Careers advice

9 of the best summer jobs on offer in NZ

You don’t have to choose between having fun and getting paid this summer.

Last updated: 4 December 2023

Nothing beats summer in Aotearoa New Zealand. Whether you’re enjoying hiking one of the Great Walks, or just relaxing on the beach with friends and whānau, it’s a pretty epic time to be in the country.

However, summer is also a great time to earn a little extra cash, particularly if you’re a school or university student who suddenly finds yourself with a whole lot of extra time on your hands. But what type of summer jobs are there out there, and where do you apply? Well, the answer to the second bit is easy, just search “summer jobs” on Trade Me Jobs. As for the first part, check out some options to suit all tastes below.

The best summer jobs in NZ

1. Tourism jobs

Looking for a summer job that hits different? Why not get out about showing tourists and Kiwi alike some of the best features of your part of the country? Summer is the busy season when travellers arrive in Aotearoa New Zealand to see the sights, so there’s plenty of demand for seasonal staff to cope with the increased demand.

Common summer tourism jobs include watersports guides, wildlife guides, hiking guides and visitor centre staff. Not only will these roles teach you heaps of transferable skills for your career ahead, they’re also likely to come with pretty stunning offices and leave you with awesome memories.

2. Lifeguarding

With so many people heading to the beach to enjoy the good weather, there’s a need for lifeguards at popular swimming spots. While, again, you’ll get the benefits (and tan) of being outside for large parts of the summer, there are obviously some serious responsibilities that come with lifeguarding jobs. The flipside of this is that you’ll get some very meaningful experience that will look great on your CV when you present it to prospective employers in the future. As well as specific lifeguard training, you’ll also have to do a generalised first aid course, which is required by many employers across different sectors.

Play an important role in your community by lifeguarding at a local beach or pool.

3. Fruit and vegetable picking

Summer is a busy period for farmers, meaning that there are normally a wide variety of summer jobs available in the agricultural sector, particularly when it comes to fruit and vegetable picking. Whether it's avocados in the Waikato, nectarines in Otago or cherries in the Hawke’s Bay, you’re sure to find something that will let you get out there and earn some sweet summer cash.

4. Kids holiday camps

Parents can’t be expected to entertain their kids for the full six-week summer break, meaning that working at summer camps is another seasonal job opportunity for you. You might find yourself teaching sports, organising day excursions, giving music lessons or assisting with arts and crafts workshops. Taking a summer role at a camp is a particularly good idea if you harbour hopes of becoming a teacher later in life, because you’ll learn heaps of relevant skills, and also gain lots of CV-suitable skills.

5. Hospitality

Is there anything better than kicking back and enjoying the warm weather with a cold drink or an ice cream? We didn’t think so, and many Kiwi and overseas visitors agree, keeping our hospitality venues very busy in summer, creating high demand for summer hospitality staff. This is particularly true in tourist hotspots like Queenstown, Nelson, the Coromandel and Rotorua.

Many employers search every year for extra staff to fill the busy period which typically finishes in February/March when the summer rush dies down.

There's usually a high demand for hospitality staff during our peak summer tourism season.

6. Festival staff

Summer is festival season in NZ, and these events require a whole bunch of staff in order to run smoothly. From Rhythm & Vines to Splore to Soundsplash, each of these famous festivals requires staff to work in ticketing, security, stage setup and breakdown and running the various food, beverage and entertainment stalls. One of the added benefits of this type of summer job is that it’s common to be able to catch a few of your favourite acts in the process.

7. Tutoring

Students at all stages may decide to do some extra learning during summer, either to catch up on topics they missed during term time (perhaps through sickness) or because they didn’t quite get the grades they were after.

If you’ve got a solid academic background and a knack for getting information across, you might consider a summer tutoring job. Not only is this often a super rewarding experience, it’s also usually quite flexible, as you’ll just arrange times that work with you and your tutee.

8. Retail

Summer includes the extremely busy (and profitable) Christmas period and it’s common for NZ businesses to hire extra staff to get them through. These positions can be as short as a few weeks (in the direct run up to Christmas or can last the whole summer, so make sure you understand this fully before taking on a role. While summer retail jobs will be busy, you’ll learn lots of valuable skills like cash handling, customer service, time management and attention to detail.

9. Gardening

Summer is a time that Kiwi like to spend outside, including in the comfort of their own gardens. However, not everyone is able or wants to keep on top of their own gardens, so they sometimes hire contractors to do this for them. This is where you come in. Either by working for an existing gardening contractor, or by setting yourself up in business, you should be able to find plenty of summer work as a gardener.

Seeking that perfect summer job?
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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.