Sunday, August 13, 2017

Woofing at Freestone Backpackers

It's only after I got to Freestone that I realised how comfortable, cosy and clean Poplar Lodge was. The owners don't seem to get along with each other and the place hasn't been up to scratch. It was quite dirty and untidy and they don't even have proper cleaning aids! (Kerstin told me Jimmy uses the dish washing liquid to clean everything.) It's remote here and I miss having other woofers around.

I lived in the bottom house on the right. Cleaning a village is tiring because I had to climb up and down the hill every time I forget to take a pillow case or plastic bag.

Kitchen and fridge space was insufficient in a 4 bedroom house that can sleep up to 8 guests

The uninviting lounge with mismatching pieces of furniture

Kerstin was so pleased with my housekeeping work that she gave me a thank you hug even before the end of my stay.

Old coin operated washing machine and dryer. There is a key hanging behind the washing machine that opens the money box so that I can slot in some coins to get the laundry going.

Hang laundry also can slip and fall T_T

The owner's house and individual huts are up on a hill and quite spaced out. The huts are pretty basic with no electricity - similar to DOC huts on the tracks.

I have a room to myself but can't enjoy surfing the net from the comfort of my bed. I have to climb up to the owner's house with my laptop and would hide under the deck to use their wifi.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hitchhike Queenstown to Lake Manapouri

Two and a half weeks flew past and it's time to leave Arrowtown. I carried a heavier load than from Christchurch to Arrowtown with the sun burning at me as I waited for my first ride. Waited 50 mins opposite Frankton Hub bus stop with no luck. Walked further down past the airport and waited by the road for an(other?) hour... Finally got a ride from Anaud and his parents from France! I had a seat to myself at the back and it was quite difficult to hold a conversation with them sitting in front. So I just sat through this 2 hour ride in silence, checking my GPS location on my ipod from time to time.

They dropped me off at Te Anau. A lady stopped right after I alighted. She thought their Jucy vehicle broke down and came to help. She had no intention of giving me a ride. I waited for awhile without success again...

Walked further down along SH95 and Syd stopped. He said he knew Jimmy & Kerstin (owners of the hostel I'm heading to) and offered to let me stay a night at his house if I can't make it to Manapouri tonight. He gave me a short ride (on his way home I think) and I continued to wait aimlessly for an hour or so... until Susan & Gilbert, retirees from France (FRANCEFπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡«πŸ‡·ROCKS) sent me all the way to my final destination:

Long and tiring day!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Arrowtown: Tobins Track

My last walk in Arrowtown was up Tobins Track which starts at the bottom of Ford St, just 7 mins walk from Poplar Lodge. I learnt of this track from Jeremy who told me it can easily be done in under 30 mins. He didn't say it was a continuous uphill climb though; gave my legs a little fright because I was expecting short=easy. At the top are two chairs donated by the Stevenson family placed in an awkward position and a trig station. Lovely views of Arrowtown to end my short stay in Otago.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Queenstown Hill Time Walk

Saving the best for the last on a sunny day. The Queenstown Hill Time Walk is one of my favourite day walks in NZ. It takes 3 hours return from town and there are clear signs guiding you to the start of the track at Belfast Terrace.

Information panels in the forest provide a brief history of Queenstown and its rise to fame as a popular tourist destination. A simple game of stone stacking can be found round a bend, breaking the monotony abit. From here it's another 15 mins to open grassland and the Basket of Dreams (an art sculpture). I watched a group of quad bikers crashed through a pool of muddy water.

Phenomenal views from the summit~~~ πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

"The Basket's spiral of steel follows you inward to reflect, to draw inspiration from the mountains, lake and from those who are with you; outward to dream for the future."

Someone climbed onto the Basket of Dreams for a photo made me wanna smack my forehead

Descending back to town on the very steep Ballarat Street

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Farewell at Queenstown Airport

It was my friend's last day here and I planned to catch her at the airport after work. The 12.25pm bus did not turn up, 1pm it still wasn't here! Desperate times call for desperate measures. I decided to hitch a ride to the airport and started drawing my "AIRPORT" sign. I always carried a marker pen and a few pieces of spare cardboard with me and they came in handy. It began to drizzle and no luck still. After around 10 mins of waiting, hope appeared!!! Gary was walking uphill to his car and offered to give me a ride. His car was messy and the passenger seat belt was not working. He's an electrician and doesn't want to go back to UK. He couldn't extend his stay because he did not provide proof of sufficient funds. I wished him good luck with his visa and rushed off, feeling so relieved I made it to the airport to see HT off as I have no idea when I'll see her again.

