Category Archives: New Zealand

Abel Tasman Coastal Track, or : horrid soup, corned beef, and cold ravioli in paradise

After Picton, the intercity bus took us to our next destination: Nelson. I kept getting muddled between the two because they both sound like surnames.

We’d booked two beds in a dorm room (my favourite!) as things over here are starting to get really jam-packed over the post-Christmas period. This means that I’ve got a billion nights camping and dorm rooming before we leave NZ. Can’t complain too much because I’ve mastered the art of the power nap, and sleeping on the bus.

i really really like the South Island so far. For some reason the North Island feels very similar to the UK, but just with less people and more of the good scenery. The South feels much different. There are even less people, and the scenery is on a massive scale, it’s absolutely stunning and hard to put into words.

Anyway, I digress. Two nights in Nelson in a cool hostel. Millions of people, but there was a pool, and parked at the back of the pool was a huge vintage green bus. Inside was the TV room, and a big bookcase! Heaven! I asked Tom if when I win the Euromillions I could get a reading/TV bus for our garden, but then we figured out it’d probably be a bit cold. Oh well.



The hostel also kindly offered a free “vegetable soup” in the evenings. “Vegetable soup” is in inverted commas because it doesn’t deserve the proper title… We queued up dutifully, holding our bowls. Meanwhile, a box of bread was placed on the table, and I’ve never seen anything like it. A bun fight pretty much broke out. The “vegetable soup” was some unwashed, unpeeled raw potatoes chopped up in hot yellow water. The water swirled and separated into yellow powder and water, a bit like when you stir a muddy puddle. Basically, they’d put some potato in a pan, added water and an entire tub of curry powder then served it up. Inedible. We felt bad for wasting food so I suggested politely pouring it back in the pan, but in the end we had to just hide it haha.
The rest of time in Nelson was mainly spent preparing for our trek in the Abel Tasman National Park.

New Zealand has many of what they call “The Great Walks.” We’d already tackled one in the North Island – the Tongariro Alpine Crossing that we both absolutely loved, so we were eager to get our teeth into the Abel Tasman Coastal Track (ATCT)
The idea with the ATCT is that you take around four days to hike the whole coastline, stopping to camp or stay overnight in the huts along the route. Each campsite has a set number of spaces, and unfortunately we’d left it too late to book the whole route. Luckily the chap in the Wellington tourist info suggested we book two available nights in the campsite at the very top of the track and plan some walks around there. So what we did in the end was to get a shuttle bus to the start of the track, and then a water taxi to the last boat stop, hike three hours to the campsite. We’d then stay two nights, hike the area and then back down to the place where we were dropped off.


The water taxi was great up to Totornui, with stunning scenery: orange beaches and blue sea in front of huge green hillsides. We tried to pack as light as possible, but it wasn’t easy – we needed our tent, sleeping bag and mats, and enough food to last the trip. Special shout out to Thomas Copley for being an absolute angel and carrying the heavy gear whilst I was in charge of food and water!


The first day’s walk was absolutely beautiful. Mostly you are plodding up and down the forrest tracks, in the shade which worked well as it was a scorching day. The track then opens out onto the beaches, which make great lunch spots hehe. We walked pretty slowly as the gear was quite heavy and we were hot. Lots of folk overtook us, but I was happy to be slow and enjoy the scenery. It was so calm and peaceful.


We finally arrived at the camp ground and were happy to dump our bags. I was a bit apprehensive about the first night sleeping in the tent…. The hut at the Whariwharangi (far ree far rang gi) campsite was a house from the 1800s where a family lived off the land. It was pretty awesome because although there was a proper bog (phew!) and running filtered water, there was no electricity, which meant it felt like it was unchanged and it was really fun imagining the family strolling around in their Victorian clothes and shooting the wildlife.
I was originally gutted that we couldn’t stay in the hut, but when I went and looked inside, I was relieved we weren’t! There was some kind of bizarre bed situation – one really really wide bed where about ten people would sleep side by side…. my worst nightmare! Imagine waking up with a stranger’s head on your pillow… Eurgh.


Well we set up camp, and it was quite exciting. There were these weird birds everywhere called “weka” or as we referred to them as “veloceraptor bastards.” The walk so weirdly, like dinosaurs. They circle your tent looking for food and watched one try to get its entire beak around our water bottle. Very funny but irritating at the same time. One pecked my toe whilst I was sat on a picnic bench and I jumped about a foot in the air.

For tea we walked back to the idilic bench we had spotted on the way to the campiste. We had a Ruth Shepherd patented corned beef party. (Bread, corned beef and a sparkling beverage…. well we had luke warm water, but it was still good.)


We watched the sunset with the beach to ourselves, which I’ll never forget.


