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The Ultimate Guide to Being a Digital Nomad in New Zealand

New Zealand, or Aotearoa, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and welcoming locals, is a dream destination for tourists and nomads around the world. But if you are looking at moving to Aotearoa as a digital nomad, you may wonder: Is there a New Zealand digital nomad visa? And if so, how do you apply for it? Well, today, we’ll answer the above questions and go over everything you need to know about living as a digital nomad in New Zealand.

Key Takeaways

  • New Zealand offers stunning natural beauty and a welcoming environment for digital nomads.
  • There is no specific digital nomad visa in New Zealand, but there are alternative visa options available.
  • The Working Holiday Visa is a popular choice for digital nomads looking to live and work in New Zealand.
  • Finding accommodation as a digital nomad can be done through rental websites, word of mouth, and Facebook groups.
  • Wellington, Mount Maunganui, Auckland, Queenstown, and Christchurch are some of the best places to live in New Zealand as a digital nomad.

Choosing the Right Destination in New Zealand

Choosing the Right Destination in New Zealand

Exploring the North Island

The North Island of New Zealand offers a plethora of stunning destinations to explore. From the beautiful Bay of Islands with its cool islands to the Waipoua Kauri Forest, home to 3000-year-old trees, there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, Piha is a popular choice with its black sand and picturesque views. For a unique experience, visit the ancient forest in Far North, but be mindful of the kauri dieback disease. Whether you’re into nature, beaches, or cultural experiences, the North Island has it all.

Discovering the South Island

The South Island of New Zealand offers breathtaking and diverse landscapes that will leave you in awe. From rugged coastlines to glacier country to Colorado-esque boulder playgrounds, the South Island is a playground of wonderment. If you’re looking to break away from the tourist spots, the far north and the ‘Deep South’ are excellent places to start. The Catlins Region and the Southern Scenic Route along the coastline are some of the best spots to explore. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand’s under-appreciated third island, known for its untouched nature and wild kiwis. Dunedin, with its Scottish architecture and bustling student life, is another hidden gem in the South. And if you’re heading to Wellington, make sure to visit the Te Papa National Museum and enjoy the vibrant cafe and bar scene.

Hidden Gems in New Zealand

New Zealand is full of hidden gems that are worth exploring. One such place is Stewart Island, the top point of interest in New Zealand. This untouched island offers unabashed nature and the opportunity to see wild kiwis. Another hidden gem is Dunedin, a city in the south with Scottish architecture and a bustling student life. Don’t miss out on these lesser-known but incredible destinations in New Zealand.

Finding Accommodation as a Digital Nomad

Renting an Apartment

Looking for a place to live in New Zealand? Here are some tips to help you find the perfect apartment. One of the best ways is to check out rental websites like TradeMe, which is similar to Craigslist or eBay. You can also join Facebook groups to find rooms in existing flats. Don’t forget to ask around and use word of mouth to see if anyone knows of available rooms. And remember, never commit to a long-term rental without seeing it first!

Staying in Co-working Spaces

If you’re looking for a place to work while in NZ, you may likely have to go to a coworking space. While there aren’t too many, and they can be expensive, coworking spaces are a great place to work if you want to find an ‘office’ outside of your home. Some popular coworking spaces in New Zealand include The Workshop in Auckland, two/fiftyseven in Wellington, and Saltworks in Christchurch. These spaces offer daily, weekly, and monthly rates for flexible or permanent desks. It’s always a good idea to follow them on social media and take advantage of free trials and networking events.

Camping and Van Life

Camping and van life in New Zealand is a dream come true for digital nomads. It’s the best way to travel and simplify accommodation. Travelling by campervan allows for total freedom and the ability to camp more versus staying in expensive hostels and hotels. Backpacker cars and vans are seasonal, so it’s best to buy a van during the buying frenzy in early and mid-summer or just before winter when prices go down. While there is a cost increase to purchase a self-contained vehicle, you can find free campsites to sleep at. Campsites are a great option for budget backpackers to cut down on costs.

Navigating the Digital Nomad Visa Process

Being a Digital Nomad in New Zealand

Understanding the Visa Requirements

When applying for a digital nomad visa in New Zealand, there are several important documents you need to provide. These include a valid passport, a completed visa application form, proof of income, and identity photos. You may also be required to provide civil documents like your birth certificate and proof of payment for the visa application fees. It’s important to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months at the time of your application. Additionally, each country may have its own specific requirements, so it’s essential to check the official guidelines.

