InterExchange Work & Travel New Zealand now offers an optional group Welcome Week, including Auckland-based activities and a trip to the Bay of Islands, for those who want to see and do more in their first week on program!
This add-on affords travelers all the same great benefits as the standard Work & Travel New Zealand program, with the addition of three extra nights of accommodation upon arrival (for a total of seven), welcome dinner and drinks, Auckland city tour and culture & party night, and an epic group trip up to the Bay of Islands! This additional experience is a great way to bond with your fellow travelers! Here's the schedule for the week:
Day 1: Auckland Arrival
Kia Ora and welcome! You will be shuttled to the Nomads Auckland hostel located in an historic building in Auckland's Central Business District, just five minutes from the program support office. The hostel has free Wi-Fi. You'll have time time freshen up, go for a walk, and settle in.
In the afternoon your local guide will meet you and your group for a briefing on what's to come! You'll also enjoy a Welcome Dinner in town that evening.
Day 2: Info & Auckland Tour
After your free breakfast, you'll head to your support hub in Auckland for your Work & Travel orientation session. You'll get your bank account and tax ID number squared away and have a comprehensive presentation covering your job search, traveling in New Zealand, and more.
In the afternoon you'll explore Auckland city by foot, with a guide who will give you the lowdown on the best local spots for food, coffee, and nightlife.
Day 3: Culture & Auckland Party Night
Today you'll experience the world famous Haka, a Maori cultural performance, which will give you insight into the history of Aotearoa (the North Island), New Zealand. Afterwards you're free to meet and chat with members of the Haka group.
Following the performance, you'll have the option to join a pub crawl with your group!
Day 4: Auckland to Bay of Islands
Finally, the big trip north! The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region surrounded by turqoise waters and known for 144 beautiful islands. You'll be based in the township of Paihia, a laid back town with famous sailing, fishing, nature walks, dolphin swimming and relaxation.
You'll stay at the Pipi Patch backpackers hostel, known for its friendly staff and a lively environment. In the afternoon you can relax or stroll into town. In the evening you'll have a group dinner and discuss the itinerary for your trip to Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach the next day.
Day 5: Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach
Bring your camera because you're heading north to the tip of Aoteara - Cape Reinga - where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet. See the famous lighthouse, soak up the sight of the coastline, and depending on the tides, you may be able to take a cruise down 90 Mile Beach. Finally, you'll get the chance to surf the giant sand dunes at Te Paki Stream and end your day with a walk through a kauri forest, home to 2,000-year-old trees.
Day 6: Overnight Cruise
Continue your adventure with an overnight cruise in the Bay of Islands. You can go snorkeling, target shooting, kayaking, take island walks, and perhaps catch some seafood! In the evening you can have a drink or two during a cruise through the islands, enjoy a Kiwi barbecue with the group, and end the day stargazing. Adventurous participants can have a night sea swim!
Day 7: Adventure Awaits …
Take in the sunrise and contemplate your many amazing months ahead in New Zealand! Enjoy a Kiwi-style breakfast, head back to Paihia, and board the bus for your trip back to Auckland, from which you'll have the support from the team regarding your job search and onward travel plans.
Accommodation is included on this night at Nomads Hostel in Auckland. From day eight, it will be your choice where you travel, live, work, and play, but support will always be available throughout your Work & Travel New Zealand program!
James is an education abroad professional whose career was launched at 12,000 feet, outside the Indian Himalayan village of Phey, Ladakh. He manages the InterExchange Working Abroad department and lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.