Then got into bed to be surrounded by the sound of SNORERS. I HATE PEOPLE WHO SNORE!!!!!!!! There was also an Israeli couple next to us who had no concept of whispering and just shouted at eachother all night. It was uncomfortable. I fell asleep and woke up what felt like every five minutes to move position because it was so uncomfortable. My hair was everywhere and I was freezing and the sleeping bag we decided to share was pure nylon so I was just sweating and the sleeping bag kept falling off and I was being eaten alive by some kind of biting insect and I needed a wee all night but didn’t want to get out of bed to go to the toilet. Then we were awoken by the dawn chorus of birds that sounded like we were in a zoo and then loads of bloody children started chasing each other round the tent. I overheard the man in the tent next to us saying “children are worse than dealing with ISIS” which really made me laugh. Anyway. Rant over. No sleep was had but it doesn’t matter because we were sleeping under the stars in paradise.

The next day we enjoyed a muesli bar breakfast and then headed off on a two hour walk to a different beach. More beautiful scenery and stunning weather. We had some more corned beef sandwiches for lunch and had a nap on the beach. I’m getting really good at this power-napping business now. Then we walked back to the campsite. After a little rest we decided to do another walk. One of my toes had a blister that surrounded the entire digit. After wrapping it up, we headed on a walk to “Separation Point.”
This was mildly hilarious because we walked for two hours to the point which was just a tiny cliff that had some plastic gannets on it and was playing a recording of gannet sounds…. We just looked at each-other.
We then went on to a cove called Mutton Cove which was actually home to a load of seals, not sheep. It was so cool seeing the seals. They were doing this weird thing where they go in the shallows and wave a flipper at you. I love how big and lumbering they are when out of the water, yet so graceful in the sea. We also saw a big fat one who was barking on a rock, and sounded like a huge dog.

We stomped back to the campsite, and Tom introduced me to his camping special – tinned ravioli, cold from the can, and surprisingly yummy! We got ready for bed and it started to piss it down. It rained all night but luckily this served to silence the birdies, and our stuff remained relatively dry. I was very impressed with our little 15 quid tent! We both slept better, and I felt a lot more human on waking the next day.

The next morning we packed up and began our walk back to the water taxi stop. I was sad to leave the park because it was an amazing experience. New Zealand is definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen so far, and we both feel so lucky to be here. I felt so relaxed to have a few days off the grid and under the stars. I think it’s good for you, and, despite the camping bit, I do want to do it more!




Christmas in the sunshine!!

Hello dear reader,

At the time of writing, I’m hiding from one of the biggest rainstorms I’ve ever seen in the TV room of our darling campsite. Unfortunately wifi only works on one device, and all my photos are on my iPhone, and I’m writing this on the iPad, so there will be no pictures to illustrate today’s episode. So instead I shall jazz it up with some interesting






And also some emogees

On Christmas Eve we rose early in Wellington to catch the 7.20am shuttle bus to the ferry terminal. After nearly two months we were leaving the North Island!

We were efficiently shoved onto the ferry and then off we jolly well headed across the Cook Straight. The trip was fairly uneventful, with some beautiful Norwegian style fjord scenery.

We were both still pretty sleep-deprived so did a bit of napping and treated ourselves to some chips and a beer/cider… it was nearly Christmas after all!

Before arriving at Picton, I’d mentally prepared myself for the worst. Everyone told us that all the shops would be closed, and spending Christmas on a campsite sounded pretty grim. In my head I was picturing our cabin to be a bed with walls, and imagined surviving on supernoodles due to the shops being shut.

Anyway. It was great! The area Picton sits in is called Marlborough Sounds, and it was absolutely stunning. Huge hills covered in gigantic greenery falling into the turquoise ocean.

We found our campsite, and settled into our little cabin. It was bigger than expected and it had a little decking area that caught the sun all afternoon and evening. Perfect for festive drinking!

Once we’d settled in, we went into Picton, which was a small but pleasant town. We decided to do our Christmas shopping, setting ourselves a ten quid limit. How refreshing! I know it’s terrible, but I took great pleasure in not needing to stress about Christmas presents this year!

After that, we did the Christmas food shop – mainly barbecue supplies, rum, and bacon and eggs for breakfast. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without stuffing yourself silly, would it?! When we reached the checkout, we encountered what Tom now refers to as “The Fat Lady Who Ruined Christmas” – – a woman of the larger disposition who refused to take our driving licences as a form of ID despite it being Christmas Eve and my asking if Tom really looked like he was under 18 with the beard that he is currently sporting. Anyway. We stormed off back to the campsite and returned with the passports and all was well.

After our shopping extravaganza, we sat and played cards on the decking for a while and had some pasta for tea.

We woke up and it was Christmas!! There was a layer of snow all over the campsite, and I could see the footprints and tracks from Father Christmas’s entourage. ❄️❄️Only joking. It was about 25 degrees and I had factor 50 on all day. What a first! I opened my presents from Tom (a papau shell necklace and matching earrings and a puzzle book) and he opened mine (a bottle opener keyring shaped like a kiwi bird, and a bag of jelly “kiwi worm” sweets.)

