Thursday, October 29, 2009

Working in Welly


So I've been in Wellington for one week and I already have a job and place to live! I had really good luck in my search. The job is doing weekend reception at a serviced apartments building (basically a really nice hotel) and it also includes accommodation. Here is the link to the website: It'll be 20 hours a week, which I'll get paid for and then I'll also do three or four nights per week on-call to "pay" for my room, which is at the tippy top of the building. There's also internet, a gym, and laundry that I can use for free. I'll be on a six month contract, but I'm not sure how airtight that is. But I really lucked out. The only thing I will have to buy is food. And I'll also have time to get some other part-time work if I want. Today was my second day, but I'm definitely already picking it up. It's weird to be doing something totally new again, but it's also really nice to be doing something that's not coffee-related. The room is cute. Tiny, but nice. It has these cool little doors on each side that lead out onto the roof so I can go sit on the roof and read! I'm really excited about that. Unfortunately I can't move in quite yet because I have to wait for the other person to move out, but it is definitely a relief to have this all worked out.

Other than that, I've just been exploring the city a little more and hanging out! Wellington is definitely really cool and there's some events here I'm really looking forward to, not to mention Eric visiting me over Christmas and New Years! Lots of fun coming up.

The other day a friend and I went for a hike to Island Bay (see picture), about 4 miles south of Wellington on the coast. It's really nice to know that it's possible to walk to the beach afterall. I even caught a glimpse of the South Island in the distance. It's a really beautiful bay and a cute town. We stopped at a fish and chips place (which are all over the country) and got a package of fried food, which included a fried hot dog. It was interesting... and delicious. And definitely helped with the 4 mile walk home. ;-)

So that's the latest news!! Not so sure I'll be reporting quite as often for the next little while since I'm kind of settling down and not so much is happening, but I will keep in touch!

Love, Laura

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wwoofing at Tauhara


So I've been wwoofing at the Tauhara Centre for almost two weeks now and they are kicking me out. :-( There are so many wwoofers that want to come here so they tend to ask the older ones to leave pretty quickly to make room. No one really gets to stay longer than two weeks contrary to what I was told when I first emailed them. I would think it would get slightly exhausting to basically be training new staff constantly, but oh well. I don't really want to leave yet. But I don't really have a choice so I'm heading back to Wellington on Wednesday!

It's been really nice here. I made a couple of German friends and generally had a lot of opportunity to relax and feel at home for a while. It's so calm up here in the hills and the centre has everything we need. It was also nice to get back into working again, at least for a little bit. I've come to realize something interesting about myself. It's really important for me to have the sense of community that comes from being in a place like this. It's similar to how working at Peaberry felt. It's different than just having friends and family and telling them about your life. It's a sense of really sharing a part of your life with other people who are doing the same thing. It's interesting. I didn't really realize before why I always loved Peaberry so much, but I feel the same sort of community here with the other wwoofers.

One day Anne, Luise, (my new German friends) and I walked to the nearby L'Arte Cafe. It was this really nice cafe with an art gallery next to it. They had all these mosaics. I'm not normally into mosaics, but these were really cool. (See picture.) It was a really nice afternoon trip.

Today I ventured out and walked from Huka Falls along the Waikato River into town. (See picture of Huka Falls.) The Waikato is the longest river in New Zealand. It flows from Lake Taupo north to the coast west of Auckland. There is also a huge hydroelectric power station north of Lake Taupo and I guess something like 15% of New Zealand's power comes from the Waikato river. So that's pretty cool.

Nothing too much to report here! It's been fun, but I have to move on I guess. I'll be back in Wellington on Wednesday night and will start the job search again this week. Hopefully I'll have more luck than before. I think the break has probably done me some good.

I'll update again soon after I get to Wellington!

Love, Laura

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There and back again


Sorry for being so lazy on the updates lately. Lots has happened and I haven't felt like writing at all. I still don't, but I figure a few of you might wonder if I fell off the edge of the Earth or something... so here goes.

