Why did you choose New Zealand?
Mathias: Haha, New Zealand was as far away from home as possible! Jokes aside, the nature is very diverse, the fact that the country is small enough to travel easily unlike Australia, and the friendly people were some of the reasons that made me choose New Zealand. It just seemed like perfect country for an adventure.
Did you do much research about New Zealand before your trip?
Mathias: I thought about New Zealand for a while, so yes. Then I checked Immigration New Zealand and found Working Holiday Starter, so I had somebody to answer everything so it was great.
How would you describe Working Holiday Starter's services?
Mathias: Just like friends, they were always here for me so it was perfect. It is very the friend side that I want to emphasise more than anything else. Oh yeah, they also taught me how to be a backpacker, cheers!
What was the best thing that Working Holiday Starter did for you?
Mathias: Working Holiday Starter was not just a one-time thing. I got a personal service for my whole trip. It was more than a company, it was a friend to turn to!
You also took a 12-month bus pass with one of our company partners, how was it?
Mathias: It was the right choice for me at the beginning. As a new backpacker it was great, as it made everything very easy and helped me to make friends. It was not just transportation so it was awesome. Also, I had no plan so it gave me a route to follow and made my trip easy.
Now that I am an experienced backpacker, I feel confident that I can do it on my own but it was definitively what I needed at the time.
What job did you do in New Zealand?
Mathias: Mostly WWOOFing, actually. I worked in a dairy farm, milking cows, feeding calves... It was long days of hard work but a great experience. I learned a lot about myself.
I also worked near Abel Tasman. I did a few hours of wood chopping and then had a lot of free time in paradise!
My last job was in a vineyard in Cromwell. It was a beautiful place where I got amazing food. Our host was the most incredible cook. She even made homemade breakfast every morning!
What advice would you give to someone that is about to go to New Zealand on a working holiday visa?
Mathias: Get a starter pack! Start easy, don't drown yourself in paperwork. Also, don't be too mainstream. Enjoy the freedom. Go alone to be free!
What was your biggest challenge?
Mathias: Learn to relax money wise. I had hard time not to worry too much about saving on everything and spoil myself a little sometimes.
What do you take away from this experience in New Zealand?
Mathias: I got a lot of self confidence, and now, I want to see the whole world. I am more open-minded now, it is easier for me to talk to other people and make new friends.
What is your favorite spot or story in New Zealand so far?
Mathias: I'll have to say the Kepler Track [Great Walk]. It is a lot of bush walk, but when you hit the mountain it is simply mind-blowing! You feel away from everything.
The first morning, when waking up in the [Department of Conservation] DOC hut, we were above the cloud on the mountain. It was the most spectacular sunrise I ever saw.
It was my favorite DOC Great Walk out of the 3 I did.
Would you recommend Working Holiday Starter to your friends?
Mathias: Yes. For my 1st time backpacking, it was a huge help!