Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Helllllloooooo, Napier!

After swiftly escaping Wairoa, we drove off into the sunset. With Kate's stellar co-pilot skills, and her ability to navigate the Lonely Planet, she landed us at this sweet as hostel across from the beach in Napier, the sunniest place in the North Island. Welcome to the Waterfront Lodge!

Greeted by smiley Greek/Kiwi Manni and given a charming room we  With free coffee and internet AND a beautiful herb garden in the backyard! We instantly knew that this was more of a home than a hostel.
Going full throttle in the kitchen, we made haste to cook with our fresh cilantro, chili peppers, thyme, rosemary, and parsley yum yums!
The highlight of the garden is the massive mint bushes that provide homes for our fellow praying mantises-friends!
Welcome to our local beach! Ocean Beach! Just a short drive away, we find ourselves making beach-days a habit! Joined by our Waterfront family, we have spent a lot of time playing football, frisbee, swimming, and putting on HEAPS of sunscreen in our beautiful new home!
Drinking in public is illegal, but having massive bonfires on the beach is encouraged as driftwood is washed-up frequently.

With the abundance of wood across the street, beer drinking and pyromania are inevitable!
Great success!

As the sun went down, we roasted hot dogs, corn, and of course, s'mores on the fire. S'mores are officially the new biggest thing to hit Scotland, the UK, Germany, Wales, Canada, France, Ireland, and not to mention New Zealand!  They were a huge hit to say the least. Our Scottish friend has developed quite an addiction.
After dinner, we listened to the sounds of the communal guitar played by our German friend, Till. This photo was taken by the lodge manager, Manni, and is now hanging in the kitchen!
Up next: our Lake Waikaremoana Trek!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Auckland to Mt Manganui to Rotorua to Te Urewera to Napier!

Wasting no time, we picked up our hot rod, a 1996 Volvo 440 (of course) - named her Shelley, and got on the road to head to Rotorua for the Raggamuffin Reggae Music Festival!  We decided to camp on the beach the night before, and Mt. Manganui was an easy stop off for us.

Naturally we gravitated towards the beach, but as the tide was seemingly unpredictable, we headed for higher ground, and found a nice grassy nook!

We brought along our new friend, Allie from Cali, whom we met at our IEP orientation! The three of us ladies enjoyed a lovely meal of brie, bread, cambozola and a bottle of wine while the waves crashed below us and the sun set behind us.

PS - Thanks Larry and Anna for the tripod! Def comes in handy for family photos :)

The next morning we rose with the sun and got an early start. Like 5:30am start. Knowing we had a big day of driving and music ahead of us, we loaded up on coffee and made our way to Rotorua!

 The lineup for the Raggamuffin Music Festival was packed with really great artists and bands, we heard about it through Kate's kiwi friend, Kylie before we left - we met up with her at the show which was really awesome! They reunited after 4 years. pretty incredible....
                                                                                                                                    We were lucky with the weather, except for the missing o-zone, and the sun was quite strong to say the least. Don't worry Kathy and Gail, we were putting on sunscreen all day, and no sunburns!  We really enjoyed the kiwi bands like Katchafire and Sola Rosa, Lauryn Hill was ah-mazing, and Shaggy sucked.  Big Time.

So after a long, hot, FUN day, we retired to a local Holiday park for the night. The next morning, we parted ways with Miss Allie from Cali, who had to head back up to Auckland...hopefully not for long! 

We looked at a map for the best route to Napier, and decided to drive through Te Urewera National Park! The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.
It was a beautiful day, and our car Shelley did an excellent job on the rocky roads....Especially when we were had an accidental detour...We passed by a sign that said "KEEP LEFT" Pam took this a bit too literally, and turned off to a side road that followed shortly thereafter.

It didn't matter though. Aside from the brambles sideswiping Kate through the window, the giant rocks we had to drive over, and the creepy strange signs entirely in Maori, it was the prettiest detour either of us had ever taken.
This is when we decided to turn around. (1.5 hrs later)                                             
While driving through the park, we made friends with lots of bunnies and horsies! Pam even got one to come over to the car! Exciting! Hello, Friend!

Once we made our way back to the main road......a little while later....we finally came upon Lake Waikaremoana! PRETTY! 

We also saw a pretty waterfall on the side of the road, just exiting the park!  Another photo-op :)
And onwards to Napier! We were planning on spending the night in Wairoa, but after reading the Lonely Planet guide's description, we decided to push on through to Napier, watching the beautiful sunset along the way...

We picked a random backpackers on the water just for the night....and haven't left yet...that was one week ago, so stay tuned for pictures of our new home!

love love love, us

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some Sweet As Pics, Bro!

Fortunately, we had an extra seat for Shakira on the plane. She gets really nervous.

Just finishing up the final touches on our future home. Kokomo. Should be ready in March.

In the Auckland Domain. Naturally taking a stroll down Lover's Lane.

Kate and Pam, sittin in a tree.....(after Lover's Lane)

'Twas a beautiful afternoon....

Carnivorous Pitcher Plants!

Orchids...this place was totally magical.

And then we found ourselves....

Thats all for now! Picking up our car today, then headed to Rotorua for the Ragamuffin music festival! Then its off to Napier for the fruit harvest!!!!!
much love!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kia Ora, Auckland!

So we have finally arrived here in Auckland! YAY! We landed at about 6:30 am on Tuesday to blue skies and 80 degree weather after what seemed like an eternity of travel...fortunately we slept most of the way from LA so we were ready to roll!

We checked in to the hostel and spent the morning down by the Viaduct drooling over yachts, had a yummy lunch (breakfast?) down by the water. We spent the rest of the day strolling in the botanical gardens, climbing trees, taking pictures and making friends! We met a kiwi named Allan who shared some kiwi refreshments with us in the shade...it was a lovely meeting until he propositioned us...the conversation died pretty quickly and we moved along to check out the greenhouses.

Yesterday we had our orientation at the IEP office - they TOTALLY hooked us up - giving us information on everything, and helping us set up bank accounts, tax numbers, etc. They also had some good tips on where we should look for work. They let us know that Queenstown was pretty expensive, and most of the people who work there spend more than they make...you can't really blame them... We also found out that peak FRUIT HARVESTING kicks off in February out in the Hawke's Bay region, which is the sunniest place in the entire country!

So as of now we are on a mission to buy a car, get out of Aukland, and go pick some fruit!
We will get some pictures up soon!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hello, Blog!

So this is the lovely blog that we have created in order for you all to follow us on our journey down undah - we PROMISE to keep this little guy hoppin with photos, videos, updates on our whereabouts, and best of all, stories! By this time next week, we will be time traveling over the Pacific, landing in Aukland on Tuesday the 19th.
See you all on the other side of the world!