Welcoming Our Ultimate NZ Tour Leader!

Countries visited: 46 | Favourite drink: Margarita | Favourite spot in NZ: Coromandel

Getting paid to travel the world? Now that’s something that sounds too good to be true. As you can imagine, we attract some pretty interesting people for our Ultimate NZ tour leader roles.

So we all got very excited after finding out we had a new Ultimate NZ tour leader joining us. Our tour leaders tend to be very eccentric, fun and outgoing people – so we are always eager to get to know them!

Introducing, Kaitlyn – our new Ultimate NZ tour leader! To get to know a little more about Kaitlyn, we decided to ask her a few questions:

Hey Kaitlyn! How did you catch the travel bug?

I went to Japan for a student exchange program when I was 14! (Thank you mom!) I was an extremely picky eater and this opened up a whole new world of cuisine and culture to me. My mom said I was a different person when I got back. One of the best parts of traveling is trying all the local foods!

What made you fall in love with NZ?

Nature, nature, nature! You can’t look at one ugly thing here because it’s just too beautiful. They have prime hikes and kiwis are always keen for adventure. Also the super friendly people, crazy activities, and perfect beaches aren’t too shabby either.

What advice would you give to a first-time traveller?

Just go! The hardest part about leaving home is actually doing it. Once you are there you find out what makes the world so special. You will always have people helping you out and I can promise it’ll be an experience of a lifetime. Maybe you’ll catch the travel bug too…

Kaitlyn also has a popular travel based Instagram account (@fearlesstravelers)  where she posts amazing pictures from her travels. As well as being an avid traveller, Kaitlyn also has a keen eye for photography. As our new Ultimate NZ tour leader, she has been posting some amazing shots of New Zealand recently. Her Instagram is well worth checking out!

Tell us about your Instagram and how travel influences it?

Well it’s all travel related. My whole life is travel related so everything I post is about my adventures on the road. I traveled around Europe solo for a year and a half and am now working & traveling in NZ. Now my insta is consumed by the beauty of NZ, which I don’t think anyone is complaining about!

What do you love most about your job?

What is not to love about it? Being an Ultimate NZ tour leader, I get to go around one of the most beautiful countries in the world and inspire the tour members to see and do more than they could have imagined. NZ is filled with adventure, beauty and the nicest people. I couldn’t imagine working for a better company. Everyone is so supportive and super fun. It truly shows in the tours and I always have fun days at work because of it.

So there we have it – another awesome tour guide joining the Ultimate family! Kaitlyn has just finished her second Ultimate New Zealand tour, and we have heard some stellar feedback from our travellers about her as a tour guide. Welcome to the team Kaitlyn, and keep up the great work!

Have you thought about exploring some of the wonders of beautiful New Zealand with Ultimate? We have an awesome 8 day tour where you’ll explore some of the most amazing parts of the North Island, with people from all over the world. Plus, we’ll help you get a job and get set up for your gap year! Check out Ultimate NZ Here

New Zealand: A Backpackers Paradise

The land of the Kiwis is often hyped as one of the most well travelled and photogenic places in the world, and for all the right reasons.  Not only will the New Zealand photos rack up your Instagram likes, but it boasts some epic adventures to cross off your bucket list.  The laid-back, high-quality lifestyle has attracted more and more backpackers looking for one hell of a place to travel to, and New Zealand does not disappoint!

Seriously Friendly Kiwis!

This lovely bunch of people are friendly, welcoming and always up for a chat! When you’re travelling the locals you come across can really make a difference to how you much your enjoy your time so it helps to have locals who are excited for you to be travelling their country! They usually have a few local recommendations up their sleeves too! 😉 After briefly chatting with a local on the street while looking for some late afternoon grub in Queenstown, I was given some insider tips and told to head to the famous Fergberger burger joint. This place is AMAZING and as my new Kiwi friend had suggested I phone ahead to order, I didn’t even have to wait in line! #MakeKiwiFriends!

