Working holiday visa Australia or New Zealand: what’s the best for you?

You think about it since days, maybe months. A Working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand? Tough question, I know. I went through the same, before finally applying to a year of working holiday visa in one of these 2 dreamy backpacking destinations. So, what would suit to you best? To your budget? To your personality? I tell you from my own experience what to expect!

Author Ophelie Harnichard Blog

– By Ophelie. 8mn reading –

The most important things to know about a working holiday visa in Australia and New Zealand, in 4 points:

    • Visa costs: Australia AUD $510 / New Zealand NZ $245
    • Age requirement: 18 to 30 y.o. Up to 35 for a few countries. Australia: France, Canada, Ireland / NZ: Argentina, Uruguay, Czech republic, Canada, Slovakia, Chile
    • How to apply: online. Passport, financial funds evidence (5000 for Australia / 4200 for NZ), health and character declaration requirements

Why applying to a Working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand?

There is no such thing as a perfect country to start the life-time adventure of backpacking. But there are two places which come really, really close to the perfect backpackers’ destination. And that’s backpacking Australia or New Zealand!

Backpacking Australia or New Zealand: the best bet for first time solo backpackers

There is always a first time. And a solo travel it can be even scarier than the first date with this (still for now) so cool person you met last night at the bar.

What should a working holiday visa destination for first time travelers offer? In my opinion, it comes down to only a few things:

 – Safe country, made for backpackers and travelers

– Industrialized

– With jobs especially for working holiday visa makers

– Stunning landscapes

– Like-minded backpackers

– Affordable cost of living

Australia and New Zealand have it all. You can go on your first working holiday visa with complete peace of mind.

Picture of Brisbane by night, Australia.
Brisbane, Australia, at night

Australia or New Zealand on a working holiday visa: tell me who you are, I’ll tell you what to choose

The weather when backpacking Australia and New Zealand

You love sun, surf and being in bikini

A working holiday visa in Australia can literally rime with sun, surf, and beach all year long. If you`re ready to move around, you’ll always find hot weather there. The West and East Coast have both their 4 seasons. In Cairns and Darwin, it`s even hot all the time – tropical climate obliges.

And for those who prefer snow, rain, or a temperate climate: Sydney, Melbourne or Tasmania will give you the occasion to wear your favorite jeans and pull overs.

You were a penguin in an anterior life

And New Zealand? A bit more complicated if you didn’t take any winter clothes in your luggage! Clearly, I couldn’t have spent my working holiday visa in New Zealand… because it’s way too cold for me. If you get lucky, you might get 25 degrees on the North Island in summer. I was there in May, meaning during fall. We had around 15 degrees during the day. And freezing at night. The south is even colder.

My verdict: Australian weather is the winner since all climates can be found. New Zealand`s climate is rather made for the ones who enjoy winter, snow, and mild temperatures in summer.

Best things to do on a working holiday visa in Australia and New Zealand

Doing your working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand will leave you with quite different cool things to do in both countries. So, which one correspond best to what you want to do and see.

You`re a city mouse

You need from time to time urban hectic life. Australia is for that a good compromise. It offers the beauty and quietness of Nature, like the West Coast or the Red Centre. But cities also have their own identity and a particular atmosphere. You’ll feel relaxed in Cairns, you’ll feel back in Europe in Sydney or Melbourne. New Zealand clearly doesn’t shine by its city life. But it has something else to propose for backpackers and travelers …

For the unconditional nature lovers

You want colorful landscapes and complete wilderness. You want to see an untouched nature and feel amazed at every corner of the road. You want to say wow every minute on the road trip … then go to New Zealand. It’s the most stunning nature I’ve ever seen. The scenery never stops changing, from rainforest to impressive volcanic landscapes. If you love nature photography and wild road trips in the nature, you won’t be disappointed.

Papamoa Beach with extinct volcano in the backgroundat sunset New zealand north island

Traveling Australia is also a very good idea if you love being in the Nature. The impressionant desert of Alice springs, the green sceneries of Tasmania, or the turquoise waters on the West Coast: everything is here. Just with less untouched and with more urban vibes maybe than New Zealand!

You dream of wild road trips in the van

Good news … Australia or New Zealand, it doesn’t matter! They are both perfect for going on unforgettable road trips. As backpackers or solo travelers, we dream of American mythic highways, straight empty roads in the middle of nowhere. Australia is the place to choose for that. And if you prefer winding roads up and down gorgeous mountains in the rainforest, you’ll choose New Zealand. Beautiful beaches and green rainforest are everywhere!

Beach and turquoise waters are very important to you

I found the most stunning turquoise waters and white sand beaches in.. Australia! More precisely near Perth on the West Coast – Jurien Bay, Esperance… this remote western coast has really something you don’t want to say goodbye to. New Zealand’s beaches are rougher, also with their own magic. Volcanic black sandy beaches, lunar landscapes, or postcard blue waters: they are wild, and windy of course!

Hiking, outdoors and extreme sports

Hiking in New Zealand is a must. On the North Island, Tongariro Alpine Crossing is probably the most famous hike, 7 hours up and down a volcano. On the South Island, the glacier Franz Joseph and the Sub-Antarctic islands  are further examples. They belong to the 3 UNESCO listed sites. Plenty of lakes and mountains provide hikes lovers with a beautiful playground. Extreme sports like skydiving, body jumping, rafting and a lot of others wait for you, especially in Queenstown, a backpackers’ city.

