Feb 28, 2015

Blenheim February 2015

I wasn't going to come back to Blenheim but many people say you can't leave from there permanently.. Anyway I arrived back and stayed at hostel for the first week waiting for work to start. In the meantime I got to know few just arrived Croatian mates Mario and Gogi who took me to Nelson and Golden Bay with them. We spent one freezing night in the tent and car with beautiful views right next to Abel Tasman National Park. Thank god it was just one night, because the weather was really cold!
In the center of New Zealand!


Gogi and Mario

Camping views to Abel Tasman National Park
Golden Bay Farewell Spit
I arrived back to Blenheim and after few boring days I asked work straight from my ex-boss Adi. Adi promised I can start from Monday and I got picked up 7am to my new boss's Lilik’s van. Our work crew had few mates from hostel I was staying before I moved back to my friend’s place so I basically knew most of them. In our van we had our supervisor Lilik and co-supervisors Edi and Meldi and workers Arif and Sakti, all from Indonesia. In our work group we had also Jack and Seongyoung from Korea, Yuka from Japan, Elisa from Germany and Tomas from Czech Republic. Sometimes we had more supervisors and other workers as well but mostly we were working with this group. Every day after work I went to hostel to hang out with workmates and we got really good group for few weeks.


Our group and few extras on my last day!
Tomas, Seongyong, me, Daniel and Elisa

Our main duties at work were cutting second sets and putting nets around the plants. Earlier on November we were thinning shoots from the plants so now in February those shoots had grown into smaller sets which had to be cut off. It was mostly relaxed job, you just had to be careful that you cut all of them away and won't loose your fingers if you had scissors in use. Netting was fun, we used bread bag closers for closing the net. First we closed the top of the net and walked from beginning of the row to the other and while coming back we closed the bottom. It was pretty slow work but we had lot of time to listen music and talk with friends. I also learned little bit more of Indonesian, it turned out to have many similar words close to Finnish..


Driving Molly to the vineyards!
After three weeks in Blenheim I had to say goodbyes for my new friends and leave to Christchurch to pick up my aunt Ella who came to visit me from home. Thank you for my boss and co-workers and especially Elisa and Seongyoung for making my days even more fun! xx

Liisa


Feb 12, 2015

May and South Island

I was so happy to pick up my dearest friend May from Picton ferry terminal! May was my roommate for a month earlier in Auckland. We are the same age and same crazy. We have quite same size of clothes and just so much fun together. She is from Osaka, Japan and came to New Zealand about month earlier than me. Our paths separated for a while when I got a job from South Island and she stayed in Auckland for her studies. In the end of December she told she’ll be coming to South Island, so we planned to travel together around South Island. I bought my car, Molly earlier in January, so we had our transportation checked from the list.

We spent few days together in Blenheim helping my mates to move and just hanging out, drinking, getting ready and saying goodbyes to everyone. On 18th we started our car and started our travels heading to Kaikoura.



First night in the car!

Kaikoura is a small town about 1,5 hours drive South from Blenheim. It’s known from delicious Crayfish, beautiful views and seal -, whale- and dolphin watching. We had booked a kayaking trip for next morning. We found a great camping spot and spent our first night in the car. Early in the morning we got driven to Peninsula where we started with the group. The trip was arranged by Kaikoura Kaykaks and we had about 8 kayaks in our group including our quides. I had tried kayak few years before in Finland but I had never kayaked in the sea. We were paddling for few hours around the Peninsula and we saw few little Blue Penguins hanging around and so many seals swimming and warming their veins in the sunshine. We had really good guides who were so helpful all the time. Both of us were bit scared of kayaking for the first but everything went fine and the experience was just amazing. We spent few nights in Kaikoura just relaxing, looking around and then we continued our trip to Christchurch.

Kayaking in Kaikoura



Christchurch really surprised us. We knew it’s going to be ruined by two big earthquakes which happened 2010 and 2011 but it always surprises when you see the area by your own eyes. The last earthquake in 2011 was 6.3 magnitude and killed 185 people. Christchurch is a really beautiful city and I know it’s going to be even more beautiful when the construction is done. We visited Quake City exhibition which told the story of earthquakes, construction and life after disasters. It was interesting but pretty expensive. We found beautiful shore from south of Christchurch where we spent few hours just enjoying the sun.

