SLIDER

a Relaxed New Zealand North Island Road trip

Monday, 10 December 2018

Like most people, Jonny hadn't really seen much of his own country and having spent 5 months there myself, I was a terrible traveller and had seen even less. With plans set to leave for Oz, we thought we should probably have a look around New Zealand before we left and decided to turn the standard one hour flight from Auckland to Wellington into a little bit of an adventure instead. 

New Zealand is world renowned for its incredible landscapes and adventurous hikes, one thing I didn't know New Zealand for; was it's weather! Having checked online before we left, I found out that we should be expecting everything from sunshine to torrential rain and even some snow which we saw when we got to the road by Mount Ruapehu. 

With this Kwik fit campaign on stopping distances fresh in my mind, I had Jonny get the car checked over before we left. Stopping distance for an emergency break in snow in 10X longer than on dry terrain and with all the different weather we had on the horizon, it was super important that everything was working properly. 



I am also not one for exerting too much energy, especially whilst I am on holiday. So, with just under a week to spare before we set off for Sydney, we took a leisurely drive down the North island. 

Auckland 

We actually left on a Friday night after work but having seen an incredible waterfall the week before, I thought it was definitely worth mentioning. Half an hours drive from where we lived or 50 minutes from the city, KareKare falls was a perfect little light afternoon adventure. Park up the car and take a 3 minute, signposted walk through the forest. We arrived in the late afternoon to a totally empty waterfall. It was incredible. 

Hamilton

We arrived in Hamilton in the late evening and left first thing in the morning but it wasn't a problem because there isn't all that much to do there. We would have skipped the destination altogether but Jonnys cousins live there so we went to visit them. We hit up the casino in town and then grabbed some food before heading to bed; so that was all we saw of the area. If we had a bit more time in the morning, I would have liked to eat a Nourish POD and visit the botanical garden.

Waitomo 

Having booked a tour that we were both very excited about, we left Hamilton at 9.45am and arrived just over an hour later. Waitomo is famous for its glow worm caves and whilst there is the option of rafting or caving through them, we booked a much more relaxed walking, guided tour that ended with a boat ride through the caves. Our guide was a local man who told us all sorts of magical stories about the caves past and how the glow worms came to be there. The boat ride was short but incredible - it felt like a real life Disney ride.

Rotorua

After the caves we headed straight to Rotorua. We spent a fun filled afternoon at Skyline; grabbing gondolas and chair lifts to the top of mountains and ziplining and luge-ing down them. It was super busy but very well run so the few hours we spent there was full of activity and there was hardly any waiting around.

Afterwards, we headed into town for japanese food and spent the rest of the night back at Aria's Farm - our accomodation for the night. With a clear sky and the moon so big from the recent eclipse, they suggested we do some star gazing from their hot tub, so that's exactly what we did! A truly magical day in New Zealand. 

Before we left Rotorua in the morning, we took a dip at the famous hot pools at the Polynesian spa.

Taupo

An hours drive later, we arrived in Taupo; another place full of natural phenomenons. We stayed here for two nights, although it was doable in less. Having tried a farmstay in Rotorua, here we experienced Boulevard Waters, a boutique motel right on the lake and The Lake Motel, a retro themed studio flat.

Over the two days, we hit up Huka Falls, the Craters of the moon and the Watakeri terraces as well as I'm sure you've guessed, lots of eating. With your own transport, it's very easy to park up at each one and take a leisurely walk around. It's also worth mentioning that all three of these attractions happened to be on the same road. 

Wellington

Wellington is the capital and one of my favourite parts of the country because it's full of life and also full of quirky cafes. Jonny is originally from Wellington so apart from spending lots of time with his family before we left, we spent most of our time wandering around town trying to pick where we wanted to eat.

There are lots of other things to do there though including driving up to the top of Mount Victoria for panoramic views, visiting the Te Papa museum to see the giant squid, walking along the bays and if you're a LOTR fan (which I am not) the Weta studios are supposed to be very good.
From Wellington, you can hop on a ferry and sail across the Cook Strait to Picton on the south island.

This little trip really made me appreciate the beauty of the country which I definitely didn't see enough of by staying in Auckland! Had we had more time before we left the country, I would have loved to see some of the south island as well.

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WORKING HOLIDAY: How I'm making money in Australia

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Whilst my last few weeks have been very relaxing (if you follow me on twitter, you'll have seen that I gave up working so I could spend my time having fun and persuing the best smoothie bowls in the area lol), I spent my first few months in Surfers Paradise working pretty hard. At first, it was a struggle but after a while, I had the perfect amount of hours at each place; I was working at odd hours of the day but I liked it and it kept my week exciting.

For anyone considering a less typical working holiday in Oz, at the beach rather than one of the big cities, heres what I've been up to!

The Beach Hut

When I decided that I was going to go and work in Australia for a year, I envisioned myself at a cute little vegan cafe on the beach and this job is the closest I got to that. I worked two or three shifts a week at a stand selling fresh cinnamon donuts, hot dogs and snow cones right on the edge of the beach. The job itseslf was pretty fun, they paid me cash at the end of each shift and I got to eat and drink whatever I wanted whilst I was there.

4 - 15 hours

SEO Content Writing

I couldn't believe it when I found myself a job here in SEO. Surfers Paradise is a holiday destination so I just resided to the fact that I wasnt going to find a 'proper' job whilst I was travelling but low and behold, I spent a few monnths writing about stag do's and hen parties, on a mac, in a real office.

5-10 hours

Freelance Writing

I wrote about 20 pieces of content each week for a company in London and it was honestly the dream travel job. I used to do most of it when I was at home alone in the evenings; but if I fancied, it was super easy to take the laptop to a cafe and spend the afternoon there. I got paid in pounds for this one which was great because that goes twice as far in Oz

15 hours

Blogging

If we look at money made per piece, blogging is my biggest income but it is definitely not my most steady so as usual, any blogging money is a nice extra, the same way it was when I was at home. Usually this is through sponsored posts on this blog!

Various

Uber Eats

Uber is such an enjoyable job, I'm not sure I'd even call it that. I make between $6-$9 per delivery so it's not the best money but I don't actually look at it as work, it's a hobby that pays. I can spend anywhere from 2-40 hours a week Ubering so income is different every time.

Since Jonny works the night shift at the supermarket, I do most of my deliveries after midnight.
I actually find this the best time to Uber for a few reasons. It's too hot to cycle during the day plus theres usually a 1.2 boost on after midnight. But the best reason for late night deliveries is because that's when drunk people order Uber Eats and if they fall asleep and don't answer their phone, then we get to keep the food! We got over $100 worth of food jut last night!

10-40 hours per week

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