The rest of the day was a blur of burgers with stuffing, chicken, salad, sweets, chocolate, mince pies, cider, beer and rum. Perfect. We put on our lovely santa hats too. It was so surreal to be chilling by the pool! A British family joined us and they were blasting some Christmas tunes by the poolside so that was really nice. (Given up on emojis now. Sorry.)

All in all, it was a lovely Christmas. I’m really pleased that we booked a cabin to have some time to ourselves. It was a Christmas that I’ll never forget, but at the same time it’s been one of the hardest days since we’ve been away because we both missed our lovely families like mad. That’s a good thing though. Imagine if we were like “well thank god we’ve got away from them at last!” Ha!

Stay tuned for the next episode, where we encounter the weka bird, watch TV in a vintage bus, and I try my hand at camping in the wilderness. ❤️❤️❤️


Windy Wellington


DISCLAIMER: this post was meant to have a lot more photos but the wifi is shocking and I’ve given up trying to upload them.

And so we hit the road once more.

Windy Wellington welcomed us with open arms after a five hour bus journey. As the bus trundled away from Hastings, I felt a bit like James Mcavoy in the final scene from “The Last King of Scotland” when he shrinks into his plane seat as he leaves Uganda. Anyway, there was no “STOP THE BUS!” that my overactive imagination had dreamt up, and we weren’t dragged back to the orchards. Phew.

We are still waking up fairly early, and also still achy and bruised, but we’re free!!! What an amazing feeling! We arrived into New Zealand’s capital and checked into our box room in the YHA. After dumping our bags, we had a wander round the city, and treated ourselves to a roast dinner. We felt that it wouldn’t quite be Christmas without one! After that, we went to bed and I was unconscious about thirty seconds before my head hit the pillow.


(Very happy with his roast NZ lamb)

The next day, we decided to check out the city’s cable car. The pedants among you may wish to know that it’s not a cable car, it’s a funicular railway, but oh well, you can’t win them all!


The cable car was actually pretty cool because they had installed a load of fancy lights in one of the tunnels and I got all excited thinking it was going to be like Space Mountain and we were going to fly up the hill at 100mph.


Must stop getting so carried away.

It was a lovely sunny day, but we could feel that it was cooler and windier than Hawkes Bay, so better for sight-seeing really! The cable car takes you to the top of the botanic gardens, which have loads of themed areas, which we got thoroughly lost in, but we were so happy to be back to having no schedule and it not mattering! We wandered aimlessly down to almost the bottom of the hill, but then realising we’d paid for a return ticket on the cable car, we walked back up again to ride it back down the hill. We found a Henry Moore sculpture on the way so it wasn’t all bad.

After that, we went for a guided tour around the NZ equivalent of the House of Commons. Luckily it was only a 30minute tour which was perfect for my attention span. It was interesting to learn that any kiwi residents can go to parliament with a query. How funny is that?! I’d love to go to Westminster and strive to have macaroni cheese outlawed. Anyway, I digress. There was a really cool Maori room covered in hand wood carvings. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos as it wasn’t permitted, but here’s a photo from outside. It’s called “the Beehive,” or as Tom preferred: “one fuck ugly building!”

We went to the modern art gallery that was free entry (Wellington is great for free tourist attractions!) Tom got thoroughly pissed off by the contemporary art saying “it makes me furious! What’s the point in it!?” I told him it was there to cause a reaction and he replied “well I never want to go to an art gallery ever again!” Which made me howl! We also saw a Grayson Perry tapestry…. In the Deane Gallery. Spelt correctly and everything! Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photo because it was privately owned.

That evening came what we’d been waiting for……



The the next day we did a bit of shopping – my clothes are all a bit knackered so I treated myself to two new dresses. Tom really made me laugh because I asked him to get me the dress I was wearing, but in a different size, and he came back with a completely different dress. Love him.

It started to rain so we headed to the Te Papa museum, which is the biggest museum in the city and was bloody rammed with everyone’s kids. I came to New Zealand to escape everyone’s bloody kids but oh well it’s the summer holidays and all that. We spent a lot of time peering at this “collosal squid” which freaked me out a bit because I used to have a reoccurring nightmare about a huge octopus when I was a kid.

Thoroughly fed up with the ankle grabbers, we headed into the Gallipoli exhibition which was fantastic despite the amount of people in there. I didn’t know anything about New Zealand’s involvement in WW1, so found the exhibit really informative. It was titled “the scale of our war” and featured gigantic models of six of the people who died at Gallipoli. The statues were made by the studios who did Lord of the Rings and the hobbit, and were incredibly powerful and lifelike.

The rest of the day was spent in and out of the tourist office and department of conservation offices trying to book what we will be doing on the South Island. Yawns.

Today, we woke up in a fit of panic because we had a very important appointment to attend at 11am. After a catch up on FaceTime with Jacob and Charlie we headed to Sinatras Tattoo Studio. EEEEEE.

