When I was in New Zealand I freedom camped my way around the whole country, determined not to spend a penny on accommodation. There was the odd occasion where I chose to stay at a low cost campsite, but overall, I must have saved hundreds of dollars. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again. All the ski fields around New Zealand have opened up their online applications and people are frantically applying for that all important mountain position that will give them the chance to spend winter as a glorified ski bum. And why wouldn’t you? Free ski pass, free ski leasons, cheap seasonal rental, 50% off every other ski field in New Zealand, it makes a very expensive sport suddenly become very affordable. But the problem, like I said, is that everyone is applying. You’ve got backpackers, local Kiwis, people who are currently skiing in Europe or Canada and do back to back seasons, literally thousands of people. And don’t forget about all the returning staff. At Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka they usually have as much as 70% returning staff each year, not leaving too many new positions.
I spent two winter seasons snowboarding in New Zealand and was lucky to get a job at Cardrona. The first season I applied it was a bit of a stressful process but I managed to get my foot in the door as a cleaner. Then when I returned for a second season I was guaranteed a job and able to work as a lift operator. Here’s what I learnt from the process: Continue reading
A few weeks ago Chris and I had just finished our second season working at Cardrona Alpine Resort. After being in the the same place for over three months we were both pretty eager to get back into the car and do some travelling again. Also the thought of being unemployed for a while was very appealing.
Our first stop was the Wildside Backpackers in Hari Hari on the South Island’s West Coast. We weren’t going there as guests, but instead as WWOOFERS. This would be our first WWOOFing experience.
We arrived at the Wildside to be greeted by Dan, a friendly guy sporting a long beard and mullet. He directed us past his house and into his work shed instead. It’s hard to imagine what this place is like. It was full of all kinds of tools, machinery, wood work, metal work, three motorbikes, a pool table and a large newly varnished table. Dan cracked open a few beers and started talking, pointing out his various projects around the room, along with the table he’d made that was going to sell for $2,000. “She’s a good life,” he’d keep saying, “she’s a hard life but a good life.” Continue reading
When you’re travelling around a country such as New Zealand it’s easy to feel like you’re following the same tourist trail as everyone else. As you drive along the roads reading through your Lonely Planet Guide Book there’s countless signs pointing to waterfalls, viewpoints, historical sites etc etc. And if you take the time to stop and check these things out, you’ll usually find you’re just one of many trigger happy tourists snapping away on your camera.
Usually the best experiences you can have are the ones that get you off the beaten track and spending time with the locals. With this in mind I decided to sign up with WWOOF NZ. The organisation stands for ‘Willing Workers on Organic Farms’ and gives volunteers the chance to stay with Kiwi families and experience their way of life. The types of hosts you can stay with are vast from large organic farms, to small family gardens, to vineyards. And it’s not always strictly organic, there’s also a section for Cultural Exchange hosts meaning you can find all kinds of weird and wonderful hosts in the WWOOF database. Continue reading