Working Holiday in New Zealand: Which Company to Go With?

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1 - Being a billy-no-mates and inexperienced working holiday traveller, the peace of mind that someone will be expecting me when I land in New Zealand is truly needed. Not only that, but an extremely high chance of getting a job and a place to stay would be nice.

Deciding which working holiday company to choose to start your adventure is a very important decision, well, isn’t anything you spend a stupid amount of money on? I spent multiple weekends Googling until my brain was googled weighing the pros and cons of each working holiday company.

Whether it’s to keep costs down or get the best job hunting advice, working holiday makers have individual requirements. So to make it a little easier to choose, I have made a working holiday company comparison. It goes without saying, Compare the Meerkat aint got nothin’ on me. Below are what each company’s basic package includes.

BUNAC GAP360 Smaller Earth Working Holiday Starter
£339 £229 £329 £232.90
Hostel
Accommodation
7 nights
inc.
breakfast!
2 nights 3 Nights
(Add on nights
available)
Airport Transfer to
Hostel
Bus Voucher Woo! Shuttle Voucher
Luggage Storage Woo! Month
storage
Mail Holding Woo! Woo! Woo!
Travel Adaptor Woo!
NZ Lonely Planet Woo!
Advice and Support
before trip
Woo! Travel guide, vouchers,
maps, fill out paperwork
together.
Arrival Orientation Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!
Tax Number (IRD) Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!
Bank Account Setup Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!
SIM card International
phone card
Mobile
and/or SIM
SIM and
international
phone card
(value $10)
SIM and 1 week credit
Job Hunting Advice
/ Support
For whole
time in NZ
Woo! For whole time in NZ.
CV and interview 
advice
Woo! Woo!
Access to job 
listings
Presentation
how to use job
websites.
Exclusive jobs
Northland and
Bay of Plenty
Membership
to their
job site.
Access to Resource
Centre
Internet
access
Office in
Auckland
Unlimited
internet access
Office in Auckland.
Free access to internet
in hostel.
Accommodation 
listings
Woo!
Intro to NZ and 
Auckland
Living, partying and
travelling in NZ. Find
accommodation.
Access to travel
agency (things to 
do).
Woo!
24/7 Emergency 
Contact
Woo! Woo!
Info Guides Woo! Woo!
Social Events Woo!
Drink Voucher Woo!
Youth Hostel 
Association 
Membership
Woo!
Travel discounts Woo!
Skytower Entry Woo!

Add ons (well, some of them)

Working Holiday Starter

  • 5 more nights in hostel – £62.24
  • Working holiday insurance (1 year) – £146.41
  • Luggage insurance – £22.16

BUNAC

  • Group Flights including a stop off in Hong Kong. It’s a mini holiday staying in a 3* hotel with a guided tour and a group night out – £1019
  • Visas
    BUNAC offer two visas: Working Holiday Visa (same as the UK Working Holiday Scheme) or IEP work exchange visa (limited places and unique to BUNAC/IEP). The support funds you may need to provide on arrival to New Zealand are considerably less than the Working Holiday Visa, with the IEP visa at NZ$3000/£1553.23. Both visas include BUNAC’s admin fee.
  • BUNAC’s suggested travel insurance is a worrying £712.25 – or that’s what I was quoted when following their website links.

Contact

Before trusting a company with being your go-to for any urgent queries you are likely to have in New Zealand, you might just want to ask a few questions before handing over your coin. This little trial was the decider for me when choosing between Gap360 and Working Holiday Starter.

I emailed both companies the same question, and although both replied with similarly helpful answers, Working Holiday Starter were far more prompt by replying a few hours later.

Admittedly, I did not contact BUNAC about New Zealand, but I did contact them when looking into information about a working holiday in Canada. I mean, I had just paid 100 quid. After handing over the £100 deposit  that is required when you register to a working holiday scheme, I began to take advantage of using BUNAC’s services to check over my CV. However, I had to chase them up a couple of times, as no one was replying to my email. The company were helpful with some questions I had over the telephone, but I realised the scale of this company after talking to three different BUNACers.

As for Smaller Earth, from the moment I registered (so I’d remember it existed) I was receiving missed calls, voicemails and emails once a week for about four weeks. I am not one of those to ignore a call but I was working, OK? So just back off, Smaller Earth!

Price Comparison

BUNAC GAP360 Smaller Earth Working Holiday Starter
Package £339 £229 £329 £232.90
Insurance
(With winter
sports cover)
£353.09
(Insurance
with
Outbacker)
£353.09
(Insurance
with
Outbacker)
£353.09
(Insurance
with
Outbacker)
£42.39
(Insurance add on)
First week
accommodation
 £133   Inc in
package
 £49 (cheapest
rate at Nomads
Auckland
Backpackers
Hostel)
£62.24 (8 days all
together)
Flights from
London to
Auckland
£612
(Single with
Air New
Zealand)
£612
(Single with
Air New
Zealand)
£612
(Single with
Air New
Zealand)
£612
(Single with
Air New
Zealand)
Visa £105 for UK
Working
Holiday
Scheme
£189 for IEP
visa (both inc
admin fee).
£85 for UK
Working
Holiday
Scheme
£85 for UK
Working
Holiday
Scheme
£85 for UK
Working
Holiday
Scheme
Total   £1,542.09  1,277.09  1,428.09  1,138.55

Verdict

I am so glad I stumbled upon Working Holiday Starter just as I was about to settle for GAP360. Even before contacting Working Holiday Starter with a couple of questions, most of my queries had been answered on their fantastic website. You should definitely check workingholidaystarter.com out just to get some advice on things you might not have considered. It even has a handy currency convertor on all prices mentioned.

Because Working Holiday Starter is a smaller company, I am hoping this will mean the company will have the time for me, rather than having to cope with another nameless face. It is a New Zealand company – I’d expect nothing less. Its package seems to cover all the essentials for finding work and accommodation in New Zealand. The company has been helpful so far (I have begun the paperwork already). Finally, they are the cheapest for getting you set up on your New Zealand adventure.

The endless tables in the blog post is to help you make your decision by knowing if each company provides what you are looking for to make the most of your working holiday. As a solo traveller, I would have loved to do the group flight option with BUNAC. What a fun way to make friends and also get to visit Hong Kong. If money was no object…

As my working holiday gets underway, I will review Working Holiday Starter to see if it lives up to this positive first impression.

Got any advice on working holiday companies? Put a cheeky comment below, will ya?

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4 responses to “Working Holiday in New Zealand: Which Company to Go With?

  1. Pingback: An Overly Detailed Review of Working Holiday Starter | Just Popping Out for a Bit·

  2. Hey, I am currently looking at getting a working visa for New Zealand this year and also looking at ‘Working Holiday Starter’ was just wondering if you had any experience of needing to contact them whilst you were away and how helpful they were? Thank you 🙂

    Like

  3. This comparison chart is lovely and helpful!! I am from the USA; my husband and I are considering the working holiday in NZ. we have called BUNAC and really enjoyed their correspondent. Smaller Earth was playing phone tag (frustrating) and had odd office hours. I just discovered the working holiday starter site and thought, “Wow, this is a better deal!”

    Like

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