Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Camping and Trekking

Oh boy; this is the part of our trip that I was really looking forward to. The travelling. It's hard to believe it hasn't even been a week since we left Dargaville. We've already seen and done so much. From the tip top of Cape Reinga to the Coramandel Peninsula, I think we got the north island covered. We just have Christmas in Wellington and then we're off to the south. 

I had never ridden on a ferry with a car and I have to say, it feels very strange. The water is so beautiful. We took Grant's advice and had an amazing lunch at the dock cafe. Turns out Grant is a great foodie. Paninis in rawene on the dock. Fish n chips in Manganoui. Gigantic ice cream cones  in Waipapa. Thanks boss!

We made the long drive up to Cape Reinga and slept at the windiest camp site ever. I thought my tent was going to fall apart. That, plus rain, made for a super unpleasant night's  sleep. I almost didn't mind because it was such a nice location, right on the ocean.

Ah, such beautiful blue water. Here we are at the meeting of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The immense amount of driving I did the previous day was worth this. 

A side trip to Spirit's Bay at Cape Reinga before heading south. Danielle really loves that jacket. 

And so we drove and drove and drove some more. It's hard not to be happy driving here when the coast is so beautiful. It's not boring, for sure. 

We decided to splurge and sleep at a backpacker's in Kerikeri, orange capital of New Zealand. It was on an orchard and we were told we could eat all the oranges we wanted. This really was luxury after camping in the wind storm for a couple nights. 

Delicious mussel fritter from the farmer's market. 

We slept at this super cute campground in Tapu. I went for a nice evening swim and found an oyster. I feel like a real outdoors women now, eating right out of the ocean. This spot reminded me a lot of Crosby Lane in Brewster on Cape Cod. 

This was the perfect day. We drove to Castle Rock and had our first group hike. First, we stopped at this little waterfall and I had to jump in because the water was just so beautiful. We had to climb up this mountain, straight up, but it wasn't too long and reaching the top felt amazing and it was quite the view. I'm a slow hiker, but I made it eventually. We ran (really) down the mountain and made our way to The Mussel Kitchen in Coramandel. Fresh mussel chowder was the perfect meal after a tough hike. Top it off with a home brewed beer and the day couldn't get any better. 

A nice sleep, and we were ready to do some more adventuring. The next morning, we got up early and went to the hot water beach. We dug a hole in a very crowded spot and it was surprisingly scalding. I think I prefer the cold ocean. 

It was a touristy day for us. Next, we went to Cathedral Cove and we finally found where all the Americans have been hiding. Quite the hike to the beach, it was well worth it. The water was calm and clear and we all went swimming. It was so hot, you had to at least jump in once.

And now we are back to Auckland to wait until Mike arrives. I can't believe he's finally here! And Christmas is in 3 days! Happy Birthday to my sister! 

And Happy Birthday to my aunt!

And Happy Birthday to my Dad! 

More to come,

Xoxo Emma 

Monday, December 14, 2015


I have to be honest. I am not terribly sad to be leaving Dargaville. I do feel like we made the right decision coming here. I had fun. I met some interesting people, but in the end, I was ready to move on. I think I can speak for Carly and Danielle on that. We have been here exactly 70 days and it is time to get up on out of here. Now we can get down to the business of why we came here. Travel. 

We have made some memories and I can tell you that I respect the hell out of the people that work on farms. 
Yesterday was a nice day. We finished the planting and even though Liza and I were celebrating, it was just another end of the season for the locals. They will be back in a couple months for harvesting. Life goes on for them.

It is pretty special to have planted thousands of kumera plants and finally see the result. Our work has paid off. They are growing. How beautiful is that.

I don't think it will feel as though it's over until we actually drive away. Right now, I'm in limbo. It still seems like we will work tomorrow. We had a nice send off party with free beer and sausages. And of course, fried kumera. Denys, our boss' father, who used to own the farm, let us visit with his alpacas, Jeremy and Jarod. Funny names. Alpacas are really weird animals. Lucky for us, they hardly spat. I guess they liked us. Carly loves them.

What more can I say. Another door closes, but another adventure awaits. We head to Cape Reinga tomorrow and then venture south. Onwards. 

Xoxo Emma 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hello, It's Me

I'm trying out a new series of titles entitled, Adele song lyrics. 

It feels as though I have been working on this kumera farm for months and months. In reality, it has been less than two months. It has been mentally draining. Performing the same motion day in day out is exhausting. Farm life is not for me. Who would have guessed? The nice perks? No rent. No nightlife to drain our money. Good salary. And beautiful surrounding nature. 