Applying for a Digital Nomad Visa

The application process typically takes around 30 days, and applicants will receive their permit once their application is approved. The cost of the Digital Nomad visa is $100 and must be paid upon application. To qualify for the visa, applicants must show proof of a stable income of at least USD $3,000 per month, from any legitimate source over the previous year. This rises to USD $4,000 per month for those bringing dependents. The visa is renewable for one subsequent year.

Extending Your Stay

If your Digital Nomad Visa expires, you may be required to leave the host country. It’s essential to adhere to the visa regulations and apply for extensions or other applicable visas if you wish to continue your stay legally. You can extend the visa for an additional 3 months maximum by applying for the Working Holiday Extension Work Visa, which costs NZD $455. However, Canadian passport holders can stay in New Zealand for up to 23 months, while UK citizens can stay for up to 36 months.

Working Remotely in New Zealand

Finding Reliable Internet

As a digital nomad in New Zealand, having a strong internet connection is crucial. Make sure your accommodation provides fast wifi that can handle your workload. If you’ll be sharing the space with others, ensure the wifi can meet everyone’s needs. Additionally, consider investing in a VPN for added privacy and security when using public networks. It’s also a good idea to have enough savings for a flight back home in case of emergencies.

Co-working Spaces and Cafes

New Zealand’s cafes are set up very differently from those in the USA in that they are not generally set up for work. Instead, they are literally set up for brunches and having coffee with friends. In fact, many cafes may not even have free wifi! So, if you’re looking for a place to work while in NZ, you may likely have to go to a coworking space. While there aren’t too many, and they can be expensive, coworking spaces are a great place to work if you want to find an “office” outside of your home.

Managing Time Zones

As a digital nomad, managing time zones is a crucial skill. Staying organized and keeping track of different time zones can help you avoid missed deadlines and communication delays. Here are some tips to make managing time zones easier:

  • Use a world clock app to quickly check the time in different locations.
  • Schedule meetings and calls based on the most convenient time for all parties involved.
  • Set reminders for important deadlines and events in different time zones.
  • Communicate clearly with clients and colleagues about your availability and response times.

Remember, being mindful of time zones can greatly enhance your productivity and ensure smooth collaboration with clients and teams around the world.

Exploring the Natural Wonders of New Zealand

Hiking in Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is a marvel when it comes to hiking in New Zealand, with some of the best tramping to be found. This national park is center to the stunning Southern Alps mountain range that defines the South Island of New Zealand. The park offers breathtaking views of glaciers, jagged ridgelines, and the glacier-fed lakes beneath Mount Cook. There are several great hikes in the park, including the Mueller Hut, which is considered one of the best day hikes in the country. If you’re lucky enough to secure a reservation, you can even stay overnight and witness the last sunlight on Mount Cook. The silence interrupted by thunderous booms from collapsing glaciers is an incredible experience. Queenstown, known for its outdoor activities, is a popular destination for hikers. Whether you’re hiking the Ben Lomond or skiing the Remarkables in the winter, Queenstown is a must-stop on the South Island.

Visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must-visit attraction in New Zealand. These damp, underground tunnels are home to glowing worms that create a mesmerizing display. Exploring the caves is an unforgettable experience, as you navigate through the darkness and witness the magical glow of the worms. It’s important to note that the caves can be challenging to access for those with mobility issues or claustrophobia. However, the unique beauty of the glowworms makes it worth overcoming any challenges. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera to capture this natural wonder.

Exploring the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is the most popular day walk in New Zealand, known for its stunning volcanic peaks and emerald lakes. It gained even more fame after being featured in the Lord of the Rings movies. The crossing covers a distance of 19.4km and offers breathtaking views of the still-active volcano. If you’re up for a challenge, you can also climb Mount Ngauruhoe, also known as Mount Doom. Taupo is a great base for exploring the park, and after the walk, you can relax in the free hot springs at the Spa Thermal Park. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this iconic hike in New Zealand!

Immersing Yourself in the Local Culture

Being Digital Nomad in Newzealand

Attending Maori Cultural Events

Maori people are incredibly open to travellers: bigass smiles and endless flows of conversation. Generally, I found they were also delighted to teach people about their culture, language, or just talk some shit so go meet them!

