Written by Kelsey Powell
When I first arrived in Queenstown, I would have loved to have a resource like this outlining the best ways for me to find employment in this lakeside mountain town.
After spending over two years here, not only have I found a job, but I’ve found a place I love working at every single day – and you can, too!
Although living here feels like a dream, the reality is that residing in Queenstown can be expensive if you don’t find a consistent source of income.
Whether you’re a ski bum, cocktail-pouring night owl, adventure guru, skillful tradesman, coffee-pouring expert, lost soul, culinary king or queen, retail professional, trained sales person, untrained sales person, qualified hotel manager, or someone who just wants to try something new altogether, this list has you covered.
If you didn’t already know, Queenstown is a tourism-based, adrenaline infused, ski town surrounded by incredible landscapes and pumped with energy. Travelers fly in from all directions hoping to get a taste of adventure cake before they head back to their homeland.
If you are considering moving to Queenstown, have just arrived, or have been here a while and you’re looking for a shake-up, this employment guide should help you land something awesome!
First, here are a few quick facts about Queenstown life that you should know:
Hopefully that list assures you not to hit the panic button just yet. There are thousands of opportunities around; it’s just a matter of where to look and how to get that money in the bank!
The LWB has come in handy soooo many times for me. This free, local publication provides tons of information that could land you your dream job. Without fail, every Monday the online page is updated, while every Tuesday a printed copy circulates town.
You can usually find one at the local liquor store/bottle shop, travel agencies, or grocery stores. It lists everything from job vacancies to local deals to used car sales to housemate wanted ads to hilarious caption-making contests.
You’d be a fool not to grab a copy of this invaluable community resource!
Believe it or not, I got my job at AJ Hackett simply by walking past the Station Building (smack in the middle of town), seeing an A4 paper with a job listing, and sending a quick email with my CV/resume to the email listed.
Don’t underestimate the power of “Help Wanted” type signs even for bigger name companies around town.
Stroll through town and see what places are hiring. Email any and all companies that may be in line with the job you’re after.
Put yourself out there, even if it’s something you’ve never done before!
If you’re looking for a quick buck or don’t have the time/capacity to find the right job fit, you’re not alone. There are employment agencies in town that provide services to get you work. You may find yourself doing some random jobs, but if you need the cash, don’t let your ego get in the way!
Plus, you could learn some cool skills and/or end up with a long-term, secure position.
A few days doing house keeping, a stint of landscaping, or even a call centre shift could put some dollars in your pocket. They are there to help you!
Online job searching is nothing new, but I had never heard about these websites until I was already in Queenstown.
If you’re keen to get the ball rolling before you arrive or need some new places to look for work, there are tons of jobs listed on fantastic kiwi websites:
If Queenstown Trading isn’t one of my favorite group chats, I don’t know what is. This 29,000+ member Facebook group is chock full of entertainment, help of all kinds, random connections, vital announcements, goods for purchase or trade, housemate wanted ads, and occasional neighborhood rant.
People living in Queenstown are typically over-the-top nice.
Someone is always willing to help you fix a broken item, provide movie suggestions or help you locate your lost cat.
Search for job postings on this page as positions are always popping up.
You can also check out Queenstown Jobs – an account linked to Queenstown Trading.
Note: You must be living in Queenstown to be approved for membership to this group.
Depending on where you’re coming from, walking around and handing out your resume/CV may seem unorthodox for job hunting, but it’s sort of a Queenstown way of doing things.
Just before the ski season, you can expect to see lots of backpackers dressed in the nicest thing they could scrounge out of their bag walking around with a folder full of freshly printed paperwork ejected from the library printer 15 minutes earlier.
I recommend coming a few weeks (or months) earlier than the ski season to snag yourself a decent job.
If you arrive right before the slopes open, expect that cafés and bars to which you hand your resume will just stick yours at the bottom of a very large pile.
Remember: This is always the year people are finally doing that ski season in New Zealand they always dreamed of.
Print lots of copies and be ahead of the crowd. Get up early, sprinkle the town with information on why you’re a great candidate for the job, and make a excellent first impression.
If requests for digital copies arise, email ASAP. The early kiwi gets the worm!
Sometimes it’s best to go straight to the website of a company you know you’re keen to work for.
Did you come to Queenstown to do that epic ski season you've always wanted to do?
Go straight to the organizations operating the local mountain and see what positions are available.
Do you want to try driving a jet boat?
Look up all of the jet boat companies in town and start applying through their online platforms.
Having an interest in a specific job can help narrow your search methods as most businesses keep a list their job vacancies updated on their websites.
Here are a few to check out:
If you’ve just arrived and your job search is fresh off the starting line, it’s likely the hostel you’re staying at has postings up on the message board in the common areas.
Check out the local grocery store as well. Even consider asking the hostel help desk worker.
They may be able to point you in the direction of job postings.
The more you put yourself out there, the more likely it is you’ll find a job. Don’t be afraid to ask or you’ll never know!
Piggy backing on #8, ask around!
Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful way of getting things done and finding out local secrets.
Chat with the bartender who has been serving you drinks (not when you’re drunk, though!) if they know of anyone hiring in town.
Ask your new housemates if the companies they work for have any positions available or strike up a conversation with a tour guide about how they got their job.
It can never hurt to ask how someone came to be in the position they are in – people love talking about themselves!
The more you put yourself out there, the more likely something is bound to work out.
Nothing on this list has worked yet? Feeling discouraged? Don't lose hope; just alter your approach.
Have you been focused too much on the center of Queenstown? Are you only looking at one type of job?
Are you afraid to do something you’ve never done before?
Think outside the box!!!
Queenstown is all about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Maybe this is the time in your life you get a really random job and learn something completely new!
You won’t accumulate those crazy, cool stories to tell your grandkids if you’re too scared to try something out of the ordinary.
Apply for a job driving taxis, look at working at the airport, consider physical labor on a vineyard, apply for positions in Arrowtown (the drive is beautiful and not that long), try being a kitchen hand, hostel attendant or a segway driver!
There is always a company or someone looking to fill a position. Just because it’s not your first choice doesn’t mean it won’t end up an adventure.
Be open minded when you arrive in Queenstown, most of us didn’t study bungy jumping or paragliding back at Uni.
So, tidy up that CV (and no lies!), wash your nice shirt, start early, and get out there. Queenstown is an undeniably beautiful place to work.
If you’re here and working even a crappy job, you’re doing better than most people around the world! Be grateful you have this opportunity at all. Most people would kill for it. This blog does not advocate for murder 😜.