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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

If you’re anything like us here at ULTIMATE, you love a bit of thrill seeking during your travels. There’s no better way to get your heart pumping than rafting through river rapids or jumping out of a plane at 14,000ft. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie here are some activities to cross off your list this year!

Here are some of our experiences with some amazing (pretty terrifying) adrenaline activities:

Skydive – (Ultimate recommends Mission beach, Australia)

“What a feeling! Falling through the sky at 14,000ft with someone and a parachute strapped to your back doesn’t happen (to most of us!) every day! It’s without a doubt one of the most amazing feelings in the world and I’d recommend it to anyone! For me the scariest part was waiting to jump in the plane beforehand. Luckily I was the first out and as soon as that door was opened, I was ready to jump! The free fall was such an incredible feeling! It almost feels like you’re floating rather than falling. Once the parachute has opened (aaannnd relax!) you get to enjoy 5 minutes of floating down, checking out the beautiful scenery and thinking about what you’ve just done! Like most things great in life the whole experience goes way too quickly so get the photos and videos to watch back!” – Holly

Australia

Canyoning & Abseiling (Ultimate recommends Da Lat, Vietnam)

Da Lat in Vietnam has some of the worlds most beautiful waterfalls. You can hike through the jungle to see the waterfalls from a far or if you prefer you can abseil straight down them!

“You hear stories from people on the way and you might even see some of their pictures, yet you can’t quite figure out what to expect from ‘abseiling a waterfall’. The truth is: it’s freakin scary, but I loved it so much, I have done it 3 times now and would do it again anytime. The worst part is standing right on the edge of the cliff, waiting until it’s your turn and seeing the horrified look in everyone’s face in front of you while you are trying to build up the courage to just do it. You’re basically volunteering to face death several times on that one day – kinda a dumb thing to do if you think about it. Though, once you’ve taken the first steps down the cliff, the water is pounding against your legs to a point where you are about to slip any moment now, the adrenaline is rushing through your body and you start to feel invincible. You finally let go of the ropes, take the plunge into the river beneath you and already think: I need to do that again!” – Dirk

Vietnam

Bungy Jump (Ultimate recommends Cairns, Australia & Queenstown, New Zealand)

Could you jump off a ledge with a Bungy cord strapped to your ankles? Bungying is one of those things that you don’t just do the once! Once you jump you can’t stop!

“I was shitting myself for weeks leading up to the jump. We arrived at the site on the day and it was beautiful and scary at the same time.  It is set in a valley so you jump from a cable-car which is connected by cables to the mountains on either side, it is 134 metres from the ground.  Inside the cable-car the floor is perspex so you can see right down to the bottom of the valley that you are jumping in to!  They get people to jump in weight order so there were a few bigger guys before me – this calmed my nerves a bit because they all came back up saying how amazing it was (and none of them died!).  It came to my turn and I sat in the chair to have all of the safety stuff put on me.  As this was happening the guy who had jumped before me was being pulled back up after his jump, he looked terrible.  His legs had turned to jelly and he was crying – this didn’t help me!  I shuffled over to the ledge and prepared to jump, I kept telling myself not to make any noise because I was afraid I would squeal or sound really stupid.  It turns out it’s impossible to not make any noise and I think I made a kind of mooing sound like a cow!  The freefall is around 9 seconds and this was one of the most amazing feelings of my life – like nothing else I have ever experienced.  When I bounced back up and started to head down for the second time it felt for a couple of seconds like I was hanging in mid air – I actually instinctively swang my arms around and tried to fly!  I bounced a few more times and then pulled the chord so I was in a sitting position and enjoyed the relatively leisurely ride being pulled back up to the top.  As soon as I got back up there I turned to my mate and said “we have to do this again – higher!” – Danny

White Water Rafting (Ultimate recommends Tully River, Australia)

