Being a young traveler in New Zealand means being put in the little box “Backpacker”.
Which seems to basically stand for someone who can do the worst jobs for the least amount of money. Or no money at all preferably. Backpackers work their ass off for a dorm bed and half priced internet. Maybe, if you are lucky, you even get some toast and jam!
Backpacker life in New Zealand
I’m being serious. I have lived in 8 different countries but this is the first time in my life where I apply for a job in tourism and they happily get back to me offering work, 20-30 hours a week, for accommodation. Now why would anyone want to do that? You cannot save money, you cannot continue traveling after that because you haven’t actually earned anything.
Then there are other jobs, fruit picking for example. Any New Zealander we spoke to telling them we were going to look for work in New Zealand, reacted: “Oh, but it’s not really the season now?!”. So being in the “backpacker box” means you can only do fruit picking. Now even though employers are legally obliged to pay you the minimum wage, most employers will try to get around that law and pay by the bin. Which had us ending up earning around $8,- (around €5,-) an hour for working as hard as we could for 9 hours straight, picking apples. Honestly, how do people stick with a job like that for 2 or 3 months?
New Zealand is a gorgeous country to travel around. Stunning nature, mountains, ocean, farmland, fiords, sounds etc. But working there, unless you don’t mind the work for accommodation or for less than minimum wage; not so great. And one thing is certain, travelling in New Zealand is not cheap. But despite all of that, we absolutely loved New Zealand and our experiences in this amazing country! And apart from the work situation at times, being a backpacker in New Zealand is fantastic!