When I decided to go to New Zealand in 2013, I was contemplating different options. But the working holiday visa is perfect to explore a country – it gives you 12 months to travel and work. When I started off, I had some money saved up, but not thousands and thousands of dollars, so staying in one place for a few weeks or months and then getting on the road again, is such a great opportunity. You have to be under 31 when you apply (there are exceptions, depending on the country you are applying for and which nationality you are).
Since then, I have been on working holidays in New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Getting a visa is quite different for each of them and the application process depends on which country you are from. I am from Germany, so if you need any help on the application process, just let me know.
I loved my working holidays so far, even though Canada was quite challenging for me. Compared to NZ, it is such a huge country and getting around if you don’t have a car is quite expensive. I worked at a mountain resort first, but figured out that this is not the place for me to be (if you love parties, that’s the right place for you 😉 ). I found a great job at a tea shop which was fun, but my expenses were pretty high. Maybe I was spoiled in NZ, as everything just seemed to work out as I went along, even if I sometimes had bad days as well (I think that’s just normal). I think it is a different and individual experience for everyone (I met people who found great jobs in Canada and loved their experience). I don’t regret anything though, the wildlife and landscape in Canada is just beautiful.
Where else did I work? I worked a lot in hospitality (cafes and bars), tourism (hotel and hostels, reception and housekeeping), and also did some woofing. Sometimes it’s hard work, but you meet so many fascinating people and also you are being rewarded by seeing amazing places. In Australia, I worked in an office job as a receptionist in Perth, on farms (for my second year visa) and in a cafe in Canberra.
Application process and fees
The application process, fees and conditions might change from year to year, and also depend on your nationality and in which country you are currently residing. My personal experience was that my working holiday visa for New Zealand was the cheapest (around NZ$160 in 2013) and relatively easy to apply for, the one for Canada was difficult to get (they had only limited visas and there were several steps) and the visa for Australia was quite similar to the one for NZ, but cost me around AUD 440. The application for the second year visa for Australia is more complex now, you need to prove that you did eligible work (farm or construction work) for three months and were paid according to the minimum wages (I supplied pay slips, bank account statements and details of employers).
Do you have any questions about work and travel? I’d love to hear from you.