Adrenaline Activities

From bungy jumping, white water rafting and kayaking to glacier hiking and snowboarding, New Zealand is THE place to be if you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie!

Not only does New Zealand offer some amazing activities, but you’ll also be doing them in some of the most stunning spots in the world. Try Skydiving over mountains, jet boating through crystal clear rivers and zorbing down ‘Hobbiton’ hills. Ask our travel team for recommendations!

New Zealand is a backpackers paradise
New Zealand is a backpackers paradise

Travel

One of the best things about travelling around NZ is how many different travelling options there are. You can join guided group tours (recommended for when you first arrive – check out Ultimate NZ), buy a hop-on, hop-off bus pass or road trip it in a camper or car. Whatever you decide, the adventures are endless!

Maori Culture

One of the most unique things about New Zealand is how true many of them have held onto the traditional Maori culture.  You must be on a tour to visit a Marae, which is a tribal meeting ground, but it is fascinating and truly special to be a part of.  The local people will hold speeches, sing traditional songs, and eat a hangi feast.  If you’ve ever seen a New Zealand’s All Blacks haka warrior dance, you know that the Maori ceremonies are something to behold!

New Zealand is a backpackers paradise
New Zealand is a backpackers paradise

North and South Islands

New Zealand is small yet mighty!  The North and South Islands are both stunning in different ways!  The North Island is rich in Maori culture, has tons of hot springs (and even a beach where you can dig your own jacuzzi!), scuba diving, and swimmable beaches.  In comparison, the South Island has more dramatic scenery, stunning lakes and mountains. You’ll find amazing beaches and breathtaking National parks in both the North and South Island of New Zealand!

New Zealand is a backpackers paradise
New Zealand is a backpackers paradise

New Zealand is crazy beautiful and packs a punch, full of spectacular mountains and beaches for your adventurous side while still being able to enjoy the backpacker life and have an epic night out on the town.  Pack your bags, buy your ticket, and check one more amazing country off your list!

Planning your gap year in New Zealand? Why not start your year with our awesome 8 day tour of the North Island. Check out Ultimate NZ and download your FREE brochure today!

There’s much more to New Zealand than rugby, hobbits, funny accents and 30 million sheep (that’s more than actual people btw!) – In fact, New Zealand’s backpacker tourism industry is booming with thousands of 18-30’s heading to NZ to start their gap year!

So what makes New Zealand so special? And why is now the time to pack your bags and hop on a flight to the land of the Kiwis?

Life experience

There’s nothing like taking a gap year in a different country to broaden your horizons and open your eyes! A gap year in New Zealand will allow you to experience working in a foreign country, learn about Maori culture and give you the opportunity to travel around one of the most awesome, picture perfect countries in the world. You’ll go home with new mates, work experience, a fresh outlook on life and an Instagram feed your mates at home will be jealous of!

Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year

It’s easy!

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, New Zealand is the perfect place to start! Not only are Kiwis a lovely, welcoming bunch of people, the government has also make it pretty easy for backpackers to obtain a working holiday visa. Backpackers from most countries can apply for a working holiday visa which allows you to live and work in New Zealand for a specified amount of time (get in touch for info!) giving you the opportunity to travel around whilst funding your trip with short term, casual work.

On top of that, New Zealand is also generally a very safe place to travel, with a low crime rate and a great healthcare system. If you’re an English speaker, you’ve also hit the jackpot as finding a job will be easy!

Travel around New Zealand on your gap year

New Zealand is stunning bro!

You only have to type New Zealand into Google (or watch’ The Lord of the Rings!’) to get an idea of just how stunning this country is. New Zealand is truly one of those places that’s beauty takes your breath away – from stunning lakes, to breathtaking mountains and golden, pristine beaches, it’s hard not to fall in love with the beautiful landscapes and scenery Kiwiland has to offer!

Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year

New Zealand has everything!

Whatever you’re looking to experience during your gap year, you’ll find it in New Zealand. Whether you’re looking to party hard with other backpackers, always dreamed of living in a city like Auckland or want to experience life on a farm in the middle of nowhere, you can do it here!