I left Waihi Beach and picked up the Stray bus again in Rotorua on the 29th of September. From there we went to Taupo. Along the way we stopped at these really cool pools of boiling mud. There's a ton of geothermal activity in the area so there's a ton of cool, free spots to stop. The weather was terrible though, so the Tongariro Crossing was canceled. From Taupo we went to National Park, which would have been really beautiful if the mountains weren't covered with clouds. I did get to see the mountains (including Mt. Doom (see picture)) on the way back up to Taupo, though (keep reading). We had beautiful weather then. But on the way to National Park we stopped and had a "picnic" lunch in a traditional Maori hangi. We got fish, kumara, sausages, pipis (little shellfish), asparagus, and mushrooms and cooked it all in this pit in the ground that's heated by the geothermal activity. It was pretty awesome. After spending the night in National Park we went to Wellington.

As I said in my earlier blogs, the original plan was to look for work in Wellington which I spent approximately one day doing before I decided that wasn't what I wanted to do. I think some combination of the gross hostel I was staying in, not having any friends, going from a tiny town to a huge foreign city, and looking for jobs being my least favorite thing to do in the world just kind of made me miserable. So I found an ad for a wwoofing place that sounded really cool and replied to that. So here I am back up in Taupo! Well, outside of Taupo, but close enough.

But before I left Wellington and after I decided not to look for a job, I actually had a pretty good time. I got to explore the city a bit and did even make some friends from the hostel. The first day there I explores the Te Papa museum. It's means "our place" and has a whole geological and cultural history of New Zealand. You could definitely spend a few days there. One day I took the cable car to the botanical gardens which were cool. I think they will be much more picturesque when things start blooming more, but it was still nice. Another day I walked up to the government buildings and a really old cathedral. The main government building is called the beehive (see picture) and is pretty interesting architecturally. Other than that I just walked around a lot and got to know the city a little bit. Enough to know that I do want to come back and try to find a job there still. It's a pretty cool place. Definitely very artsy. So hopefully I will be able to find a job when I get back.

The place where I'm wwoofing is called the Tauhara Center. It's basically like a conference center, but it's very spiritually oriented and whatnot. They have a meditation room and everyone here is very hippy. It's cool though. It has a great vibe and everyone is super nice. There's about 10 wwoofers here. We do all sorts of different jobs like working in the kitchen preparing meals, housekeeping, and gardening. Right now there is a conference group of about 60 people staying here so we've pretty much all been working in the kitchen. We work a lot actually. Either from 9-3 or 2-8ish. It's a lot of work for just accomodation and food, but it's just a really great place to be so it's worth it, at least for a little while anyway. I think after the group leaves things will calm down a lot too.

I'm not sure how long I'll be here exactly. Probably another week or so. After that I will head back down to Welly to try again with the job search!! So wish me luck!! I will try to be better about updating here too.

Love, Laura

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moving on


So I've been in Waihi Beach for almost three weeks now!! Hard to believe it's been that long actually. It passed pretty quickly considering I was somewhat bored what with not having a car and town being a 40 minute walk away. And the boredom tends to lead to homesickness and the "why am I here?" questions. I've definitely been dealing with some culture shock/distance issues this week especially. And the rain didn't help. But all in all it was a nice break from the craziness of traveling, a great chance to test out my cooking skills (turns out I'm not so bad) and the family was really great. But I'm excited to move on!!

I will be leaving here on Tuesday to head back to Rotorua where I will catch the Stray bus. From there we head down to Taupo, sky-diving capital of New Zealand. I really want to sky-dive, but unfortunately I kinda need to save my money for food for the coming weeks. (But don't worry mom, I'll make sure I do it sometime.) The next morning, if the weather is nice, we will do the Tongariro Crossing. It's an 18km. alpine walk by/over/in the general vicinity of Mt. Doom. Or whatever the real name of the mountain is. It's supposed to be extremely beautiful. The conditions aren't safe at the top if the weather's off so I really hope it's nice so I get to do it.

