Working Holiday Starter

Why choose Working Holiday Starter?

The Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand is your best chance to gain valuable work and life experience abroad through work and travel. New Zealand has loads of awesome job opportunities and stunning landscapes to discover. It's the ultimate outdoor country! Plus the locals are some of the most welcoming people on the planet.

Working Holiday Starter is helping you to start your journey in New Zealand. We are offering a customizable Starter Pack to help you start your trip hassle free. You only pay for what you really need! Our prices are fair.

Our mindset is far from any "big box" company, you won't feel like just a number in yet another backpacker herd. We keep our groups very small so you get the most of all the tips that we have for you. We also follow up with you during your whole trip and are here for you whenever you need us.

In short, we are an organisation for backpackers, by backpackers :)



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Yes, I recommend this program

One of the most helpful companies in NZ for backpackers

Robin and the Working Holiday Starter team helped make my New Zealand experience an awesome one. Even before I landed, Robin answered my countless questions about the working holiday visa promptly via Skype and instant messaging. He took the stress out of arriving by setting up my airport transfer, first night's accommodation and bank account. He met with me for coffee and discussed my travel plans, opening my eyes to new ways of travelling to make my money go farther and to enjoy my time the most. Robin is friendly, funny and knowledgeable and I instantly felt at ease, knowing I had made the right choice. He is not only full of travel tips, but also helpful with job searching. He helped me tailor my CV and practice interview techniques to suit the NZ job market. Robin was a constant contact and friend throughout my time in NZ, always keen to check how things are going and to answer any questions throughout my entire year long NZ adventure.

What would you improve about this program?
WHS starter is there for whatever you may need during your working holiday. The only thing I could say is that I didn't take advantage of the services enough.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Stress-free, personal, and amazing value for money!

Is it great because your bank account is set up before you get there? Or because of the job coaching? Or because of the resume help? Or because of the constant help throughout the year with literally anything you need? OF COURSE!

But what really makes it great is Robin. He literally meets you at the hostel and treats you like an old friend from the first second. He is there to help and his goal is making sure your time in NZ is the best it can possibly be. After those first couple of days with him, you feel confident that you can handle your working holiday with ease. And if you get to road block, you can simple call/text/email him and he will get back to you within minutes. He (and Working Holiday Starter) has never felt like a business out for profits. They legitimately want to help.

If you're coming to New Zealand, flick them a message. You won't regret it.

What would you improve about this program?
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Yes, I recommend this program

The right people, the right program, the right country.

WHS is a useful introduction to living and traveling in New Zealand. Robin is a fast friend, and acts as the perfect icebreaker to the country, familiarizing you with Auckland and getting you in touch with other members as soon as you land.

The services provided by WHS are outstanding and the team goes out of their way to accommodate your requests and to be there for you throughout the duration of your work visa (or extended holiday visa, as I often referred to mine as.)

Let New Zealand amaze you. Hike. Paddle. Camp. Climb.

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Yes, I recommend this program

What a wonderful experience in my life !

There is so many things to do in New Zealand ! At the beginning of my journey I was a little lost. WHStarter was a very good option for me to have good advices and to be ready to just go and explore the beauty of New Zealand. I didn't had to do the boring things like open a bank account... Awesome !
Hiking, discovering NZ and all these wonderful persons was for me my first experience as a backpacker and it was... AMAZING !

It's your turn :)

What would you improve about this program?
The hostel is crappy... Let's go to YHA international, much better. Or an hotel why not ! Could be a joke but I'm serious, why not ? I met a lot of people during my travel and the first night they took an hotel to take some rest before the start.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome time in New Zealand!!!

We spent some really good times in Nz due to Working Holiday Starter. Before to come, Robin booked an airport shuttle and few nights in a first hostel. At our arrival, we spent a day with him to learn the basics of the country, to open a bank account, to overcome the paperwork, to open a phone line and to improve our English. Robin is helpfull, accessible and friendly; he responded to all our questions and we met him again few times in Auckland during our Kiwi trip. We really recommend the Starter Pack services, easy and nice!!!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Laura Symonds

Laura is a journalism graduate from the UK. Naturally she loves writing and blogging, but she also have a soft spot for snowboarding, hiking and video games. Now she's had a taste of doing a gap year abroad, travelling now trumps that list.

Why did you pick this program?

First of all, Working Holiday Starter made a pretty good first impression with its website providing a lot of free information on doing a gap year in New Zealand that I couldn't find anywhere else. Also, when I first contacted them with questions before purchasing their Starter Pack, they replied super quickly. Because they are a New Zealand-based company and smaller than some of the huge international companies, I guessed that it would be more personal and at least they would know what they are talking about when it comes to New Zealand. I was right. Go me!

The services had exactly what I needed for preparing work, travel and living in New Zealand – I especially wanted this peace of mind as a first-time backpacker. Plus, there was a few extra services that were nice having like free Skytower entry and discount on travel. All that was awesome value for money, as it was also the more affordable option when I was making comparisons with other programs.