“Rafting was an incredible experience! I did the ‘Xtreme rafting’ on the Tully River in Northern Queensland. I had no idea how much fun it would be but I can safely say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done! I felt like I was on the best roller coaster in the world, blasting down the rapids,  twisting and turning all the time – it’s definitely not for the faint hearted! The staff and instructors were brilliant providing making us feel as safe as possible with non stop laughs along the way. They really do try and make it the best experience possible for you. The trip I did was a day trip which I’d definitely recommend as you get lots more rafting in and when you’ve started you won’t want it to end! The best part of the day for me was blasting down a rapid with the instructor shouting “Back Paddle, back paddle” then bumping into rocks and dropping down the rock face below you. It was a crazy amount of fun and I’d recommend it to anyone!”  – Max

Shark Cage Diving (Ultimate recommends Port Lincoln, Australia)

Port Lincoln in Australia is one of the only places in the world you can experience cage diving with Great White sharks! You’ll be lowered into the ocean with only a metal cage between you and great whites. Put it this way…it’s the closest you’ll ever come to a Great White Shark without being eaten! Game?

“Duunnnn Dunn… Duuunnn Dunn… I’ll never forget the day I encountered the real life Jaws! Diving with sharks was an item on my lifetime bucket list, and although I was super excited, I couldn’t have been more terrified. Being in Australia, you always fear that you may see a shark in the water, and here I was choosing to be with one! This being said I flew down to Port Lincoln for the weekend, one of the few places in the world that you can cage dive with Great Whites. Although I was quite nervous, the staff couldn’t have been better and made me feel really comfortable. We set off early in the morning and the next thing I knew, they were gearing me up to hop in the cage. A fun fact, rather than using bloody “chump” as they call it to attract the sharks, they used the sound vibrations of playing ACDC  – how cool is that! Peering over the side, I could already see the shadow of what appeared to be a 5m Great White. Feeling rather nervous, I took a deep swallow and hopped into the cage and there he was, Bruce smiling right back at me. Once in the water, the fear left and I was amazed to be that close to such a large creature. It was absolutely insane and definitely an experience I won’t forget!” – Becca

Diving (Ultimate recommends The Great Barrier Reef, Australia & Koh Tao, Thailand)

Thailand has got some amazing snorkeling and diving spots, especially along the West coast. Kao Tao is popular for diving due to it’s shallow waters and lots of coral.

“Absolutely the BEST part of my time spent in Thailand. If you’re considering scuba diving, better yet getting your open-water certification, Koh Tao is THE place to do it. Not only is it one of the cheapest and most popular places to do it, the island provides some of the best dive sites in the world. Plus, it’s absolute paradise. Palm trees, sunsets, beach parties – not much to complain about. And trust me when I say, there is no cooler feeling than being able to breathe underwater. My dream of becoming a mermaid was finally complete. After completing the 4-day open-water course, I could officially call myself a certified diver. I loved diving so much, I even went on to get my advanced certification with heaps of friends I met from my original dive group. Exploring a shipwreck 30m below surface, diving in complete dark with nothing but a torch, finding Nemo – doesn’t get much better. Eat. Sleep. Dive. that should be the island’s motto.” – Becca

Thailand

Cage of Death, Darwin, Australia

“The cage of death was such a weird yet amazing experience! Me and my travel buddy were lowered into a massive tank inside a glass cage with two of the largest saltwater crocs in Australia, William and Kate! One of the ‘friendlier’ crocodiles swam straight over to us and at one point it’s teeth were literally 10cm away from me with just the glass between us! To make the crocodile jump up, chicken was dangled into the tank by the crocodile handler and fed to the crocs in front of us. I couldn’t believe how high the crocs can actually jump out of the water and seeing how powerful their jaws are as they snapped down on the chicken was unbelievable. Being so close to such big crocodiles was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity! If you’re travelling to Darwin, the Cage of Death is not to be missed!” – Holly

Australia

Done a Skydive? Been tubing in Thailand? Share your experiences with us in the comments below! If you’re interested in any of the above just get in touch – we will give you the details!