Tag Archives: accommodation

NZ: Where all good things are on mount-hills

Since the glory of Queenstown I’ve been to Franz Josef Glacier…which…was underwhelming, especially seeing as how the ‘2 hour return easy walk’ was really 3 hours …if you took the right track…and if you took the wrong track, twice it was nearly 4 hours, and not a light walk that could be done in flip flops, but actually a series of mini-mountain climbs to see a quickly melting chunk of ice on a mountain. Upside, Montrose backpackers was a total hit for 20 bucks a night.

Then the bus stopped at Punaikaki (Spelling??) where the bus gives you 20 minutes to walk 2km and take photos of rocks that look like stacks of pancakes (arguable)…which is cool….but you definitely feel like you should have more time than you do.

Next was Nelson, which is a main hub to get to the Abel Tasman National Park…which is supposed to be beautiful, and I’m sure it is…but was it as beautiful enough to outweigh my exhaustion from the forever walk to Franz Josef? …not the first day…then the second day I went to markets. The Nelson Markets–amazing!! SO many great vendors of food, produce, jewellery, purses, and more. Unfortunately I have a knack for being really interested in anything hand/home made, and am great at making conversation with old people. More unfortunately, unlike in malls or other retail situations, when I’ve been talking to the person who directly profits from my business for half an hour I feel required to make a purchase….I did mostly refrain, but I have a surplus of plums (Mr. Plum), and 4 for $2.50 avocados….and way too many sunflower seeds. But some brands worth noting: Jewels Vine ( amazing hand made jewlery, he makes things like owls, robots, and other pendants with over 10 pieces per unit which is crazy detail…ALL by hand!), Glen Wood Craft (amazing bowls and plates made from cross sections of massive trees….I talked to him for probably 45 minutes, the last 15 about how the resin keeps hot pasta hot…fun fact…seriously GORGEOUS pieces, all hand carved), and Kohl & Cochineal which had amazing hand bags…like gorgeous, like samsara ish style but with luscious leather, and the market sells her one of a kind testers… a bit of an investment from 200-500 per bag, but totally worth it for such unique pieces.

Anyway that was exhausting…yes, I’m referring to the 6 hours I spent chatting up vendors and eating jam samples….so went back to Paradiso Backpackers (and propped myself up by the pool), the next day I was still fairly knackered so I decided to take what was recommended as a ‘light stroll’ to the center of New Zealand…the actual geographical centre…based on what, I don’t know…the point is that it was a 20 minute up hill climb, and of course, I was wearing my tried and true old navy flip flops once again. I will say on that note that everyone with Havaiianas as had their flipsflips bust and mine have been killing it for almost 4 months.

So, then I was tired again, walked the 5km along the different parks and gardens by the water and called it a night. Then I was determined to see the sand and still waters of Abel Tasman…then it rained…additionally it was the super bowl. Which leads me to a somewhat humorous moment of asking my roommates if anybody wanted to go watch it with me. The response: 9 blank stares, and a German asking “Is that a food competition?”

I managed to find Germans who did know what it was….not anything about it but what it was. So we watched at the hostel while they searched every call and rule then google translated it to German…Not quite the party we see at home…ohhhh and we got KFC take out, that part is the only ‘superbowl–ish’ component of the story.

Then off to Picton I went where I stayed at Atlantis backpackers. Lovely place, run by a family….free breakky and dessert so no complaints from me for 15 a night from nakedsleep. This was the 3rd in a row of independent hostels with hand made wooden bunkbeds that don’t creek when you climb into the top bunk, have heaps of couches, free tea/coffee/spices in the kitchen, and a way homier feel…definitely peeved I got ripped off on my base bed hopper pass…do independent hostels in New Zealand!! So then this morning the hostel owner Sheira (Sooooo great, goes above and beyond all the time offering rides and coordinating sweet activities, and singing …not that that reminds me of home…but it makes it seem like somebody’s home) took us to a Maori tribe to be welcomed in for the celebration. It’s kind of like the opposite of independence day…it celebrates when the Maori and discoverers agreed upon peace over the land. Anyway, the building we went to was stunning and had amazing artwork done within the last 20 years and the people were super friendly. This could open up a ton of discussion on the way Canada/Oz/NZ treat our aboriginals…but I’ll leave that for a later time when I feel like stirring the pot.

