Thursday, 31 March 2016

NZ: A new woofing adventure: doing a bit of everything in the middle of nowhere

Picking up where I left off….I dropped Ben off at the bus station then headed off to Kinloch, where I had arranged to ‘woof’ for the next 3 weeks – I was to be a housekeeper/maid/kitchen hand/café/shop assistant person. 

My car had been playing up a lot in the last few days and I said to Ben – if it was going to break down, it would be the day I had to drive to Kinloch, which is essentially in the middle of nowhere.  If only I had put a bet on it…..

I picked up a hitch hiker, and no sooner had we introduced ourselves in the car did I lose all power going up a hill and the engine cut out.  Luckily for me there was a layby at the top of the hill so I pulled into that and called a tow truck, and felt really sorry for the hitchhiker who’d been waiting 2 hours to be picked up!!  However the people of New Zealand are amazing and he was picked up shortly after by someone who was checking to see if I needed any assistance.

RIP to the gas guzzling, misfiring, creaky old beast xxx

Not a bad place to break down though....

Kitten at the garage...good or bad omen

I was picked up  by the tow truck and after a week of deliberation I sold it to the mechanic as scrap for $300...

I ended up hitch hiking to the lodge and got picked up by a really nice Dutch guy (not sure I have met any horrible Dutchies yet) who took me to a better hitching spot, then by a couple who were holidaying from Christchurch who took me to Glenorchy.  From there I headed to the shop that the lodge own, and the girls there took me the rest of the way to the lodge.

The lodge is in the most beautiful setting, in a very remote area.  It's 1hour drive from Queenstown at the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by mountains.  Every day the view is different as the light hits the mountains differently. It's so beautiful! Sometimes you wake up and there's fresh powdered snow on the mountains above you.  

View from the lodge

This woofing experience is VERY different to the farm.  It’s much more organised – you’re given your tasks at 10am and are expected to finish by 2pm.  If you work over 4 hours then you get time off in lieu or you’re paid, whichever you prefer.  So far my tasks have been cleaning the ‘heritage’ rooms, which are the posh rooms in the Lodge – I am now very good at spotting dust, polishing silver and making beds how you’d find them in a hotel.  I have also helped with the laundry, cleaned bathrooms, helped in the kitchen with dishes and food prep (Dan I have made the richest chocolate brownies ever, you'd love it), and worked in the shop, cafe and the 4* B&B accommodation.  Working in the café took me straight back to my teenage years working at the swimming pool café, good times!

After 2pm there’s a variety of activities to keep us entertained, so far we have been kayaking on the lake, bike riding and I did the Glacier Burn track which was a really pretty walk through a beech forest.  It also begins with having to walk through a freezing cold river which made it a bit exciting, and parts of the track are hidden by fallen trees, so it was quite an adventure!  As all of my stuff is still in the car, which is in the garage, I had to hike in my converse which probably wasn’t very sensible, and on the way back down I slipped in the mud and jarred my back and arm which is a bit of a pain in all senses of the word!   We have also had movie nights and camp fires by the lake.

moonrise over the mountains

playing with the camera settings

jam night

the most disgusting cat in the world

view at the end of the glacier burn track

South Island Robin

sunrise and moonset?

Food is great here and we are cooked a decent hearty meal from the restaurant, the down side is we have to eat it in our open air kitchen so we’re attacked by sandflies and it’s also pretty cold.  The other downside to being here is it isn’t as homely as the farm was – my accommodation has until now been the lounge area of a tent. I have now been upgraded to the sleeping quarters of the tent as another woofer has left, and tonight I am in one of the hostel rooms as they're not busy for the next two nights.

One of the woofers, Florian, did me a huge favour and drove me into Queenstown the other day so that I could pick up the rest of the stuff from my car, and we had  a nice wander around town.  It was like a little day trip and was nice to escape Kinloch for a bit and see other faces - it can get a bit monotonous!  Today I walked down to the campsite opposite the lodge to talk to some boys I spotted just to converse with someone a bit different, I'd never do that back home!  I am hoping to buy a new car soon also - my old one was essentially my home and now I feel a bit homeless without one.  

So that's a small update on my new woofing - now that I am a bit more settled I am enjoying it more, it took a while to meld into the new group but I think I am getting there, and now that I am doing more variety jobs wise it's much more fun.  I think I will do 3 weeks here in total, then my current plan is to road trip back north (assuming I get a car) to the sun and the warmth and base myself in Auckland for a bit to see how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. So pleased you're still having a good time! The new woofing job sounds ace! I just feel a bit sorry for the Most Disgusting Cat in the World, that's all. ;)


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