Bit of an adrenaline junkie? New Zealand is home to the world’s most exciting adventure activities such as skydiving, bungy jumping, white water rafting, jet boating and pretty much anything else you can think of that would scare the pants off you!

With so many amazing places to see and things to experience in New Zealand, you’ll be glad of a year long working holiday visa!

Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year

Jobs, jobs, jobs

In your home country, you may be well aware of a lack of jobs in recent times. Struggling to find a job out of uni? A gap year in NZ could be your answer. Not only are there lots of jobs available for backpackers in New Zealand, with a pretty decent minimum wage of approx $15, but work experience abroad will look great on your CV. Also, with New Zealand’s affordable cost of living, you’ll be able to save some moollah for some well-deserved travelling between jobs. Employers love travellers so get yourself to NZ for a year of work experience and fun!

Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year
Travel around New Zealand on your gap year

Make friends for life..

The friends you’ll meet travelling will be some of the best friends you’ll ever make. From the first moment you meet, you’ll already have so much in common: a passion for travel, the motivation to escape the daily grind and come travelling in the first place and a thirst for adventure! Your travel friends will become your family sharing your travel adventures as partners in crime and offering a shoulder to cry on if you get homesick.

“Life was meant for good friends and great adventure..”

It’s just bloody beautiful…’Nuff said!

Why not kick start your New Zealand gap year by joining us on our 8 day gap year package, Ultimate NZ! We’ll set you up for your time in New Zealand with help finding work, travel discounts and more along with a week of fully guided group activities activities in and around Auckland to get you started! Download your FREE brochure now and get in touch with our lovely crew for more info!

Photo credits: Ultimate crew Instagram pics

With some of the world’s most picture perfect, stunning scenery and so much to see and experience, it’s no wonder New Zealand has become a favourite for backpackers planning a gap year abroad.

So what’s the best way to explore it? There are heaps of ways to travel around NZ including guided group tours, hop-on, hop off bus passes and renting your own car or camper. How you travel around will depend on how much time you have to travel, your budget and what you want to get out of the experience. Our travel experts have been there, done that so get in touch for help and advice deciding which option is right for you and some inside tips on travelling around this beautiful country!

Ultimate Travel guru Evi tells us about her New Zealand Adventure…

My Arrival in New Zealand

Our New Zealand adventure started in Auckland. Here, we visited the famous Skytower, offering panoramic views of the city and of course we headed straight to try out the Belgian beer pub! To work off some of the beer, we went mountain biking in Woodhill Forest and got an awesome vantage point of the city from one tree hill.
Then it was time to collect our camper and head to the Coromandel Peninsula. It was such a beautiful ride with different landscapes, sea and mountains. Arriving at Hahei beach, we immediately set up our BBQ and cooked up some scampi. We hiked and explored some of the bays, including Gemstone Bay, Stringray bay and Cathedral cove is where the movie Narnia was filmed. Such a stunning spot!

I’d been excited to head to Hot water beach where I’d heard you can dig your own jacuzzi in the sand using the hot springs beneath the beach! Next we drove to Rotorua where we checked out Waiotapu, an active volcanic area which was really impressive, although it did smell like rotten eggs! 😉 Tamakei village was a great place to find lots of Kiwi souvenirs and learn about the very interesting Maori culture.

Next it was time to drive to Taupo, stopping on the way to check our Hukka falls with incredible blue water. It’s a pity we didn’t have more time, as I would have liked to see more of the river. Next stop: Tongariro National Park where we found amazingly beautiful snowy mountains and some impressive waterfalls.

Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip

South Island

We hopped on the ferry in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington and started our short ferry journey over to New Zealand’s South Island.

When we arrived, we immediately noticed a big difference between the North and South Island. Here, we came across lots of mountainous, beautiful greenery and lots of sheep! Okiwi bay in the Abel Tasman National Park was one of my favourite memories of my time in the South Island. We took a lovely walk along the coast which was literally just us…and some sea lions chilling on the beach! It was so quiet and some of the (massive!) sea lions came right up to us to say hello – definitely a memorable experience! Afterwards, we climbed up to the summit to take in the breathtaking views of the national park. All in all, a TOP DAY!

