Wwoofing, Little Brown Kiwi and ice cream
The title of this entry does not reflect the amount of sun we have been having, although right now it is gorgeous in Wanaka. More that I've been enjoying doing lots of different things in the last few weeks as well as introducing the wonderful Mr Frank Turner to a few more people, which usually involves playing them this song (and in the case of the students on the Little Brown Kiwi trip hearing me sing it with the guitar round the camp fire!)
Since I last wrote I have been spending very little money - yay! This is because I have spent over 2 weeks wwoofing in Rangiora, just outside of Christchurch and a week being a temporary guide with Little Brown Kiwi. I quickly found myself feeling at home with the Parkers, who consist of Caroline, Murray, their daughter Nikki and her dog Loci. They have 20 horses as well as many other animals, grow and sell peony flowers and are on their way to building a new house on their land as well as having ordinary jobs. Definitely busy people! I was kept well occupied with a large amount of horse poo shovelling (you should see my muscles!) as well as helping to build a fence, gardening, cutting and selling the flowers, and a small amount of baking - purely for my hosts of course...
They really treated me as part of their family for the time I was there. Both by being taken out for a delicious greek meal to celebrate selling their house, to Murray constantly being rude to me (or me to him..) Once I mentioned cooking and baking, Nikki quickly offered to drive me to the supermarket to pick up anything I needed, so I enjoyed creating some of my favourite chocolate based recipes, as well as cooking for everyone. You really miss cooking when you can't do it properly for months on end.
Turns out I was quite useful, so they invited me to stay a little longer even though they had another wwoofer arriving. I kept staying longer and longer - finally leaving the day before my trip with LBK started. With a warm invitation to return anytime, Nikki drove us into Christchurch to drop me off/sample the awesome souvlaki from the greek food truck in the restart mall. We even managed to squeeze in some frozen yoghurt for dessert.
Road tripping with Loci
Finally bored of having to sit on my bag to close it, I decided to send my climbing stuff back to the UK as I hadn't used it much. With that done, I met up with Henry and Paddy from LBK fresh from their trip in Queenstown. They got me up to speed on the week we were going to spend with students from DBIS school in Hong Kong. The next 7 days was non stop from early morning (sometimes before 6), til midnight (usually with a beer, so not so bad). We had a great group of 35 kids from 13 - 16 who had a full on trip starting in Kaikoura with seal/dolphin swimming, whale watching and learning about the Maori culture, (and awesome Hokey Pokey!) then heading to the Abel Tasman National Park with a short stop for the bus to break down, as well as some paintball. Then an awesome 3 day expedition involving half the students hiking for two days, and a the others kayaking. Then a swap for the final day to get all the way home. We had some great weather, good humour, yummy food, lots of fun, and some crazy strong winds for the final section of kayaking which meant we really deserved the wine that evening..
Our group practicing our kayaking skills!
With the expedition over we still had two more days to cram in some extra fun. Awesome white water rafting and then to Hanmer for the obligatory soak in the hot springs before a final dinner and reflection on the trip. It was a little different being on the trip from the other side. Definitely longer days for starter, but different roles as well. I found myself using my 'teacher voice' a couple of times instead of being the relaxed one. The students were loads of fun, and it's quite nice getting to know a group from scratch and they all have lots of interesting questions for you. I very kindly had lots of hugs as they left as well as some invitations to go to Hong Kong.
After saying goodbye at the airport, the three of us went for a end of trip dinner - more yummy Indian food - before finally getting to go to bed without the prospect of being up at the crack of dawn. The next day Paddy and Henry were flying home but they kindly dropped me off in ChCh as I was going to stay one night before heading on.
Now I am in Wanaka, which is beautiful. I initially booked for three nights, but having no other plans I have ended up staying a week so far and am moving out of the hostel and into a wwoofing position tomorrow so I can stay longer. It's a great little town with the mountains and the lake dominating the landscape. I have already done several day walks and been climbing (stylishly I might add) and may yet end up skydiving.... you'll have to wait for the next entry!