New zealand north island Itinerary 14 days -

Top things to do in New Zealand and Australia: my tested list!

Top things to see in New Zealand:

  • Tongariro volcano
  • Lake Taupo
  • Milford sound
  • Abel national park

What absolutely not to miss in Australia

Backpackers communities in Australia and New Zealand

You like being surrounded by an extended traveler’s community

Australia is for you! I was myself surprised to see how easy it was to meet other backpackers, everywhere you go. Even in the bush! Australia is a hotspot for backpackers. And you shouldn’t have issues to find travelers to go on road trips with.

The travelers’ communities tend to be younger on the East Coast. Personally, I preferred the more authentic, calm vibes on the West Coast.

The downside? Many people, a more touristic atmosphere than the quiet neighbour New Zealand. And that’s why you’ll love New Zealand if you’re more of an introvert, who likes enjoying wild Nature without anyone around. Indeed, I found it more complicated in New Zealand to get in touch with other travelers. I didn’t stay as long as in OZ but it’s definitely another way of backpacking.

Cost of life on a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand

Let’s dive into probably THE most important point for you when preparing your working holiday visa:   the cost of living. It won’t surprise you if I say that both Australia and New Zealand are quite expensive to live in. It’s more or less the travel budget you would plan in European countries like France, Germany or the UK.

The good news is that you don’t have to give thoughts about it while choosing between Australia and New Zealand … the travel budget will be similar. If you don’t plan on breaking a bank, spare money before starting your working holiday visa. Both have got financial requirements you might need to show at your entry in the country.

Comparison cost of life Austraia vs New Zealand:

  • A night in a hostel dorm: OZ from 15$ / NZ from 20$
  • A meal at a restaurant: OZ and NZ from 15$
  • Groceries for a week: OZ from 100$ / NZ from 130$

Backpacker jobs in Australia and New Zealand: where is it easier and how to find them?

How to find a backpacker job in Australia?

Since I did my working holiday visa in Australia for 2 years, I can give you tips on this one. For what I could hear, it’s also easier to find backpacking work there than in New Zealand. It’s worth to say that the Australian economy integrates – and needs – backpackers as a real work force.

In farms it’s common to find jobs “reserved” to backpackers. Jobs that Australians often don’t want to do themselves… and that’s why you always should check the work conditions and opinions from fellow backpackers about a workplace.

An important difference between working in Australia and New Zealand as a backpacker: New Zealand lets you work for 12 months for the same employer. While it’s limited to 6 months in Australia.

FAQ - WHV Australia and New Zealand: what you really need to know to apply and to extend

WHV Australia eligibility and other information

What nationality should you have to apply to a working holiday visa Australia?

40 nationalities participating in the working holiday visa program are allowed to apply to the 417 and 462 WHV.

At what age can you apply to a WHV Australia?

Between 18 and 30 years old, and up to 35 for Canadian, French, and Irish citizens.

How much does the WHV Australia cost?

It will cost you AUD $510 to apply online (date: October 2022)

What documents do you need to make a visa request?

You’ll need your passport, the proof of financial funds (AUD $5,000) to sustain yourself, a declaration of health and character requirements. Don’t worry, it’s all straight forward and basic.

How to apply to the 417 or 426 working holiday visa?

You can do it easily online, on the Australian official government website dedicated to working holiday visas. You’ll be asked to download the required documents in English. It might take up to 3 months to get a reply. But usually, it only lasts a few hours before receiving the working holiday visa in your emails!

Can you study during your WHV Australia?

You can study up to 4 months.

How long can you work for the same employer?

Up to 6 months.

WHV New Zealand eligibility

What nationality should you have to apply to a working holiday visa New Zealand?

All nationalities participating in the working holiday visa program are allowed to apply.

At what age can you apply to a WHV New Zealand?

Between 18 and 30 years old, and up to 35 for these selected countries: Czech republic, Argentina, Chile, Slovakia, Canada.

How long can you stay in New Zealand under a working holiday visa?

Up to 12 months. And up to 23 months for UK and Canada`s citizens.

What documents do you need to make a work and travel visa request in New Zealand?

You’ll need your passport, the proof of financial funds (AUD $4,200) to sustain yourself, a declaration of health and character requirements, and the proof of a medical insurance for your stay.

How much does the WHV New Zealand cost?

It’s NZ $245 to apply online (date: October 2022).

How to apply to the NZ working holiday visa?

You can apply only online to the New Zealand WHV, on the official government website. Scroll down and click on your country to access the application page.

Can you study during your WHV in New Zealand?

Yes! You are allowed to study up to 6 months.

How long can you work for the same employer?

Up to 12 months.

5 thoughts on “Working holiday visa Australia or New Zealand: what’s the best for you?

  1. arcopal says:

    Super la petite histoire, jolies les photos de montagne, on a envie de planer au sommet!!!

    1. ophelieharnichard says:

      Merci beaucoup! Un des plus beaux endroits que j’ai vu jusqu’ici, la Nouvelle Zélande. Photos prises après une ascension de 4h, on en est fières!

  2. Laagan Kaayo says:

    We will visit both countries this coming November!!! Nice info you have here! I hope our visa will be approve!

    1. ophelieharnichard says:

      You’ll love being there! A lot of adventures ahead! Thanks for reading and commenting my article. Glad it was useful 🙂

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