The first days in New Zealand, what you should do – Backpacking Tips

The first days in New Zealand, what you should do – backpacker tips

Arrival in New Zealand

You have arrived in New Zealand and survived the long flight to Christchurch or Auckland? Then there are a few things to do now, if you want to stay as a backpacker and start a work and travel year.
First of all, you should of course look for a place to stay, maybe a hostel to get to know some other travellers. Together, everything can be done more relaxed and it is also more fun in the bank appointment or the mobile phone shop to do these topics together.


window with rain drops and some airplanes in the background

Photo by W on Unsplash


Which accommodation should I book?

In Auckland, I spent the first days in the Haka Lodge. Even though I was in the 20 bed room, I was surprised, to get enough sleep and rest. Each bed had a lockable compartment for the backpack or other valuables. My recommendation for arrival or departure definitely is to book a pleasant hostel with a relaxed atmosphere and nice hosts before you arrive.

Basically, we would recommend you a hostel for the start, here you can meet other backpackers directly and make new friends. You will probably meet them again on your trip, probably in another part of New Zealand.

To find the perfect hostel for you, just visit Hostelworld*. Here you can enter your desired criteria and find for your desired location a list of all eligible hostels and can also book comfortably.
For Hostelworld please use here the link to Hostelworld website*.


Hut in the forest

Photo by Stephy Pariande on Unsplash


Which cell phone card should I get?

In New Zealand, it makes sense to swap your old sim card with a New Zealand sim card. Data volume, SMS and calls are only sensible and affordable with a local SIM card. You will often need the mobile phone card, especially to call employers, book campsites, and stay in touch with your friends and family.

The most important thing for you should be, buying a local sim card. That makes you get access to the internet or do some local phone calls. The biggest companies are Vodafone NZ (Vodafone NZ website) and Spark (Spark website). Both have a good network and similar plans. Just choose a plan that’s suits you. Vodafone has a special where you can design your plan after your needs.

If you need a lot of data then maybe a third option is available for you. There is a company called Skinny direct, they don’t have shops and offer their sim cards just online. But they have big plans of data for a reasonable price. You can easily find them on the following website (Skinny direct).

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More about mobile phone network and which providers are there you can find here on the blog in the following post.


Where can I get a free bank account?

In order to work in New Zealand in the future, you need a bank account. There are three major banks in New Zealand offering you a free account.
The three banks are the ANZ, the Kiwi bank and Westpac. All three banks offer free bank accounts with free online banking; you do not need anything more for a bank account. Do you already have a German free credit card* you do not need a credit card here. If you do not have a credit card already, you should book the offered credit card to the New Zealand account. Note that you should cancel the credit card when you leave New Zealand; most of the credit cards will cost a fee after 12 months at least.
What exactly you need documents for a bank account can be found here on the blog in the following post.


Inland Revenue Department

Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash


Apply for tax number (IRD number)

Then you should visit the local post office so you can apply for a tax number. You need this to work in New Zealand.

You can apply for this IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number at the local post station. You have to bring your work visa and passport to the Post. In addition, you will need a confirmation of your bank account including proof of deposit and withdrawal in your bank account (what means it is fully functional). In addition, you also need all the previous tax numbers of all countries where you have worked already. The registration of the tax code can take 1-2 weeks, but is normally easy and can even be asked for by phone, even if you do not want to wait. Even with questions, the IRD is very nice and helpful, just call and ask what you want to know. Once you have your tax number, you should unlock an account on MyIR. This allows you to view all tax-related information online, and you can also make your tax return there.
You can find more information about the tax number and their application here in our blog.

If you go to work, then you have to fill out a tax form that the employer must provide you with prior to the first working day (partly on request).

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You can also use this form to select your tax code (in most cases the tax code is M).


Tax declaration in New Zealand

At the end of your trip or the tax year (1.4. – 31.3.), you can request a refund of the taxes you paid too much. The document for the tax return is also available from the IRD website. Everything you need to know about the tax in New Zealand can be found here.

If you do not want to take care of your own tax refund, you can also contact the so-called Tax Agents who have tailored their services to the needs of backpackers. These help you against money through the tax jungle.
You can find the website of the Inland Revenue Department here.


Car buying in New Zealand

For a longer stay, it makes sense in our opinion that you look around for a car, Apart from the big car dealers who are mostly geared towards backpackers; there is the possibility to buy directly from other backpackers. Especially at the end of the season, in March – August it is the time to make a bargain. We have a summary of all car themes here in the blog. Before buying a car, whether from a dealer or another backpacker, you should do a pre buy check (costs between 75 to 150 NZD). There a mechanic has a look if there are any damages to the car that could become a problem in the future. Classics damages are leaks, oil burning or warped axles. Even worn tires or brakes are more common. Of course you should not forget to take care of car insurance if you buy a car. You can drive without it, but then you also have the risk that you have to pay in case of damage itself. More on insurance types and what is offered as insurance, you can find in the following post on our blog.


Questions, comments or ideas

Have fun in New Zealand; do you have any questions or suggestions? Then in the comments with it. We wish you lots of fun and a great time in New Zealand.



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