New town, new people, new job, new house!
So I guess it’s about time I let you all know where I am and what I’ve been up to! It’s my birthday today (hooray!) and I’m currently sitting in starbucks stealing the wifi, enjoying the heat, a muffin (lemon not bran thanks steph), and an amazing coffee (thank god I’ve escaped that canadian drip coffee rubbish!).
Ok let’s start from the top. So I finished up in Canada, jumped on a flew planes and then landed in Queenstown on May 8th exhausted, jet lagged and ready for bed. Little did I know, Queenstown is not a place of rest.
For those of you that haven’t yet made it to Queenstown, add it to the list! I think one of the reasons I’ve never bothered with New Zealand until now is that it’s so close to home that you sort of think to yourself, “how different can it be?”. Although it’s true Queenstown has most of the same stores as home, the same chain restaurants, Maccas, KFC and all that jazz, the scenery here is on another level. Massive green peaks surround a vast lake with Queenstown balanced perfectly on it’s edge. Most days see a thin whisp of cloud wrapped halfway up the peaks of the hills, or rising up over the lake, made even more picturesque by the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows of the trees in their autumn attire. It really is awe inspiring particularly coming from somewhere as flat as Melbourne.
I had enrolled myself in a three day advanced first aid course which was scheduled to start the day after I landed. Somehow, despite my best efforts to spend the remaining hours of each day resting up and overcoming my jet lag, I repeatedly found myself, drink in hand, at a bar. By the end of the weekend I felt more exhausted than I had when I initially got off my plane from Canada. But at least I had some great stories and new friends.
On the Tuesday when I was due to leave Queenstown, I woke up hungover and missed my morning bus to Wanaka. After rescheduling I finally made it onto the arvo bus. I soon arrived in Wanaka, checked into the deserted hostel and got started on all the fun stuff; updating my resume, bank accounts, tax numbers, blah blah blah (shoot me). Setting up in a new town is always a huge drag, and proved even harder than usual in Wanaka. Having wanted to arrive in time to get a head start over all the other seasonal workers that would flood into town in June, I had arrived mid May. Unfortunately Wanaka is a bit of a ghost town at this time and every venue I handed my resume into told me that they wouldn’t even be looking at resumes until mid June.
the first item I checked off my lists was a car. As there wasn’t much happening around town yet it was the perfect opportunity for me to grab a great deal on a car. Unfortunately for me, having only a limited supply of new friends in NZ, of which most were girls, and none boasted any car expertise, I was on my own as far as selecting the perfect ride. Luckily for me, boredom, lots of time, and a tight budget turned out to be the perfect recipe for a one week speed course on becoming a car expert. I managed to impress more than one car seller, and myself, with my detailed questions on service history, oil colour and cam belts, even managing to demonstrate to a guy in his late 20’s where the engine of his car was located (under the front passenger seat), and how to access it, as he was stumped. In the end I scored myself what I’m still convinced (and hope not to be proven otherwise) has been my best bargain buy so far! I invested $1,600 in a ’96 Holden Odyssey, negotiated down from $2,000. The Millage was at 210 but the cam belt had been changed at 205, there was a great service history and the transmission cables were still in excellent nick too (a common issue with this model vehicle). My new 7-seater soccer mum van also came equipped with some trendy home-made roof racks, a bike rack, and a custom made wooden bed frame that lays flat over the folded down back seats for my road-trip adventures come summertime. All in all, a productive and successful first week in Wanaka!
Things also picked up for my second week. I finally got myself a job, bartending at a trendy little hipster bar called lalaland, as well as the potential to work as a sports massage therapist two nights a week, and mobile on my own aside from that. I actually did get accepted for an on mountain position working in the cafe, but in the end decided that bar work would allow me more time for skiing and boarding, and of course to hang out with my wonderful friends and family visiting throughout the season! Lifestyle over luxury right?
Work is extremely slow at the moment and despite trying my hardest not to spend money(as i’m earning nothing to replace it), there’s really nothing else to do. On the plus side I’ve joined the gym again and have plenty of time to excerise. I have made some amazing new friends that all share my love for the outdoors, skiing, rock climbing, and even hitting the gym for some good old fashioned Les Mills classes.
Another unwelcome surprise in Wanaka was the real estate rentals market. In this town it seems that most houses are deserted for most of the year until peak seasons hit (summer for about three weeks over xmas and new years, or winter for one month through july). Over these periods landlords can charge upwards of $200 a night per room which means fewer properties are available to rent as seasonal properties. After being here for a month with countless unsuccessful applications I had almost given up hope on ever finding myself a home for the season. Until finally last week my luck changed. I am now living in a lovely retro-style house that reminds me of our beach house at home. It has a glorious log burner that has provided hours of entertainment already, and I even managed to win myself the master bedroom (yay for me!). I’ve got myself some wonderful housemates, a 26 year old english guy who’s also a skier (win), Justin, and a couple around my age that are yet to move in (not sure if they ski but Justin and I are confident in our powers of conversion if not).
Sadly the snow situation is still lacking over here as well. With two weeks until Cardrona is meant to open, and Treble Cone the week after that, I think it’s time to pull out the old snow dance. There’s been quite a bit of rain today already so hopefully it’s falling as snow up the hill and we’ve got a solid season on its way!
Well that’s enough typing for me today. I’m off for some birthday trampoline fun here in Queenstown!
Once again thinking of all my amazing friends and family back home and around the world. Thank you for all your messages, Facebook posts and Skype chats, I couldn’t ask for a more caring and perfect group of people in my life!
Lots of love,