Takaka & Golden Bay

The drive to Takaka took most of the day – a good 8 hours, with stops. I ended up stopping at a waterfall that I can’t remember the name of, Nelson Lakes National Park for a quick walk, and Te Waikoropupu springs.

To get to the springs I had to drive through Takaka. I figured that it was the time of day where least people would be there, so it’d be easier to get a park. Google Maps did throw me off guard, as the springs are shortened to ‘Pupu Springs. When I heard “Head left onto poo poo springs…” I did laugh more than I probably should have.

Te Waikoropupu is the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. It contains some of the clearest water recorded in the world, and is a place of great significance to the Maori people. The picture doesn’t do justice as to how clear the water actually is.

For my first whole day in Takaka I drove up to Cape Farewell. You can’t walk past 4km onto the spit, unless you are with an organised tour. I had a bit of a walk on there, then drove up to Wharaiki Beach.

There’s been very few times where I’ve gone for a walk in flip flops and been really glad that I did. This was one of those walks. It’s a bit of a walk onto the beach, and then it got really, really windy once on the beach. It’s one of the featured wallpapers on Windows 10 computers and the most northern point of the South Island.

Afterwards, I went back to Takaka, stopping off at the Labrinth Rocks. It’s a bit of a hard one to explain – it’s a maze of rocks, with toys scattered around it. I had the Pikachu toy that I won on a claw machine in Tokyo on me, so it made some new friends.

On the final day there I headed off to Wainui Falls – the walking track was quite short, around 20 minutes. After, I went to Rawhiti caves. The road there only allowed one car to go in either direction, so it did put my reversing skills to the test.

The walk to the top certainly was not the easiest, but I was really surprised by the caves – I was expecting a small area, but these were huge. I didn’t take my camera camera with me, just my phone camera, but better pictures can be found with a google search :).

I left Takaka early in the morning to go to Nelson, via kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Six Months in New Zealand

It’s either hit or about to hit the sixth month mark of being in New Zealand. The past few months I haven’t really gone out of my way to do anything worth mentioning – my visa is for 23 months, though limited to only 12 months work and I’d rather just do the travelling in one go when the weathers nicer. For the first time in a few years I have grown up things to deal with – being signed on a lease, paying bills and ignoring everything else that constitutes as grown up.

Over Easter whilst I was in Taranaki, I’d realised that in the prior three years I had shown more commitment to having pizza on a Sunday (20 weeks in a row was my personal best) than having a full time job. It’s something that I really am quite proud of myself for. With that said, next Thursday that will be broken, and working will overtake that.

I’m still doing cafe work – it’s the most chilled job I’ve ever had which is something that I’m really glad that I found, and with the hours 6.30 – 2.30, I don’t think I could go back working 16+ hours/day. Waking up at 5.15 is something that I have come to realise that I will never get used to, no matter how hard I try. The best bit about it is having the work/life balance – I’ve stuck with the yoga which I’m really noticing the benefits from, and am being a bit more sensible with my spare time compared to how much time and money I spent on going out in Australia.

The winter here isn’t as cold as in the UK or Melbourne – just more wet and windy, so if it’s not that bad over the weekend it’s good hiking weather. A few weeks back I went to the Red Rocks to see the seal colony, and another up to a World War II base near my house. I doubt this weekend I’ll get up to much – I have either a sore throat, tonsilitis, or irritated my throat from eating too much peanut butter chocolate. The weather is meant to be not so great too, but there’s one 12km trail that is probably to be done next.

In terms of where I’m going to go to next, I am intending to save most of it for the summer. Recently I’ve looked at spending a weekend in Mt Cook, but it’s -19 there, so I’d rather just wait for spring/summer to come. In the near future I’ll be working out visas to try to stay on this side of the world, but for next time I’m back in Europe I’ve been looking at a trip to South America and/or Mexico on my way. If I make it to both Mexico and Peru, I will see both the remaining seven wonders of the world that I’d like to see. Back when I was 20 and starting to plan my travels I just had the intention to spend a few weeks in Europe and then a bit of time in Aus, and it’s interesting to see how it’s all worked out fourish years later.

Taking a Break

Over the past almost three years I have kept this blog regularly updated, and will stop doing so until the end of the year.

