Journal Working Holiday

2016 Travel Plans: I’m Going to New Zealand!

I’ve had my heart set on a pretty big trip for a while now. I’ve been working and saving all of my pennies this past year, and I’ve been trying to make this whole thing happen. I’ve kept quiet about it online because I don’t like to talk about things until they’re official. Even though I’ve been thinking about this since last June, it was only a few weeks ago that it all finally came together. Now I am SO FREAKING EXCITED to tell you all about my big travel plans for 2016.

I’M GOING TO NEW ZEALAND!

Not only am I going to New Zealand, but I’m going for a full year. I have a working holiday visa that allows me to live, work, and travel in the country for up to a year, and I plan on staying as long as I can. I already spend my time roaming around and working different jobs here and there, so I figured why not go and do that in another country for a while.

I have a friend who had been planning on doing this same thing–she started telling me about it as soon as I met her. That’s how I got the idea. I wasn’t sure it was the right step for me, but last June we sat in an airport for hours talking, and it convinced me that this was something I wanted to do too. She’s there now which has only helped to encourage me to get things together and actually go.

I spent six months working really hard just to save up the money I would need to get to New Zealand and make this plan work. Once I had the money I needed, I realized this is something that could really happen–I just needed to get my passport.

I put off getting my passport for so many reasons, and since I wasn’t in my “resident state” for most of the year, I was unable to apply until I got back to Missouri. I applied as soon as I returned in December and I received my passport in the mail in January.

I had really been having doubts by then about whether or not I actually wanted to go spend a year in New Zealand, but as soon as I had my passport in my hands, all of those doubts went away. I immediately applied for the New Zealand working holiday visa (literally within an hour of getting my passport), and a few days later I was approved. I spent about a week considering dates and flights before buying a ticket.

So now that I have the money, my passport, a work visa, and a one-way flight to Auckland, it’s all officially official.

I wanted to wait a few weeks before announcing this on my blog simply because it still didn’t seem real. But now I’m exactly one month away from take-off (I’m leaving on March 15) and every last minute until then is going to be spent checking things off my to-do list. I’m so happy to finally share this news with everyone and of course I will be sharing every detail along the way.

Have any of you ever been to New Zealand? Have you done a working holiday? I’d love all the tips and recommendations you guys may have so please leave a comment or email me!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Alex
    February 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    We’re from New Zealand! That’s awesome, you’ll have a great time. Whereabouts are you planning on setting up? Are you going to do a bit of travelling around when you first arrive?

    • Reply
      Courtney Michele
      February 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      I don’t have much planned yet! I think I’m going to meet up with a friend on the South Island & maybe try to find work right away, just something for a few months before traveling.

      • Reply
        Alex
        February 17, 2016 at 8:30 am

        Ideal. Sure you’ll have enough planning and stuff to do already with the upcoming move, but here’s some of my favourite places/things from back home, just off the top of my head:

        Auckland:
        – Waiheke Island – short ferry away, beautiful place. Very good for wines, if you’re into that.
        – Food – For dinner, grab a seat by the water at Wynyard Quarter (Jack Tars & Miss Clawdy were the best places when we were last there). Milse for an amazing fairly cheap dessert after.
        – Piha is a good day trip, if you’re into surfing.
        – Skytower for an expensive view of the city, any of the hills around town for a free one. Mt Eden is a good pick.

        Other North Island stuff:
        – Hobbiton at Matamata. Actually pretty cool.
        – Blue Spring at Putararu – clearest water you’ll ever see.
        – Tongariro Crossing.
        – Raglan for surfing. Catch the sunset from the hill above the main beach, and there’s a surf school in the hills just outside of town which is a great place to stay as well.
        – Rotorua – luge, spas, mud baths, zorb, culture, mountain biking etc. Kinda touristy but some awesome things to do there as well.
        – Wellington. Fun town, best in summer.
        – Coromandel – best beaches. Cathedral Cove most famous, New Chums a better alternative (I think), Hahei, Whangamata, Pauanui all good towns to stay, plus heaps of campgrounds.

        South Island:
        – Abel Tasman National Park. Hire a kayak.
        – Milford Track in Fiordland.
        – Queenstown. Bungy jumping and jet-boating are great fun if you get the chance, and best place to be for skiing over the winter (and a good place to get work for the season apparently, though an expensive place to live)

        Sorry, just realised this has turned into a bit of a long comment…

        • Reply
          Courtney Michele
          February 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

          Thank you so much for all of the recommendations! I appreciate all the ideas I can get. I’m really hoping to see as much as possible in 1 year.

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