That night we will stay in National Park. I don't really know what's there yet, but the next day we head to Wellington where I will stay and look for a job!!! I'm really excited to see Wellington as I didn't really see any of it the first time we went through because we got there late at night and left early the next morning. But most everyone I've talked to says it is a great city for young, creative people. The people are supposed to be very friendly and interesting (unlike Auckland) and the only bad thing I've heard about it is it's supposed to be very windy. "Windy Welly" they call it. So we'll see how it goes!! I'm really hoping to find a job as a barista in a cafe or something. That would probably be the easiest thing for me to get (since I've kind of spent some time doing it before :-)) and it's a great way to meet people.

So wish me luck!!! I'll keep you updated on my travels down to Wellington and my successes (hopefully) there!!

Love you and miss you all. Tons.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Waihi Beach Wwoofing

Hello! Just wanted to throw an update out there to let you all know that I'm doing alright! I'm still at the house in Waihi Beach where I'm wwoofing. I will be here till the 29th so a little less than two more weeks.

So far it's going well. The house is beautiful. They live up in the hills above Waihi Beach. They have a gorgeous view of the hills and the ocean. It's a pretty long walk to the town or beach from their house, but I think I might tackle it one of these days. David drove me down to the beach two days
ago on his day off and I spent a couple hours walking along and watching the crazy surfers, which was cool. The rest of the family, besides David, left on Monday for Australia and will be back next Friday, the 25th. It's been pretty quiet, but nice. Getting a little bored and running out of things to read, but hanging in there. Before they all left Karen (Donna's sister who basically runs the house) showed me around the town of Waihi Beach and Waihi (yes, they are separate towns.) Waihi Beach is tiny and there's not much to do besides walk along the beach. Waihi has a giant gold mine. Karen asked me if I wanted to go see the hole and I said "sure" not thinking it would be quite that big. I didn't have my camera with me, but it was huge. I guess they're planning to turn the hole into a lake when they're finished and they project it will take ten years to fill. I didn't think people still mined gold anywhere, but apparently it's still very profitable in New Zealand. She also took me to this pancake restaurant that was AMAZING. So I got a chance to get out of the house a bit before they left, which was nice.

Last night I cooked parmesan chicken and it was definitely a hit! David told Karen on the phone that she has some competition so she said I'll have to make it again for them when they get back. Too bad that's basically the only thing I can cook. But it is a good opportunity to try some more things out! Other than that I'm just doing some light cleaning and playing with the puppies!

The puppies are great. Their names are Jessie and Frankie. Jessie is the collie. Frankie is the white puff ball. They are both two-years-old and pretty darn cute. Frankie loves to play tug-o-war. He can be a bit much now and then and I love dogs so that's saying something, but when he calms down he can be pretty nice. We even had a cuddle session last night. But he does go from naught to agitated and loud in less than a second. Jessie is a sweetheart. She loves to play catch. They both seem to be pretty excited to see me every morning so I think that's a good sign.

So that's what I'm doing now! Sorry this isn't quite as exciting as the adventure-packed blogs I usually post! After this I will hop back on the Stray bus and head to Wellington where I will hopefully find a job and a place to live. But I will update again before I leave here!

Love, Laura

P.S. Sorry I can't really get more photos up here. They take FOREVER to upload on here. But I have more on Facebook so check there. Also, I will be happy to show all of them when I get back!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waitomo Caves!

I forgot to write about the caves!! Geez!! I've done so much it's been nuts. On the way from Raglan to Maketu we stopped in Waitomo which is famous for it's caves. You can do something called black water rafting, but I just did a cheaper cave tour. We went thru one cave on a boat and looked at glowworms... awesome creatures that apparently are only in New Zealand and Australia, or these kind are anyway. We each got a helmet with a light on it and when we went into the cave we could only see a few of them. Then we turned off our lights and got in this raft and he took us down the river in the cave a ways till we got to this waterfall. We didn't go down the waterfall thank god. But by the time we got back up to where we started we could see thousands of glowworms on the ceiling and walls of the cave. It was so cool!!! Like looking at stars very far away. No pictures because it was dark, but they are supposed to send us some eventually.

