Saturday, August 29, 2015

3D3N Abel Tasman Coast Track

Arrived in Motueka jobless. Heck, let's go to Abel Tasman first and worry about job later. Motueka i-Site went through the track with us and helped us plan the walk according to the weather forecast. We didn't do the entire track; decided to cover more distance everyday to avoid the rain on Saturday, finishing off at Totaranui. It was our first multi-day tramp and being a complete noob with wrong gear and food, there will not be any unglam photos of me crossing low tides with my pants rolled up carrying tent in one hand, shoes and a loaf of bread in the other! T_T

Start of track - Marahau causeway

As we did the track in end April (after daylight saving ended), the day was shorter and everyday we were in a hurry to get to the next campsite before it gets dark. As a result, we couldn't do the optional side trips on Day 2 and also missed a few good lookouts along the way.

First tidal crossing ahead - Torrent Bay estuary can be crossed within 2 hours either side of low tide.

That's him in the background still taking off his boots keke

Looks like someone was here last night

Torrent Bay is not a main campsite it felt a little scary in the bush by ourselves until a pair came along.

Outfield cooking army style

It rained overnight and he was so pissed his boots and socks got wet. It was still raining when we left Torrent Bay, not a great start to Day 2...

Torrent Bay the next morning, completely covered in water after last night's rain.

Between Torrent Bay and Bark Bay, there is a 47m long suspension bridge over Falls River.

Kayaking to offshore islands to see fur seals is a popular activity worth trying in warmer months.

Tonga Island

Spread out our gear to dry in the sun while deciding a spot

Onetahuti campsite was so much better than our first night at Torrent Bay. There was a cooking shelter, picnic tables and even flush toilets with toilet paper!

Onetahuti Bay day vs night

Third and last day!

Not long after we started, we hit our second tidal crossing at Onetahuti.

"I just put on my boots now I gotta take them off again!"

It was a short distance to the other side, taking about 10-15mins.

There are a few privately owned luxury lodges in the Awaroa area. We even saw an airstrip from atop!

The last tidal crossing at Awaroa took at least 30 mins due to "difficult" terrain. I had this constant struggle between choosing to walk in jandals but get stuck in the mud with each step or walk barefoot on the shells and risk getting cut.

Awaroa tidal crossing

Watching kids carrying their own packs breezing through the tide makes me wonder what I have missed out in my younger days.

Some showers along the way and I prayed it would not get any heavier. The last 20 mins uphill to Totaranui was the toughest. Reached Totaranui at 5pm as expected.

Pitched tent and cooked dinner before it got too dark. It turned windy and fire was blowing around but he still managed to cook four packs of noodles in the mesh tin.

What we eat for breakfast and lunch - this is what a novice will bring. They are not easy to carry so don't follow.

I felt abit sick during the 2.5hrs bus ride from Totaranui to Motueka via Takaka. Slept most of the journey and checked in at our new hostel Laughing Kiwi. (Note the sign below reads free wifi and hot spa) Even though we were exhausted after camping for a few days, we decided to cook instead of eat out since there's nothing nice and affordable in town. Soo comfortable to be able to sleep on a bed again! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wellington to Motueka via Picton: Sailing with Bluebridge

The journey to South Island was mostly forgettable and quite depressing due to the rain. I spent most of the three hours ferry ride like this - hooked up on the free wifi trying desperately to look for our next job while he looked on and chided me for not enjoying the cruise and the views outside. I wanted to post this to remind myself how foolish I was (or still is). I was letting the typical Singaporean mindset overshadow my once in a lifetime sabbatical. I'm supposed to kick back and watch the world pass by, not worry about finding a job. Did that few hours of research lead me to anything? No. Effectively I have just wasted my time away on the laptop while crossing the Cook Strait. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adios North Island

Two months into our WH I have learnt there is no point planning too far ahead as things can change very fast. We didn't plan to leave Martinborough today until we were discussing about our plans this morning. It would be too rushed to catch the ferry on the same day to Picton so it's either we stay a night in Wellington or Picton. Decided to leave today just so we can hitch a ride from Jawl to Wellington. She caused us some inconvenience when she suddenly said she don't have time to pick us up in town as she's having drinks with friends in Featherston. !@#$%^&* Once again we had to be thick skin and beg people to give us a ride. Lucky the Czech boys agreed to take us and we were happy to pay for the petrol. Cleared our food, booked beds, ferry tickets and packed up. 匆匆地离开北岛...

