A place to live is often available on-site at orchards or vineyards, in the form of caravans or shared lodges. Ask a PickNZ Regional Coordinator for information about this option.
There are many independent backpacker hostels in New Zealand for independent travellers of all ages. There are also three main networks of hostels operating – BBH, VIP and YHA – as well as a number of smaller hostel chains like Base and Beyond Backpackers. Becoming a member of a network can offer benefits like nightly discounts on its hostels throughout the country. In a hostel you sleep in a dormitory with others; usually provide your own bedding and towels; and share bathroom, kitchen and social areas – meaning they are a great place to meet people. Double, twin or single private rooms may also be available.
Renting a house or room
Sharing a rented house or apartment with a small group of people is called flatting in New Zealand. It’s a great way to meet other workers and Kiwis, and split household chores and costs. You can organise a group of people and sign a lease on a house or apartment advertised by the landlord, or through a real estate ageny. Otherwise you could find a room for yourself in an established flat. These are advertised online, in the newspaper or on supermarket and community notice boards. You may also find an opportunity to board with a New Zealand family advertised there.
In New Zealand, holiday homes are called baches. Sometimes these can be rented for a weekly rate with a bond. Comfort levels range from basic to luxury. Visit www.bookabach.co.nz or www.holidayhomes.co.nz to find out more. Peak holiday times like Christmas and school holidays will affect availability.
You could buy or hire a campervan to live in and drive in as you follow the seasonal horticulture work around New Zealand’s diverse regions. To hire a van you will pay a weekly rate, plus fuel and insurance. Expect to pay peak rates from December to March.
Camping and cabins
New Zealand’s many camping grounds offer relaxed, cheap living. You can buy a tent and camping equipment when you arrive in the country and sell it when you leave. Campsites are often in scenic locations near the water or close to the main tourist attractions. Some offer on-site caravans and cabins to rent, with communal bathrooms and kitchens to share. Cabins provide basic furniture and cooking equipment, and sometimes a TV or radio. Expect camping grounds to be at their busiest from Christmas until the end of January.
There are many motels in New Zealand. This is a budget form of hotel accommodation, with each room having its own cooking facilities and bathroom.
Marae and shearer’s quarters
For a special New Zealand experience, stay on a Maori marae or in shearers’ quarters.