The glowworms are awesome tho. They send down this little beaded, sticky string with a light on it. Bugs are attracted to the light and get caught on the string. Once they catch one I think they eat it and then they wrap themselves up in a cocoon and hatch later as a weird type of fly. And then I think they get eaten by other glowworms. Slightly cannibalistic, but really pretty. :-)

We went in another cave too, which was just a walking tour. There was once a river in that one as well (it's how the caves were formed: water eroding the limestone), but it hasn't run thru it for thousands of years. But there were awesome stalactites and stalagmites to see and a twenty thousand year old skeleton of the now extinct bird that preceded the kiwi!! Got some good pictures there (like the one at the top of this post.)

Sorry I forgot to insert this into my blog before!! Was just looking thru my pictures and remembered!! I'll try to get some of those up here. :-)

Love, Laura

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Northern Exposure

Hello everyone!!

Sorry it has been so long since I last updated!! Maybe it hasn't been that long, but I have been crazy busy!! I will attempt now to update you on everything I've done. Here goes.

I left Christchurch about a week and a half ago. From there we went to Kaikoura and I swam with dolphins! This wasn't like Seaworld swimming with dolphins so get that image out of your head. These were wild dusky dolphins. We got wetsuits and snorkels everything and went out in a boat to where the guides had located the dophin pod and there were tons jumping out of the water. It was beautiful. I'd never snorkeled before so I was a little nervous, but it was easy. You just slide into the water when they blow the whistle (to signal that the propellers were off) put your face in the water and sing. Yup. The dolphins are attracted to things that are dolphin-like and interesting, so if you swim with your hands at your side and make noise they come right up to you. There were about 300-400 dolphins in this pod. The guide said that for every one dolphin we saw jumping on the surface there were probably 4 underneath. And sure enough when we got in the water there were tons. A couple of times up to 4 would get within a foot of me and I'd freak out a little bit like "oh my god it's working!" but it was so amazing!!! I definitely want to go again sometime.

So that was Kaikoura pretty much. After that we went up and took the ferry across the Cook Strait to Wellington. We got there at night and left bright and early the next morning tho so I don't know much about Wellington other than the skyline is pretty. I am still thinking about settling there, but I wanted to get up and travel the rest of the north island first so that's why I left right away.

The next day we had a 10-hour ride to Auckland. That was terrible. I was so sick of the bus that even tho I wasn't particularly interested in Auckland I got off the bus for a day and hung around. Auckland is alright. Apparently it's the fourth biggest city in the world by land mass. Definitely not by people, but as many people live in Auckland as the whole of the south island (about 1.3 million.) The day I was there I walked around a bit, found an art gallery and some really pretty gardens near the university, but I figure if the gardens are my favorite part about the city, I probably don't want to live in Auckland. We'll see if this logic holds for Wellington, but everyone agrees Wellington has a much less industrial feel. It's supposed to be a hub of young people and creativity. But anyway, Auckland was okay.

The next day (Wednesday) I headed up on the bus to the Bay of Islands, which is the area north of Auckland. We stayed in Paihia for the night, which was a beautiful seaside town. Not much there, but I almost thought about staying there and looking for work. We went on a boat tour there that was included with the stray pass. It was nice but they promised dolphins and we didn't see any. I definitely got my fix already, but it was kind of a bummer for other people.

The next day we headed north to Cape Reinga which isn't actually the northern most point in New Zealand, but it is for tourists. You can actually see the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea collide and there was one of those signs there that points in different directions and labels how many km's to various world cities. It was pretty windy, but nice. Then we headed down Ninety-Mile Beach, which is actually more like 90km. We went sand-boarding which consists of lying on your stomach on a foam board and sliding down the hill, and digging your toes in to stop before you hit the stream. It was way fun. After that we actually proceeded to drive down the beach itself for about 70 km. Like on the sand. It was a little weird. I'm not sure how I felt about that environmentally, but apparently it is a legally recognized road. So there you go. But we saw Albatross (an unbelievably large bird) and wild horses on the beach. Pretty cool. We went back down to Paihia again that night.

