Philip, 22, from Tyneside, has walked the set of the Lord of the Rings, climbed glaciers and been snowboarding; all in a few short months on board Work New Zealand. Here is his update:
"I am having the time of my life in New Zealand on my 12 month working holiday visa through BUNAC. So much has happened this year including having the chance to reach new goals and achieve targets by doing things I don't necessarily get to do at home and exploring new destinations in a country as beautiful as New Zealand.
In January 2010, I made, what I would call the best decision I've ever made, and looked into working abroad with BUNAC who I’d heard good things about, and I wasn't disappointed! I chose New Zealand because its not often you get to travel across to the opposite side of the world and from the pictures I had seen before coming out, New Zealand is one of the most spectacular places in the world for scenery. So i decided why not work there?
I chose the Group Flight option which included visiting Hong Kong for a 3 day stopover with other BUNAC'ers. Hong Kong is huge, there are people everywhere. We went to a few markets, had a tour up Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, visited temples and went out with the group for drinks; getting to know each other was great! Group flights are a great way of making new friends who you can stick with whilst settling in to your chosen destination i.e. New Zealand.
As I was taking off from Heathrow Airport, I thought to myself 'wow, this is it! It’s going to be amazing'. Travelling on your own (even with newly made friends) can be daunting; however, it is a huge confidence booster if you are alone. My first impressions of New Zealand started at Auckland Airport; everyone was very welcoming and friendly with plenty of information provided for us. I have found the general Kiwi public to be very polite, have a good sense of humour and to really make tourists feel at home.
Going with BUNAC offered me the chance to improve my skills and get more experience in different types of jobs. in different types of places. I added on the ‘Skills and Thrills’ package which included a bungee jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge and a 2 week ‘Bar and Restaurant Skills Course’. Since hospitality is a big market in New Zealand, I thought this would help me get a job, and it did! The first week in Auckland we stayed in the ACB (Auckland Central Backpackers) on the main shopping street (Queen's St). It was just across the road from the BUNAC IEP Office where we had our orientation/welcome meeting. BUNAC offers all the advice and help necessary to make it easy for you to understand what you need to know and at the offices they also help you with job searches.
I stayed in Auckland for the first week then decided with my friends from our group flight that we should go on a road trip in a spaceship campervan. We went up north to Wananaki, Pahia, Bay of Isands/KeriKeri, Russel and Cape Reinga then back down to Auckland. We took in things like dolphin watching, walking to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, which is right at the top of NZ, camped in our vans at designated campsites, a Lord of the Rings Tour, white water rafting, snowboarding in Queenstown, went to the Sand Dunes at 90 Mile Beach and also to the Rainbow Falls which were cool. I also attended a Maori cultural evening which was great and included a free buffet! Getting to know the real New Zealand is a must.
All the while, I had been applying for jobs, to save money I worked for accommodation at Sequoia Lodge in Picton for 2 weeks where I met more nice people and ate delicious home made hot chocolate pudding made by the owners every night. I had to develop a lot of patience for job hunting at first, but then finally got a job acceptance at Fiordland Lodge in Fiordland/ Te Anau on NZ’s south island as a waiter. The staff are all very nice and I fit in straight away. During my spare time away from work, I played football and tennis and hung out with my work mates. We had a BBQ on Christmas Day which seemed unreal. Working in hospitality was a good choice as the summer season period is very busy which means a lot of hours to work.
I am living with a very nice couple who have been very welcoming, which, has made it feel like a home away from home. Accommodation in New Zealand is fairly easy to find, there are websites and notice boards in various places.
My time in New Zealand has been amazing! I have done so many activities I may not be able to do at home, met friends for life and I have boosted my confidence and learnt so many new skills. Through working at the lodge i am currently undergoing a course in Hospitality Level 2 which I aim to complete by end of this month (April). So i will come back home to England with more qualifications and skills than i left with.
A year of a life time with people from all over the world, what more could I ask for? I love New Zealand and would strongly recommend it to all travellers!"
If this has your head spinning over the wonders of New Zealand, get your Work New Zealand adventure with BUNAC on the go now!
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