After Jordan I went to Vienna, and then Spain, where I am now. I’ll be in the UK the week after next, off to Athens after Christmas, then somewhere a bit closer to the UK as I am flying from Heathrow to Melbourne. From Melbourne I’ll go to New Zealand where I’ll be staying for hopefully at least a year. The New Zealand visa is a bit of a tricky one for me to get due to needing medical examinations, and the time frame in which I will be able to get this done.

The past few months have been pretty full on; adapting to different cultures and being completely aware of my surroundings, over 17 countries since August, 18 if you count two minutes in a room on the North/South Korea border. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, some parts I’ve really enjoyed – Egypt, Japan, temple hopping in Cambodia, eating in Vietnam, the Great Wall. There were parts I thought I was going to love but didn’t – being a tourist in Vietnam and noticing the downsides of countries that I do like. Also, dealing with constant back pain isn’t easy, and I missed out seeing a lot of Malaysia because of this. Now I’m just trying to chill, find some coffee and read my book instead of being a tourist, and sorting myself out until I land in New Zealand.

Quitting Work to Travel…. Again

Yesterday I finished my last day of work – it really has been nice today not worrying or getting messages whilst I’m not there. I wasn’t going to go out after work, then I thought sod it and go for a couple. I ended up going to bed at 8am, woke up at a friends house wondering why there was a dog on me, then had the realisation that I had told the property manager of the flat that I live in that I’d show potential roommates around. To be honest, I don’t know what would have given the better impression – giving a tour of the place whilst absolutely trollied or turning up late.

Over the week I moved into a new flat; I’ve had it to myself for now but I will have to share the room. As far as sharehouses go, this one is probably the nicest one in the area as it is brand new so I’ll hopefully be happy here for the next couple of months at least.

Tomorrow I’m travelling to Japan and have very little prepared for it. Normally I leave everything until the last minute, but I’ve been non-stop at work so it’s hard to fit in buying and remembering stuff. I’ll post a couple of updates in Tokyo.

Last Friday I handed in my notice, and was asked if I could possibly work an extra few days. Haha no. Last Saturday was a bit of a drunken mess to celebrate, and Sunday I missed the last tram home from work so I ended up at the pub and Maccas on the way home and in bed an hour and a half before I had to be up for work. Definitely not my finest idea.

My last day is the Wednesday after next, chilling out on Thursday and then I’m at the airport on Friday night to land in Japan on Saturday morning. Can’t bloody wait. There’s also a Nando’s in the international terminal at the airport – it has definitely been too long since my last one

Over the last week or so, I moved out of the house share to a hostel as I was supposed to move in with someone who I did my farm work with. Over the first three days she decided that she hates it here and the weathers shit, despite spending three days in bed and she’s moving to Sydney. It’s pretty easy to guess how less than impressed I am – luckily the property manager of the house share said I can come back, and I’m viewing a flat with my own room tomorrow so I have somewhere to move to.

This coming week I have to work, but it’s going to be nice to count the days down.

It’s been a while…

It’s been almost a month. The finger has healed fine and I don’t really have much to show for it besides a dent in my thumb if you look closely.  Its taking some getting used to as I can feel what is now missing whilst putting pressure on it.

Japan has now been booked up; I’ve said heaps of times that I want to go. Over the last month I’ve been consistently pissed off with my job as it isn’t letting me enjoy Melbourne and my job role is actually something that I hadn’t fully agreed to. It’s not a story to put on the internet as I’m pretty sure that I am no longer in the good books, but it feels really satisfying to have said that I simply cannot be fucked anymore. Tomorrow I’m handing my notice in, my last day is on the 27th, then I have a late flight to Japan that week.

I’m staying in Japan for ten or so days, planning to hit up Tokyo for the best part of a week, then I think I’m going to Fuji early in the morning and leaving the next day to Kyoto, then back up to Tokyo to catch the flight back here.

You Live and You Learn – Or In My Case, You Don’t

Once again, I have sick note for work. And yes, it’s because I cut myself.

I was promoted at work a couple of weeks ago to run the kitchen at work; I kind of see it as the same job I had in London – just on a bigger scale, people to manage, and more shit to deal with. The next couple of weeks are going to be challenging, but if I can get my shit together and turn things around with a team behind me it’ll be great.

