Queenstown is a very popular place to live and work, whether it's for 1 month or 1 year and it seems like a large portion of Queenstown's population is foreign. Genuine Kiwis are very hard to come across, and Queenstown locals are even harder to find, meaning that backpackers with work visa's do have a good chance of finding work. The best times of year to find work are just before Winter, in April/May, and coming into summer in November.
If you're looking for work in Queenstown, you'll need a valid work permit or visa in New Zealand and a great attitude. To be able to burn the candle at both ends isn't a must, but definitely helps (make sure you read why Queenstown is the best working holiday destination here)!
Types of Work Available in Queenstown
Hospitality Jobs Queenstown
A large proportion of the jobs in Queenstown are hospitality jobs or 'hospo' – that's bars, restaurants, hotels and cafes. Most of these places have a high turnover, so there's jobs advertised and available all year round. It's good if you have a little bit of experience, but if not, most places are willing to train you. Working in this industry is a great way to meet people, as the hospo crew in town all seem to get along and have loads of social events. Some people even choose to make a career out of this, as there are great opportunities for advancement in the hospo scene.
Tourism Jobs Queenstown
Obviously Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, if not the world. Most of the operators in town will hire seasonally for customer service roles. To work in these roles you need to have a great smile and have customer service experience. Working in the tourism industry is a great way to experience the products that Queenstown has to offer and you get to meet loads of international travellers. However, this kind of work is more suited to the outgoing because although everybody works hard, they also play hard which can be a lot of fun but can also be exhausting!
Hostel / Hotel Work Queenstown
Accommodation providers in town are mainly recruiting for housekeepers, reception staff and food and beverage workers. Housekeeping work can be physically demanding, but the hours are good and there's always work available. Working in hostels is very social, the only down side is you get to hear about everyone's amazing travel stories while you're in one place.
Winter Sports "Snow" Jobs Queenstown
Queenstown is famous for it's skiing and there are hundreds of jobs available on the snow each year. You can do anything from Customer Service, to being a Ski instructor. Most of these jobs are advertised in January/February, so you need to apply early. Usually the companies are happy to do phone interviews, so it may pay to apply before you arrive in Queenstown. Looking online or at the local newspaper editions before arriving will be a lot of help and may save you panicking when you arrive.
Where to look for work in Queenstown
The best way to find work is probably walking in and handing in your CV. Lots of places around Queenstown have signs in their windows advertising for staff, but even if they don't, its still worth a shot. There's a weekly publication in town called the Lakes Weekly Bulletin where there's often jobs advertised (The Lakes Weekly Bulletin comes out on a Monday afternoon online so beat the crowds by checking out the jobs a day before everyone else), and then there's the Mountain Scene which is the local newspaper. You should allow yourself a few weeks to find work, just in case times are a bit slow. It's a good idea not to be too fussy with your choices as well.
To look for a job check out http://workingholiday.co/