Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Journey north


5 Skydiving pictures from WANAKA!

Skytower in Auckland
The OB gang out to eat in Auckland
Rochelle and Jason (OB mates) at the giant Kiwi fruit by Mukatu
Mountains of the central n island during my bus journey north

Hey all,

Sorry it has been so long! I can't write much now but I will add more later, and its about time I add something. Last I left you was in Wanaka I believe, right before I went skydiving there! Then I bussed north to Christchurch, where I spent one night before flying to the north island. I was able to meet up with 6 other of my outward bound watchmates in auckland for the weekend, and we had great fun hanging out and spending time together. I felt like I was meeting old frineds, and it was great to visit some of their homes and stay with three of their families for a night or two.

For the last week and a half I have been north of Auckland in Northland WWOOFing with two different hosts, one outside of Kerikeri and the other in Baileys Beach. It has been fun staying in one spot for awhile.

Sorry I have to run, but I will share more + pictures later!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Deep South Journey

a pretty stormy day on lake wanaka. i took this photo from the city center right along the lake.
pretty souther beach in the catlins. i was hitching this day and the woman, who lived in the area, insisted she stop the car for me to get this touristy shot.
in the catlins at a long sandy beach with sea lions laying around. this is a random family i took a pic of but i kinda liked it :-)
hitching along the southern scenic route.
what a pretty morning in queenstown.

Hope you had a happy Easter!

Its been nearly two weeks since I last wrote, and I have spent that time hitching around the southern end of the south island. After Wanaka, I hitched over to Queenstown. It was a bit much for me really, very touristy with lots of attempts to get one to spend lots of money. But I had to stick around for awhile while I saw the doctor, waited over the weekend b/c the x-ray machine was down, and waited again for the doctor to review my case. Finally I got a positive outlook, after the initial threat of a cast and going home. The final conclusion was that I do indeed have a stress fracture of my fibula, but b/c it isn’t a major weight bearing bone I can be allowed to continue traveling, with NO running or tramping for the time being. I will see another doctor in a couple of weeks to check on how the healing is going…

I was happy to get out of Queenstown, and I happened to leave on my birthday, April 9th. I hitched a ride down to Te Anau, and ended up staying with three nice Canadians for the whole day, driving on to Milford Sounds and doing a 2 hour cruise there. It was a beautiful day, and the drive and cruise was gorgeous. I don’t know how many times that day I said ‘This reminds me of home…’ because there was fresh snow on the mountains and we were on the water. After Te Anau, I decided I had enough time to hitch the entire 440km Southern Scenic Route, which travels along fjordland down to Invercargill, and then up to Dunedin via the Catlins. I had a great time seeing the sights and meetings some great people! You get to meet so many people hitching, and I never felt unsafe. One kiwi couple bought me lunch at a cafĂ© in the Catlins one day, and they sent me on my way again with a muffin and chocolate chip cookie J I was picked up by a mix of people though, from the Check Rebublic, Malaysia, Australia, NZ, … mostly families or couples.

After a night in Dunedin, a big college town on the eastern coast, I took a bus today back to Queenstown, picked up my tramping gear I had stored, and hitched over to Arrowtown, about 20km outside of the city. It is a very nice little place where I am now, the fall colors are in full form. I did a lovely 2 hour walk once I got here before dark, it was the first hike I have done in nearly two weeks, and it felt great to get out! I was in the best shape of my life three weeks ago… and its surprising how quickly that can change! But my leg didn’t hurt much during the walk. Comparing it to how it felt three weeks ago I do think it has improved, slowly but surely, and hopefully another three-five weeks of relative rest will do the trick!

Tomorrow I am headed back to Wanaka, my favorite place, for one last night, before bussing it back to Christchurch and flying to the North Island for a weekend reunion in Auckland with a handful of my Outward Bound watchmates!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Hello all my friends and fam! This week I headed south on the south island, attempting to see it before we get too far into fall and the weather turns colder. I had a $1 naked bus ticket from Christchurch to Wanaka last Thursday, and I haven't moved far since!

Wanaka was an amazing town, it is outdoorsey and has heaps of tramping and trails, but isn't as action packed and busy as Queenstown, just 100 km away, the 'adventure capital of the world', where bunjey jumping and extreme sports are common. I loved the relaxed feel of Wanaka, and its on the shore of Lake Wanaka, one of the largest lakes in the country. This time of year the water is a wee bit chilly, but it didn't stop me from a few swims in the mornings, it sure was a good way to wake up! I stayed at a neat backpackers called Wanaka Bakpaka, with a cozy living space and great big windows with views of the lake. I intended to stay two nights, but added a third and then a fourth!

The second day I was in Wanaka, I ran into Tal and Galil from Israel, who I had met previously in Australia. It was a random chance meeting, but I was so excited to see them they seamed like old friends! As I was traveling alone for a few days, seeing a farmilar face was great... The next day I tagged along with them to do the 4 hr Rob Roy Track, up to Rob Roy glacier. My leg was of course bugging me, but it was a good test to prove I could do it, and once I got hiking the sharp pains weren't as frequent. The next day I rented a bike and biked some lovely lakeside tracks, as well as took a walk and read beside the lake for some time. In the afternoon I went to the local cinema with Tal and Galil, and saw Marley and Me. It was a great family film about a dog, and I would highly reccomend it! The cinema was unique with all couches and odd seats, and searved warm chocolate chip cookies at the intermission :-)

I registered for WWOOF NZ (willing workers on organic farms) earlier in the week, and had contacted a few hosts around Wanaka inquiring about working for the week. The organization is worldwide and is quite popular in NZ, in which travelers work, normally 4 hours per day, in exchange for accomodation and food. Anway, I recieved an e-mail from a woman in Makaroa, 65km from Wanaka on the other side of Lake Wanaka, that afternoon, saying she was coming into town and if I still wanted to stay with her she could pick me up that afternoon. I decided to jump on the oppertunity, I hadn't booked anything yet and loved the Wanaka area. So Heather picked me up Sunday night, and I have been in Makaroa for the week. It is a beautiful little valley, with around 100 residents, and so lovely! The home I am staying in is surrounded by bush, and it is so great to have my own room and big bed to sleep in! Heather has been an amazing host, she lives alone but her kids spend the weekends here, and she has traveled a lot herself so it has been great to chat with her. I did some weeding, pulling ragwoods from her fields and weeding her organic veggie garden, as well as cleaning the cottage, a small B&B rented out, and household chores. I feel like I am getting the better end of the deal, but she said the same today!

Heather works at the local DOC, and reccomended a hut to me. I spent last night (Wednesday) at Brewster Hut, which was absolutly amazing. It was a good haul up there, gaining 1000 m in elevation in just 2.5 k. The hut is well above the bushline, with gorgous views of Brewster glacier, an amazing sunset over the mountains of the West Coast, and so many stars at night! It was very worthwhile to go there, I got to the hut at noon, and spent the day reclining on the deck soaking in the sun. There were just two other people there for the night, and I decided to sleep out on the porch. It turned out to be a chilly night, and at 2am I went inside, but it was well below freezing. When I woke up everything was frosty and my drinking bottle, left outside, was frozen. My leg held up, although I felt many sharp pains. I have a doctor's appt. tomorrow in Queenstown and I will keep you posted on the status of what I think is a stress fracture...

I took many great photos this week, but unfortunatly I left my camera cord in Christchurch, so it will be two more weeks before I can add them. But I 'borrowed' a few from the internet for the meantime. Stay tuned :-)