We had decided a few weeks ago what we wanted doing “don’t worry” and “be happy” in each other’s hand writing… Something to tick off the bucket list and a reminder to stop stressing would do me some good. All in all it took about ten minutes each and hurt about as much as I’d expected. I love the result!


The rest of the day was spent buying camping gear, a laptop bag and a replacement lens cap. Exciting stuff! Tomorrow we’re up early to get the 9am ferry over to the South Island for Christmas!



“Another day, another dollar.”

Well hello there,

You find us entering our eighth and final week of fruit thinning. There’s a lot of people muttering “another day, another dollar” around here. Catchy.  I’m just amazed that we’ve A) come this far and I haven’t yet fallen off the ladder and died (there’s still time…) B) I haven’t lost my temper and been sacked.

Nothing new to report over here. On a sunny day last week, our Kiwi friend Rochelle took us to the river, and we took some “flagoons” (takeaway beer) with us, so that was a nice change of scenery. We discussed how the supervisors are always yelling “check your tree before you leave!!” And how this might be, in fact some kind of philosophical life motto. Check your tree before you leave. Check your tree before you leave… Mind blowing!

We cycled to the supermarket and discovered that Whitakers chocolate was on offer!


I also found this banana that was so big that I couldn’t leave it there.


(I’ve added my passport for scale.) We later discovered that it was a plantain, not a banana. A bit disappointed, but eating plantain was one of my new tasks to try before my birthday, so it’s good to tick one off!!

I’m so delighted that next time I post on here we won’t be in Hastings!!!!!!!!!! Yes!!! It’s been a long week. So long, that Tom invented the “biscuit salad” in order to get us through.


We’ve bought a laptop, so we should be able to start posting some decent photos for your to see soon. It also means that tom has been able to do some sound stuff, and he’s made a post of all the music we heard in Central Park! Takes me right back.

The majority of our evenings this weekhave been taken up with a Star Wars marathon. I have not watched a single of the six films all the way through without falling asleep. So tired. But very excited for the new film, which we plan to see in Wellington next week!


So yes, as I said, not much to report, so I’ve decided to compile a list of things I’ve learnt over eight weeks of fruit thinning:

1) I can’t eat apples anymore.

2) The apples we are thinning are exported around the world, and sold in the UK in…. Wait for it…. HARRODS. Harrods daaaaarling! Only the best apples for us, oh yeah!


4) If there is a god, he/she is responsible for creating audiobooks, the Women’s Hour and Serial podcast, Buffs (for holding your speaker and phone to your neck whilst you work, like a poor man’s hands free device) The Beatles, Newton Faulkner, and rubber palmed gloves. Speaking of audiobooks, I have never felt more British than when a weird sex scene happens on the book I’m listening to, and I have to cough loudly and shuffle around on my ladder so my colleagues won’t hear! Ha!

5) The cure for insomnia is a stress-free, physically tiring job.

6) Yoga is the answer to sore backs.

7) Wear Sunscreen. (Thanks Baz Lurmann.)

8) You will develop a comedy tan involving white hands and feet, which is really useful if you want to be some kind of weird mime artist in a bikini.

9) Pesticides are revolting, and make you sneeze constantly. And if you’re pregnant, you can’t work in the orchards – so it must be pretty harmful…. Which makes me even more glad to be leaving soon!

10) I can complain and whinge as much as I want, but in the end, I’m a lucky lucky person to be able to travel, and leave the job when I want. There’s plenty of people working here who have a family to support.

11) Shit jobs give you a drinking/chocolate consumption problem.

As a final note, here is a selfie that I accidentally took on my phone. I think it’s hilarious!!!!! HA


When people discover that we’ve been working here for seven weeks, they are really surprised that we’ve survived this long. I like to respond with “yeah I used to look like Kate Moss before we started working here.”

Now I’m like this version of Mossy:






And then there were two.

Hello there from sunny Hastings.

It is actually sunny. Unbearably sunny on some days. We’ve only just discovered that Hawkes Bay is the hottest area in the entire of New Zealand, so well done us! At least we’re finally working through the kilos of suncream we brought with us, so our bags will be lighter. We’re both getting browner despite larding up with factor 50 every break time at work.


The observant amongst you may be questioning the name of this post. Well, let me explain. Our lovely friends, Philine and Kerry, and Max and Mathilda were sacked from work, and have had to leave our house. So it’s a little quiet over here. We’re abandoned, miles from the supermarket,  with a distinct lack of chicken parties.



We’ve arranged to meet them in the South Island in January for a dolphin party, so that’s good.

Work has started at 7am each day this week, leaving us all with thousand yard stares at break times. My tiredness results in me repetitively closing the ladder on my head and also thinking I’m on the bottom step when I’m not and having a mini heart attack when I step off into the air… I’m not spacially aware at the best of times.


