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Picking Seasons in New Zealand

BackpackerGuide.NZ

The picking seasons and picking regions in New Zealand.

A great way to fund your travels and see the countryside is by doing some fruit and veggie picking work. Because picking is a seasonal job, backpackers can usually find short-term jobs at short notice.

The varying conditions in New Zealand means the type of fruit, vegetables and their picking seasons differ across the regions. That’s why we have compiled this quick guide to the picking seasons.

What are the fruit picking regions?

Our quick guide is separated into the popular fruit and veggie picking regions in New Zealand.

  • Northland
  • Waikato
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Hawke’s Bay
  • Wairapapa
  • Marlborough
  • Nelson
  • Otago
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Northland

Fruit and veges: Avocados, tamarillos, oranges, mandarins, olives, macadamia and kumara.

Although there is picking work all year round in Northland (they do call it the ‘winterless north’), their is a higher demand for workers in April, May June and July.

Pexels

Waikato

Fruit and veges: Blueberries, onions, potatoes and asparagus.

Again, Waikato requires workers all year round, however, you are much more likely to get work in the summer months January and February.

BackpackerGuide.NZ

Bay of Plenty

Fruit and veges: Kiwifruit, avocados and feijoas.

As the name suggests, there is ‘plenty’ of seasonal picking work here. It is New Zealand’s largest horticultural export of kiwifruit. There is even a giant kiwifruit sculpture in Tepuke to commemorate this. The best months to find work are April, May, June, July and August.

Pexels

Hawke’s Bay

Fruit and veges: Wine grapes, pears, apricots, plums, squash, asparagus, pumpkin, apples, peaches, nectarines, olives, sweet corn, peas and tomatoes.

Autumn is the best fruit and veggie picking season in Hawke’s Bay. More than half of the nation’s apples are grown here. It also has the widest range of fruit and veges. Most months give a good chance of work: February, March, April, May, June, and November and December.

BackpackerGuide.NZ

Wairapapa

Fruit and veges: Wine grapes and olives.

The region is known for its pinot noir, so there is opportunity for working in a vineyard. Although workers are needed for pruning in the winter, the most demanding months are June, July and August.

BackpackerGuide.NZ

Marlborough

Fruit and veges: Wine grapes, sweet corn and olives.

Marlborough’s sauvignon blanc is internationally recognised. There is year-round work in the vinyards of Marlborough but the best months are June, July and August.

Pexels

Nelson

Fruit and veges: Apples, blackcurrants, raspberries, pears and boysenberries.

With more more hours of sunshine per year than the rest of NZ, Nelson produces a large amount of apples and wine. You are more likely to get work in February, March and April.

Pexels

Otago

Fruit and veges: Apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, nectarines and plums.

Central Otago has a large summerfruit industry, as well as a growing wine region. November, December and January are the best months to find work in Otago.

When are the seasons in New Zealand?

  • Summer – December, January, February
  • Autumn – March, April, May
  • Winter – June, July, August
  • Spring – September, October, November
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