wanaka and queenstown

I don’t have much Internet access anymore so I decided to write out my blog post while at work to save time. This doesn’t help when you forget the paper at home when you come to the library… will have to write again!

I didn’t mean to put in so many pictures of me but it seems like every picture that I took of Lauren is blurry or he is blinking. Ah well. Rose-splosion. (Liz if you are reading this, you will also notice I am wearing your Guelph sweatshirt in almost every photo. If I am not wearing it… it was in my bag.)

Lauren and I went on a week and a half trip to Wanaka & Queenstown and it was awesome! The weather was looking a bit marginal (rain every day) but it only rained twice and the weather was nice and warm (though windy).

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We climbed 4 days, a mix of new places and places I went in the summer. It was great meeting up with Glen and other friends again as well. When I worked at the hostel in Wanaka everyone always talked about the Rob Roy (beside the) Glacier Walk as a must-do, but I could never figure out how to get a ride down to it. So we decided to try again, twice but again was not successful! The first time the road was flooded and we didn’t want to break the van. The second time we got farther but there was a ford that looked pretty large.. and we didn’t want to break the van. Maybe I will try again but I think it’s a sign…

So we went on a valley walk instead…

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Look! New boots!
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One day we also did a ridge walk up to Mt Dingle Corner Peak an unmarked mountain but because I am lazy I got too tired to make it to anything named. It was still good though with great views! I’m still not sure if hiking/tramping is my thing.

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Rainy days were the perfect times to go swimming, watch movies, read books, eat out and try all the craft beers. We watched a documentary called Antartica: A Year on Ice which I highly recommend! It makes me want to live in Antartica (the average person that lives there is an average shmo like me!). But then I realized I could also just go to Northern Canada to experience similar eternal light/dark. This might be a bit more cost effective. I would be interested in that! I also got to finally try a Fergburger (not the best burger I have ever had, but maybe the best one in NZ) and I also highly recommend the aquatic centre in Queenstown (it has a lazy river, a spa pool, water guns, water sprays, 2 slides (that weren’t on, tear) and much more).

IMG_0727Oamaru also has an awesome playground.

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We also realized that we were there for the World Championship Jet Boat Race! There were teams from Canada there. The boats were SO FAST and really fun to watch. They were racing from Wanaka to Cromwell. Such a random thing to bump into.

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It worked out perfectly that on the way home from Queenstown I got a call from one of the temp agencies in Christchurch and they said they needed someone for a receptionist job for three days this past week and 4 days this week (it’s a long weekend). I am currently working at a door warehouse and my job entails bringing paper ten steps over from the printer to the other lady and answering the phone when she is not there or on the phone. I am not really sure why they are employing me as I read 1 book a day.

Oh yeah! We went to Castle Hill the day before we left as well with a bunch of friends:

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Terra's photo

Terra’s photo

And here’s a photo from the Boulder Bash:

Petr Polák - Piti

Petr Polák – Piti

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hello hello hello echo echo echo

It’s been an eventful past two weeks (both good and bad). I have lots of pictures and stories to share and will hopefully have time to do so soon. Work is wrapping up with only 3 days left. I hope that I can find a few more short placements – I have lots of travel/volunteering I want to do but not sure if I (responsibly) have the funds. I’ve been lining things up more for when I get back in Canada – jobs, possible flatmates, courses, funds, etc. My current plan is to apply to be a Stats 101 TA and a casual belayer at one of the Vancouver climbing gyms. We’ll see if either of those happen! The climbing job would be great because I could work a lot during December (one of their busy seasons) and I could be free ALL THE TIME during December. You also get free/discounted climbing as a perk! (BIG PERK BIG PERK) I’ll be going on a trip to Wanaka leaving sometime in the next two weeks which will be awesome! More soon.

the rest of wanaka

I spent a lot of time in Wanaka and had a GREAT time in Wanaka. I feel like it needs one more post – possibly a clean-up post. After I led that 19 and did tons of happy dances, I had still four days of free stay at the hostel. I was getting quite a reputation for saying I was leaving the next day but then not leaving. I really liked Wanaka!!

I worked one day at a berry job, but it (as I mentioned before) really sucked. The bushes were maybe 1/4 of the size of the other farm I worked at, and they were all moldy. I really am not sure why we were picking them because they were even too moldy for jam or juice. Even though they paid twice as much per kg, you still made less money.

I met a great group of people from France/Germany and spent a couple nights with them at the closest bar (they recognized me! I am a local! hehe)

I worked at a 5-star hotel (second best hotel in the South Island) for a weekend doing housekeeping. On the first day they said I was really good at making the beds, which I was surprised about. It wasn’t really my jam though.