(Above is my bastard of a ladder. He has sharp bits on the reverse of the bottom rung that cut the back of my leg every time it swings shut on it. I’ve got a delightful pair of very bruised and cut up calves now! )

Another highlight of the last week was the meeting on Friday, where the health and safety officer came and shouted at us all for standing on the very top step of the ladder and blaming our idiocy for the three people that fell off the ladders. I had to put my head between my legs and do some yoga breathing to prevent myself from commiting GBH… The supervisors had screamed at us when we were terrified and told us we’d be fired if we didn’t stand on top of the ladders!!!!! ARGHHHHH!!!!

Okay! A few happy things to lighten the mood:

1) Only fifteen working days left until we are free again.

2) We’ve booked flights for March: from Australia to Bali, Bali to Malaysia, and Malaysia to Hong Kong. We now only need to book Hong Kong to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok and then our flight home from whichever South East Asian country we find ourselves in! I’m so excited to be on the move again. I’ll be so happy to leave Hastings.

3) Yesterday I saw a possum in the garden. I was really excited by it, and was telling my backpacking friends at work, when I realised some of the Maori guys had overheard and were absolutely pissing themselves at my excitement. They’re a pest here in NZ…. HA

4) The birds nests. Sometimes they have eggs, or little birds with open mouths waiting for the return of mummy bird. I like to shout “Do I look like your mother!?” at them.


5) Another funny story… At work we have to remove the russet apples that have orange powder on them because they can’t be sold. Margot, a fellow backpacker from France, was dancing away to her reggae music whilst working, when the supervisor came over and said “there’s lots of russet over here Margot!” (implying that she wasn’t doing a very good job) to which Margot replied, “Yeah, I know, do you like it?!” the supervisor said “no!” and stormed off, leaving Margot puzzled. It turns out, Margot misheard and thought she was talking about “rasta” not “russet.” HA

6) Made friends with Maria, the lovely supervisor from Fiji. She’s working to save money to continue her studies. She’s learning to be pilot and flies here every Sunday. So cool to hear about it!

7)  Starting at 7am this week is leaving me completely exhausted and in bed by 9pm (tiny violin please) but it means I get to see the ducks sleeping on the lawn in the morning.




8) I’ve just found out that The Corrs have got back together!

9) Chocolate is on offer at the supermarket.

And, my farewell gift to you: please enjoy this very hairy apple I found at work last week:






Tiptoe amongst the tulips

Well hello there,

I’m writing from the war-torn abode. War-torn meaning post-party. As a child, if ever I was sleeping at a friend’s house I would always be awake hours before my companion, wondering what to do with myself until they woke up. Usually I would raid their book shelves… What a strange child. But alas, the insomnia and book wormery in me lingers on. I’ve realised that as an adult, this has matured into my being always the first awake after a party. There’s something quite nice about the quiet, feeling slightly muggy and then throwing open the windows and beginning the clean up before everyone else is awake. Anyway, that’s where you find me today dear reader. The first awake and catching up on the blog.

So what’s new here? Not a lot really. We’ve progressed with our travel plans for Christmas and beyond:

– bus booked to Wellington on the 20th of December when we escape work.

– a few night’s accommodation still needs sorting for Welly.

– ferry crossing to the South Island booked for the 23rd

– 3 nights stay booked in a cabin in Picton for Christmas. It looks very basic but the weather will be hot so hopefully most of Christmas will be spent mildly intoxicated on the beach.

– flight booked from Christchurch to Melbourne, Australia for 1st Feb.

So it feels really good to have something set in stone to look forward to. It’s been great to have some home comforts here and to earn some pennies, but my feet are getting itchy and I need to be on the road again soon!

Here’s a few photos from this weekend:


The campervan ride home from work on Friday. They insisted that work be started on Saturday at 7am which we all decided was too ungodly so we didn’t go, and treated ourselves to a full weekend off as we were all shattered! (Work on Saturday is optional so we didn’t get in trouble.)


Following work Tom and I cycled to the pub. It was nice to be alone for the first time in ages and we toasted to our five year anniversary. How insane is that?! A fifth of my life with tom already spent together. I couldn’t be happier!


After the pub some kind soul offered a lift home, which we politely declined as we decided we were safer on the bikes, judging by the look of him! The pub is only down the road anyway.



Here Tom is glued to the new One Direction music video which made me laugh a lot.



Whilst being chauffered to town in the campervan we stole Kerry and Philine’s hats and took silly photos. It would be rude not to!

Last night was Philine’s party, it’s her 19th birthday today. It was quite hilarious skyping her family at about 1am whilst we weren’t very sober and practising our German.

We might catch the new Hunger Games film at the cinema today, but other than that, lazy day all round. Still no sign of anyone, 12pm at time of writing hehehe.

Work this week has been okay. We’ve been painting the bosses’ fence which was meant to seem like some kind of “treat” but was actually just bloody backbreaking and stressful trying not to splat paint everywhere. There’s lots of new people, taking us to about 80 pickers. This is good because we’re no longer the newbies and aren’t getting bollucked as much, oh well, three weeks and counting!!!




