Why did you choose New Zealand?
Thibault: Our mind was not set on New Zealand first, we considered Canada and Australia but the New Zealand working holiday visa was so much easier to get. And it was the right choice; we had the best time ever here.
Alexis: The main reason we wanted to travel was to improve our English.
How would you describe your agency’s services?
Alexis: They got all the paperwork done and out of the way in no time, so it was great to have nothing to worry about. Also the Working Holiday Starter website is very easy to use; so much info is on it or us to decide which agency to use!
Thibault: They also gave us great honest travel advice and kept in touch with us every 2 weeks or so. They always knew where we were.
What was the best thing that they did for you?
Alexis: They gave us the best travel advice and always found the best price for us and followed up with us all trip long. We really had nothing to worry about.
Thibault: Everything was well explained; there were no surprises.
You took 2 weeks of English courses, how was it?
Alexis: It was a very good experience; so different from the courses we had in France. It was very practical, no boring writing, and it really helped us to start speaking. It also helped us a lot with the pronunciation. To be honest, we really started with a very low level and we were not feeling comfortable talking English at all.
Thibault: The ambiance in the school was great. After class we were playing basketball with other students and teachers!
You also took a 12-month bus pass, was it fun?
Alexis: It made our trip unforgettable.
Thibault: We never heard of this concept of Hop-On Hop-Off bus before, so when our advisor suggested it we had some doubts, but it really was the cheapest way to visit the whole country so we went for it. It was amazing! We had great time with so many travellers, we saw incredible off the track spots, and the drivers were so much fun!
Alexis: Especially Natalie!
Thibault: We cannot stop telling stories of our trips. It was awesome!
What job did you do in New Zealand?
Thibault: We fixed everything! Haha. Our advisor advised us to do some WWOOFing and gave us the right websites to contact hosts. We went into two locations to do some carpentry, mechanics, vineyard work, plumbing and we built a dog kennel!
Alexis: The best thing we did was fixing old trucks because we got to play with them after! We were living with our hosts so we got to experience the Kiwi lifestyle. We got amazing food and during our days off we were travelling around with our hosts. They took us to the movies, to fish, to hike… It was a lifetime experience and we’ll keep in touch.
What advice would you give to someone that is about to go in New Zealand on a working holiday visa?
Thibault: Don’t take your return flights, haha.
Alexis: If you have a little bit of money aside, don’t worry too much about finding a job. Go WWOOFing; it was the best decision we ever made!
What was your biggest challenge?
Thibault: We had hard time finding our first WWOOFing spot. It was in the middle of nowhere, so we had to take a taxi, then a bus, then the train, and finally our hosts came to pick us up at the train station. What a journey!
Alexis: For me it was to understand the locals in the first few days. I had some language issues, but after a few days at the school it all went smoothly.
What have you taken away from this experience in New Zealand?
Thibault: I’ve improved my English and took some amazing pictures! We definitively want to come back maybe in a few months.
Alexis: It was a great experience. I really feel like a different man.
What is your favourite spot or story in NZ so far?
Alexis: We really had the best time in the Blue Duck Station and in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Thibault: My favorite story was when we first took our first bus, Natalie, the driver was breaking the ice by shouting some questions to the group. At some point she asked: “What is your favorite place in the world?” and we responded: “We like mountain biking and skiing!” It definitively made us laugh so hard when we realised.
Would you recommend getting a Starter Pack to your friends?
Alexis: Yes definitively. It was money well spent, even if we were not very well organised, they were and they helped a lot!
Thibault: Yes, without a doubt.