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Monday, December 9, 2013

New Zealand final stop for Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List competition winners

Marko and Alex braved the zipline at Victoria Falls in ZimbabweThe US winners of a global travel competition arrive in New Zealand next Friday December 13 and are “thrilled to finish their six month journey” experiencing some of the country’s best attractions.

Alex and Marko Ayling from San Diego won’s ‘Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List’ competition earlier this year and are at the end of a life-changing, all-expenses-paid, six-month round the world trip based on their own bucket list.

The brothers hand-picked their entire trip – including 25 ‘bucket list’ destinations - and chose New Zealand as the closing chapter of their incredible journey so they could reunite with their New Zealand roots and find out more about their heritage. 

Alex and Marko tackle the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Starting in Queenstown on December 13 the brothers’ twelve-day Kiwi adventure will include taking on bungy jumping, jet boating, a cruise aboard the Spirit of Queenstown to Mt Nicholas Station and a scenic helicopter flight over the Remarkables.

They’ll also enjoy a harbour cruise in Wellington, a behind the scenes tour of Weta workshop, a visit to Hobbiton, Skyjump off Auckland Skytower, racing an America’s Cup yacht and experience a traditional Maori village in Rotorua.

The brothers are acting as ambassadors and reporters for the My Destination brand, earning $50,000(US) for their considerable efforts on completion of their journey, which ends on Christmas Eve in Rotorua.

The Vagabrothers brave the ice cold water snorkelling in Icelandhe brothers will showcase New Zealand to the world as a ‘must-visit’ tourism destination via blogs, videos, articles, social media posts and media interviews.

Speaking from Australia, Marko Ayling explained how the “trip-of-a-lifetime” had been a huge exercise in overcoming a great personal phobia.

"I've had a fear of heights my whole life. Throughout our six-month trip my fear has been tested on a few occasions such as bungy jumping at Victoria Falls. I was petrified!” he said.

“However the Nevis Bungy in Queenstown will be the ultimate test to conquer that fear. I’m so excited but very apprehensive about doing it. They say you should always leave the best to last!"

Alex and Marko said the chance to come to New Zealand and “find their roots” was an amazing opportunity and the “perfect end” to their tour of the world.

Their father, Robert Ayling, was born in Napier, grew up in Taradale and studied law at Victoria University before leaving to travel the world at the age of 27.

“We have such a strong connection to New Zealand and there was no doubt it would make our Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List,” said Alex.

The brothers enjoyed safari in Arusha National Park Tanzania
“We can’t believe we’re nearing the end of this incredible journey already. The fact we’re ending our trip in our father’s home country makes it even more special.

“We won the My Destination competition in London and just like our ancestors did, our journey from London will be complete when we reach New Zealand”.

Alex Ayling said one of his highlights was going to be “learning more about Maori culture and hanging out with locals”.

“In our eyes that’s the real way to see anywhere, talk to the locals. Kiwis are known for their friendly nature and I’m just looking forward to meeting people and finding out more about each of the towns and cities we’ll visit.”

The brothers have earned themselves a great online following and with the trip now coming to an end -- North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia are already ‘ticked off’ -- they’re looking forward to “coming home” to New Zealand.

My Destination New Zealand Managing Director Mike Watt said he was “incredibly excited” to be hosting the winners in New Zealand.

“New Zealand truly is one of the most spectacular and unique destinations on the planet. The boys have been incredibly lucky undertaking some amazing experiences on their trip and seeing some fantastic scenery and sights,” said Mr Watt.

“I know they’ll be blown away by New Zealand though and I’m confident we’ll provide them with a unique and very Kiwi experience they’ll never forget.”

“We have sites dedicated to AucklandRotoruaWellingtonChristchurch and Queenstown, and in conjunction with Marko and Alex we’ve created an itinerary that’s a fitting finale to their epic adventure.”
The Vagabrothers, as they’re known, will release two New Zealand specific videos in January 2014, featuring Queenstown, Wellington, Auckland and Rotorua.

The global travel competition launched by My Destination in January 2013, invited contestants to submit a three minute video and showcase the unique aspects of their favourite destination.

The “skills, enthusiasm and passion for travel” that Marko and Alex demonstrated saw them beat off competition from 640 destinations and more than 110 different countries.

Alex and Marko’s journey can be followed on , the YouTube channel and by chatting to the #MyBBB community on Twitter. 

Key Trip Dates:
For information on specific activities planned and to pre-arrange an interview in any of the planned destinations please contact Naomi at Southern PR. Limited media interview slots still available. 
  • December 13 - 17: Queenstown
  • December 17 - 19: Wellington
  • December 19 - 22: Auckland
  • December 22 - 24: Rotorua
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