Hi there! I arrived in Auckland in January.
As every Working Holiday Visa holder facing a new country, I had to re-start my life once again. I made a 20 step-by-step list of things you need to do (and know!) once arrived in New Zealand.
I’m pretty sure it will be extremely useful for your first days in Kiwiland.
STOPOVER ON YOUR WAY TO NEW ZEALAND
If on your way to getting into New Zealand you planned a stopover in Australia and you’re travelling with a different airline (for example Venice > Sydney with Lufthansa and then Sydney > Auckland with New Zealand Air) make sure you get an ETA Visitor Visa for Australia. The same airline should suggest it when you book your flight. If you’ll make the whole trip with the same airline, they should take care of that.
Do not enter the country without health insurance. Orbit Protect offers a specific cover for Working Holiday Visas Holder in New Zealand, you can take out annual basic insurance for $285. Each visit or use will cost you $100 and the insurance will pay for all subsequent costs.
WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND
First of all: print your Visa. Make sure you’ll arrive at the airport with your NZ Visa printed.
GET TO AUCKLAND CBD
The airport is quite far away from the Auckland CBD. Buy online your SkyBus ticket – it will take you from the airport to the city centre. Buying it online will costs you $17 and you’ll be able to get in straight away, without queuing at the cashier. There’s free Wi-Fi on the bus, so you can connect and check where you need to go.
PROOF OF RESIDENCE
As soon as you arrive at your hostel, ask for proof of residence. You will need it to open a bank account.
WASH YOUR STUFF
Washing machine and dryer: if you are in need to wash your stuff, The Station Backpackers has an efficient and cheap laundry: $3 for 45 minutes of washing and $3 for an hour of drying. Everywhere else? Expensive!
NEW COUNTRY, NEW BANK ACCOUNT
Every New Zealand bank will ask you for: proof of residence, your country of residence tax code, passport details and they’ll ask you to log-in and access the New Zealand Immigration website in front of them. Without the bank account first, you will not be able to request the IRD Number.
NEW COUNTRY, NEW PHONE NUMBER
New Zealand has the most expensive internet fees ever. It’s really bad, really slow, and really expensive. It’s also limited. LIMITED! I didn’t even know limited internet was a thing. Anyway, my cheapest choice: a 2 Degrees SIM card with 3GB of data per month at $30 per month. If you’re able to use the wifi at home and at work, you don’t need more than this.
TRANSFER YOUR MONEY
TransferWise is still the cheapest and fastest way: https://transferwise.com/u/alicep204
You need it in order to work. You can activate it online or at the post office. It will require you: proof of residence, a bank account with some money in (to prove that it is active), passport and copy of passport, working holiday visa.
Download the AT Mobile app and buy the Auckland public transport card in one of the affiliated stores for $10. You need it in order to save money. Remember to always tap on and tap off!
PRINT YOUR CVs
BUY YOUR FOOD
If you arrived in New Zealand after one year in Australia, you will notice straight away the differences in prices. The cheapest supermarkets are the Asian ones, there’s also a specific chain called Furein and the Pak N Save chain.
BUY NEW CLOTHES, SELL THE OLD ONES
If you need new clothes, you should know that Auckland is full of Charity shops but also very cool second-hand ones. Have a walk in K-road, there are five thrift stores within two hundred meters. Take a look at the Red Cross and Salvation Army ones, are always the cheapest. Tatty’s and Recycle Boutique are super cool. I always suggest to sell and buy from second-hand shops, sustainable and cheap. What you ABSOLUTELY need in New Zealand? A rain jacket and an umbrella!
THE PLACES TO BE
The most interesting roads are definitely Karangahape Rd (the famous k-road) very alternative and gay friendly; while Ponsonby and the Harbor / Wharf area are beautiful night and day but definitely very busy at nighttime.
Do you have other great ways to cut the cost of living in New Zealand? Please share them below.