WWOOF Around New Zealand for Under $25 A Day

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

This is a guest post provided by fellow travel bloggers of Travelshutter, Paul and Kasia, an Anglo/ Polish couple continuously traveling around the world on a budget. 

We have been traveling around New Zealand for six months now and still have our savings relatively intact. How did we do it? Simple, we worked for our accommodation (wwoofing). WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms but in New Zealand, the term is used loosely and generally refers to any work exchange for accommodation.

sunset-golden-bay-WWOOF-Around-New-Zealand-for-Under-25-a-Day
We spent five weeks in Golden Bay and
saw many sunsets like this one!

Accommodation usually accounts for around half of any daily budget and is the biggest expense besides transport while traveling New Zealand.

For a standard dorm bed in the North Island, expect to pay around $25 per night. This price increases dramatically the further south you go and can be as much as $35 per night in Queenstown. This is why working for accommodation is the only way to travel New Zealand. Think of all the money you can save and all you need to do is donate 2-4 hours of your day! Most of the time, the work can be done in the morning, which still leaves the afternoon free for exploring.

on-the-road-WWOOF-Around-New-Zealand-for-Under-25-a-Day
Our placement in Mount Potts was so
remote, only a truck could take us there!

Saving money on accommodation is not the only reason wwoofing benefits your travels. It can become an experience in itself, an excuse to try something you’ve never done before and learn something new. Due to its scenery and diversity, New Zealand may be one of the best places in the world to do this. Backpackers have been doing it for years now and because of the New Zealanders’ friendly and easy going lifestyle, it has become a common occurrence. You can crayfish in Kaikoura, work on a boat in the stunningly beautiful Marlborough Sounds or help out at a hippy community in Golden Bay.

mt-potts-WWOOF-Around-New-Zealand-for-Under-25-a-Day
We worked in Mount Potts Lodge for 6
amazing day!

Helpx.net is a great website to use to find these unique experiences. It has lots of listings and for a small fee; any one of them can be contacted. Most of the placements will also include meals, Internet and laundry. The type of placements on Help X vary from farm work and agriculture to helping out families in rural areas. There are also some hospitality listings but are not very common.

We have mainly used the website ‘BBH Forums’ (bbh.co.nz/travelers/billboards). This is where hostel and guesthouse owners place listings for work that can be as varied as cleaning and housekeeping, reception, gardening and even painting and landscaping. The BBH network is an alternative to YHA for independent hostels. The great thing about this site is that there are many listings all over the country, it’s free to contact hostel owners and because of the nature of the business, most of the hostels are situated close to town centres or tourist attractions. This makes it easy if you don’t have your own transport. Most listings require a minimum stay of three weeks or more and if you are prepared to stay for longer, it’s not uncommon for hostel owners to arrange free trips to the local tourist
attractions.

kauri-mountain-beach-WWOOF-Around-New-Zealand-for-Under-25-a-Day
Kauri Mountain Beach was a short drive
away from our hostel in Whangarei.

WWOOF New Zealand is also a good website to use and we have met a lot of travelers using this site.

The site charges $40 per year for membership and mainly focuses on ecological and organic farming. Unfortunately, demand does outweigh supply and we met a traveller who had been waiting for weeks to find a placement. Of course, every placement is completely different and we have had our bad experiences as well as the good. While looking at new listings we follow these simple rules to prevent a bad wwoofing experience:

  • On sites like ‘Help X’, previous wwoofers can write reviews about their experience at that particular placement. Read them as they offer vital information about the placement, location and work. The more reviews a placement has, the better.
  • Understand exactly what is expected of you and more importantly, what you can provide for the owners.
  • On ‘BBH Forum’ check if the placement has been listed before. If it’s appeared a number of times, chances are there is a reason for this.
abel-tasman-WWOOF-Around-New-Zealand-for-Under-25-a-Day
The beautiful Abel Tasman, a 20 minute
drive from our wwoofing placement.

