Meet Zoe Draper, travel lover and now Contiki competition winner. Zoe entered the Ultimate NZ Adventure competition on The Student Room, and won! We asked ‘choose a Contiki New Zealand trip and in 250 words or less describe why it would make the perfect gap year destination’. Zoe’s description of the Big Tiki (Auckland to Christchurch) as the perfect blend of extreme adventure, action, relaxation and ultimately #noregrets, won her a place on the Kiwiana Panorama tour! Check out her review of the trip below:
New Zealand is well-known as the adventure capital of the world. Add to that scenery that’ll put your best Instagramed shots to shame, fantastic people, incredible culture and great food, and you’ll understand why NZ has always been top of my travel hit-list.
So you can imagine my reaction when I heard I was the winner of a 16-day trip around New Zealand with Contiki! If you’ve not heard of them, Contiki is the world's no.1 travel company for 18-35’s, and it's easy to see why. They offer trips for young people to destinations right across the world, from Asia to South America. The idea is simple; they organise all the boring bits (accommodation, food, transport etc) and you get to focus on making great friends and lifelong memories.
I could go on forever about how amazing this trip was, but thought I’d pick just my top 5 reasons you absolutely have to check this country out!
New Zealand is the home of extreme sports. In just 3 weeks I jumped out of a plane, went white & black Rafting, did a canyon swinging, ‘ogo-ed’ and took a ride on a Shotover Jet, as well as squeezing in some snowboarding!
Kiwis are the best people! When you go on holiday it's the people you meet who really make your trip and I met so many amazing new friends! Kiwi’s are so friendly and laid back; they really make you feel at home.
I've been lucky enough to travel all over the world, but nowhere I’ve seen comes close to the beauty of New Zealand. Everywhere you look there's stunning scenery. It's a photographer’s dream.
Great social scene
Kiwis are a social bunch and can be found out everywhere you go. However, when you get a group of 18-35’s together you’re unlikely to want to do exactly the same thing all the time. Contiki Tour Managers do a great job of catering to everyone, they know all the local places and make sure everyone gets to do something they’re into.
The food in NZ is truly delicious! Now I'm a picky eater, but I decided to throw myself into the experience and try everything. I’m so pleased I did because I discovered my new favourite food - the Fergburger! I’ll let you find out for yourself what it is, but let me tell you that it’s reason enough to visit!
If you’re planning a Gap Year then Contiki is a great way to go. It saves time, money and stress, and probably the best thing about Contiki – it’s safe. Everyone sticks together and even though loads of people are solo travellers you quickly make friends who you feel like you've known for years. I'm probably closer to friends I met on tour than some of my friends back home!