The next day we went back to Auckland (yay.) But we left early the next day for Hahei, which is on the Coromandel Penninsula on the East coast. It's just a tiny beach town, but it was cool. It's famous for Cathedral Cove where portions of Prince Caspian (from the Chronicles of Narnia) was filmed. It was about a two-hour walk to Cathedral Cove. Well worth it. There was a huge arch in the rock you could walk thru. Very pretty. We also watched the full moon rise over the ocean, which was gorgeous.

The next day we went over to the West coast to Raglan, which is famous for surfing. I'm chicken, however, and trying to watch my money so I didn't go for the surf lesson. Plus there are tons of places to surf all over the country (and will be slightly warmer in summer.) We stayed in a hostel that was up in the hills tho so I didn't really see much of the city of Raglan, but had a nice relaxing day at the cabin-style lodging. We watched the sunset which was really nice. It's not often you get a group of twenty people who are usually loud and boisterous to sit quietly and collectively forget about the time, lost in the view. It was very serene.

The next day we went back over to the East coast to Maketu. I'm still not sure if there is actually a town called Maketu. I might have blinked when we went by, but the purpose of coming here was for a "Maori Cultural Experience," which turned out to be very cool. It was this old Maori guy called Uncle Boys who ran the place. They fed us as soon as we got there and then we watched a performance. They do traditional dances here called the haka (for men) and the poi (for women.) The All-Blacks (New Zealand's rugby team and a big fracking deal) do the haka before every game. I think it's a warrior challenge type thing. The poi is a cute dance about a ball on a string (called a poi) that was originally used by warriors to strengthen their forearms and fell out of use as the wars dies down and was picked up by women. Anyway, they taught us these dances and we performed them. It was cute and I got some of it on video I think. We spent the night in there traditional meeting house and Uncle Boys told us all about his tribe. It was really neat and interesting as I hadn't learned too much about Maori culture yet. It raised some more questions for me tho because I can't really figure out what their religion is about. They say they are very spiritual and he showed us their four gods, but they also seem to be very influenced by Christianity. I will have to do some more research and figure this out...

After that I took the bus to Rotorua and got off and took a regional bus to Tauranga where I got picked up by the family I'm wwoofing with!! Yes, I'm wwoofing. I'm not farming tho. Just house-sitting and taking care of two dogs. This woman (Donna) and her husband (David) live with Donna's sister and her two kids. Everyone but David is going on holiday to Australia for 11 days leaving David to run the business (a bookstore!) and needing someone else to watch the house and the dogs. I'm here now and will be for three weeks. It's a little odd living in someone else's house, but I think it will be a good chance to rest and relax after the craziness of traveling. Not to mention a good way to wait a bit for tourism season to start and the job market to pick up before I need to work.

So that's what I've been up to!! Sorry about the length!

Love you and miss you!!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Abel Tasman!

Hi!! So Emily and I just got back last night from Abel Tasman National Park. We tramped (hiked) for 4 days and stayed 3 nights in huts along the way. It was so beautiful!!!! The tramp was about 40km of lush forest, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and rolling hills. We even saw seals! The weather was great. We had 3 days of gorgeous sunshine. I think we both kind of forgot it was winter. :-) The last day was great too, just a little rainy. And luckily I have a camera now so I've got some pretty good pictures to share with you.

The whole trip was just so peaceful, like a vacation from my vacation. I found myself in Christchurch getting really caught up in the logistics of things and thinking a little too much so it was super nice to have all our accomodation prepaid and food packed, where all we had to do for the day was hike the path to the next hut.

