Heading South

Alexandra – Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday the 7th we had a super nice goodbye-Emma-evening in Auckland with yummie pizza and even yummier cocktails. The next day we brought Iems to the airport… And then it was just the two of us…

Because the last couple of weeks Emma did the most of the planning, we were absolutely clueless of what to do next. Our ever decreasing bank-accounts decided for us. FIND WORK!!! Best place to do that: The South Island of NZ where seasonal work such as fruit picking is very popular amongst backpackers. So we booked the ferry for the 12th from Wellington and drove for two days to get there.

That is how we ended up in the microscopic town of Mokau, where we spent the night in a basic camping with astonishing views.

Fatso Child on a Black Beach

We also drove by New Plymouth (nothing much to see or do there) and resumed our hiking habit with a walk at the base of Mount Taranaki, a dormant volcano. On the top of the volcano we could see some snow! Yuy our first snow of the year! (Probably something you guys don’t really get excited about anymore.)

Mount Taranaki
Tall Pangans

We spent the night in Wanganui, the town with the coolest tunnel ever. Well actually the tunnel is just a small part of the main attraction, which is an antique elevator that takes you up a hill from where you can see almost the entire North island and the tip of the South Island.


Of course we were more interested in hearing our own echoes in the tunnel and spent most time testing which noise gave the craziest echo.

Echo Tunnel .. Unnel .. El

We had lunch in Palmerston North, a town described by John Cleese as, we quote: ‘If you ever do want to kill yourself, but lack the courage, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.’ According to our travel guide the city took revenge by naming a rubbish dump after him. To us the city didn’t seem that bad at all and it offered cosy cafes with sunny terraces. Oh, we did not see the rubbish dump, we thought it would be a waste of time (pun intended).

That afternoon we arrived in Wellington where we would stay for two nights before the ferry would take us to the South island. We found ourselves a hostel in the city center where we could sleep on the car park which wasn’t really 100 % flat (a mild elevation of 45 degrees). That day we also conquered the Victoria Hill on our jandals where we had a 360 view over Wellington.

The View from Victoria Hill

Afterwards we went into the town centre and treated ourselves to a few drinks and a real French crepe a go-go.

The next day was a very laid back sunny day. After another crepe a go-go we took the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. We bought ourselves some sushi and had lunch with yet another spectacular view over Wellington.

Sushi at the Otanic Garde

We strolled around the gardens and had afternoon tea with a brownie and a good book in the rose garden. Sounds very British, doesn’t it, how jolly!

Lady Norwood Rose Garden
Tea Time

In the afternoon sun we walked along the harbor to the Te Papa museum where several free exhibitions take place. We went in for a quick peak as there was just too much to see, not enough time and honestly, the weather was too sunny to be inside.

Wednesday the ferry took us to Picton, a one-street town on the South Island. We immediately asked around for work and we were advised to go to Blenheim, a town in the middle of the Marlborough wine region. But it was a dark day, literally and figuratively: Clouds, a cold wind and after telephoning several persons and visiting the office of pick.nz… NO JOBS! O-ow!

Luckily a few days earlier we had spotted some job offers on the internet in the Otago region, which is in the south of the South Island. So after thinking it through with a cocktail or two we decided to head down to the south-south. Unfortunately the South Island is a looooong island so this meant driving 800 kms. As the South Island is not only a looooong island but also a hilly island this was impossible to do in just one day. So we made it into a mini-road-trip.

And Halleluah, praise the Lord, we had found ourselves the road to heaven: A road full of crayfish selling stands.

Crayfish By The Road
Melanie Soo Heppie

Our overnight stop, Lake Tekapo, wasn’t too bad neither.

Lake Tekapo

And that brings us to today. We started the day with some morning workout for Lucy: a steep climb up to the Mt.John Observatory where a coffee with a panoramic view was on the menu.

Mt John's Obsevatory

As a little snack in between, we drove past a gorgeous Mount Cook lookout.

Mount Cook

A delicious lunch was served in Old Cromwell town and afternoon tea was a big treat as we found ourselves a job with the help of a very sweet lady working at Seasonal Solutions in Alexandra. This weekend is still all play but starting Monday, we are going to work at a vineyard in Cromwell town for the next two weeks.