  1. Find a Wild Kiwi: Gotta Catch ’em All!
    Again with the Australia comparison, spotting a kiwi bird in the wild in New Zealand is the equivalent of a wild platypus in Australia. It’s the holy grail and a total rite of passage so you better get (non-violently) hunting! Stewart Island is the top point of interest to check out in New Zealand but there are other hotspots too.
  2. Splurge on a

Sampling New Zealand Cuisine

New Zealand has a diverse and delicious food scene that will satisfy any digital nomad’s cravings. From fresh seafood to traditional Maori dishes, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss out on trying Maori hangi, a slow-cooked meal of meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven. And if you’re feeling adventurous, give fry bread a try – it’s a fried bread that is absolutely delicious. Seafood lovers will be in heaven with the abundance of lobster, fish, and sea urchin available. And make sure to indulge in a whitebait fritter, a delicacy that is highly prized in New Zealand. With so many options, you’ll never go hungry in New Zealand.

Learning the Haka

Learning the Haka is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Maori culture. The Haka is a traditional Maori dance that is performed with powerful movements and chants. It is a symbol of strength, unity, and identity for the Maori people. By learning the Haka, you can gain a deeper understanding of their history and traditions. Joining a Haka workshop or attending a cultural event where the Haka is performed can be a memorable experience. It’s a chance to connect with the local community and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of New Zealand.

Staying Healthy and Active as a Digital Nomad

Staying Healthy and Active as a Digital Nomad

Outdoor Activities in New Zealand

New Zealand’s breathtaking natural beauty provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities. This outdoor orientation contributes to a generally active and healthy lifestyle. Balance: New Zealanders place a high value on work-life balance. Progressive: New Zealand has a reputation for being socially progressive.

Eating Well on a Budget

When it comes to eating well on a budget in New Zealand, there are a few options to consider. Takeaway is widely available throughout the country and can be a cheap choice, with meals ranging from $6 to $10. Cooking for yourself is also a great idea, especially if you’re traveling in a campervan equipped with a stove and cookware. You can find small convenience stores like Four Square for basic needs, or larger supermarket chains like Countdown and New World for better prices. Food prices in New Zealand can be expensive, so it’s important to aim for meals under $10 when eating out.

Maintaining a Fitness Routine

Staying active as a digital nomad is essential for both physical and mental well-being. Maintaining a fitness routine can help you stay energized, reduce stress, and improve focus. Here are some tips to help you stay fit while on the move:

  • Prioritize exercise: Make time for physical activity, whether it’s a workout at a local gym, a run in a nearby park, or a yoga session in your accommodation.
  • Explore outdoor activities: Take advantage of New Zealand’s stunning natural landscapes by hiking, biking, or swimming in the great outdoors.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels.
  • Pack portable fitness equipment: Consider bringing lightweight fitness equipment like resistance bands or a jump rope to stay active wherever you go.

Remember, staying fit as a digital nomad is all about finding a balance and incorporating movement into your daily routine. Listen to your body, be flexible with your workouts, and have fun exploring new ways to stay active!


In conclusion, New Zealand offers a dream destination for digital nomads with its breathtaking natural beauty and welcoming locals. While there may not be a specific digital nomad visa, there are alternative paths such as the working holiday visa. With a comprehensive guide to reaching Rotorua and exploring the city as a digital nomad, you’ll have plenty of adventures to embark on. Finding accommodation and coworking spaces is made easy with various resources available. Whether you choose to live in Wellington, Mount Maunganui, Auckland, Queenstown, or Christchurch, you’ll find a vibrant and exciting environment to work and explore. So pack your bags, say Kia Ora to Aotearoa, and start your digital nomad journey in New Zealand!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does New Zealand have a digital nomad visa?

Yes, New Zealand offers a digital nomad visa for remote workers.

Who can apply for the New Zealand digital nomad visa?

Any remote worker who meets the visa requirements can apply for the New Zealand digital nomad visa.

What are the alternatives to the digital nomad visa in New Zealand?

Remote workers can also apply for a working holiday visa or work on a visitor visa or NZeTA.

What are the requirements for the New Zealand working holiday visa?

The requirements for the New Zealand working holiday visa vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin.

How can I find a place to live in New Zealand as a digital nomad?

You can find a place to live in New Zealand through word of mouth, rental websites, Facebook groups, or travel accommodation sites.

Is New Zealand a good place for digital nomads?

Yes, New Zealand is a great place for digital nomads with its beautiful landscapes, friendly locals, and excellent quality of life.


Aemilius Dost is originally from the Netherlands but moved to Mexico more than two years ago. He started traveling when he was 19 and visited over 20 countries spread over North, and Central America, Europe and Asia. He currently works as a freelance SEO specialist and has worked with companies such as Surfshark, SafetyWing, and BP.

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