Friday, April 19, 2013

End of Season Party

Last day of work ended at about 1.30pm. A party was organised that evening to celebrate the end of the grape picking season. Everyone came in their best dressed attire except us lol. The pathetic nibbles and drinks provided by stingy Jawl were not enough for about 30-40 people. I only managed to eat three sausages, one drumstick and chips. Some people were so hungry they had to eat plain bread. Plenty of booze in da house sponsored by the vineyards but useless for us who don't drink and can't appreciate alcohol. Cheers and goodbye to the people whom we had enjoyed working with as we move on from here in different directions - some return home while others continue their journey into the unknown...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thai Fun

The Thai girls have been really kind to us, offering to give us a ride to and from work and did not even ask us to share the cost of petrol. We spent much time together in the car and after work (we all live under one roof), picking up a few Thai phrases and teaching them some Chinese words. They would crack us up when they try to say "yi dian dian" (little bit), "wo xi huan ni" (I like you) or "shen jing bing" (crazy). Similarly, they would burst out laughing when I speak Thai for example I said I want to "fakbua" Pia gave me a puzzled look and I showed her the translation in my ipod she laughed and said that's wrong it should be "abnam", fakbua refers to shower head! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Grape Picking in Martinborough

Martinborough is part of the Classic Wine Trail, a 380km journey through the three major wine producing regions in New Zealand - Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Marlborough. The grape picking season in Martinborough started in late March and lasted for about a month. Our second job in New Zealand turned out to be loads of fun!

Walking around the wine village, we saw many vineyards had covered their grapes with nets to keep away birds from eating the fruit. This means that the grapes are almost ripe and ready for harvest.

Picking with the Thai seasonal workers

Mucking around before picking starts

Pia is always telling us to "liao liao!!!" which means hurry up in Thai

It's handy to wear a pair of rubber gloves during picking as the juice will get your hands wet and sticky. Extra protection too in case you snip your own fingers. (Not kidding, everyone's gloves had holes all over.) My cloth gloves always leave my hands soaking wet and cold, it gets quite unpleasant wearing them the whole day. So I was happy I could start off the day with dry gloves.

Similarly, working in gum boots will keep your feet dry and safe from accidents. The quad bike accidentally ran over the heel of my boot, lucky it was sturdy enough.



So thick where to start?

One man on each side of the line, cut those on your side, catch the bunch and drop it in the bin.

Fill up the bin and kick it along as you progress to the next bay where there will be an empty bin waiting to be filled again.

Smoko time! (not our food)


Listening to music not only increases speed and accuracy, it also distracts me from my sore back after bending and squatting for hours.

Instant relief is lying flat on a bed of nets

I finally know how the construction workers sitting at the back of the lorry feel. After a hard day's work, everyone hops onto the truck for a thrilling ride to the gate, eager to wash up, prepare meals and recharge for the next day. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday: 2013 Vintage Car Show at Solway Showgrounds

On Easter Sunday, we walked to Te Kairanga (also known as TK) Vineyard, about 22mins walk from where we stay. The Farmer's Market is held on the first Sunday of every month during the summer.

Along the way, we saw the longest rainbow we've ever seen.

Compared to other Farmer's Markets we've been to, this has more free tastings and better quality of food. Try a sandwich from the Greytown Butchery steam train or rosti from the stall next door. I bought five corns (50c each) and got a free zuccini!

We bumped into our friends at TK and tagged along to the Vintage Car Show at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton. Admission is $2 per adult or $5 for a family. Seven of us went in one car and the person standing at the gate thought we were one family and collected only $5 from us haha!

 The host gives a brief introduction of the vehicle while it parades around the showgrounds. I had little interest in vintage cars though...

Hehe secretly tried to get in for a photo but was found out by the owners moments later whops

The show was held in conjunction with the New Rags Market. There was a wide variety of stalls offering pretty crafts, vintage goodies and food (more free tastings!). It was our last chance to find a decent present here as we were heading to a birthday party in the evening.

Shared a $5 KFC meal for lunch. It has two piece chicken, a small burger, fries and a drink, quite value for money eh?

But the KFC meal was not enough for two person so we were thrilled to see plenty of food at the barbeque!

Yummy Tip Top French Vanilla ice-cream with home-made apple pie for desserts~

Happy Birthday to Frank! Thank you for inviting us. This was the best meal I had in Martinborough!