Movin on up, to…… The Mount

When you think of New Zealand you typically envision the rolling hills and expansive landscapes, and that’s exactly what my brother and I were looking for.  After three days in Auckland we hopped on a bus and headed for the mountains..  well one mountain in particular, Mount Maunganui.  After about a three and a half hour bus ride and armed with our backpacks we had finally arrived

.the mount

First thing we wanted to do was find a place to stay!  Hostels are great and they are cheap but we wanted something a little more long term as we had decided to stay in the Mount for a bit.  We were on a mission to find internet to both help in our search for employment and lodging.  We found our way into a little print shop that had a computer and internet available for a small fee.  The gentleman that owned this shop was extremely helpful, he gave us some leads on apartment rentals and also on some job opportunities in the area!  This is one thing I can’t stress enough, talk to locals, get as much information as you can from them, this will save you time and money in the long run!  The store owner steered us in the direction of Capri on Pilot Bay.  This was a self service apartment complex, that at peak time in the summer, would go for over $200 per night. Because it was off season for the tourism industry (what locals call winter) we were able to get a great weekly rate.  Check out the view we had from our balcony.  To the left was ocean, straight ahead was the Mount.Mt Maung Mt. Maung2

So day one in the Mount we accomplished 1 of our two goals, we secured long term lodging.  We moved in right away and set out to explore the beautiful mountain.  It has a circular track around the base of the Mount and a trail leading to the top.

We climbed trees

mt treeMt Chad

Herded some sheep.  (Funny story, before I left home to come to NZ, my coworkers asked me what I was going to do when I got there, I told them I was going to be a sheep herder.  So when we came across these furry guys I couldn’t resist the photo op).

.Mt sheepsheep

And we definitely enjoyed the view

Mt view Chad mt

What did we get up to in the Mount?  Did we find jobs?  Had I found my true calling as a sheep herder??

Stay tuned!

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First stop New Zealand

New Zealand wasn’t really my first trip out of Canada, but it was my most memorable and something that I will continue to talk about and cherish for as long as I’m here.  Back in 2010 I was in a rut.  I felt like I had so much more to offer and that there was so much more I should be doing with my life, but instead I was in a job that i hated and in a town that I loved, but wasn’t really giving me all that much.  I needed a change and I needed to be stimulated, lol, visually.  So, with nothing really to lose I decided Fuck it I’m going to New Zealand.  I’ve always wanted to go, my aunt had been there many, many, many years ago and had always talked about it, hobbits lived there, and there were no poisonous animals…  no skunks… no bears.. no snakes.. no predators…  Just green rolling hills, mountains, sheep. possums, wizards, Gandolph, Frodo, Hercules and Xena.  So with our knowledge of LOTR in hand and some little tidbits from my aunt who had been there 20 years ago my brother and myself packed our bags and headed to NZ for a year on a Working Holiday Visa.

We went under a program called SWAP http://www.swap.ca/out_eng/index.aspx and they were extremely helpful when we first got there.  We landed in Auckland and SWAP headquarters was right near our hostel (Auckland Central Backpackers) so we were able to use the internet, jobsearch, and meet the many helpful workers to help us get on the right track.  They had a vast knowledge of NZ and helped us figure out where we wanted to go.  Information is key and wastes a lot less time.

We were first time Hostelers and I gotta say not as scary as the movies make them out to be…  We only met like two or three ax murderers…  lol kidding, but hostels were a great, cheap way to meet new people and get helpful and useful information about things to do around the city, hot spots to go, cheap and great food places, and information on jobs.  Below is a pic of my first ever time in a hostel, not to shabby!

hostel

So with our information gathered from people we talked with, both at the hostel and swap we quickly realized we needed to get out of the city, and head elsewhere.  Sure Auckland was great,  however, with 1/3 of New Zealands population living there it was very congested and very busy, we wanted the hills and amazing landscapes.  We stayed long enough to get a picture of the Sky Tower then we headed out!

.Skytower

Hmmm….  where did we go???  What amazing adventures did we get up to???  Did we see Gandalph?  Stay tuned!