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 is incredible. Not much more needs to be said. It has everything and more to offer to a traveller. Many people ask us here at Ultimate long do I need to see New Zealand? Well honestly I’d say 4 weeks, about 28 days. However not everyone has this much time, so then lets go with 2 weeks. But if you only have 2 weeks then a good suggestion would be to choose between the North or South Islands. Both are incredible and both offer so much…I’m just glad I don’t have to choose! So here’s how I’d suggest you spend 14 days in New Zealand…

North Island New Zealand

Auckland is the main city on the North Island and definitely worth a visit! It is surrounded by volcanoes most of which you can climb and has parks where you can play frisbee golf! But I would recommend leaving the city after a short while, although Auckland does have great night life! North of the City of Sails is the Bay of Islands. Locals call it the land of eternal summer. The weather there stays very constant and a lovely warm temperature. Here you can go swimming with dolphins, hiking or visit Cape Reinga, the northern most point of New Zealand where the Tasman sea and the Pacific Ocean meets.

South East of Auckland you’ll find the Coromandel Peninsular and a little bit of paradise! Here you can dig your own hot tub at Hot Water Beach (original name I know!) and go to Narnia. Yes Narnia! Ok well actually where they filmed Narnia but still, all childhood dreams matched! In the Bay of Plenty further south there is White Island where you can visit an active volcano and walk among the sulphur and steam.

Visit the Coromandel Peninsula if you can only spend 14 days in New Zealand

In the middle of the North Island there is Rotorua, the cultural capital of NZ, also named ‘Sulphur City!…and also the smelliest place in the world. You’ll know what I mean when you go there! 😉 Once you have gotten over the smell of the bubbling mud pools you can learn all about New Zealand’s natives, The Maori. There is Waitomo Caves where you can go tubing through caves lit up by glowworms, nothing more to be said! Taupo is right in the middle of the island. Sporting the largest lake in New Zealand it is also the home to Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. You can actually climb the volcano just like Frodo and Sam while doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (a must do while you are here). Taupo is also an awesome spot to do a skydive if you dare!

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, aka Mount Doom, New Zealand

In the south of the North Island you’ve got some amazing places to do a spot of crazy white water rafting in the mountains. Then right in the south is the country’s capital, Wellington. While here in this sleepy chilled out city definitely check out the Museum of New Zealand, it has everything from history to props from the Lord of the Rings films. There are lots of other museums and art galleries here along with some amazing botanical gardens and a gorgeous view from the top of Mount Victoria.

Side note: If you are doing the North and South Islands then the ferry journey between the two across the Cook Strait will be one of the highlights of the whole trip, so grab your jumper and enjoy the view!

South Island New Zealand

The South Island is about twice the size of the North and certainly packs a punch! The top of the South Island starts with Nelson where you can take a calf burning (but well worth it) steep stroll up to the most central point of New Zealand. West of Nelson is the Abel Tasman National Park. Here you can get a boat to take you round to one of the incredible beaches, drop you off and then you make your own way back on foot. With hardly anyone around you’ll have beaches and forest to yourself, not to mention stunning views and incredible wildlife.

Heading south you’ll get to Westport, a super laid back surf town. Time to don the wetsuit and catch some waves here! On the opposite east coast you have Kaikoura, this is a marine wildlife paradise. You can swim with dolphins and catch the passing humpbacks during their migration. A bit further down you have Christchurch, although recently devastated with numerous earthquakes its still a beautiful city, earning its name of The Garden City. Its not all beautiful parks though, you can learn all about Antarctic expeditions or go shopping at a mall made out of shipping containers!

Franz Josef, New Zealand

Heading over to the west coast (through Arthur’s Pass, google it and you’ll just want to go!) you get to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Here you can hike on some of the fasting moving glaciers in the world meaning you’ll have to carve your own path through, or splash the cash and get a helicopter ride to the top and land on the ice!

Whilst heading south from here you’ll spot the highest mountain in NZ, Mount Cook, where Edmund Hillary practiced for his famous Everest summit.

Visit Mount Cook if you can only spend 14 days in New Zealand

You will soon hit Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world! You could spend weeks here with so many activities that change with the seasons. You could go skiing, skydiving, jet boating, hiking, bungy jumping, zip-wiring, white water rafting, rock climbing, the possibilities are almost endless. If extreme sports aren’t your thing then its ok, Queenstown boasts some amazing bars and also maybe the best burger joint in the world, Fergburger. Speak to anyone who has been to Queenstown and I guarantee they will have eaten one if not seven.

If you’re not satisfied there then the must see place to see on the South Island is Milford Sound. Words can’t describe the beauty of this place, you have to see it.

So there it is plenty to fill two weeks of your time in New Zealand and this has only scratched the surface there is more then enough to fill lifetime. Which would you chose? The North or the South? I’m glad I don’t have to choose, perhaps a piece of advice – Go for longer and see all of it!

Thinking of travelling to New Zealand? Check out Ultimate NZ to get you started and get in touch to chat about your plans!

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


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