New Zealand - Work in exchange for accommodation

One of the few ways to enjoy traveling in New Zealand is to work in backpackers or hostels in exchange for accommodation. It simply means that you have to work for few hours a day, and you get to stay for FREE in the backpacker / hostel.

It varies as different backpacker or hostel might have different rules and regulations. Please always check and ask questions before you end up not getting what you wanted.

My work place while in Christchurch.

I have personally worked with The Old Country House in Christchurch for almost 2 months. We were required to work between 10am - 1pm everyday. Yes, that is seven days a week. No complaint since it is a wonderful time spend with everyone. 

My responsibilities ( depending on manpower ) : 

1. Housekeeping ( Vacuum / bedding / trash )
2. Clean toilets & kitchens
3. Clean surrounding areas around the vicinity
4. Declutter fridge ( my favorite part to score free food )
5. Clean Sauna room / Jacuzzi 
6. Put out recycle bins for garbage truck.

*Some days were breezy, some were hectic ! 

My daily job routine :

10:00 am 
- Report to duty at the reception. 
- Briefing on job tasks for the day.

10:05 am 
Duty time

1:00 pm
End of duty

Working attire: Extremely casual

How I applied :  I stayed here as a guest at the beginning. Since I was running out of money, I asked when I was checking-in days earlier if there is work in exchange for accommodation. They said no. Few days past and one staff left. So I got the job! 

My colleagues are from various part of the world: Germany, USA, Malaysia, China, France, UK, Taiwan and Spain to name a few.

There were times where some of us finished before 1pm and helped the rest with their unfinished tasks. We all worked together to make sure all were done by 1pm. Receptionists will then do a round check to make sure all were done in correct order.Recall of duty will be required if tasks not carried out properly. This is where all of us will be called back to work and make it shine !!

Guests were no longer strangers as we became friends and it was a big loving family. Not to mention, a sexy brown dog by the name of Max. Are you able to spot Max in the picture below?

Christmas BBQ Party at hostel : The old country house

I saved a lot , gained tonnes of experience and met many wonderful people from all over the world. Well, its a little German town in Christchurch, honestly. I was able to learn some German too.

Me during working in exchange for accommodation at The Old Country House.

The good thing about working with them was that they do have an old bicycle which was worn out. A smart colleague of mine was handy enough to get it fixed, and wahlah! We all get to enjoy the bicycle and ride around the town.

You can imagine the excitement that we had when each of us wanted to ride on the bicycle. Since there was only one bicycle available, we had to take turns to ride it.

Riding on the bicycle around Christchurch : FUN FUN FUN !!!

Freedom in Christchurch, riding under the rain, with the cold wind against your face, freezing fingers, amazing times..!! Oh what a sweet memory.

The signature tree at OCH
 Having a break under the sun after work in the evening. Taking pictures around the place before I forget how it looks like.

The staff house when you work here. Amazing, isn't it?

This is where you will stay when you decided to join OCH to work in exchange for accommodation. It is an awesome place to be at. No regrets !

We get to use the Sauna. Amazing !

One of the facilities available is the sauna room. If you think sauna is uncommon in backpackers / hostels in New Zealand, you are so wrong. It is in fact very common. After a long day under the sun or cold weather, sauna would be the best solution to unwind and relax yourself.

Lemon trees are around to get yourself a fresh lemonade
When you have lemon, you make lemonade ! Yes.. lemons do grow on trees and it was fantastic to have fresh lemons for lemonade, ice tea or baking ! It was fun collecting lemons with a basket and going home with a happy face knowing that you are about to enjoy a fresh lemonade when it is a hot day during summer.

So much to say about my experience while in OCH. It is something that I will dearly miss and treasure.

More pictures from OCH  to share as below :

My colleagues during working in exchange for accommodation at The Old Country House.

My colleagues during working in exchange for accommodation at The Old Country House.

Our staff accommodation : Free leftover food (sometimes) at The Old Country House

Amazing food 

Yes, wine is the way to unwind.


fooling around with mates from The Old Country House.

its Christmas time in Christchurch

Forever in my heart - Christchurch !

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