Last Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck (I don’t know how) which I worked with for five days (again, I don’t know how). On Tuesday morning I was tired to the point of not being able to hold a conversation for more than two minutes and was pumped for a day off, which I was told I looked like I needed one – there hasn’t been a day where I’ve not been at work for three weeks. I was at work, cutting a block of palm sugar which is pretty tough and cut the sugar as well as part of my thumb off. To be honest, it didn’t look or hurt that bad so I just had it bandaged up pretty well and worked on it for five hours before getting sent to the doctor. I even managed to make a plate of gnocchi which ended up on the instagram page during the time I was bandaged up. The thumb was pretty well bandaged up to stop the bleeding which took around a day, but have a sick note to reduce the amount of work I do which hasn’t exactly been abided to.

The next few weeks are going to be work heavy – it’s a good career opportunity that is in front of me, and in a while I’m going to see if I can get sponsorship. I’m working upwards of 50-hour weeks at the moment; it’s tough but if I work towards the goals that I’ve been set then I’m pretty sure that I can do a good job of it.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve not done a lot so it’s a short update.

Last week over my days off, one which I spent in bed, I went to the Aardmans Exhibition at the ACMI which was pretty good. There’s a few things that Aardmans have done that I’ve not really heard of, and have only really watched Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run – it’s quite interesting to see how they develop the characters. Since I started travelling, I’ve met some people from up north and I wonder what their accent reminds me of. It took me watching Chicken Run to realise that the accents remind me of the movie, so now every time I meet someone with that accent I struggle to keep a straight face because all I can think is “I don’t want to be put into a pie… I don’t like gravy…..”

I also really could not be bothered to cook one night last week so I went about 40 minutes out of my way to Queen Vic Night Market – there’s a lot of food there, and mulled wine, but for me it’s more of a place to stop by for some food on the way home from work.

Over this weeks days off I was intending to do something productive and touristy. One day I shit you not, I slept for 18 hours, and Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck whilst doing nothing which I’m still recovering from. It’s not ideal to be recovering from that with work, especially with being advised to not move my neck. I also got a promotion this week at work after being there for three weeks which is great, just heaps more responsibility

Not Missing the Days of Melon Farming

I’m pretty much going back to working a lot. I’m now on my third week, love the job but I seriously struggle to get out of bed before midday now. As I have been working since February with no holiday, I feel as though I need to go to Bali or somewhere, lounge around and get sunburnt.

Other than work, on Wednesday I went shopping – I got paid so it’s nice to be able to buy some winter clothes. I’m definitely missing the weather, the people and just the shit that we got up to in Ayr but a lot better off down here, even if it feels like the joints in my knees are going to freeze over. Thursday, there were a couple of friends from Ayr who were visiting Melbourne, so it was nice to catch up with them over a $5 pizza, just like the Sundays up north.

Over my days off this coming week I’d quite like to do something productive, although it’s a bit hard to get up in the morning after five days straight of 7 to 12+ hours on my feet. I’m going to try and get into the habit of sleeping in when I start work late – midday/3pm and doing something on the days off, rather than having a repeat of this weeks. I’ll make it to the Aardmans/Wallace and Gromit expo over the next week, the Queen Vic Night Market and one or two other things. In a week or two I may go to Wilsons Prom – the most southern point in mainland Australia (I think) with the tour operators who I did the Great Ocean Road and Grampians with last year, just hoping the weather is good for it. I also want to make it to the Mornington Peninsular, meant to be one of the best hot springs in the world.

Work Work Work Work Work Work

Since last Sunday I have worked every day besides Wednesday and it seems like the perfect career opportunity. It seems as though things have figured themselves out to get me into Melbourne at the time of this job opening – I could afford neither Bali or Japan after my farm work that took way too long and on the street that I’m living on one of the chefs in a restaurant directed me to the Facebook page of where I found my job. Hopefully this is a sign that I’m in the right place and things will work themselves out for the best here.

The new workplace I’m optimistic that I’ll enjoy my time and make some career progress – my trial shift involved me cooking steaks and I didn’t know I could cook them so bloody well. There’s a lot more responsibility for me as the job came with a promotion from my previous position in England; tomorrow I’m running dinner service.

Today was my “day off,” meaning that I covered a shift for someone that I know, then went back to the St Kilda area and went straight to work. I should have two days off in a row coming up so one day I’ll go to the market, see what ingredients I can get and see if I can get a dish on the specials at work. The other day off I should be meeting up with some friends who I haven’t seen in a while.