For people who like discovering something new and love going off the beaten track then wwoofing really is for you. If we hadn’t have applied for a placement in Whangarei, then we would have never discovered some of the best beaches we had ever seen! In Golden Bay, we spent five weeks trekking the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park while wwoofing. We lived like locals, discovered places that you wouldn’t find in guidebooks, learnt new skills (I am now an expert in growing vegetables!) and we did all this on a budget of less then $25 per day.

As long as you go into every placement with an open mind and a fun and hard working attitude, then you’re going to have a great time!

Have you ever done work exchange for accommodation to save up some money when traveling?

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Paul and Kasia are an Anglo/ Polish couple continuously traveling around the world on a budget. They set up Travel Shutter this year after being inspired by their travels in Asia and hope to inspire others to travel more through photography and travel writing. They are currently in the middle of their working holiday in New Zealand. Check out their blog, Facebook fan page and follow their adventures on Twitter!

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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34 thoughts on “WWOOF Around New Zealand for Under $25 A Day”

  1. This is a great option for travelling NZ! It’s an expensive country to visit but it’s sooo worth it and by WWOOfing I’m sure you meet tons of great locals as well along with saving heaps of money :) Can’t wait for my next trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud!

  2. Many thanks for sharing your experiences and introducing us to this great concept. I think your tips at the end are also very useful.

    You have mentioned that some people have waited weeks/months to find a placement. What do you think people should do if they are trying to plan a 10 day trip to NZ and you can’t get appointments lined up for these work experiences?

    1. Hi The Guy. For a 10 day trip, it’s going to be pretty difficult especially as wwoofing is way more rewarding if you can spend a longer length of time in one place. I would have a look on ‘helpx’ and just read what people want. You may get lucky and find a placement for a couple of days only. It’s all about planning and networking! Hope this helps!

  3. Brrr…the post started out looking cold but then wound up in beautiful and hopefully warm Abel Tasman. I’ve had a life-long infatuation with New Zealand and this sounds like a fantastic way to explore it! I’m going to do some more reading up on Wwoof and check out Helpx and BBH Forums. Thank you for the great read, Paul and Kasia! And thank you for sharing them with us, Agness :)

  4. RAD! Thank you so much! I plan on moving to New Zealand after my time in London, so I will refer back to this soon! Thank you!

  5. This post feels like it was meant for me. I just got my new Zealand working holiday visa and will more there in the July. I will definitely have to try wwoofing. Thanks a lot for this post.

  6. Wow I have been to NZ several times and I had no idea they had these programs! I really wish I had known, because NZ is not the cheapest place in the world to visit!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I know it’s not the cheapest place, but as you can see you can easily travel there for $25 a day :P so pack your bags and off you go!

  7. NZ is on my list for ages but 2 things held me back time and the cost, the cost part looks to be solved with this article. Great tips !

  8. It’s great reading that wwoofing is still going strong.

    I did a fair bit of it in Australia 12 years ago on my first ever rtw trip. I had some amazing experiences that I will never forgot and found most of the people I was wwoofing for went out of their way to help me see more of the area I was staying in.

    One place even provided me with a can so I could trace about at the weekends with space to camp out in the back!

  9. Even though I’ve already been to New Zealand for a month in 2012, I totally have to go back there one day and wwoofing seems like a pretty good option to experience the country and stay on a budget.

  10. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    I had always thought farming was the only way to get the free accommodations, but awesome to know that you can also work reception and other such gigs, too! Great resources, thanks!:-)

    1. There are just tons of things you can do – I imagine it’s heavily agricultural (and a bit of hostel work) in Aus/NZ but I’ve seen gigs on Workaway and HelpX that include art, working on a sailboat, renovations and childcare.

  11. Deia @ Nomad Wallet

    Nice summary of WWOOF, Agness! I’ve never done this before and I’m not sure I’m cut out for it, but it sure is a great way to dramatically cut down on your travel costs.

  12. My partner is originally from Golden Bay and his dad used to offer WOOFING placements. I have never personnally done one before, but it looks like a fantastic way of seeing the country on a budget.

  13. We HelpXed in Italy! One of the highlights of our RTW trip. Wondering if doing the same in our home country might be fun too…

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