Oh hello there,

I’ve been a bit naughty lately with trying to keep this updated but it’s mainly due to there being little to tell…

Basically we’re working away like good little worker bees.

Last weekend we walked along the coastline to Cape Kidnappers – a cove nicknamed due to a member of Captain Cooks motley crew being kidnapped by the Maoris when they landed there.

We we walked along the beach for 2.5 hours before finding the gannet colony with the help of this lovely welly. Classic New Zealand.

imageThe scenery was absolutely stunning, so although it was a much longer walk than expected, we had a great day out.


When we reached the end of the peninsula we came to a big gannet colony. I’ve never seen a gannet before so it was quite interesting. Did you know that it takes them eight days of straight flying to migrate to Australia in the winter? Many of them don’t make the journey, sadly.


The quality of the photos are annoying the hell out of me. Sorry about that – still can’t get the photos off our big camera. I’ll have to bore you all to death with them when we get back haha!

In other news, our housemates Philene and Kerry’s camper van has finally been fixed!


There’s Simson sat on our drive, isn’t he handsome?!

We now start work at 7.30am most days, and I like to use this photo to describe my feelings about this:


We were in need of a night out to blow off steam so we hit Hastings for a night out on Saturday. For pre-drinks we had a chicken/box party (please see below photos for an explanation.)


Absolutely ridiculous. I love these guys so much.

We went to a bar and I asked “is it cheaper to have a white wine, or a pale ale?” The answer was wine…..which instantly made me dubious. It was the most disgusting wine I’ve ever tasted in my life. If I were to describe it in a wine-tasting situation I would have described it as “offensive, with aromas of a vinegar salad dressing and revulsion.”

Anyway, to remedy the situation, Philine decided to steal a candle.


She’s a bad influence on me…

I feel the above three photos sum up the night quite well.

After an unproductive hangover day, we were back to work this morning. At 11.30 Tom and I were asked to house sit for some of John and Wendy’s friends who were attending a funeral that afternoon.

It turns out that in NZ there’s a risk of being burgled whilst out at a funeral because low lifes look at the obituaries and target people whilst their houses are empty. How awful is that?! Anyway, the result was a slightly awkward afternoon of staying in a lovely house. Much easier money than kiwi thinning haha.

imageThe houses here are so cool! Mainly modern wooden bungalows.

Things that have been keeping me occupied:

Watching the series “Scream” on Netflix. A murder mystery based on the nineties horror movies. I love trying to figure out who dun it with the added layers of head nods to the cheesy horror genre that I adore.

Reading “Instrumental” by James Rhodes – one of my favourite classical musicians who plays without the silly suit on and actually talks to his audiences. Reading about his childhood abuse was really harrowing, but I couldn’t put the book down. I have so much respect for him.

Listening to the new book in the Millenium series – “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” by David Lagercrantz. Lisbeth Salander is one of my favourite literary characters and Lagercrantz is doing her justice.

Baking many many variations on pear recipes – flapjack – bad, pear cake – good. (Mainly good because we now have weighing scales.













The Battle of Hastings

Don’t worry there wasn’t really a battle. Well not at the time of writing anyway.

Well hello there dear readers! I thought I’d give you a little update before we start work tomorrow. I can hear you sniggering into your teacups. Stop it.

We arrived in Hastings just over a week ago, and in that time we’ve made some friends, got a job, stumbled across a lovely abode, opened a New Zealand bank account and drank too much wine and beer.

Our first stop was a hostel called The Rotten Apple. We’d read about them online and despite the name, decided they’d be a good place to start as they offered help with finding fruit picking work in Hastings, the middle of the orchard district. They put us up in their sister hostel – The Orange House, which has a no alcohol policy. We were like WHAT but it actually turned out to be a silver lining… Our German friends Philine and Kerry stayed at the Rotten Apple for one night, and said they only got two hours sleep due to the other guest’s partying. Fine, but not ideal if you’re going to be working whilst you stay there!

The Orange House was okayish – we were in our own room but in a bunk again. (Why?! I will never understand why they do this. Why don’t they just put two twin beds in? So bizarre.) There were plenty of nice people about, but the kitchen was tiny for the thirty guests, and there was two showers and three bogs (well, three showers, but the door didn’t lock on the third one and I didn’t really fancy taking the risk.) I can only imagine what it’s like when the season picks up and everyone tries to get in the shower at the same time before work. Makes me feel stressed just thinking about it.

We spent a few days there, walking into town each day for something to do and spending the majority of the day sat in the library reading the books. Christ, it’s starting to sound like Matilda! Anyway, one morning  we were sat in the library when the NZ phone rang. We got a call from RJ Flowers – the company we had been told to get in touch with by a Czech couple we met whilst in Fiji. They invited us over for an interview that afternoon. We looked up the location on the map and decided it was walkable…

So off we plodded (well, power-walked really) an hour before we needed to be there. The sun was beating down (thanks hole in the ozone layer) and the road became more and more rural until we were just walking on the grass at the side of the road passing massive tractors and farm machinery. Then a wasp flew into my Birkenstock. Bloody hell. Managed to pull my shoe off whist it was stinging my big toe, smacked it off with said shoe, and then had to make Tom pull the stinger off. I was in agony but had to just slap my sandal back on and keep limping along because we were already running late on a walk that seemed to be getting longer and longer by the minute.

