Seriously, how awesome was New Zealand?
Nicolas: It was fantastic! I don’t know where to start.
I love it for several reasons: the locals are awesome, the culture is super rich, and everybody is easygoing and welcoming. Even random people are helpful and easy to talk to. You feel home almost straight away.
Obviously, the landscape is amazing too. There is everything, like mountains, beaches and cities… And the country is very small, so you can go anywhere in only a few hours to take part of so many activities, like surf and ski. I did it all!
Describe what a Starter Pack agency does?
Nicolas: They helped me start my travel and arrive in New Zealand without any problems. They make my life in New Zealand a whole lot easier. And they did all the paperwork for me so I could enjoy my trip without having to bother with boring and complicated tasks.
So what do you think about your agency’s services?
Nicolas: It was very good because I had nothing to worry about. Bank account, SIM card and all the paperwork for IRD were sorted out for me. It would have been very complicated for me to do it by myself. Because they did it all for me, I was very relaxed.
It is a great service, as it really helped me enjoy my trip instead of stressing over it.
What was the best thing that they did for you?
Nicolas: The bank account opening and IRD application were definitely the best because it is quite complicated. I am usually stressed about that, so having it done before arrival was just awesome!
Tell us about a memorable moment from your trip?
Nicolas: My walk on top of the Franz Josef Glacier was incredible! The helicopter ride over the glacier before landing was amazing. It was a unique experience, and because those glaciers may disappear soon, I feel lucky to have been able to walk on it.
What was the best dollar you spent in New Zealand?
Nicolas: I bought some hiking shoes in Auckland before starting my trip. It was the best purchase I made to date! There are so many hikes to do here and if you do not have good hiking gear you will miss most of the incredible spots.
What is your favourite spot or story in New Zealand so far?
Nicolas: Mt Cook, no question about it. The mountains and glaciers were beautiful. The area has not only one but several glaciers and lakes at the bottom of them! The snow, the hikes, the quiet… I was cut off the world. It was perfect.
What job did you do in New Zealand?
Nicolas: I did WWOOFing in Tauranga working in a food truck. I was sous-chef and waiter at the same time. I was also catering for weddings and market days. I worked at home to prepare all the food and in the truck during service. I got accommodation and food, plus spending money out of it.
It was very interesting for me as I had a lot of different tasks to take on, from kitchen prepping to interacting with people.
It also allowed me to meet a lot of people.
Did you like staying in hostels in New Zealand?
Nicolas: As long as you stay away from the big chains, it is very cool. It is a great way to meet people from the same world as you. You can actually meet new people everyday. It can seem a bit stressful at the beginning but it is actually awesome. Most hostels are clean too so I really liked it.
I sacrificed the privacy of my own room for life experiences and I really grew up.
You also took a 12-month bus pass with one of our company partner, was it fun?
Nicolas: I liked it! Depending on which driver you get, the experience can be very different. It required a bit of organisation in summer, but a lot of it was much better than the coach buses!
I saw all the best places of New Zealand without having to worry about it. I liked the “off the beaten track” feel too. I did not stick to just tourist spots.
What advice would you give to someone that is about to go to New Zealand on a working holiday visa?
Nicolas: Get a Starter Pack: it is just so easy! I will also advise him to get on one if the bus network, like I did. I would also advise them to do some WWOOFing to discover the real New Zealand culture and improve their English. It helped me a lot.
In what way do you think that this trip changed you?
Nicolas: I didn’t know what to expect when coming to New Zealand. I only knew about the All Blacks.
But I discovered a really nice culture and state of mind. I grew up a lot too because that is what travelling is all about: learning from other travellers, cultures and meeting people.
My English improved a lot too, which was my main goal.
So, what is your next step?
Nicolas: I will finish my last year of study back in France. Afterwards, I want to travel again, maybe in the USA or Australia.
Last question, would you recommend a Starter Pack to your friends?
Nicolas: Yes because it truly made my life easier. I had no stress. I had nothing to worry about from the time I landed to the time I left.