ToNZ #5 – After my peaceful times in Oamaru my main goal was to get the visa extension by doing 3 months of horticultural jobs. Until the Alps2Ocean Trail I finished only 3 weeks in Alexandra. So I still had quite some time left. Did I manage to finish it all? Did I not? Or did I? Or not? Let’s read this post and find it out!
Picking and Packing
Alright, it’s time to take a look at the events between April and June. Not that I don’t have anything better to do. Alps2Ocean finished. Overnighted in Chillawhile, totally exhausted. Went to Nelson. Left my baggage on the bus, with the computer charger in it. For example. The hostel in Nelson was superb. Still counts as my favorite one. Called Palace Backpackers. It had an own piano room, free bakery at 4pm and some Hungarian books, thanks to the manager’s random visit to the town of Pécs. The city was also pretty. But not for those who were looking for horticultural jobs. It was a struggle to find something. The closest job was apple picking, two towns away. Reaching the next town by bus, then the second one by bike. Took more than an hour one way. Did it for four days, hated it. Left Nelson, headed to the North Island. Short break in Picton, hiking on Queen Charlotte trail. Short break in Wellington as well, visited the Victoria Lookout.
Arrived to Napier. The “art deco capital”. The hostel manager offered 2 hours of work for free accommodation. Sounded good. But still had to look for a horticultural job. Finally found one in an apple packhouse. Night shift. Six weeks of pure hell. Wake up at 9am. Clean the hostel. Go back to sleep at noon. Wake up again whenever, eat whatever. Start to depart at 4pm. Start work at 5pm. Finish work at 2am. Arrive back at 3am. Sleep. Repeat. Soul sucking lifestyle. To survive this, I bought a piano. Something to play with. I will sell it at the end in Napier, I thought. Only one weekend’s worth to mention. Hitchhiked to Rotorua. Tried zorbing. Rented a bike. Went to a mountain bike park. Then back to Napier. That was quite enjoyabe, actually.
Job finished on June 2nd. My flight to Taipei was on June 13th. I had no idea what to do until that. Katja had. So we had to make some holiday-like thingy. Went to Taupo. Huka Falls, hot spring, mountain bike park. Back to Napier. There was a Hungarian backpacker in Napier. I was talking in Hungarian to someone. For the first time after last September in Hong Kong. Translated my driving license. Rented a car. Tried to sell the piano but couldn’t. Drove to Wanganui. Me, Katja and the piano. Then drove to the Tongariro National Park, hiked to the Whakapapa waterfall. Then drove to Ongarue, biked through the famous bike trail called Timber Trail. A quite tough one. Deadly uphill sections, big fat mud puddles, nice swing bridges. Took two days for the 85km. Then drove to Raglan. Planned to surf there but the waves were too high. Asked the receptionist if I can leave my piano there. We are not a storage place, he said. You can let the guests use it, I said. Oh, sure, we can talk about that, he said. Left the piano in Raglan, left Raglan, left the car in Auckland, left Katja in Auckland, left Auckland. Started my second trip to Asia. Finally.
What’s after Asia? Well, I still have 3 weeks left from my horticultural project. Which I hate. Makes me question every day if that’s really why I came to this country. I loved the good old days behind the reception of the Chillawhile. But during the months between Oamaru and Taipei I had much less quiet times. Different problems, different advantages, bla. Maybe later I will have some sweet nostalgia about these days as well. But for now I’m glad that it’s over and that I finally started my long-awaited, well-deserved winter holidays.