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STA Travel Blog

4 ways to get down with the locals in New Zealand

Want more than just a whistle-stop tour of New Zealand’s tourist attractions? Why not take your journey to a new level and get down with the locals!

New Zealand provides a copious amount of bewildering backdrops, inviting culture, flourishing forests, delightful people and second to none road trips. All of this also allows for social interaction and a scrapbook full of perfect, harmonious memories. So seek out a deeper and more meaningful interaction with New Zealand and its people as you get involved with the environment and those adventurous Kiwis.

A post shared by Yukari Mellish (@yucacarina) on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:02pm PST

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48 hours in Bangkok

The city of Bangkok… a chaotic mismatch of old-world and modern metropolis serving up enticing markets, impressive temples and a wild night life to go with it.

With a round the world trip ahead of them, our Blueticket competition winners Sabrina, Dan, Kyle and Charlotte chose here to #StarttheAdventure. Like a lot of backpackers, they had to get real. With 48 hours they were never going to have the pleasure of exploring every single corner. Here’s the cultural juice they managed to squeeze out of their whistle stop tour of charismatic Bangkok.

1. Just touched down in Bangkok town (or Suvarnabhumi airport to be more accurate). Hop on the swanky sky train (for about 30p, whattt?) and make your way to Siam Square in downtown Bangkok.

2. For most backpackers there’s only one place to stay, Khao San Road or nearby at least. Go get yourself some traveller uniform whilst you’re there. Jazzy elephant trousers and a chang vest?

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Why you should get out there and do it (whatever IT is)

Us travel junkies come in all shapes and forms: from the forever tanned yogi or the jet-setting city breaker in the office, to the on-the-road thrill seeker or trekking enthusiast. There is one thing we all have in common: we are passionate about starting adventures.

From the small things that push you out of your comfort zone to those epic around the world escapades, we’ll take them all!

A 2015 Jack Wills Young Brit winner, mentored by STA Travel’s very own CEO, tells us her story of why it’s necessary to get out there, face your fears and follow your dreams, wherever they may take you…

Georgia Shiels racing close-up

Firstly, let me introduce myself. I’m Georgia. I’m 21, I am a racing driver. I have a love for travelling and I’m an engineering student. I’ll let that sink in for a second, as you may still be stuck on the bit about me being a racing driver.

At just 16 I was catapulted into a crazy world of racing, travelling and studying. Having grown up more interested in my school than in cars, this new lifestyle came as quite a shock. But it was then that I found my purpose, my passion and my love.

It’s possible to love a car, right? I don’t know if you’ve felt the same, but I had never really loved doing anything before. I had singing lessons, went swimming, joined every sports team and don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it all but I wasn’t passionate about any of it. I didn’t dream about it or feel that “buzz”.

“How do you know you’ve found your passion? It’s like finding the love of your life (apparently) you just know.”

In 2015, I was a good few years into my racing career and I had a big dream. My ultimate goal was (and still is) to become World Rallycross Champion. That year, out of hundreds of young talents, I won the Jack Wills Young Brit competition and was fortunate enough to work with STA Travel.

Travelling is a big part of motorsport and the higher up you go, the more exciting places you get to visit. Following a few tough years of struggling to afford to race, everything finally came together. I got accepted at Bolton University to study Motorsport Engineering, I made a switch from rallying to rallycross and became a LOCO Energy Drink athlete. STA Travel’s amazing creative team designed a new website for me and gave me a whole new brand. I made loads of new friends at Uni and I genuinely couldn’t have been happier.

“My Saturday nights are saved for a date with engineering mathematics”

It was (and is) all AMAZING… until I realised the university work load is insane and doing assignments while driving up and down the country was not feasible. I needed a plan.

Georgia Shiels STA motor race

Any spare time I get, I try to allocate it to doing my university work. I spend evenings in the library rather than with my friends and my Saturday nights are saved for a date with engineering mathematics. This is difficult at times, and right now I’m sat amongst papers, notes and library books attempting to complete two assignments this week. I still don’t have it all figured out. But I’m certainly a step further away from a nervous breakdown, than I was for my A-levels.

There is no exact formula to finding what makes you happy. And the hypocrisy is that your passion will not always make you feel good. I turned up to my first race at 16, with only four hours of experience behind the wheel of a car. You can imagine how that ended! But looking back, jumping in at the deep end was the best thing I ever did. I learned, perhaps, the most important thing anyone needs to get out into the world and get sh*t done: bravery. My strength and conditioning coach gave me a piece of advice I will keep with me forever. It was at the end of a race and I was giving myself a hard time. I was frustrated and disappointed.

He said: “Georgia… not everything in life is going to go well. So get a grip, get over it and keep moving forwards.” I couldn’t argue with that. He was right.

I’ve learned to be brave and get out into the world, say yes to every opportunity and see more. Australia, New York, LA, Belgium, Norway… every place I’ve visited is filled with inspiration, beauty and guess what… more bravery to capture. Chase those dreams across the countries because they’re not going to chase you!

Read more about Georgia by heading over to her twitter, facebook and instagram

#FeatureFriday of YOUR Instagram snaps!

You’ve made it! It’s FRIDAAAAAAAAY! Thank God. To celebrate we’ve selected some of our favourite travel snaps from our Instagram followers. Feast your eyes on these and get ready for some serious wanderlust…


Late night Tokyo.
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Does Fergburger do the best burgers in the world?

Did I mention I’ve been to New Zealand’s South Island? Well, I did, and it was amazing (here are five reasons why it was so awesome). I wasted no time in telling people I was going, and asked those who’d already been for some tips. Normal questions, you know – where was your favourite place? What do I have to do? What’s the one thing I can’t miss?

The answers were really diverse – New Zealand has so much to offer, after all. But the one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that when I was in Queenstown, I had to go to Fergburger. “Where?” was my naïve response. Cue gasps of indignation, cries of “You’ve never heard of Fergburger?” and similar responses to make me feel the same way I felt when I was at university and revealed I ’d never seen the film E.T.

If, like I was, you’re a Fergburger virgin, here’s a quick rundown. Fergburger is a Queenstown institution, having served huge, juicy burgers since 2001. It’s pretty much a rite of passage for anyone heading to Queenstown, and many claim that they’d swim back to New Zealand for a bite of the burgery goodness.

Behold, the mighty Fergburger | Image by me

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