The tramp was rated "easy" by Lonely Planet, but Emily agrees it was a bit more uphill than we expected. And they don't mess around with traverses unless absolutely necessary so the uphills are pretty rigorous. But it wasn't too bad at all, especially considering we were carrying ~40lb. packs and I've really never done anything like this before. Not for this many days in a row, anyway. We hiked for about 4 hours each day. I guess a lot of tramps you hike a lot longer than that each day, but I thought it was perfect because we had enough time to take our time packing up our stuff in the morning, and make breakfast and then we could stop at beaches along the way. It was really relaxing and nice. Emily brought a hammock with her as well so we'd set that up when we got to the hut and just sit and read. I finished Pride and Prejudice, which I thought would last me a lot longer!!

I got horrible blisters from my hiking boots and bitten all over my legs by sandflies (way less annoying than mosquitos, but with the same results), and at one point when we were down on the beach looking for caves to explore I slipped off a deceptively muddy rock and scraped up my leg, but it was a small price to pay for the awesomeness of the trip. I think a few pictures could probably explain this trip better than I can.
So all in all it was a great trip!! I will post many more pictures on Facebook and will show them all to you when I get home!

The next Stray bus leaves on Saturday to go north and I'm thinking that's when I will leave. It stops in Kaikoura which we actually went through on the way to Nelson, where we booked our huts for the tramp. Kaikoura is a super small beach town. It's supposed to be a great place to swim with dolphins and seals and whale watch, but I'm not sure how great it is in winter. After that the bus heads up to Wellington, which I'm really excited for. Emily and Devin (her boyfriend) both loved Wellington. But wherever I go I will keep you updated!!

Love you all and miss you lots.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heading to the west coast


Just want to let you all know that Emily and I are heading out tomorrow (on a 7:15 am bus) to go to the west coast and do a 5-day trek. We'll be gone for a week total and I probably won't have Internet so I will be out of touch. I will probably be in Christchurch for a few more days after we get back (on Tuesday evening) so I will have internet then and be able to update you on our adventures!!!

Wish me luck!!!

Love, Laura

Monday, August 17, 2009



So I left yesterday from Queenstown, hopped on the Stray bus at 7:30 in the morning and got to Christchurch yesterday afternoon. The bus was good. There were only nine of us on it. Everyone was really friendly. Most people were on the last legs of their journeys. I guess that's the downside of getting on in the South. Most people are heading back up to Auckland for their flights out. But oh well. I was only on it for the day anyway. But the driver kinda takes the backroutes and finds all the gorgeous, not completely touristy areas (hence the name Stray). It was beautiful. Lots of hills and lakes and the clouds here have this crazy phenomenon of being so low all the time. I thought it was just Queenstown in the valley, but it's like that all over. They just kind of lie across the hills. It's really pretty. The bus makes stops for lunch, whenever people feel like taking pictures, and of course to let the sheep get out of the way. Lol. The first place the driver stopped he even got out his camera it was so gorgeous. He made a comment about how he doesn't often do that! Unfortunately this is when I realized that my camera has decided not to turn on anymore. The light blinks like it thinks it's on, but the screen is black. :-( I found a camera shop in Christchurch which was closed yesterday, but I'll head over there again today. I'll most likely just get a new one.

We arrived yesterday about an hour ahead of schedule, so about 4:00. I dropped by stuff at a hostel and walked to Emily's work. She had to work till later so I walked around long enough to remember that it's Sunday and everything's closed so I went back to her apartment. Christchurch is the biggest city on the South Island and the second biggest in the country. It's pretty sprawled out, but Emily lives and works very close to downtown so it's easy enough.

It was crazy rainy and gross when I got here so I don't really feel like I've given the city a chance to prove it's greatness yet, but we'll see. Emily doesn't have to work this week after tomorrow so we were thinking we might head over to the West coast (Christchurch is on the East coast) and do a trek. It's basically a 5-day hike where you go and stay in huts and hike about 10km per day. And since it's the off-season it's pretty cheap to do right now. The two we're looking at go along the beach for some parts and are among the nine "Great Walks" in NZ. So depending on our transportation cabilities (Emily thinks she might be able to borrow a car) we will probably do that.

