Our year in New Zealand was a hasty decision made by two people who weren’t ready to retire their backpacks.
Rewind 10 months ago, Its June 2015 and we were sitting in the Peterpans shop in Cairns, Australia panicking on what to do next. We had applied for our second year in Australia, which was denied (that is a whole other story) and in need of a new plan. We weren’t ready to go home. Not yet. So, on a whim, we applied for a New Zealand Working Holiday visa. We had heard a lot about New Zealand and known a few people who had done a working holiday there as well. We knew it was going to be a pay cut and quite the change but as long as we weren’t going home, we didn’t care. 4 days later our visas were granted and a few days after that we were on a flight to Queenstown, New Zealand.
Things were looking up. We had struggled during our time in Aus, had a lot of ups but plenty more downs. So we were ready to start fresh.
We arrived into Queenstown with little knowledge of just how cold it actually would be. People had warned us that it would be different from Australia but we didn’t think much of it, thinking, “Ah, New Zealand’s not that much further south than Aus”. Oh how wrong we were. A couple days before flying out, Will decided to check the weather forecast. Now remember, its June, summer almost everywhere else in the world, except down here. Plus we were in Cairns, where it’s pretty much summer ALL the time. Will’s sitting across from me, looks up from his phone, smirks, hangs his head and says, “You’re not going to like this.” The Forecast for our arrival into New Zealand? Snow and -10. I was not impressed considering we’d just spent the last year and a bit in temperatures never lower then +20. This was going to suck! Needless to say we spent our last day in Aus buying new wardrobes.
Like I said, we had a lot of bad luck in Australia but New Zealand was the exact opposite. Within two weeks of arriving we had jobs and a great house. We were constantly told how lucky we were. We had arrived during peak ski season and the town was bustling with snow bunnies all looking for work and a place to live. It was madness! There were people offering spare seats in their car for people to sleep. Hostels were constantly booked out. We switched rooms/hostels almost every other day and even found ourselves without a bed one night. Luckily we were able to splash out and find ourselves a hotel room, but we were one of the lucky ones. Most hostels even had people sleeping in the reception area waiting for beds to become available.
By the end of June we had a flat that we shared with an awesome Kiwi couple, had our own room with a king size bed (all you couples who also know the struggle of sharing a single size hostel bed,
you can imagine how ecstatic we were) with an ensuite, and a to die for view of the Remarkables Mountain range. We were loving life. And for the next 6 months we settled in.
Will is a trained chef and got a job in the kitchen at The World Bar for the winter and switched to trades jobs once the weather got warmer. I worked at Cup & Cake, a small cupcake shop down Searle Lane. During ski season we were up the mountain whenever we had time and when that ended we spent our free time exploring the rest of the area. New Zealand is quite small which means most things are only a couple hours away, unlike Australia where a couple hours drive barely gets you out of Sydney.
In August, Will went on a Lads trip to Vegas for a week with his friends from home while I did a short Contiki in Greece. In December, we went to Canada to visit my family for the holidays and when we returned in January we traveled on the Stray bus for 5 weeks. Working our way down from Auckland to Queenstown.
That brings us up to to date. In two and a bit weeks we are renting a car and road tripping back up to Auckland where we will say goodbye to this beautiful country and be off on our next adventure; ASIA!