We said goodbye to the beautiful Abel Tasman and continued our journey on to Christchurch. This place had been on my bucket list for a while!  I’d heard a lot about the beautiful town and was intrigued to visit somewhere that had been hit by an earthquake. It was so interesting and of course sad to see how it affected the city. We visited some museums and explored some of Christchurch’s gardens before driving back to the coast to start our journey down the Peninsula banks. Another beautiful ride with incredibly beautiful views!

As soon as we arrived at Lake Tekapo, I immediately fell in love with the area: a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. We parked up our camper by the lake and spent the day chilling and admiring the views. The next day we climbed up Mount John and spent a few hours taking in the amazing views before enjoying our last day of sunshine and hot pools in Tekapo. A much needed few days of chilling in a stunning area before travelling on.

Time for Mount Cook, but before we got there we made an stop at Lake Pukaki. It was quite overcast so we decided to make a hike to Mount Cook and drive to Oamaru in time to catch the sunset and to see a colony of blue penguins waddling ashore to settle on the beach for the night – so cute!

The next day it was time to drive to Dunedin, check out Kaka Lighthouse on the Otago Peninsula before spending the night at Cannibal Bay. On the way we also stopped at several hidden and extremely beautiful waterfalls. We also walked to the southernmost tip of the South Island. It was funny though, you had to walk through some land privately owned by a farmer, carefully avoiding all the cow pat! It was worth it though! 😉

Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip

Milford Sound & Queenstown

Now time for the Milford Sound which also turned out to be one of my favourite places here in New Zealand. The sound, surrounded by majestic mountains is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen – some of the stops will leave you speechless! We hadn’t planned on doing a boat cruise but were so happy we did in the end – it’s really beautiful! On the way back we stopped off at a waterfall to re-fill our water bottles – yep, the water was the purest I’ve ever tasted! Milford sound – you were incredible!

From there we drove straight to Queenstown where we spent a few days in a hostel living in backpacker luxury – a welcome short break from our campervan! We spent most of our time exploring the town and the beautiful lake surrounding the town. We went to an ice bar, checked out some of Queenstown’s pubs and of course, tried the famous Q’town Fergburger!

Next I did something I never thought I’d experience…a bungee jump! Of course, I had to book myself onto the biggest bungee jump in Australasia, the Nevis bungee jump at 136 metres! I stood on a small platform between two mountains with the river below. Of course I was super nervous, but I really didn’t have time to think! Before I knew it…3…2…1…JUMP! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!

Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip

Awesome Glaciers & Beautiful Lakes

The next day I continued to conquer my fears with a Franz Joseph Glacier helicopter tour! We hiked through the Glaciers which was an experience I’ll never forget – I still can not believe we did knowing that this beautiful place won’t be here in years to come! Crawling between icebergs, and hiking in the glacier was just fantastic. Photos don’t do it justice or show just how big it really is!

We also got to check out Lake Matheson, New Zealand’s mirror lake – a small lake where you could see the reflections of the mountains in the water. Another amazingly beautiful lake!

We’re almost at the end of our time in New Zealand: last stop is Lake Nelson! The lake is beautiful and you can drive all the way to the top to enjoy the stunning views. From there we then drove to Abel Tasman and back to Auckland where it all began for a few more days of fun in the beautiful North Island.

Overall I loved my time in New Zealand and fell in love with the country and the people we met along the way. I can’t wait to go back and experience more!

 My Travel Moto: Don’t let your dreams be dreams!

Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip
Guide to your New Zealand Road Trip

Time for your New Zealand adventure? Why not kick start your gap year with Ultimate NZ, giving you everything you need to get set up in NZ along with travel discounts and a week of fun activities and exploring the stunning Coromandel Peninsula! Download your free Ultimate New Zealand brochure today!