Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Well all good things must come to and end but every ending marks a new beginning. My new beginning is in Australia, you can follow me if you like or give up on me all together if you're sick of my mis-spelt ramblings. From now on I can be found at www.ozobel.blogspot.com
save it to your favourites, tell all your friends and there'll always be a little link at the side of the page for the South America story, New Zealand wanderings and those lovely photos in case you forget all about that stuff.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

After a wonderfull chilaxing week in the bay of Islands my time in New Zealand finally came to an end. I really didn't want to leave, it has been so much fun in New Zealand, the country that has everything. You can surf and ski in the same day, and every blink is a picture postcard image but the best thing about New Zealand are the people who are all so friendly and genuine. So I had one last night out in Auckland with Conor and Marnie and flew to Sydney with a dirty hangover.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
The Journey north continued from Micks place in Otaki to Teranaki with Micks friends Claire and Rob. They told me all the stories about my brothers visit to New Zealand a couple of years back where he became a legend in local sculpture lore by getting his picture in the paper and selling a christening font at the sculpture symposium (my brother is an electronic engineer not a sculptor). We got a cabin by the sea in New Plymouth and met up with Colleen who has just returned from her adventures in South America. I spent the next few days with Colleen and her family and even managed to fit in a good tramp around mount Teranaki, unfortunately we got a real Valparaiso day for it. It rained relentlessly all day, even our industrial strenght rain jackets didn't keep us dry, a soft day thank God. It all seemed better when we arrived at the lovely DOC hut in the forest, lit the fire and ate our soggy sambos with cold sweet coffee. I headed up to Auckland and caught up with Conor and Marnie over a few beers before continuing further north to catch up with Darren again. I've been hanging out in the bay of Islands for the past few days and have been enjoying all the sunshine and madness. I went to a KopaHaka which is a Maori culture competition thing where all the kids compete with the Haka and trad songs etc. I was the only backpacker there which made me as much of a spectacle as the performances. It was great.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Wellington, North Island, New Zealand. Cow shit, Pet Lambs, neglected blogs and more earthquakes
I think I can safely say that this has been the longest time I've left my blog without a word. It's simply because I've been so busy with the cows calving and milking and all the usual madness of springtime life on a farm that I never made it into town. I stayed on the farm in Waitaha Valley for 3 weeks and really got into the whole farming life. It was a busy time, when I arrived about 5 cows had calved and when I left over 80 had and we were milking twice a day. I had a pet lamb called Aran (as in the he'll make a lovely Aran jumper when he's big). Aran followed me around the farm all day like the proverbial little lamb and a couple of days before I left we painted a red and blue target on his back 'cause the calfs kept shitting on him. On my last day I calved a cow, it was the most amazing experience, I thought the calf was dead when I finally pulled him out but then he just shook his giant head and looked around for his poor exhausted mother.
While I was at Stu's farm I was in an earthquake, I slept through the whole thing 'cause we'd finished off a 3 ltr box of wine with dinner. It was the second biggest earthquake the world has seen this year at 7.1 on the r. scale, nobody was hurt 'cause the center was in the middle of nowhere a couple of miles south of the farm in Te anu. The biggest earthquake this year was in Mexico in January and at 7.6 i don't think there was any chance of me sleeping through that one. I should be listed as one of the great survivors of the two biggest earthquakes this year, for those of you wishing to avoid my trail of natural disasters you should know that my next stop is Sydney.
Darren came and picked me up from the farm on Sunday and we started heading north, after a few relaxing days in Plimmerton I traveled on to Otaki to stay with Mick and Amy for a few days, the trail north continues tomorrow.
Here's the last of my photos until I invest in a new camera
New Zealand Photos

From Auckland to Paihia

Buzza life

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Waitaha Valley, South Island, New Zealand
After Wanaka I continued on to Franz Joseph with Darren and Chris to do the glacier hike. We did the full day hike and it was amazing, I really didn't have any idea what a glacier would look like and it wasn't what I expected at all. The only thing that put a downer on the day was the fact that my camera went missing at the beginning of the hike, so no photos of the glacier for the website, in fact no photos of New Zealand for the site as all 250 of them were on the camera. The entire police force of the south islands west coast (all 3 of them) are on red alert in search of the perpetrator of the biggest crime to hit Franz Joseph in over a decade. All the effort and concern has been fruitless so far as I headed off to the Farm in Waitaha Valley on Saturday with a disposable kodak in my pocket.
I'm going to stay put at the farm for a while, it's a good life here, a hard life but a good one. To see me in my overalls covered in cow shit, building fences, milking cows and feeding calves you'd think I grew up in that lifestyle and not in the posh Dublin suburbs. There are two other girls woofing (working on organic farm) here and we're really busy cause the cows are calving. There are 40 calves due in the next week or two, what have I got myself into, 3 have been born since I arrived, I named one Rena 'cause it was born on Ma's birthday. I won't have much chance to update this or e-mail people for the next while 'cause we won't get into town much.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand
Well I finally left Queenstown yesterday and it was beginning to feel like I had settled into Queenstowns Extreme lifestyle. The Canyon swing was amazing, I have never been so scared in my life, yes that includes jumping out of a plane at 12,000ft. We stood on a platform over the 150m canyon in a harness which was attatched to the middle of the canyon. There was a bit of a free fall and then a swing/drop of 109m to the bottom of the canyon. You could choose from 6 different ways to jump off, Rob, Barry and Eimear did the "gimp-boy goes to hollywood" which meant them hanging upside down and being dropped into the canyon. Graine sat on a chair and leaned on the back two legs until it toppled backwards and she went sumersaulting into the canyon chair an all. Muireann and I did the easiest one where you dangle over the canyon and they release you into it and Gavin did the hardest one where he stood at the edge of the platform and jumped off backwards. It was a great day out and a "real result" for all of us.
Since then I've been doing more boarding and I'm getting ok at it now, can make it down the run without falling anyhow, I wish I had more time to practice. We also got into the nightlife of QT, you can follow the happy hours around town and get really drunk for next to nothing. The other day Muireann and I went to Milford sound with Darren, it was a really nice drive there and the place is really beautiful but then so is everywhere in New Zealand, it's strange to become accostomed to suce beauty and accept it as part of the norm. Even here in Wanaka it is spectacular, I can look out the window to see the lake framed by the snow covered mountains. Wanaka is a really small town with an interesting cinema (all couches) and Puzzle world where we spent the morning, now my head is mush.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Just reading over my last post I realised that I forgot to mention one of the funniest hitching incedents. We were in the car with Dax and Paulie (the surfers) and Muireann decided to take over driving to give the lads a break. As we drove into a small town we got pulled over by the NZ police and Muireann was given a speeding fine of $120 for doing 67k in a 50k zone, so now we're fugatives, she has to pay the fine if she wants to come back to NZ ever again.
So I'm still in Queenstown and getting better at the snowboarding, my knees are purple though, brings back wonderful memories of Lapland when I first tried to maim myself on the skisloaps. There's not as much snow here as there was there, it mainly sticks to the mountains here, the town is warm enough (relatively).
I getting pretty fit from the 'extreme' walk up the hill to the lads house, it's worth it when you get to the top and see the beautiful view of the lake and the snowcapped mountains. There's so much to do here in Queenstown and there are so many young people around. The night life is probably the best we've come accross yet in NZ and it's also great 'cause everything doesn't revolve around drinking. Yesterday we played frisbee golf in the woods, there's a whole 18 target course layed out, with trees and bins as targets. Tomorrow we're all going to do the canyon swing, sort of a bungy swing across a huge canyon, looks terrifying, can't wait.

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