Hey folks, it’s been a loooong time yet again. I know you’ll have been checking it out daily (ahem) but there’s just not been enough hours in the day.
We arrived again in Wanaka just over 3 weeks ago and have been taking part in a ‘HelpX’ scheme working for food and accommodation. It’s a superb place – luxury lodge, one of the top 4 or 5 in Wanaka (but that’s quite a wide price bracket), but definitely unique in town, maybe even in New Zealand. The lodge is built in an all wood alpine chalet style, a full on eco and bio friendly house with indoor chemical free pool, outdoor spa, fruit and veg garden, and what must be some of the best views in Wanaka from the lounge and Sky level.
Anway, what have we been up to? Well the hours have been way longer than we expected as we’ve been doing housekeeping, but also helping out with marketing and IT work. I’ve been trying to get online booking up and running for them, an in-house property management system, and getting the data out to various websites for booking. Ciara’s been trying her hardest to formulate some kind of marketing plan for them. I’ve spent the bulk of the last week comparing a couple of systems and we’ve just confirmed which one we’re doing, so it’s full steam ahead…or maybe a little simmer, as that’s about the pace it seems to happen here It has sometimes felt like we’ve not sat down until after 10/11pm as we usually end up doing the dinner as well, which is never just a straightforward stir fry.
It’s been a bit of a battle with our time – we’ve been a bit too soft and it’s felt like our life revolves around the place sometimes and we hardly escape, but it is a very interesting project for us both…..if a little frustrating at the lack of progress sometimes, but hey this isn’t the place to write about that. It often appears hard to escape the building….there’s always stuff to do, we’re probably too soft at sticking with times to go as we have got too stuck in the ‘project’ for our own good. We’re sure we can make a big difference, but there are too many distractions taking our focus away from what needs to be done, and we’re not really getting a decent reward for the amount of care and the endless talks we have about the place.
The host is amazingly generous with us though and we’ve probably been eating the best we’ve ever eaten in our lives! Fresh fruit and veg, salads, venison steaks and mince, organic produce, and the best muesli and home made yoghurt ever. The hardest thing is trying to balance the housekeeping side of things, and trying to make a difference with the business building stuff which we feel we can make a huge impact with. We’ve had some very interesting chats with him, visited some of his friends, and taken him out climbing. It could prove expensive for us in the long run though as we’re starting to appreciate expensive cuts of meat and fine wines (he’s a winemaker by profession).
The downside about this is that although we’ve been out climbing a few times, we’ve not done as much as we’d like locally, and not had many opportunities to try and network. The realities of getting suitable jobs for our visa is unlikely in Wanaka, and it would truly gut us to have to leave this place. Wanaka’s slogan is “Life the way it should be”…..and it’s hard to argue with that. You’re away from the madness of Queenstown (although only an hour away) but you have many similar activities to do, and with less commercial pressure. There are more local, quality climbing crags here than anywhere in New Zealand, we can swim at a pebbly beach 200m from the door, run/walk/bike on lake and riverside trails from the door, mountain bike from the door to the trails in the forest up the road, fish just down the road, and loads more. We can see the local ski hill (Treble Cone) from the window, and there are 2 other ski fields just along the road, and we’re on the edge of the Mt Aspiring National Park. We’ve even managed to get out on some borrowed inflatable stand up paddle boards on the lake which has been great. I actually won a board like this just after we left Wellington, but we can’t get it in the van. As we’re basing ourselves here for a while I may get it sent to me if possible though.
We’ve only had one night out on the town since arriving this time which was with a couple of American’s we met in Queenstown who came back to Wanaka. We’ve went to the cinema once since we started to get some space, and that’s about it!
You can probably tell though. We. Love. Wanaka. And we don’t want to leave.
(especially just before the winter season which is 3 months away….arg, I had to miss out on early bird season passes last week).
We are going to be here for at least another three weeks, hopefully longer. There’s been mention of a couple of things in the offing, but I doubt they are going to materialise. I’m waiting to hear about another local job application, but there seems to be a flood of Christchurch people applying for jobs around the South Island so it’s been a very popular job and it’s an extremely rare opportunity.
The weather has been superb this week, but it’s been frustrating sitting in the lodge, watching the morning clouds burn off leaving stunning days, whilst we stay in busting a gut doing professional stuff for little reward, but hey ho, it’s a great place to be around. We are staying in what we now call ‘the dungeon’ – its a small self contained apartment style but it’s so dark it’s been a chore getting up for the early morning exercise we keep promising. The most active it’s been before I’m online and working has been a stroll to the beach with a coffee in hand about 8.30am. I have been swimming daily this week just before the sun goes down, after the water has had a chance to warm up in the lake.
That was a usual waffle after a few weeks so I’ll leave it there for now. We have our case office for our residency application, but we have to get relevant jobs for it to progress….. we’ll have to see what happens over the next few weeks.
Hope everyone is well.