After that I will probably hop on the bus again and head up to Wellington. I'm not sure how far I will go before I start to look for work. Winter's a bad time to be looking. Tourism is low and people are trying to cut costs, but in a month or so it should pick up. And I do still want to WWOOF so I might just do that for a bit until the busier season.

But that's it for now!! Emily has Internet at her house which is SUPER nice so you should all get on skype or facebook or something and we'll chat!!

Love, Laura

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Queenstown (still but not for much longer)


Things have cooled down here a bit in Queenstown. Both activity wise and temperature wise. It's cold and super rainy here today!! It doesn't really snow in town, but the rain is intense and super cold when you only brought one pair of tennis shoes and they're soaked through... :-/ But I'm surviving.

We haven't done much in the last few days. Kind of been taking it easy, shopping around town, reading, and such. It's been nice, but I think I'm ready to move on.

Our roadtrip to Christchurch has been canceled because Mary has to work this weekend so I'm going to go up myself. I actually just booked a bus tour of all of New Zealand. It's the same company that Leslie did one with when she first got here and she loved it. It's extremely flexible. The pass is valid for a year and you can get off the bus wherever you want and stay however long, work for a few weeks or months or whatever and then get on the next bus when you're ready. I will most likely leave Queenstown on Sunday morning and the bus goes straight to Christchurch so I will still meet up with Emily and stay there for a bit. After that it continues up to Wellington. I'm really excited to see Wellington. It's supposed to be like Portland and Seattle combined.

So I'm pretty much just playing it by ear!! I suspect I will need to start working somewhat soon if I want to save any money for more traveling, but it shouldn't be too hard to find work. I'm still interesting in Woofing too.

Sorry there's not much to report this time! I have been taking a few pictures. Now I just have to remember to bring my camera with me so I can put them up.

Miss you all and the warmth of Colorado.

Love, Laura

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Queenstown (part deux)


I'm still in Queenstown with Leslie and just wanted to update you a bit on what I've been up to and what my plans are.

We did go bungy jumping the other day off the Kawarau bridge!! It was awesome. Leslie and I actually did a tandem (sp?) jump so she more jumped and pushed me off with her. ;-) It was awesome and the guy at the top who strapped the cord on had a good point. I told him I was from Colorado and he said that skiing was a lot more dangerous than bungy jumping. True. Anyway, it was quite thrill. They even ask if you want to be dunked in the river. Leslie wanted to go waist deep and I did not so we compromised and just got our heads wet. It was super awesome and now I really want to do the nevis jump. It's three times the height and apparently you fall for 8 seconds on that one. Yikes. But awesome. Anyway, I've got pictures from the jump but their just prints so I'll have to show you all when I get back!

Yesterday we went up and skiied Remarks. It's the ski area on "The Remarkables." A good name for what are the most impressive mountains I've ever seen this close to sea level. Leslie and I went with the head chef from the hotel she used to work at. Ski areas here are so different from Colorado. No trees for one, but also the layout is just different. We took a lift up and then hiked for about 1/2 an hour and skiied down the back side of the mountain. I definitely was moaning and groaning on the way up, but it was so beautiful when we got up there I totally forgot about my pain and the way down wasn't too trecherous at all. Lots of powder. On the other side of the area there were terrain parks and oh my god you would never believe how good people are here. And it's not just a few people either. Everyone is so hard core. It's kind of the spirit of Queenstown tho. Play hard. I think I'm getting old tho because I can't quite handle going up skiing every day and drinking every night. And people here work on top of that. It's nuts.

I think Leslie and Mary (her roommate) and I are going to make a bit of a roadtrip to Christchurch on Friday. Turns out Mary has some friends there she wants to see and the timing works out well since Leslie leaves the following Tuesday. So we'll be heading up there and I will just stay with Emily for a bit while I decide what to do next. Christchurch is supposed to be apallingly boring so I'm not sure how long I'll stay, but I might try to find some work there for a bit to try and save some money for more traveling. Also, I've been thinking more about doing the WWOOF thing. Willing Workers On Organic Farms. It's where you go and live with a host family and basically learn organic farming practices and help out. You get free accomodation and food in exchange for your help so it's a good way to save money and also sounds pretty interesting. I also definitely want to check out Wellington sometime soon.

