A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Just a quick note to all of those following our blog

Our computer has died... Well more to the point the hard drive has crashed and we have to get a new one. No one here thinks we can recover anything from it but most likely someone in the states can get some of the info off of it. Until we can work out a replacement hard drive and a windows operating system we will not have a computer at home and will only be checking our emails on the rare occasion. This also means that there will be no more posts or pictures until we get the computer sorted.


Posted by patandkari 19:22 Comments (0)

Our First Week In Queenstown

sunny 39 °F

Outside of our apartment, our room is the top one, Mister Shifty is parked under one of our windows
Our view
Those are the Remarkables

Our first week has gone very well. We are settled into our room and have made some friends in our apartment complex. There are 3 other couples here that are also working for NZSKI (the company we work for that runs Coronet and The Remarkables). The weather cleared for a few days and we were able to enjoy our view and take a hike up to the top of the hill above Queenstown. There is a Gondola that runs to the top of the hill from downtown but there is also a nice trail that leads up the hill and it is connected to the trail that we take into town. So on Sunday last week we took the trail up to the top and spent some time enjoying the view and checking out one of the main attractions in town. There is also a mountain bike trail that leads down from the top which looked pretty cool. Other than that we just took it easy for most of the early week and bought some stuff for our new place.

The water front park looking across to the other side of Queenstown
The top of the Gondola
Coronet Peak where I will be working
Coronet Peak and valley
Kari with the Remarkables in the background
Looking down on Queenstown

We had our sign-up session on Wednesday last week, which consisted of an hour long talk about the company and then a quick signing of some employment papers and issuing of staff ID's and uniforms. Our staff ID's get us free skiing on any of 4 mountains and discounts around town at some bars and a couple of stores. Our uniforms are just simple black pants and merino wool sweaters. Thursday was a full day of training up the mountain at Coronet Peak where they are racing to finish our new building. It looks like it is going to be a very nice place to work for the season. The first day was just a bunch of really boring corporate power points by the CEO, the marketing director and the directors of both the ski peaks. They then brought in a company from Auckland that ran a day and a half customer service training event that might have been one of the most pointless things I have ever had to sit through. But it did provide a good chance to meet lots of people from different departments that will be up at the mountain this winter. Friday was just the second day of the customer service training during the day. That night we had a company party at one of the bars downtown and got a chance to go out partying with our coworkers and managers. It was fun but the bar was so loud that the only way to hear someone was to talk right into their ear, which made it really hard to get to know anyone. We have Monday off before starting our departmental training on Tuesday, which should be substantially more interesting.


Posted by patandkari 20:25 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Winter Home

Our own place for the winter, views and all.

all seasons in one day 39 °F

Hello to all of our friends and family back home. We are truly sorry that we have not posted in a long time unfortunately our lives have been very boring for the last month. Just a little recap of what we have been doing.

Kari had her interview for her job with NZSKI to work on the slopes on the 24th of April and I had mine one week later. Our interviews went well and we waited to hear back about positions. I got mine very quickly but Kari's department was much slower in making a decision so we had to wait until the 9th to find out that she did have a job. During all of this we were staying at the Old Gym in Wanaka and working (sort of) for our accommodation. But with out much money and the change in the weather we were kind of stuck there.

When we got the jobs we went about searching for a place to live in Queenstown for the season. This would normally seem like an easy thing to do but it was anything but. Little did we know that Queenstown fills up very fast in the pre-season with people who are going to either work or just hang out for the season. Finding a room was difficult for us as a couple and when we tried to get a place of our own we ran into even more problems. Finally after finding some people to apply for a lease with us we thought we were set. But no, our roommates backed out on us and we lost the places that we had wanted to rent. This was the 20th of May and we were suppose to start work on the 28th. So we quickly packed up all of our stuff from Wanaka and set out for Queenstown to live in a hostel until we found a place or were forced to come home with our tails between our legs. After getting rejected by a few places we found a small add for a place that was going to stretch our budget but we were desperate. We checked it out and even though it is costing us $270 a week (including, power, water, Cable, and Internet) (thats $900 a month US) we decided we had no choice but to take it. The pictures below should give you an idea as to why we were willing to pay so much for the place.

Pictures from Queenstown
This is the view from the huge window in our room.
Just wait until we can get some pictures of the mountains behind those clouds

We share the downstairs kitchen with 2 other couples who live in the other rooms in our flat. There is a washing machine downstairs and plenty of whiteware for everyone to use. But it is truly nice since our room is big enough to act as its own living space with a mini fridge, TV and couches.

It is a 45 minute walk to downtown and 1 hour to where my bus picks me up for work so we probably will be driving into work most days and not going out to the pubs very often. Its not like with our rent we can really afford to go out to the pubs anyway. But this is more than made up for since we have a great view, a wonderful bathroom of our own (something neither of us has had before) and a movie channel on our own flat screen TV (included in rent). We also have couches if any friends want to come visit us.

