New Zealand... My lucky charm

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BUNACer Emma caught up with us after her amazing time on our Work New Zealand programme. She fills us in on what she got up to whilst she was away...

New Zealand eh? Seriously guys this is going to be one of the best decisions you'll ever make. I'm actually so excited for anyone reading this because you have no idea how utterly amazing this adventure you're about to embark on will be. I even ended up extending my flights to stay the full year instead of half.

New Zealand as it turns out is my lucky charm, since I arrived in Auckland 10 months ago everything has gone right. Thanks to the brilliant staff in the Auckland office (they really are the best) I had found work within a week... as well as winning a $150 Milford Sound cruise for filling out a questionnaire for them! I hadn't expected to stay in Auckland, I was eager to start backpacking but I'm so glad I stayed there for the first 6 months. I worked at ASB bank which turned out to be a short walk from my new house share. I loved waking up and walking to work with the glorious sunshine. My colleagues were lovely and the wage was so good I didn't even need to transfer any money from back home. My last two months in Auckland I landed a dream job! I finished my office job and started working as an extra on TV series, adverts and films! It was the best job EVER and I loved every minute.

Absailing in New Zealand

I spent my evenings relaxing in the garden with my new housemates and my weekends body boarding at Muriwai beach. In between this I did the skytower walk where I met the Backstreet boys, went to Auckland zoo where I was invited to meet the elephant because it was a quiet day and also met my long lost New Zealand family that I never even knew I had! On a few occasions I climbed to the top of Mount Eden hill to watch all of Auckland CBD light up with spectacular fireworks from the Sky Tower.

Paddle boarding in New Zealand

I've also been strawberry picking, rock climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sand boarding down giant sand dunes amongst others. I've played glow in the dark crazy golf, dodge ball on trampolines and baseball to name a few. I've seen Kiwi, watched movies in the park, swam in beautiful warm lakes, been sailing around Auckland harbor and had uncountable BBQ's, caught and cooked my own fish, ran 5k while being blasted with powdered colour and ran another 5k at night covered in glow paint with pumping speakers all along the track. New Zealanders have such a great outdoor lifestyle it's impossible to sit around doing nothing with the sun shining. There's so many activities to do and so much to see! All this and more was just in my first 6 months living in Auckland.

Colour run in New Zealand

Backpacking around New Zealand is incredible, there are no boring places here! Everyone you meet in hostels are going through the same thing as you so people get on well and friendships strike up quickly. I spent a few unforgettable weeks of cave rafting, absailing, whale watching from the sky and the sea (Indescribable! I cried!). I went on a multi day kayaking trip around the spectacular Abel Tasman where loads of curious seal pups came to play with us. I've explored glow worm caves, cycled bikes on water (so funny), been go karting down hills, fed eels, gone to loads of festivals, been prawn fishing, water sledging and so, so much more. I've tripped over a seal while walking though a cave (I'm not sure who was more surprised, me or the seal?!), had a possum attempt to climb into my tent as well as a sting ray attempting to steal my bait while fishing.

Kayaking with the seals

I decided to do some seasonal work for the experience and to also top up my funds. In the 10 months I've been here and everything I've done I haven't once needed to transfer money from my UK account. Thanks to the guys at the Auckland office (again), within a week I'd found work. I worked in a kiwi packing house and also a vineyard wrapping the vines. I stayed in working hostels where I met people from all over the world who became like family. Throughout this trip I've also met kiwis and Maoris who have invited me to stay with them. They're honestly some of the friendliest most layed back people you'll ever meet and you'll learn so much, especially if you see a Maori show and learn about their traditions. The 'Hangi' is also delicious!

So far I've traveled from the northern most point of New Zealand all the way to Christchurch while stopping at almost everywhere in between. Every step of the way the awesome guys at the Auckland offices have been there whether it's advice on medical situations, tax returns or where the seasonal work is. I've had so many experiences sometimes it's hard to remember, it's like the past year has been a lifetime of one adventure after the next. People aren’t kidding when they talk about the spectacular scenery in New Zealand. So many times I have gasped/ been left breathless/ have had to just stop and take a moment to look at glorious views in front of me. (Like the time I hiked to the top of a hill surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains and saw over a hundred dolphins jumping through the sea below). I have two months left which I plan to fill with even more activities like skydiving, glacier hiking, zip line trekking and everything in between before finishing it off with the ultimate adrenaline rush... skydiving. This year has without a doubt been the best year of my life. I've experienced more than I ever have before and learnt so much about this beautiful place while making friends from every corner of the world.

Has Emma inspired you to go and work in New Zealand? Give us a call on 033 3999 7516 to chat to our team or find out more about the Work New Zealand programme.

For anyone thinking about doing a working holiday in New Zealand, don't let this opportunity pass you by. You can also check out my Facebook page: Global Backpacker for hints and tips on budget travel around New Zealand, inspirational quotes etc. Go and let life inspire you!

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