Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Continuing to Mt M. & Rotorua


Soon after three weeks of consecutive interactions with all forms of Kiwis, we decided that we wouldn't contain our excitement anymore but to begin part two of our trip-to travel. Besides, most of our friends had or planned to move on already so we thought might as well lift the light spirit higher and have fun all together! Our route were slightly more complex than general backpackers in NZ because we were accommodating to a couple other friend's travel dates so that we could travel together. Time is of an essence... So I wouldn't advice anybody to follow the sequence of my travel and please pardon the messy sequence.

Firstly, we headed to Mt Manganui and then was the start of our buffet craze but i'll come back to that again. We met a pair of loving Malaysians outside a restaurant and started a conversation until the end of dinner. We felt welcome on our first day and thought that the night couldn't get any better with their company. The pair shared with us lots of personal life stories that were engaging and even offered to bring us around in their car the next day. For the next few days S & P brought us on a mini tour around tauranga, invited us to their house and brought us to visit their newly bought section at welcome bay. Even until today, i'm still marveled at the kind of relationship we've forged, they treated us like their grandchildren and they called/texted every there and then until our last day in NZ. They even pre-invited our families over to their place to stay the next time we visit. The pair of old folks were so precious, they certainly were a great part of my great wonders in NZ.

Not forgetting our hike up the perfect scenery Mt Managanui, we stayed up there the whole afternoon to enjoy our mini picnic, spend some therapeutic time writing postcards to our loved ones and relax at the tip top of the mount with our story books until winter got colder in the evening. It was a perfect Sunday being in awe of His wonders.

1.Sunrise 2.Sea shells picking at the beach 3.Aging couples watching the scenery 4.Almost the peak of Mt M. 5.Golden Kiwis for picnic 6.Brunch at Cafe Eighty Eight


Next, the bus brought us to the place that smells like fart. It has intimidating geothermal activities, relaxing hot spring to soak in, 16 lakes and a city rich in the Maori culture. O and it seems like a pretty good place for buffets too! In ten days we had 4 buffets-Indian, Mongolian, Chinese and Hangi. We were staffed to almost death but i'm proud to say that we have such adaptable tastebuds and invincible elastic stomachs. I rank that week best, including the activities we did like the 7m(highest commercialize)White Water Rafting, Maori Tour, Hells Gate(Mud spa), Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, hiked The Redwoods, hitch hiked around and visited the Musuem at the Government's Garden. Besides, we even experienced working for accommodation which was pretty good considering that Rotorua has the best YHA. Soon enough, we fell in love with that city despite of the occasional pungent.

But we knew that there were more waiting for us to venture to, so we left Rotorua with all good and fun experiences locked in our memories, as we travelled down to Napier the Art Deco City then to Wellington the Capital-which i will continue in the next post.

Blogging about NZ is always so amazing, memories are so vivid, it's as though i've been teleported back to the country full of lovely people and sceneries all over again... As for now, it's bed time because school has officially began. Have a great day, we're half way through the working week! Cheers!

1.Lake Rotorua 2.Government's Garden 3.Maori Village Tour 4.Hangi Meal 5.Latin American food at Sabroso Restaurant

Photos by HuiZhen & Myself


Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Month of The Adventure.

Firstly, may i apologize for the possibly longest hiatus ever. Back packing in New Zealand has officially ended and I have had the craziest time of my life meeting all sorts of people from all over the globe, understanding cultures (especially Maori) from tours, interactions with the locals and working with them in the same orchid and factory. Never thought that I would ever do more grocery shopping than any, and even finding fun skating away on trolleys looking out for the best deals or promotions on the shelves.

The trip started off with a week in Auckland looking for jobs, sending emails for job availability, trying to grasp a bit of the lifestyles of the kiwis and extremely curious about the maori culture. Other than that, we were just being typical tourists doing impulsive shopping, snapping pictures of every other leaves that are not green and feeling fortunate about the perfect (pre-winter) temperature in Auckland.

Due to the lack of input on this space and overwhelming output NZ has drowned me with, i find it a little confusing as to how i should even continue blogging. So, i'm thinking maybe i will just post as my emotions and memories in NZ flow. I hope to share with you the magnificent sceneries and extraordinary experiences i've had throughout the pass 2.5 months.

That was a day at Mount Eden, then to Alleluya cafe for the brunch menu in the evening and our journey around was as though we were on a walkathon-the horribly sad fate of my feet. The view there was alright, it felt similar to being up on Mount Faber in Singapore, but knowing that we're on a volcano and technically the highest non-manmade point in Auckland made the walk all worth it. That was the born of our fruit on a mountain top "tradition" which lasted for as long as we had fruits stocked up in our bags. 

It was our second destination, one small town where you could walk through in an estimated ten minutes (and i mean at an average walking speed). We stayed there for as long as we could earn some money and gained insane experiences and strength during the kiwi season-picking at orchids, packing and grading in factories. In a week at the orchid with my hands up picking 2-3 kiwis in each hands and a bag weighing 30kg in front (like a mama kangaroo) for 6 hours on average each day, my body grew tough and big. That one, i promise, is an once in a life time experience. Never in my life am i ever going to try working in an orchid again. 

The locals would puff away early in the morning, following with a smoke of weed to give them a boost of energy before the tough work begins and to keep them warm in winter. In a full car with windows that were slightly wind down, the mind instantly switched to the thought of my poor lungs. How it would slowly fade into a dark colour as a second hand smoker… 

The cycle repeated itself until we received a call from the factory after a week. Anything out of the orchid and out of the car made us really excited and thankful. Being able to work at the factory was like a miracle for us since they told us that the possibility of getting a place during the peak season was almost zero. Other factory workers would look at me and wonder about my joy and excitement since all we really do is pack kiwis into boxes for 10 hours everyday. But all understood as soon as i told them what i was trying to do previously.

At the factory, we met a big group of chinese mostly from china and malaysia-fellow backpackers on working holiday visa. They were a great bunch of people that made us feel welcome and in less than two weeks, friendship has been built. Despite a few random and weird (people related) incidents during our stay in Opotiki, I could never be anymore thankful for the people who have helped us and made life less difficult in an environment that we city girls were so foreign to.

During days when there was rain or no work, the library was our crib. Where we claimed our sanity. As well as the coexist hub. Other off days, we went to the bay of plenty to blow sea breeze, warf to watch sunset and borrow G's car to Whakatane with our first friends, P&M. Thankful for their company if not we may blame life for being too cruel.

Despite of the tough times we've had in Opotiki, it has still accommodated us and we certainly missed the community there. The locals were friendly and kind towards us even though we've self invited ourselves into their territory, used their public library free wifi and took up positions in their factory. 

The future will come as I return to recollect my memories and possibly create more. Seeya!
Basically, these are the brief events that happened in Auckland and Opotiki during our first month in New Zealand. There were certainly more details along the way but some are for me to forget and the rest to lock it in my heart. As for the rest of the journey, i'll continue in the next posts! Cheers! (It's the kiwi's favorite word)

(not forgetting my own favorite word)