so you can get a 12 month visa for starters. Or see if your country offers it to Australia and then you can visit or work in some situations.
I found helpful in understanding the culture too – very different from Australia where I had lived before! Check NZ Now (govt site) and Immigration NZ. Good luck!

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.

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).

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.

Hey Kris, although the cut off for a working holiday visa is 30, you can still apply for a visa if you are eligible for a job on the Immediate Skills Shortage List (ISSL) and the Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) – according to a guide I’ve read on WorldFirst. Application details can be found on the immigration list linked in the article.
Worth considering if you still entertain the idea of working in New Zealand.

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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