Why It's Time To Move To New Zealand

Here at STA Travel we pride ourselves on being experts on all things travel and as much as we love working for such a cool, exciting company, as travel lovers ourselves we are also susceptible to having our heads turned by an incredible country or opportunity abroad.

On that note, meet two of our Travel Experts, bezzie mates Jess Ambrose, 25 and Helen Wheat, 24, from our Leeds Vicar Lane branch, who have both been working at STA Travel for 2 years. Jess is a regular on this very blog as one of our resident travel experts on our Ask the Experts series.

Jess and Helen were lucky enough to be chosen to be part of a 10 day company fam trip* to New Zealand in March this year and their experience has had such an impact on them that they’ve decided to head back to Kiwi land to live!

Jess (first from right, front) and Helen (second fr right, front) on one of the first days of their fam trip

So what is it about New Zealand that they loved so much, that made them want to wave goodbye to their lives here in the UK? I got in touch with Jess and Helen and grilled them about what it was that made them take the leap, when they’re off and what they are going to do while they’re out there.

*Fam trips, are familiarisation trips, where our experts get to visit destinations around the world to make sure their knowledge and experience is tip top and to make sure they have experienced trips to the very countries they book you guys trips to every day (hence why our guys and girls are called travel experts)

What’s So Great About New Zealand? Jess and Helen Fill Us In

Let’s start with the fam trip. What parts of New Zealand did you visit?


We did a whistle stop tour of the North Island, stopping at Paihia and sailing the Bay of Islands, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Auckland and Rotorua.

The girls got their Kayak on while in New Zealand

What activities did you take part in?


We did so many! Kayaking in Cathedral Cove, a visit to a water park, bungee jumping, walking, sailing.

The Bay of Islands was stunning with amazing scenery and sailing round it in a beautiful boat made it even better.


Sailing around the Bay Of Islands was stunning, we had a go at digging a hot pool at Hot Water Beach and did an Auckland Bridge Climb. One of my own highlights was a Maori Hangi (method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven) and a trip to Waipoua Forest to see the world’s oldest tree.
In Rotoura we did the adrenaline activities at Agro adventures along with the Luge and Ogo and a visit to the geyser and a Polynesian Spa.

We did a whole lot of kayaking in the 10 days but Cathedral Cove was definitely the most amazing location for it and it brought out our competitive sides, I was on the winning team! We also had an amazing visit to the Hobbiton set from Lord of the rings and the upcoming film The Hobbit!

A visit to Hobbiton was one of the highlights of their time in New Zealand

What happened when you got back? Why did you decide to go back out?


I have already completed my Australian working visa and decided that I would like another year out in an interesting country. New Zealand is another place which is easy to work in and seemed ideal


As soon as we arrived into Auckland on the trip I knew I wanted to go back and explore some more. I had already done 12 months on my working visa in Australia, before I started working for STA Travel, and loved it. I went across on my own last time but it’s always fun to go with a friend so got to work persuading Helen who was also on the trip to come with me.

It too about 2 minutes to convince her and we started looking into it as soon as we got back to the UK. We started by looking at the best deals on flights so we could do some stops on the way across and then just booked a one way flight and took it from there.

What is it about NZ that you love so much?


The main thing I fell in love with is the laid back way of life and the endless possibilities for adventure. It’s an amazingly beautiful country with diverse scenery even the colours look brighter over there. It’s so easy to get around and both Islands offer up something completely different, from volcanoes to glaciers and whale watching to kiwi spotting and not forgetting the bungee jumping and sky diving!


The outdoorsey life style – they are always getting involved in sports. The scenery and the open spaces, the weather (most of the time), the people, there’s so much to love.

It's scenery like this that made Jess and Helen crave the Kiwi lifestyle

When are you moving back and how did you get the ball rolling for the move?


I’m leaving the UK in October and doing a trip through Russia, Mongolia and China and then flying to New Zealand from Hong Kong for the end of November…..just in time for summer!

I still have so much to do but the main things like insurance, visa, flights and arrival accommodation have been taken care of. Luckily this time I’ll also know what to pack so I can avoid the bag drama I had 2 hours before I set off to the airport to fly to Australia!

I have made sure that I have an updated version of my CV so I don’t have to worry about that when I’m over there. I’m also trying to organise a big night out with all my friends so I can have tearful goodbyes with all of them!


I have already completed my Australian working visa and decided that I would like another year out in an interesting country. New Zealand is another place which is easy to work in and seemed ideal. I’ll be arriving in New Zealand by December 2012, after travelling for a few months beforehand. I’ve spoken to my manager in Leeds and to our HR department before applying for the move as I’d like to work for STA Travel in Auckland.

<img src="https://www.statravel.co.uk/travel-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/NZ_Helen_GroupBus_620.jpg" alt="" title="" width="620" height="465" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-11272" /

Jess (3rd R) and Helen (2nd L) with their fam trip group

What are you plans when you get out there?


I know a few people out there from my other trips and from the fam trip so it will be really nice to see them again, they’re all dotted throughout New Zealand so it also means I have a few couches instead of paying for a night in a hostel!

I’ve managed to save up a bit of money for when I get over there so I’m hoping to do some travelling around before I settle. I arrive into Auckland and plan to explore and decide where to stay and find some work.

When I was in Australia I worked in a few different jobs for a couple of months each time and used the money I earned to move onto the next stop. I think I’d like to do things a bit differently in New Zealand and once I feel I’ve seen everything go back to my favourite spot and find a job there. I’d love to work for STA Travel In New Zealand so that’s definitely something I’m looking into.


I have a few friends already in New Zealand, in Auckland and Wellington. I have been twice now so may do a couple weeks travelling first, celebrate New Year and then start work.

If New Zealand has captured your imagination and you fancy heading off on a working holiday just like Jess and Helen check out our cheap flights to start you on your journey