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

It was very obvious before I left that the hardest part would be being away from my family and friends for a long time. Those guys have been a constant my whole life. I really thought I'd be terribly homesick when I first came abroad, but the best cure for homesickness is to keep busy and have fun, which I have had no lack of since being in New Zealand.

There's always Skype and Whatsapp to keep in touch with people back home. And I know my friends and family will be there when I go home soon. This trip has been worth that small sacrifice.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Meeting people from all over the world is freakin' interesting! Not only do you learn about New Zealand culture, but New Zealand is so popular with backpackers that you learn about different cultures and countries from the people you become friends with.

For Christmas, my flatmates and I had a Christmas mash-up incorporating traditions from France, Ukraine, Finland, England and New Zealand! As you can imagine, it was the weirdest Christmas food ever! I know this will be the most unique Christmas of my life, so this particular experience really stands out to me.
Oh yeah, then there's the really obvious reason that New Zealand is a stunning country with incredible adventure activities. I don't get that back at home.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?

This time abroad has made me realize what I want to do with my life and what I value most. Even after I graduated from university, I wasn't 100% sure of what to do next. Starting a career after university is the norm back home, but it wasn't the best idea for me to commit to something straight away. Taking a year to myself gave me the time and life experience needed to figure things out!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Travelling alone to the other side of the world was a pretty scary thing for me, but there was no need to be as nervous as I was. Everything went so smoothly, from the airport transfer to setting up a New Zealand bank account. My contact from Working Holiday Starter, Robin, assisted with all the paperwork and gave really valuable advice that actually defined how awesome my trip was. It helped me get a job in Queenstown for the winter season, so I could get my snowboarding fix. He also told me about the hop on hop off bus, which I had the best time doing.

The orientation sessions I did when I first got to Auckland, NZ were made more enjoyable by doing them in quiet bars and cafes around Auckland. Plus, I did my job workshop with the stunning view from the Skytower cafe.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Robin Gayraud

Job Title
Founder & Operational Manager
Robin is one of the proud Working Holiday Starter founders and is currently living in Auckland. When he is not hanging out with backpackers, he is managing the operation process so everything runs smoothly. He is also working with industry leaders and activity providers, ensuring that the best deals are available for the Working Holiday Starter Members.

Did you take a gap year? If so, where and what inspired you to go?


Yes I did, many actually, I spent about nine years on the road working and travelling in 14 different countries from eastern Europe to Madagascar, Canada, USA, Australia and, of course, New Zealand.

I am not really sure what inspired me, to be frank. I only remember the cringing feeling of having everything planned for me: studies, career, etc. and feeling powerless about it. I hadn't found myself and made my own choices, yet my life was already planned for the foreseeable future. So I packed my bag and never looked back. I found my own way on the road.

How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?

We are actually backpackers, not travel agents. We focus so hard on sharing our experiences and giving you the tools that you need to have the best time here in New Zealand. You can't even begin to conceive how much work goes into this. Coupled with our very small group of five participants max, this gives you the best recipe for a perfect start to a gap year in New Zealand.

What would you tell a parent who's reluctant to send their kid abroad?

The Working Holiday Starter Team

Oh well, I actually do that on a regular basis. The best thing that can ever happen to your kid is to take a gap year. Let me explain:

Taking a gap year will help your kids explore the world and gain valuable work and life experience before choosing a career path. It will actually help them choose the right career path too, as they will experience a few different entry-level jobs along the way. If this is about college that you are worrying, let me tell you, colleges LOVE travelers! On the road, your kids will learn to tightly manage their budget – a much-needed skill on campus!

If they are a non-English speaker, the argument of learning or perfecting a second language is pretty huge too. Finally, a gap year is also proven to build confidence and often makes a CV stand out. Many companies now look closely at overseas experiences.

Your kid will come back more cultured, independent and confident. They will come home an adult! If that is not enough to convince you to send your kids on a gap year, I don't know what will.

What are some of the most common concerns about taking a gap year from students you have interacted with? What are your responses to that?

The main concern that our Members express is about getting a job. Through our extensive job workshop and our great personalized help on their CV, we have a proven track record of helping our members get a job really fast and our reviews speak for themselves on this subject.

A few Members are also worried about safety. To that, we respond that New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, rated way above Australia, USA and most other major working holiday countries.

Lastly, quite a few people are concerned about being a solo traveler. Let me reassure you, you will never be alone if you don't want to be! There are loads of young backpackers in New Zealand ready to go on a hike with you. If anything, you'll miss your alone time.

What keeps you excited about your job?

We get to meet young travelers every single day and help them make their gap year the most important, smooth and fun year of their life! We also catch up with Members on their way back home after their gap year. It's rewarding to hear all their stories, to see what they have become, and what they have learned. It's pure pride and joy every single time. I would not trade it for anything in the world!