Anyway, an hour and 15 mins after setting off, we arrived at th RJ flowers office. The staff we met were so lovely! They explained the work (8am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and optional Saturday mornings) and took us over to see the staff house…


It was beautiful! Here’s a few pics from inside:


Above is our bedroom and ENSUITE bathroom. (note, the rucksacks have since been shoved in the wardrobe, and I’m very happy not to have to look at them again for a few weeks.)


Here is the lounge and kitchen area. Massive telly. All the better for watching the rugby on, says Tom.

imageThe back garden leads directly onto the apple orchards. Not a bad commute to work but I’m unsure how I’ll feel about them after a day working in them! I’m sure I’ll be dreaming about apples in no time.

Anyway, we decided we’d definitely like to move in. Convenient, cheap (60 quid each per week, so a lot cheaper than a hostel) and so so clean, lovely, and with loads of room. The company told us they were looking for another couple to move in and work too, so on our return we told the good news to Philene and Kerry, and also told our friends Ernest and Lewis to ring up for an interview.

A few days later, we managed to get all our stuff into Tracy’s (who works in HR) car, and she kindly drove us over to the house. So no wasp stings this time.

We’ve spent the last 5 days chilling out, wandering around (nearest shop is a 30 minute walk haha), drinking, eating incredible German food, and being merry. We start work tomorrow apple and kiwi thinning. (Apparently, this isn’t some kind of fruit diet, as suggested by my mum, but it’s where you remove some of the smaller fruit from the tree allowing the remaining fruit more space and room to grow huge.) I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, just picture me falling off ladders, boiling in the sun, being stung by wasps and wearing a ridiculous hat, such as the one modelled by Tom below.




Below is our front gate, and work beyond. Not a bad commute eh?


It’s very trendy at the moment to write a “Gratitude List” on your blog isn’t it?! Well here’s my version:

A list of things I’m grateful for after living out of a bag for five weeks:

– Coffee made in a cafetière

– A little cup to put your toothbrush in

– A sink near the toilet

– Toilet paper

– A real towel

– A face flannel

– A free to use washing machine

– Eating a meal without having to wash up your pans before you eat

– An oven

– Drinking from a glass, not a plastic bottle

– A cupboard. With your clothes in.

– A sofa

– A telly


Haha! This is meant to be tongue in cheek – I’m not moaning, I’m appreciating. Lots of love!








Laughing in the face of death.

Well hello there. Today’s the day where I shall tell the tale of the time when we decided to jump out of an aeroplane.

This aeroplane in fact!


When I went to see the woman on the hostel reception to book the jump, it was about 10am and she said “do you wanna go now?!” And I was like “but we haven’t had breakfast!!”

So we ate our breakfast and waited two hours for a later jump. In this time frame, Tom and I were sat on opposite sides of the room from one another and not speaking. Too nervous.

We were picked up in an outrageously yellow stretch hummer. Luckily the windows were blacked out, as we could see the people in the cafes we passed staring at the ridiculous car.

We arrived to the jump centre, and had a quick briefing, then decided on our jump package. There were two height options – 12,000 or 15,000ft. We decided we would do it properly as we were only gonna do it once, so 15,000ft it was. In doing so, we sacrificed the expensive camera packages, and opted for just an exit photo as we left the plane.

After donning some rather attractive red jumpsuits, we were told to watch a video whilst being dressed at what felt like 100mph by our instructors. I was having my arms and legs shoved in straps and things whacked onto my head all whilst trying to watch what felt like a very important video which I could barely see or hear. I’ve never been so stressed.

Luckily my jump buddy calmed me down on the way into the plane.

The plane ascended to 15,000ft. We had to wear oxygen masks whilst our instructors strapped us onto their fronts. It made me feel like a big baby. When we reached the right height, the door rolled open and it was so windy! Our fellow passengers began to jump out of the plane in quick succession. Tom and I were the last ones to jump. I yelled “I love you!” at him, unsure if I’d see him again!

Now, are you sitting comfortably?


















Here’s the only photographic evidence that we jumped out of a plane at 15,000ft! (those of you who know me, know I have a tendency to laugh when I’m scared!)

Here’s another!


As you leave the aircraft your instructor grabs your head and points it to the camera haha!

We tucked our feet under the plane and spun out into the open air. We free fell for about 60 seconds. At this point you felt like you were falling so so quickly!  Initially you spin in the air, and after a few backflips the instructer rights you so you’re falling like a pair of flying squirrels. All I remember about this bit was thinkng “god it’s so nice to be up here but not in a plane,” and “Christ my nose is so cold.” The air flies up your nose and your ears pop a lot.

