Friday, February 25, 2011

South Across the Strait

Saturday Evening, 26th February, 2011
Napier, New Zealand

After two weeks in Napier and a lot of hard work, with our pocketbooks heavier it's time for the next adventure.We are saying a lot of goodbyes and are bound for another Workaway for 10 days, this time to a high country sheep station on the South Island to help with the autumn muster. Exciting and also a bit sad, it's true: after more than five months, we are leaving the North Island. We have booked ourselves and Lucy onto the 10:25 sailing of the Interislander on Monday morning, which will take us from Wellington across the Cook Strait to Picton, the gateway to the South Island. Through random good fortune on the tail end of a catastrophe, we will cross paths in Picton with my old friend Rose (we were summer camp counselors together, almost 8 years ago now), who works with McMurdo Base in Antarctica and was in Christchurch during the earthquake --thankfully she and her friends have managed to get out of the city in the last couple days and are now safely at the north end of the island. I'm so glad we'll get to see her there- we had hoped to meet up at some point, but didn't imagine it would be under these circumstances.

The North Island has been very good to us, and we've had so many magical times here that it's a bit weird to think about crossing over to the South side of New Zealand. Since arriving in September, we've done everything we set out to do on this island: we've surfed, farmed, hiked through unbelievable mountain passes, spelunked in breathtaking caves, and visted the northernmost point of the country, among many other adventures.

(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
 Taranaki waves and flax.

 Hiking in the ranges above Oakura in December.

 Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel.

 Mt. Ngaurahoe from the Tongariro Crossing.

Excepting a few remote areas, we've explored the entire coastline of the island, and by the time we drive down to Wellington from Napier we will have literally driven the whole perimeter, besides some pieces of the Coromandel Peninsula and the furthest reaches of the East Cape.This island has given us some unforgettable experiences and people and places we will remember forever, and has provided us with the glorious subtropical summer we came to this hemisphere in search of. Now we're headed to the land of glaciers, alpine ranges, wide high country prairies, sheep stations and beautiful autumns, and won't return to the North Island until we catch our flight home from Auckland.

 Ducklings in Opotiki.

 White Island in October.

 Surfing the Tasman.

Good times with Jessa in Taranaki.

After our Workaway in the hill country outside of Blenheim, we will be moving to Nelson, near the Marlborough Sounds, for the next month or two, where we have work from mid-March onward at the Kathmandu (outdoor retailer) store there. Back in November when we hired on with Kathmandu in New Plymouth to help with their shop move, we met the manager of the Nelson store, and native of Nelson, British Columbia, near my hometown. He told us then that he'd like to hire us to come work at his store for the Easter sale (Easter is in the fall here, which makes no sense...) if we were willing. True to his word, he contacted us a couple weeks ago and we will have 6 weeks or so of steady, non-back breaking employment in the town that is rated the sunniest place in New Zealand and one of the best places in the country to live. We will be able to explore the top of the island while working there, and then will tiki tour around the rest of the South when our work is finished. We do want to visit Christchurch and Canterbury, but it won't be for another couple of months, and we'll continue to evaluate what we want to do and have been thinking about trying to volunteer somehow for a week or two later on to help with the continuing recovery from the earthquake(s) there.

So here's to the North, now bring on the South!

1 comment:

Laurel said...

Give lots of hugs and love to Rose! And let me know if there is anything I can do regarding the tragic situation in Christchurch.