In my last four days of Wanaka, I jammed in some indoor climbing, two more 19s, a hike up the hill in town (Mt Iron), watched Challenge Wanaka (a triathlon where the athletes do a billion km swimming, a bajillion km biking and then a marathon), got my hair cut by the other girl who worked at the hostel and happily wobbled up a route called “Happy Fat Man” (my favourite kind of climbing, technical and small holds). I was getting quite itchy to leave, decided it would be a good idea to lay off my twisted ankle for a bit (of course from walking back from the crag, not actually from climbing), and decided I did enough flailing falls for Wanaka’s eyes, and found a fellow Canadian traveller, so decided to head South the following day.

Here are some various pictures:

There was one spot where you can see about 10 crags in Wanaka.. it was my favourite place to be. Here is about 5 of them. Pia's picture

There was one spot where you can see about 10 crags in Wanaka.. it was my favourite place to be. Here is about 5 of them. Pia’s picture

climbing on the "Tombstone". Pia's photo

climbing on the “Tombstone”. Pia’s photo

climbing at Riverside. Pia's photo

climbing at Riverside. Pia’s photo

climbing at Bakehouse. Lance's photo

climbing at Bakehouse. Lance’s photo

walking the walk to Diamond Lake. Lance's photo

walking the walk to Diamond Lake. Lance’s photo

Einstein!!

Einstein!! (from the side, see picture below)

best craft project ever. i want to make this

best craft project ever. i want to make this

view from hostel

view from hostel

view from Mt Iron of Lake Wanaka

view from Mt Iron of Lake Wanaka

view from Mt Iron

view from Mt Iron

me on Mt Iron

me on Mt Iron

Wanaka was an amazing place… I think top of my list of the entire South Island. I reeeeally liked it there.

climbing progress!

I have been welcomed into Wanaka with wide open arms. It is quite possible that I don’t leave for a while. Problem? Definitely not.

After I blogged up a storm last week, I walked over to the local climbing gym to put up a ‘climb with me’ sign and I chatted up the girl (Sarah) who worked there. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to text her up if I wanted to climb. Cool, thanks! She told me to come climbing at the gym the next day and I met a ton of local climbers.

I ended up working at the hostel two days cleaning in the morning and two full days on reception. I get 9 nights of free stay total, so that is pretty cool. There were a lot of cool people that were coming through the hostel around that time, so that was good. My roommate (Robyn) is a laugh and a half, haha.

I went to Puzzling World on Thursday with two German girls. It was alright. We sucked at the maze.

On Friday while I was working I met a guy from the UK (Lance) that was passing through the hostel and he had no plans so we decided to go climb. We ended up meeting up with two local climbers, Glen and Jane, from the gym and it was a great day!

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Today I went climbing with Glen again. He is a bit of a local climbing celebrity because he’s set ~150 routes out of 800-900 here. He is very, very knowledgeable and a good climber. He’s been really helping me with my climbing and teaching me to relax and breathe more. No more scurrying up routes. On Friday, I led a 17 route confidently on my first try and today I led an 18 route confidently having top roped it last week. This is some real progress! When I was climbing in Paynes Ford with Brendan, by the end I was leading 15s and 16s (by accident, I am bad at reading guidebooks). I think my break from climbing in Fiji has really helped with my lead climbing confidence, I am not as nervous anymore. I can feel myself getting stronger every day too. I don’t do big long days like I did in Squamish because I am climbing so often and I am worried about tiring myself out.

I really like the rock here (schist). It’s not quite as reliable as granite, and is a bit gross in some areas but it’s quite funky! I find that there are ALWAYS places to put your feet.

I’m hoping to climb again tomorrow, probably with Glen and maybe some others. That’s about all I have planned so far, which I really like.

I have been eating quite vegetarian-ly for the past while because I am always on the move/meat is quite expensive here. Lots of chickpea curry, black bean dishes and eggs. TONS of kiwis (more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana!) and Braeburn apples (crunchy and sweet, yum!). Kat reminded me that I since I am doing so much muscle build/repair I should eat more meat, so tonight I am making a skillet lamb enchilada pasta. YUM

wanaka

After a day at Castle Hill, we drove down south to Wanaka with a stop at Lake Tekapo and a stop to see Mt Cook (highest peak in NZ). We spent two days climbing in Wanaka on some really cool metamorphic rock. It is schist and is very sparkly and shiny! It is totally different than any other climbing that I’ve done. I really liked it.

I feel up to snuff with my climbing again, after this past month. I am a lot more confident lead climbing now and feel my technique and strength has improved. It’s great! I don’t want to lose it again.

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And now I think I am up to date.. Craig and Pia have left to go tramping (insert eight hundred sad faces here) so I checked myself into a backpacker in Wanaka. I’m working for a couple of days on reception for a week of free accommodation. I am hoping to get some more climbing in.. the rock here is unlike anything I’ve climbed before and a lot of it is in my climbing grade. I wanted to stay here for a while so it was nice that the backpacker was looking for a person to stay.. not as nice as a real  job but saves some money for sure.