Work and Play in Central Otago

Work Opportunities

The summerfruit industry is centered in the Central Otago region with over 200 orchards requiring over 5000 staff at the peak of the harvest season.  Summerfruit refers to all the stone fruits – including cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and nectarines. Apples and Wine Growing are also present in Central. 

This is also a growing region for New Zealand’s wine industry, so between the many orchards and vineyards, Central Otago offers year-round work opportunities. Central Otago is a tourism stronghold, captivating visitors with a wide range of excellent cellar door facilities and wine-tourism activities. The region is also renowned for producing excellent aromatics, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Visit the Summerfruit NZ for more information on the coming season and helpful information on what to expect from picking and packhouse work this coming season, or visit the PickNZ job board for all job listings.

Please contact for seasonal work information in Central Otago or go to the PickNZ job board to apply for jobs.

Click Here to View Jobs Listed in Central Otago Now

 Job demand

The best time for work in Central Otago is December to January for cherry picking or packhouse opportunities with other summerfruit still harvesting in February and March.  This is followed by apple and grape harvesting March till May with apples particularly focused in the Teviot Valley.

The work planner below provides a general idea of job demand throughout the year.


Job Demand



Very high

Where to stay

Most growers and packing facilities offer worker accommodation, but is first in first serve.  The region also has backpacker and camping facilities. Alternatively, you can take a short term house rental or home stay.

For more information on accommodation options click here.


Important information before you start

Before you start work you must sign an employment agreement with the employer and a health and safety induction.

It is advised that you take a photo of the first page of the agreement showing the business name and address and ask for a copy of the signed agreement.

Keep your own record of what days you worked and the number of hours you worked each day.

Please make sure you have an IRD number and bank account before you start work.


What to see and do in Central Otago

Central Otago is New Zealand’s most inland region, located in the southern half of the South Island.  Central Otago is also the FUN region of New Zealand with heaps of action adventure!
It’s breathtakingly different with vast undulating landscapes, rugged snow-capped mountains, clear blue rivers, deep gorges and tussock-clad hills.

Discover vivid seasons and rocky, mountainous landscapes; friendly townships; a well-preserved gold heritage; award-winning wineries, recreational opportunities from fishing, mountain biking and the Central Otago Rail Trail to winter sports like curling and ice skating; and so much more…
The relaxed pace, unrivalled scenery of Central Otago, seasonal weather, space, solitude and wide range of recreational opportunities go hand-in-hand with quality housing, facilities and organisations, commercial centres, and communities that value their lifestyles and plan for the future.


Some Must dos

  1. Ride the Otago Central Rail Trail
  2. Visit a winery or two
  3. Try curling at Naseby
  4. Search for gold at the Clutha Gold Trail
  5. Fish the Clutha River
  6. Go mountain biking in Queenstown & Wanaka
  7. Hit the nightlife of Queenstown! for more tourist information.