When the parachute opened we slowed down, it got a lot calmer and a lot quieter, and lot more enjoyable to be honest.

As we flew over the lake, the instructer started doing some kind of awful thing that meant we were spinning and spinning around. He did stop however, when I punched him in the arm and shouted “I think I’m gonna throw up!!” Ha!

The views were absolutely stunning.


(These two pics are from Philene and Kerry, our German buddies who did the same jump but paid extra for the photos haha! We’re too tight!)



As we were falling, my instructor pointed to show me where Tom was. At this point, Tom was about to land…. before the three other jumpers . As Tom jumped just before me, and I was the last one out of the plane, I started to panic. I was like “oh my god, why is he landing so quickly?? Is he okay? Do you think he’s sick? Do you think he’s hurt himself??!!” And my instructor replied “nah don’t worry, he’s just jumped with the guy who likes going fast!”

I then asked the instructor “is our parachute the same colour as Tom’s?” He replied “have a look!” … My head has never moved so slowly. I was so scared to look above at that bloody parachute but I did it!

As we came in to land, I was told to “lift your legs up!” And so I did as I was told landed nice and gently on my arse. Tom landed on his feet of course, he always has to out do me! I lay on top of the instructor for a while, enjoying the sensation of being on the solid ground. I lay there comfortably giggling until I heard “erm.. You can stand up now.” Whoopsie!

I went to hug Tom, and spent the rest of the day smiling like an idiot! I can honestly say that’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever done, and I’ve never been happier to be alive!

We’re alive!








The Tongariro crossing

After another bus extravaganza, we arrived in Taupo. As we checked in, the chap on the hostel reception asked if we wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing, and if we did, we should sign up for the following day, as the weather was good and it’s often closed due to poor weather.


The Tongariro is a one day alpine crossing involving a 19km hike. I was really eager to do it so we signed up. It turns out that the crossing was closed for the few days after we did it, so we are really fortunate to have made it!

Up we got the following day at 5am to get the 5.45 bus to the start of the trail. We had to set of early to allow us enough time to make the crossing before it got dark. On the bus was the most passive aggressive tour guide I have ever come across. Hilariously agro for 6am in the morning. I couldn’t decide if he was a cool climb dude sick of tourists or just not a morning person, but he made me laugh so much:

-“well all you guys wearing trainers are gonna have lovely warm and dry toes when you are walking though the snow aren’t you?!”

-“oh I can see those of you who don’t have sunglasses clearly are immune to snow blindness.”

– “the bus will collect you at 4pm. The bus will collect you at 4pm. What time? 4pm. 4pm. 4!!! PM!!!!! Am I being clear enough for you?! 4PM!!!!!!!!”

And so on and so forth.

Tom and I had wrapped up in loads of layers and waterproofs, were wearing trousers, hats, sun cream, had our first aid kits and sunglasses and our big walking boots etc. and had also packed enough food and water for about ten people. So we were absolutely fascinated by a pair of Chinese lads sat on the seats next to us.
Both were wearing trainers, one had on his swimming trunks, the other had huge fashion glasses on with no glass in them. And they had a bottle of Gatorade each and a subway sub each in a plastic carrier bag. We were equally amused and concerned that they had no idea what was going on. We were thinking that they’d be like “holy shit why are we walking across mountains in swimming shorts?!” Needless to say, we saw them at the end and they’d survived it so good for them!

The walk started out flat, and there were quite a lot of people. Everyone was fucking power walking for some reason and I was out of breath trying to keep up, thinking “why the hell do we need to be going so fast on the flat bit?!” But I think it was because the man on the bus had terrified us that we wouldn’t make it back by 4pm!

We walked across the base of the volcano used as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings film.


Then the path started to creep up hill until we reached a section of the walk called “the Devils staircase” – not a very reassuring title!

It was very steep and there were so many steps to climb. It wouldn’t have been too bad had there not been people behind me. If I wasn’t so out of breath I would have loved to turn round and roar “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!” In their faces, but alas, I had to make do with stopping on the edge of a cliff and breathlessly gesturing them past!

It was amazing to reach the top. We had a banana break. Tom dropped his banana and then jumped up and down on it in anger which made me laugh a lot. I’m a meany. We then entered the snowy part of the walk.


It was so beautiful!! And warm! Definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. The rest of the walk is hard to put in a timeline because it all blurred a bit into one. The best bits were the views, seeing the volcanic activity, walking across the frozen lakes, and the bright emerald blue lake where we sat for lunch.


All in all, it took us about 7 hours. We were warned not to stop for long periods because our legs would stiffen and make it hard to keep going. It was one of the hardest walks that I’ve done but definitely the most rewarding. Taking my boots off and lying down on the wooden bench felt amazing once we’d made it!

Try clicking the little link below, it should take you to a 30 second video that summarises our time on the crossing.