We describe Uniquely New Zealand Travel’s style in three words – Passion, Imagination, Experience. We listen, ask questions, find out what your interests are, your style of travel, and what you would like out of your trip – making your trip uniquely about you. While the website provides sample itineraries and general information on our destinations, it is not a site where clients choose package A, B or C, or itinerary 1, 2 or 3. We can take any of the sample itineraries and adapt it to suit you, or start with a clean slate to customize something just for you. Jillian and Kate will personally provide you with a wealth of information and will work closely with you to create your unique experience.
Whether you are an intrepid explorer, are passionate about the outdoors and nature, have a yearning for adventure, or just want to take in the amazing sites of our destinations, we will create a journey just for you. Whether you prefer the independence of a personally customized itinerary or the companionship of traveling in a group with other travelers, Uniquely New Zealand Travel has the experience, passion and imagination to make your trip everything you want.
Jillian, Founder & Co-Owner of Uniquely New Zealand, is a ‘Kiwi’ living in the U.S.A and for the past 20 years has remained passionate about sending North American travelers to her home country, New Zealand and neighbors, Australia. Jillian will share these countries with you the way she knows and loves them, working the ‘old fashioned’ way with complete hands-on customer service from the moment you meet.
Jillian first came to the U.S.A in 1985 and it was around this time that her career in travel began. Since this time Jillian has specialized exclusively in travel to New Zealand, Australia, and the South Pacific Islands of Fiji and Cook Islands. While living in New Zealand for several years in the mid 1990s Jillian worked in marketing with Tourism Auckland, where she gained a wealth of experience promoting New Zealand.
In 1998, after New Zealand won the America’s Cup Yacht Race, Jillian moved back to the US to work for a number of years promoting this event as a fantastic reason to travel to New Zealand. New Zealand successfully hosted and defended the Americas Cup in 2000 before losing the title in 2002. Jillian then spent a number of years working as vice president of sales and marketing for a wholesale company specializing in travel Down Under and South Pacific Destinations.
Finally, Jillian moved on in 2008 to start her own company, Uniquely New Zealand Travel. These days, Jillian and her business partner and co-owner of the company, Kate, enjoy creating unique, fully customized itineraries for their clients’ travels to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Cook Islands. Jillian travels to the area a couple of times per year and is always working to find new experiences for her clients. Working with Jillian guarantees clients an incredible, one of a kind vacation presented with the highest degree of customer service.
Kate, Co-owner of Uniquely New Zealand, became passionate about New Zealand and Australia following her first trip Down Under in 1998. One of her greatest pleasures in creating experiences of a lifetime for clients is following up with them afterwards and often hearing them say they’ll be returning; knowing they have become just as enthusiastic about traveling down under as she is!
On completion of her studies at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, Kate acquired a diverse professional background working in several industries. Her background includes owner/operator of a fishing vessel in Alaska, from where she hails, experience in the technology industry as well as many years as a commercial real estate professional in the Seattle area. Throughout the years a constant has always been Kate’s love of traveling, particularly down under. Deciding to translate her enthusiasm and appreciation for this part of the world, she joined Jillian at Uniquely New Zealand Travel – the best decision ever!
Kate returns to this part of the world often, to check out new experiences and accommodation options, as well as maintain relationships with owners and operators who make traveling to these destinations so special. In addition to having traveled extensively throughout the area, Kate attends the annual tourism conferences run by Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Australia. These are invitation-only events for top specialists who promote New Zealand and Australia, providing us with the opportunity to meet with many of New Zealand and Australia’s tourism operators, getting updates and lots of great new ideas for our clients. Kate’s attention to detail and listening skills make her a pleasure to work with, creating unforgettable customized trips for each of her clients.
Behind the Scenes
And, none of this would be possible without the help of a small but impressive team of people who provide the much needed support from the time we start working with you to well beyond your trip.
Based in New Zealand, Sara has been working with Uniquely New Zealand since 2009, helping to build the itineraries we customize and being the chief organizer of our travel documents. Sara has an extensive background in and knowledge of traveling in our destinations, having worked for New Zealand based travel companies for most of her career. Sara has recently started working directly with clients, developing wonderful itineraries for our honeymooners and providing the same hands on service the company is known for.
Also based in New Zealand, Penny’s expertise is photography and graphic design, and, like Sara, she is responsible for helping each customized itinerary look great. Penny assists with travel documents and helps us with a number of photographic and graphic projects as needed. Penny has worked with Uniquely New Zealand Travel since 2011.
Based in the office in Seattle, Katie’s responsibilities are wide and varied, assisting both Kate and Jillian in the back-office work that is needed for each booking. Katie has worked as a Travel Agent for over 25 years and has an incredible understanding of our airline booking system and a close working relationship with the airlines. While Katie has many tasks to keep things running smoothly, one of the most important is quality control – double checking everything has been booked accurately for clients and making sure all the different pieces of a booking come together.
Jill helps with a number of back-end book keeping projects and is also responsible for putting together and getting travel documents off to each client. While Jill does not come from a travel background, she has traveled a great deal, including to Australia and she continues to like planning trips for her and her family.
Born in New Zealand, but raised in the U.S, Emily still has close ties to and a strong affinity for New Zealand. Emily has worked for Uniquely New Zealand on a number of projects over the years, but is most recently responsible for helping to develop our website and for keeping our website up to date. She also keeps us as connected as possible with the online world – teaching Kate & Jillian all about social media!
Contact Kate or Jillian if you would like to speak with a past client, who can provide a personal reference on their experience with us; or check out the many great references we have from our work with Zicasso.com – one of our key travel partners.
We look forward to working with you to plan an amazing trip to our part of the world!