Kari and I have to sign our employment papers, get our schedules, uniforms, and Employee IDs/Passes on the 28th and then we start on the 29th. Until then we are trying to not spend much money, as we have very little right now and have to pay 3 more weeks rent before we get payed for the first time. After that and with the season in full swing we are hoping that we will have plenty of friends to do all of the fun things Queenstown has to offer. It will also be time for me to test out my knees on the ski slopes and hope that my rehab has gone well and I can enjoy a full season of healthy skiing.

More to come in the days ahead as we get totally settled and start work. Hopefully this is the start to more frequent posts and more excitement in our lives.


Posted by patandkari 21:18 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

The Old Gym

Where work for accommodation equals squatting

semi-overcast 0 °F
View New Zealand on patandkari's travel map.

For the last two weeks Pat and I have been staying at the Old Gym in Wanaka. When we first decided to stay at the Old Gym we thought it was a typical wwoof residence. On further investigation we realized it’s simply large dorm accommodation for skiers and snowboarders, many of whom work for accommodation. The living situation isn’t terrible, though the walls of the bedrooms aren’t connected to the roof (the only way the building meets fire code).
The main problem is the cold. The house is poorly insulated and without any working heaters the bedrooms are frigid, often it’s colder inside than it is outside. We've started sleeping in one of the common rooms, this way we can enjoy a warm fire until we fall asleep. Of course after we've fallen asleep the fire goes out and the room returns quickly to the temperature outside. Apparently during the winter the house fills up with over 30 renters so we've been wondering if the body heat helps keep the place warm. Truly it puts the old mobe at Sawbill to shame.
Amazingly the Old Gym has two beautiful Japanese baths. After days of work cleaning, filling and heating the water we realized that without covers the baths would never be able to retain enough heat to be even slightly warm. After some investigation we discovered some sheets of Styrofoam that had obviously been used as covers in previous years. Of course the sheets hadn't been stored well and were covered in filth. After some vigorous scrubbing and loads of dish soap the Styrofoam was clean enough to be used as a spa cover. Sadly even with the makeshift spa cover the baths are only slightly warmer than body temperature (but a nice respite from the cold air).
While the Old Gym fills up during the winter there are only three tenants right now, including the caretaker Matt. Matt, Martin and Michy are German, but all speak decent English. We went out to a bar with them last night, after one drink Pat and I headed home. This morning we found out that after we left they drove to Queenstown and stayed out partying until 9am in the morning! We couldn’t believe it. We’ve also made the acquaintance of a British and German couple; both pairs were staying at the Old Gym when we first arrived but have since found alternate (warmer) housing in Wanaka. Thankfully the Old Gym is free so dealing with the cold isn’t intolerable.

I am waiting to hear whether I'll be working at the ski fields this winter. Pat found out a few days ago that he has been offered a full time position in the rentals department. Sadly I still haven't heard and all I can do is wait. Tomorrow we're planning to go into Queenstown to look at apartments.


Posted by patandkari 01:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)


An ayuverdic life

semi-overcast 60 °F
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We are at our new Wwoof residence as I write this entry. We don’t have internet easily accessible so I am writing this sitting in our room. This place is very nice and we are enjoying ourselves immensely, but we are both tired of having to live in someone else’s space. We both are feeling like we need to put our time to better use and have a space that we can truly call our own, not to mention trying to share bathrooms, hot water, and space with people we do not know at all. (Note to Manwich, Wwoofing is fun email me for more details, pathughes4@gmail.com)

Our current place is a retreat center that our host Paru runs on her own. The retreat center offers massage, morning yoga, good food, cleansings, an Ozone sauna, and a few other natural healing activities. It caters to pairs, either couples or friends, and Paru runs activities for them throughout the day. Kari is helping run the house side of the retreat, cooking, cleaning the house and Ozone sauna and doing laundry. We both work on the dishes because Paru is the messiest cook we have ever met, she makes a bigger mess than a Sawbill cook who forgot they had dinner until 4:30. I spend my days working in the garden trimming hedges, cleaning the outside of the house and mowing lawns.

Kari starts at 7:15 in the morning and I show up at about 7:45 to help with the morning tasks. Yoga starts around 8 and afterwards we eat breakfast. Then I go outside to work on my tasks and Kari takes care of whatever is on her list for the day. Lunch has been around 1 or 2 and then after we do the dishes we are done for the afternoon. Once you throw in dinner help and dishes we are working longer than normal days and it is very spread out. We have not minded much though since we are about as far away from a town as we have been. Christchurch is about 30 minutes away but the closest town is 20, so we have not been interested in making the drive for just a short afternoon.

Kari and I have both been enjoying yoga. I seem to like it more because Kari finds that it is a little boring for her (not hard enough). We have been eating what they consider very healthy, but it mostly reminds me of mom’s home cooking (unfortunately not nearly as good). Kari and I have been reading up on our Ayurveda body types and what we should try to do to balance ourselves. We have both agreed that there are things in it that can help you be a healthy person but also that as with most things it can be taken a little to far and a little to seriously by some people.

We were able to take an afternoon and drive out to a small beach in a cove near the mouth of the bay. It was a very pretty place but we are finding that we have had a slight overload on beaches; they have a lot of them here. We will be heading out of here soon down to Queenstown for Kari’s interview and then to Wanaka for a place to stay until we hear back about our jobs.


Posted by patandkari 01:06 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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