New Zealand is one of the most stunning countries on earth – but you already knew that! It’s more than just stellar scenery that makes a trip unforgettable. We think it’s the little things that make a big difference – connecting with the locals, getting off the tourist trail and having an itinerary paced just right. And who better to trust ensuring that all these elements come together perfectly than the Meet New Zealand Vacations team of Jeanette Elliott and Joy Mehlhopt. With a combined 40+ years of experience in the NZ tourism industry, you’d be hard-pushed to find more impressive kiwi travel pedigree to craft your trip of a lifetime.
Meet New Zealand Vacations was formed back in 2003 by Jeanette herself. In 2015, Joy came on board as a partner, having worked for many years with Jeanette at Christchurch and Canterbury’s regional tourism organization.
Meet Jeanette Elliott
Bridge, walking and reading biographies – These are a few of the things that make Jeanette Elliott tick. Raised in the lower North Island, Jeanette graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Masters in Arts before forging a career in NZ’s tourism industry. This included spending many years as head of the Christchurch Visitor Information Centre and tourism marketing for the Christchurch-Canterbury region before founding Meet New Zealand Vacations.
During time spent exploring overseas, Jeanette had always found that the most unforgettable part of her travels wasn’t the attractions and activities – it was interacting with the local people, and gaining a real insight into their lifestyles and culture.
Jeanette now lives near beautiful Akaroa on Banks Peninsula, an hour from Christchurch, and crafting bespoke, self-drive tours with a focus on getting to know the ‘real’ New Zealand is her favourite role yet! Jeanette reckons there’s nothing better than sharing true-blue kiwi hospitality with guests through the itineraries she brings to life.
Meet Joy Mehlhopt
A bright garden in full bloom is one of the things in life that excites Joy the most. A green finger at heart, Joy grew up and still lives in Kaiapoi, just 20 minutes north of Christchurch where she has spent her working life. With a combined background in both tourism and the NZ conferences industry, Joy is an absolute pro when it comes to customer service and managing the ‘details’ that make a vacation unforgettable. Naturally, communicating with guests and the Meet New Zealand Vacations community of carefully chosen accommodation, transport and activity providers is one of the things she loves most about her role.
Joy has travelled to a number of countries in Asia, Europe and America and experienced much that international travel has to offer. However, Joy’s first love when it comes to experiencing new places is still travelling around New Zealand. She spends a lot of time researching ‘tried and tested’ places and experiences around the country for the Meet New Zealand Travel Blog. As a result, Joy is an absolute mine of information when it comes to things to see, do and indulge in around New Zealand – which comes in handy when putting together fantastic self-drive vacations for guests!