My dear friend, 
Good times always fly fast and it's time for you to head back home. 
Don't feel heavy hearted for too long for the end of a journey is the beginning of another. 
Thank you for visiting me. Your presence and company made me feel like I was somewhat "back home" for awhile. I hope you enjoyed your stay in this beautiful country and see you soon!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Arrowtown Chinese Settlement & Bush Creek Trail

On HT's second to last day in NZ, we visited the partially restored Arrowtown Chinese Settlement to read about the lives of the Chinese goldminers and the huts they live in. Visitors can try gold panning at the Dudley's Cottage or the Arrow River but neither of us were interested. If it's that easy to find gold, I believe any gold would have been gone by now. We finished in less than an hour and since the Bush Creek Trail is nearby, we went for a walk.

I didn't realise there were old pipes in the wall which were built by Chinese miners to divert water from one side to the other so that they can dig for gold on the dry side.

I was quite amused with the fact that they would rather get their feet wet than use the bridge.

I had no idea the trail had a few crossings that require us to take off our shoes in order to get to the other side.

Finally out of the bush with my pants still rolled up waiting for my legs to dry

The track disappears after this point and there were no signs at all. It didn't feel right to continue so we turned back. Years later when I read the track description and duration again, I seriously think we have reached the end of the track.

We must have crossed the creek at least 10 times now jeez

Last shopping in Queenstown - can't go back without Cookie Time!

With our Fergburgers and all our barang barang (bags) on the left LOL

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Wanaka: Mount Iron & Eely Point

I started hitching along Adamson Drive, sticking out my sign as I walked for about 10-15 mins before I got my first ride. Bernice is going to Wanaka to pick up some driftwood for next winter. She went via Cromwell and stopped along the way to drop some coins into an honesty box. She told me she had bought something the other day and didn't have money to pay for what she had bought so she came by specially to pay. Bernice has a Korean daughter-in-law and doesn't really like Korean food. She dropped me right at the start of Mount Iron track and offered to give me a ride back to Arrowtown in the afternoon around 3pm. She sounded worried about me and asked if I had a sun hat as it was very hot. I wanted to hang around Wanaka for awhile so I politely rejected her kind offer and thanked her for the ride. 

I crossed into private land to get an unobstructed view of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. It was absolutely stunning; so beautiful and comfortable in this pleasant weather that I hanged around for 2 hours at the top.

Made my way down, checked out the DOC visitor centre and grabbed a map from the i-site. Figured there was still enough time to go for another walk and decided on the easy Eely Point track along the lake.

Bought some groceries and bumped into HT outside New World. I waited for a long time in town and couldn't get any ride. A man gave me a very short ride (less than 5 mins) to an intersection that will stand me a better chance of getting a ride. Finally at 7pm a blue ute with the Queenstown Lakes District logo (years later I realised that was the name of the Council) stopped. Peter told me he was dropping his mates off and he had noticed me standing by the road when he passed by earlier and decided if I was still there he would stop. Bless him. He sent me all the way to Arrowtown via Crown Range. It was so hot I was burnt that day. The next day I fell sick and couldn't go anywhere when it was my off day, wasted!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cycle Arrowtown to Peregrine Wines via Gibbston River Trail

Another bike trip from Arrowtown to Gibbston Valley covering at least 34km for over 4 hours. A longer but easier ride than my previous one to Lake Hayes. This was along Centennial Ave getting ready to leave Arrowtown and approaching the start of 100km/h zone. 

I was lost for awhile at Morven Ferry Road and cycled into private property. There were warning signs on the ground with lightning symbols but didn't say what the danger was. At this point I still believed I was heading in the right direction so I kicked the leg stand down, lifted my bike across the 'danger' line, made sure it's standing on the ground while my body and feet were still on the other side of the line, then lifted my feet and crossed the line (hoping I won't get an electric shock >.<) and I was relieved nothing happened. I then realised I had reached a dead end and had to turn around and cross the 'danger' line again. (Smacks forehead!) Along the way I passed stags and alpacas who were equally curious as I was to see them.

I was getting bored of the same old scenery of lakes and melting snow mountains in Queenstown so it was a good change of views to river, valleys, bridges and vineyards.

Just before the bungy jump bridge, SH6 narrows round a bend and there is a separate track that goes around the hill for the safety of cyclists. I had to get down and push my bike up the hill.

Stopped briefly to watch a lady leap into the valley at Kawarau Bridge

An easy one hour ride (5km one way) from here to Peregrine Wines along the Gibbston River Trail


Peregrine Wines is owned by the McLachlan family. The design of the building's roof was inspired by the native falcon (karearea). This was the furthest I went and I decided it was time to make my way back.

Running late have to cycle across the bridge go go go

Last photo at Kawarau Bridge

I reached Romans Ln at 5.58pm, packed up in lightning speed, zoomed to the bus stop got there at 6.03 just in time for the 6.05 bus to meet HT in Queenstown for dinner.