Poor Carly had been sick for a while, so Danielle and I were on our own exploring this weekend. Our first stop? Mount Maungaraho. It's about 15 minutes outside of town and it's a giant rock formation. Sounds like fun, right? Am I asking a lot of questions? It started as a normal green trail and quickly turned into a trail clearing job from hell. As we crawled through the jungle and neared death on ledges, Danielle braved it like a pro and I saw my life flash before my eyes. It's funny. We spoke about our dreams in terms of careers. She said she realized her classroom is being outside in parks and I was like, yeah...I dig that, butttt I'd rather being in an actually classroom. Not surprising. 


We will skip over Saturday as it rained and we lazed around all day. 

On Sunday, while our German counterparts went to church, we went to the Waipoua Forest, which was beautiful. We found a random trail. This one was well kept so I liked it a lot more. We had no idea when it ended, but kept walking. It was only about an hour to the end, but boy was it muddy. I enjoy the solitude of hiking. But hiking with a friend is fun because you really get deep,  ya know? I feel like I know Danielle a lot more now. Important things, like her favorite color and if she's team gale or peeta. She's totally Gale. I'm team Katniss.

She really loves that purple jacket...

Oh no. Don't worry. The journey does not end there. Next, we drove to opononi to Hokianga harbour. The water felt amazing on my feet and after a decent four miles of hiking, getting my feet in sand was the perfect end to a lovely day. 

How lucky are we.

Til next time, 

Xoxo Emma 

Friday, November 13, 2015

I'm running out of blog post title ideas

I have realized I'm the extreme when it comes to titling things. Either I'm a genius, like a short essay on Lady Macbeth called Queen of the Damned...or The Community the Creature wanted and the Solitary Frankenstein. But then sometimes I get lazy or get a creative block and it's like, New Zealand Blog Post. Soooo there's my rambling. Oh! Maybe it could be titled, Rambling On. 

We went to the Dargaville races yesterday. It was HOT. Black jeans were a bad choice. But it was entertaining for a little bit. Horse racing isn't really my thing. We went to the derby last year and that was crazy. There's was approximately a million people and they were all drunk and throwing their money away. The Dargaville races were a little more low key. Carly won a dollar, but then gambled it away and lost 10. You gotta quit when you're ahead, I guess. 

 It was so beautiful last weekend! We went to the beach and then our boss hosted a BBQ/ bonfire with fireworks. I've never set off fireworks before, so it was a new and exciting experience for me. And the water wasn't even cold! 

Here's some of the weirdos I work with. It's strange to think we've only been here a month. In a way, I feel as though I've been planting for years, but in another way, the days are flying by. That's me, by the way, looking happy as ever to be out on the planter. I am an official planter. I work the whole day in the field now. I'm happy. It's a lot better than sortin plants and I now have a killer tan. 

This week I listened to Lena Dunham's new podcast and it was outstanding. I could listen to this podcast forever. And she led me to another podcast called Another Round. So many podcasts. So much knowledge. 

I've got to run to the library before it closes.

Til next time,


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Vampires, Chuckie, and Beetlejuice Oh My

To quote Morticia Addams, "There is much beauty in darkness." And yesterday was the most beautiful dark day of the year, All Hallows' eve. Yes, Halloween has come and gone. It doesn't have the same...magic like at home. New Zealanders don't all celebrate Halloween and not everyone even goes trick or treating. *Gasps* I feel bad for the children around the world who have never experienced the pure joy that is trick or treating. The costumes. The first time you got to go out without your parents. Finding the houses with the full sized candy bars. Haunted houses. And the best part, having a pillow case full of candy for the next month. 

No, we did not trick or treat. But I think we did a smashing job with our costumes and on a budget as well. What do you think?

 We are scary, right? Really just an excuse for me to wear a mustache. 

I hate to say the music playing at the bar we went to was horrible. And I mean that. It was so terrible. We danced through it for a while. I imagined it was Rose Royce and Bruno Mars and The Kooks. It worked for a little bit. And a costume party is great for people watching. There was a girl dressed in an amazing Beetlejuice costume. I applaud her the effort and time she must have put into it. So hey, not all parties are fun, but I love my friends and we looked kickass in or costumes. No harm, no foul. 

Plus, it gave us the chance to stay in The Cell Block, the jail renovated hostel. It was wicked cool and perfect for Halloween. What a brilliant idea, turning it into a hostel. It was a little creepy, but all part of the experience I guess. 

One of our fellow backpackers was performing a "summoning" of an Egyptian king, tut's father. But I didn't see him this morning to see how it went. Maybe he got taken? Hopefully he just checked out early, but you never know when you mess with spirits. Tricky business. 

Oh and the all blacks won the rugby World Cup. Go New Zealand!

Good night,

Xoxo Emma