So we'll see where this crazy road takes me!! I miss you all like crazy.

Love, Laura

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Hello everyone! Sorry I'm super slow with the updating!! Leslie doesn't have Internet at her house so it's more a project to post on here. Also, I'm feeling pretty disconnected with the world!! But the Internet cafe is only $NZ 4 here so that's not so bad.

I arrived in Queenstown!!! (Clearly.) I've been here for three days now and it's definitely the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life. Think of the most beautiful hike you've ever been on in CO and basically place a lake and a small mountain town at the top, surrounded by the most majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks imaginable and you have it. It's incredible. The town itself is kind of a European Breckenridge. Lots of little shops and restaurants and stuff.

We went skiing yesterday!! Definitely different than skiing in CO, but pretty awesome as well. A Swedish friend of Leslie's is leaving today so I bought her skiis off her which makes the whole process a little cheaper than renting gear every day.

Leslie had a dinner party thing at her house the other night where I got to meet a bunch of her friends. We cooked and ate and drank and I provided the music which of course I'm a bit proud of. Lol. It was nice. It definitely seems like the way to meet people here is through work so I'll have to try that at some point. For now my money is holding out pretty well. Adventure sports are expensive, but well worth it.

(Look away for this following part mom. ) We attempted to go bungy jumping the other day but they were all booked up so I think we are going to try again today. Should be fun!! The one I want to to do is called the Kawarau Bridge and it was the first bungy jump location in the world.

I actually haven't taken any pictures yet. I need to get on this whole acting like a tourist thing so you guys can see what I see!

It sounds like Leslie and Mary (her roommate) and I are going to drive to Christchurch next weekend before Leslie leaves and I will most likely stay there for a bit with Emily Zinn (my other friend from back home.) Other than that not much in the way of plans!!

Definitely missing everyone at home quite a bit. Love you all and hopefully will post again soon!! And I promise I'll work on this pictures thing.

Love, Laura

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm in Auckland!!

Hello everyone!! Or Kia Ora as they say. I'm not sure if I've got that right. It might mean 'welcome.' But I'll figure it out. I am writing this from the Auckland airport! After going through security three times, customs twice, checking my bag twice, 14 hours of flights, and about 7 hours of sleep later I am waiting at the gate for my flight to Queenstown!!! I had to pay $10 NZ dollars (like $6.50) to use the internet for an hour so this may be short, but I wanted to say hello and let you all know that I arrived safely!! Well, in the country anyway. But I think the worst of the traveling is over. Definitley wishing I didn't have to carry so much stuff. I packed everything into my backpacking backpack and a smaller backpack, but it's still ton of stuff to lug around! If I was a kiwi I wouldn't definitley be looking at me going throught the terminal thinking 'what an idiot American.' But oh well.

Haven't seen much of the landscape yet as it was still dark when we landed this morning at 6:15, but I walked the 10 minutes to the domestic terminal and it smells like the ocean outside. The first thing I thought of when I walked outside and smelled the cold, salty air was that it smelled like Croatia. Funny how we remember smells like that.

So far the Auckland airport is the best organized airport I've ever seen. Signage EVERYWHERE. A nice change from LAX which was horrible, confusing, gross and loud. The long flight was okay tho. Got two full meals, free wine, and no one else was sitting in my row so I could stretch out a bit. Everyone here is very nice. The accent is prettier than I thought it would be and I think it is a little different than Austrailian accents. They use the word 'rubbish' here instead of 'trash.' I like it.

Sorry if that's all boring! I'm sure I'll have much more exciting things to say next time I update. Wish me luck with my last flight and I'll talk to you all soon!

Love, Laura

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3...

Test post for my New Zealand blog!