Christchurch Quake City

Christchurch City Center

Our next stop was Lake Tekapo, which is beautiful blue lake about in the middle of South Island. It’s area well known of stunning views and beautiful night skies. Right next to the Lake Tekapo is situated Lake Pukaki which is known as the Laketown from Hobbit-trilogy. Both lakes were just gorgeous. We were camping right next to the smaller lake nearby, Lake McGregor and seeing stunning sunset and watching beautiful night sky. In the campsite we met few German backpackers who recommended the hostel from the next place we had ahead.

Lake Tekapo

May and Lake Pukaki

Our next stop was Dunedin, what a beautiful city. It’s called Edinburgh of the South. We booked beds from a hostel German girls recommended and met really nice Austrian couple, Fabienne and Mike who we drank some wine with.

The city was amazing. I really liked it from beginning. We spent few days doing some different stuff, me looking up museums and railway station and May visiting art gallery. We got really good couchsurfing place (thanks Brandon for having us, hope you’re doing fine in Australia), where we stayed for three nights.

Dunedin

Dunedin Railway Station

We had our first surfing lesson in Dunedin, St. Clair beach. It was amazing experience. I’m not a good swimmer and I’m afraid of the sea as well, but OH MY GOD, I would do that again any time! Our teacher was really good. Our surf lesson was 90 minutes long and in that time I almost stood up four times and May really stood up properly once. I got really tired quickly but after 1,5 hours surfing I felt so accomplished and proud of myself. You should have seen my face, I couldn’t stop smiling. Our muscles were so sore for three days after but it was all worth it! Even I think I won’t be a professional surfer I’m still glad I tried it.

Surfing in St Clair Beach, Dunedin


St. Clair Beach

After seeing beautiful Dunedin we headed to Invercargill. We visited Bluff where is the southest point of South Island and accidentally met few of my workmates, Toni and Chris there. We were supposed to stay in Invercargill for a night but we didn’t find lot of interesting things so we turned our car to the North and drove to Te Anau. Our plan was to take the cruise in Milford Sounds in the morning. So we drove late in the evening to Te Anau and accommodated there for a night. In the morning we started 7am and drove to Milford Sounds. The drive was just great. Views were awesome and it was hard to concentrate to driving when there were more and more stunning views to see. It was pretty curvy road to drive and 100 km/h limit was usually 25 km/h warning. I’m so sad we didn’t stay in Milford Sounds for longer because it must be one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. We took the Jucy Cruise in the Sounds and it was beautiful morning. We saw dolphins jumping after our boat and so nice beautiful waterfalls. It’s just impossible to describe by words!





Bluff

Milford Sounds

Milford Sounds

<3

After the cruise we drove back to Te Anau. We ate most delicious Venison pie and booked a hostel from Queenstown. Everyone had told so many things about Queenstown and I had high expectations of it. The hostel we booked was pretty good, we stayed in the first room of the first floor so it was quite loud. Queenstown was really beautiful and crowded of tourists. We were going to take the Gondola to the top of the hill but it was pretty bad weather so we stayed in town and went shopping. We booked also a Jetboat ride which was just great. It was the original Jetboat in Shotover river and it was just amazing. May almost dropped from the boat but luckily the driver pulled her back to the boat.



Queenstown


Jetboat in Shotover River




Queenstown was our last stop before we started our travel back to Blenheim. I decided to work little bit more to get some money before my aunt would come to visit me so vineyards were calling me again. We drove back through West Coast, stopped in few little towns and spent a night in Fox Glaciers. We arrived back to Blenheim on Sunday. May continued her trip to Marlborough Sounds where she got a workplace for accommodation. I started few weeks of work in vineyards before my aunt came to Christchurch.





Somewhere in West Coast

All together we were travelling for few weeks and had really good relaxed time together. Many people were wondering how Japanese and Finnish girls are travelling together but I have to say there couldn’t be more amazing company than May. I love the nature and spirit of that girl. How caring, open-minded and loving can girl be! The best moments we had in the middle of nowhere, just enjoying the atmosphere or drinking heaps of wine or beer and laughing some stupid stuff. We had arguments, language lessons and good talks. Our time was just so good. It is really impossible to describe everything by words, but I have shared few of our nearly 1000 pictures we took! Thank you May for travelling with me and I wish you very best for your future travels.




xo

Liisa