This September, myself and Paul packed our bags (again) for a move far far away to the land of looming green mountains, crystal clear lakes or “middle-earth” as the darlings of Instagram like to call it. Yep, you guessed it (or maybe you haven’t) we’ve moved to New Zealand. I can’t get any further from home, can I?! We’re working our way through those Working Holiday Visa’s ain’t we – Canada (tick), Australia (tick) and now New Zealand.
New Zealand wasn’t our first choice, okay, it wasn’t MY first choice. I really really wanted to move to Capetown, South Africa, it was going be somewhere different a bit “off-the-wall” as my mother told me. But getting a work visa for South Africa is a bit of a nightmare. Basically, after speaking with an immigration lawyer we were told it could take up to 8 months for us to be approved by the South African government even with a job offer. So, alas it was not to be. We told ourselves we will get there one day but, we were itching to leave again, so, Plan B rolled into place.
New Zealand was Paul’s first choice and, so it was decided. Getting a work visa for New Zealand is pretty simple – you fill out a short online form with Immigration New Zealand, pay the $208 fee and wait. We waited just a few days for the work visa to come through to my email. It’s a hell of a lot easier and less time-consuming than our work visa for Canada (some of you may already know that Paul was waiting a long-time for his Canadian visa – if you don’t well, that’s a story for another day).
As soon as the visas came through, Paul went into what I like to call “travel agent mode” researching cheap flights to New Zealand, a good stop-over destination and what part of the country we would settle in first. He found a cheap deal with Malaysian Airlines (FYI – we like to use Google Flights rather than Skyscanner as it gives more airline options & always works out cheaper). This flight gave us a free week stopover in Malaysia (actually – we had to pay $20 in taxes I think), most of the Asian airlines offer this so it’s a brilliant option to break up a long flight. Next time, I think we’ll do Singapore. Malaysia is the perfect country for a quick stop-over & it’s cheap too. Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city, a little similar to Bangkok. We also visited the UNESCO heritage town of Melaka which was unique and less tourist-heavy making it a more authentic experience. I’ll be writing a blog post about our time here very soon, so stay tuned!
Flights booked, goodbyes said, bags packed, cheeky stopover in Malaysia for a week and then we were here in Auckland. We stayed for a few nights, visited some friends, bought a car and then drove to the Far North of New Zealand to a little town called Kerikeri. I was offered a job at the No.1 hotel in Australia & New Zealand and I couldn’t refuse. It’s a lot different to my previous job in Whistler – it’s a lot smaller, more intimate but the setting is spectacular. The hotel has 3 private beaches and its own helicopter! Paul has struggled to find construction work here, since it’s technically ‘off-season’ there’s not much happening in that field yet. But, the locals here have been so helpful – in the local bank and shops people have been so quick to offer names and numbers of builders in the area who are hiring. It helped a lot and now he’s working full-time for a small construction company in town.
Life here is slow, and I feel more at home here than “city boy” Paul. We have a little house in the town with a wraparound deck and a garden filled with orange and lemon trees. We can drive 10 minutes to the beach or walk to the rivers and waterfall in town. It’s different for sure, especially since our last home was in the adrenalin-packed Whistler, but it’s good different. We are saving money (rent is cheap here) and earning decent wages and so we’re already planning lots of travel. Fiji, Samoa, Tonga & Hawaii have all been added to the list and all are a reasonable and short flight from here. Also, we were very excited to find out that internal flights in New Zealand are very cheap (a lot different to Canada)
For anyone thinking of making the move to New Zealand – I say DO IT (x100). The visa is easy and quick to obtain, the country is beyond stunning (and we’ve only seen a tiny snippet of the country so far), the people are so warm & welcoming and a little similar to the Irish if I’m honest. My attitude is – life is short, the world is big so explore it while you can. I don’t think anyone can say that we haven’t lived our lives. Yes, moving to a new country can be scary & daunting especially if you’re doing it alone but I promise the benefits once you do it far outweigh these fears.