Thursday, 26 February 2015

An Au Pair in Wellington

Three months have been and gone, non stop exploring, non stop excitement but also non stop spending! I decided to look for some temporary work and as Wellington is still on the to do list i thought it would be a nice place to be and explore for a short while and also a good place to perhaps find some work. 
I spoke to a girl in my room in the hostel and she was telling me she had applied to over 30 jobs and hadn't got anywhere.  This did not fill me with confidence!  I found that a lot of temporary jobs were listed on the Backpackers Board NZ which is a free noticeboard for jobs, cars, notices from people looking for travel buddies, that sort of thing. Anyway to cut a long story short, i found an advert for a job that was for an Au Pair for 6 weeks. It is an interim period before the child went to daycare and after the last Au Pair had left. 
So here i am. I look after a little boy named Archer who has just turned one.  I work Monday to Friday 7.30- 5. I live with a great family in a lovely house overlooking the harbour in a suburb of Wellington called Kandallah. I don't have to pay for food or board or anything for that matter except of course things i want to do in my own time. I help with the cooking and the clearing up and i look after my own room but that is all. Au Pairs are typically people looking for immersion in a different country/culture, usually to learn the language and they help out with the housework and childcare. For me, this was a perfect solution as i could save and earn as i am also getting paid (quite a good going rate for an Au Pair which is also great!). It is also very close to the city and within easy reach of many surrounding places to visit. I spend my days during the week with little Archer who is a delight to be around and i also get my evenings and weekends to do as i wish.  I have had to dig out my repertoire of nursery rhymes and get used to singing them over and over again, along with various first word books over and over again but so far i think i am doing OK! I have introduced Archer to Spot the dog books and eggybread! I am pretty lucky to have such a gorgeous boy to look after, he has accepted me quite well and greets me with a huge smile each morning (or maybe that's just because I'm making him breakfast!) He is also in the process of taking his first steps, learning to point and standing up to reach things he shouldn't! I am here until the end of March so look out for more posts about my time in a pretty cool city! 
This is a view from my bedroom, that's the airport runway in the middle there! 

Friday, 6 February 2015


Queenstown is an awesome town, named adventure captial of New Zealand. I have been in the winter and it is equally inviting in fact i would say maybe more so. It had a chaotic overrun with tourists feel about it whereas in the winter it is a lot quieter and you can still get the sunshine just without the mad busyness! However we weren't going to let that worry us. We Arrived mid afternoon and by 5pm a bungy jump was booked! Nevis Bungy is the biggest in New Zealand and the ... in the world. With it being peak season the accommodation can get expensive. We were able to find a campground just ten minutes out of the town centre for $10 each a night, it was basic with only toilets but hey who needs a shower! I wasn't doing the bungy but i went out to the suspended platform to watch and that was bad enough! Doing a bungy jump was always something i said i wasnt interested in doing and that it was the having to throw yourself off rather than being attached to someone like a skydive for example that i couldnt fathom. However after witnessing the Nevis i decided i wanted to to the Kawarau Bridge bungy which is only 43m high (Nevis is 134m high). I am not sure what came over me but i booked it and that was it, i was jumping within the hour!! It was terrifying. It took me a good 3 or 4 minutes to actually jump- i was squeezing the poor guy's hand so tight i think he was ready to push me off the edge! At the bridge bungy anyone can watch so i had an audience and ended up being encouraged and cheered on to jump! My error was i kept looking down, why i don't know that is the worst thing you can do! And then i heard 'smile for the camera' and i just went... head first into the river! A feeling like no other i think it should be on everyone's bucket list! So glad i did it. The video is funny and you get several photo's too, oh and a free t shirt! Would i do it again? Maybe!!

Whilst there we also took a trip up the Gondola and took in the epic view of the town and mountains, there is a Luge at the top too. We did partake in a little shopping- it is hard to resist and there are so many and great mix of shops! Fergburger was always a must- queues out the door and up the street! Another good reason to visit in winter!! Fergburger is a Queenstown thing and offers very very tasty and huge burgers! 
View from the top of the Gondola

Monday, 2 February 2015

A day kayaking at Abel Tasman, South Island

At the top of the South Island you have the coastal National Park, Abel Tasman. This is another place i have visited in the winter  and it is just as stunning especially if you are lucky and get the sun! Don't get me wrong though in the summer months it is absolutely awesome and you can see why it is renowned for its golden beaches and stunning coastal tracks.  
We booked a kayak trip for the day after arriving in Nelson, a town about 60 km's away which is a good base for the National Park. We stayed in a campsite in a little place called Ruby Bay which actually reminded me of Cornwall as many places have in New Zealand but this little place particularly!
The day started at 7.30am as we had a 40 minute drive to the kayak base on Kaiteriteri Beach. Beautiful sunny day and was looking forward to getting on the water. My first time kayaking since i was 11 years old and went on a school trip to France! 

Kaiteriteri Beach, 8am

We got to enjoy a half hour boat ride up through the National Park to our drop off point where we were to collect the kayaks.  
Once we'd had a brief lesson we were in the water. The bright green clear water was stunning and we headed to an island which fur seals inhabit. We saw so many and they came quite close! They actually have no predators in these waters so they are very relaxed and just swim around you. Our guide for the day was Paige and she was great. Chilled out and chatty but also informative and professional. I think we were lucky and had a good group of people and all kept together nicely and kept moving quite swiftly. We paddled around with the seals for about half an hour and even saw a few pups! We then carried on paddling down the park in the direction we had come from, after about another hour we stopped at Mosquito Bay which i can only describe as paradise! We were the only group there which we were told, was unusual so we lapped up the temporary luxury of being the only ones there and ate a tasty lunch of a baguette sandwich, caramel slice and coffee, tea or juice, which was provided. After lunch and a chat with our fellow kayakers we all went for a swim in the crystal clear waters. The final paddle was down to Anchorage Bay which took just under two hours, we ventured out slightly into the ocean but never too far away from park. We saw a few more seals and then reached the bay where we were to catch the boat back to Kaiteriteri. Fantastic day, thoroughly enjoyed every second. Definitely a must do and huge highlight of my trip!! More photos below but they were only taken with my phone. 

Mosquito Bay, lunch stop

Anchorage Bay