Now I’m on the ferry from Picton to Wellington down the Cook Strait which is between the north and south islands of new zealand. You can take the interislander or bluebridge. Bluebridge worked out 5 dollars cheaper booking online and didn’t require a 2 dollar online booking fee, but either way you’ll expect to pay around 50 bucks for this ride. It is a 3 hour ferry through some gorgeous sounds though…almost a mini Milford. Bluebridge is great, they play movies on plasma TVs have free unlimited wifi, tons of cafeteria/bar/lounge/kiosk space and a large viewing deck. Its all new and clean, I can’t compare to the interislander but I’d definitely ride Bluebridge again! (I think they are the up and coming independent brand…interislander is public and the water version of the intercity buses.

Now off to Wellington! A friend told me nitro circus is there…won’t be hitting that up BUT There’s a massive travel expo for the flight center where I’m hoping to find a sweet deal on a tour to Africa! Coming up on the north island: Tongariro Crossing, Waitomo Caves, the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Islands, and visiting a couple friends from home!….busy 3 weeks ahead…oh and booking the first legs of ASIAAAAAAA

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Review: Wake Up! Sydney Central

I must say I was dreading the move from our luxury flat in Bondi back to hostel living, but Wake Up! Sydney was super clean, spacious, and made me remember the sweetest part of travelling: meeting people from around the world!! The rather good looking front desk lads didn’t hurt the first impression either.

Wake up checked off all my boxes on the perfect hostel list except for free internet, but good luck with that in Sydney CBD. First, they had super clean washrooms and kitchen. It’s actually the first hostel that’s had a sign saying ‘if the washrooms [or ‘toilets’] aren’t clean please tell the front desk’ so they’re definitely committed to the cleanliness for all guests [Bonus: unreal water pressure!]. They also pre-warned when they were going to do a total clean (vaccuming etc.) of bunk hostels so you could clean your things and help them get it super neat which is legit…I swear the floor in Nomads Cairns wasn’t vacuumed ever while I was there for 8 days.

There was tons of room in the kitchen and plenty of silverware, plates, and pots to go around. Also the first hostel that has had enough food storage space….my bag sat in the same spot in the fridge the whole week I was there—miracle! There was also seriously legit stuff in the free food bin (cheap backpacker’s Christmas), and they cleaned out the fridges regularly so nothing was spilling or going bad. I don’t know if it’s the million signs, really good cleaners, or just that Wake Up attracts sweet people, but I’ve never seen a kitchen look so clean a half hour before close on a Saturday night. Everyone washed up after themselves and was sharing leftover food—totally the friendliest hostel I’ve been to.

There were 2 city tours and a beach walk every week which I would have totally taken advantage of (free beer to follow!) had I been new to Sydney and not been working alllllll day every day. Love that there are 2 city tours so you’re not screwed if you have a short stay. Sydney is the first stop for so many travellers, so it’s such a great service to have, I managed to find my way when I got here…but I was living with a local and have English as a first language.

Also a free bbq on Thursday night! Free food is the way to a girl’s heart, fuck diamonds…They did announcements every night reminding people about activities and sweet things happening in the bar which was great for bunks as it gets everyone to bond over plans for the night. There was a sick Hawaiian beach party the Saturday I was there at Side Bar…everybody loves a theme party. I am not even lying when I say even my Sydney friends had heard of Side Bar (The bar in the hostel), because it’s such a good time and sweet location. Being right by the train station it is a hub for people staying in suburb hostels, other Sydneysiders, and because it’s better than any other hostel bar Side Bar was always the meeting point for my friends pre-night out or til the wee hours. Wake Up also has a café with cheap breakfast deals, and a great view in the sunny mornings, and Side Bar has 8 dollar meals nightly, as well as a 10 dollar steak! It’s no alberta beef…BUT it was way better than the burnt grizzle I had at down under bar in Airlie Beach!

Another sweet feature about Wake Up! is that there are SO MANY room options. Everything from Double beds, triple rooms, and 10 bed dorms are on every floor of the 7 floor hostel in a renovated historical building right across from central station. The more private rooms have TVs which is a HUGE bonus! This allows for friends of any group size to be together and also brought in every age and type of traveller which led me to meeting travellers I hadn’t typically met in Nomads while travelling down the coast. I met some older travellers, some vacationers with bigger budgets, and people from places other than the UK and Germany! (not that there’s anything wrong with the British….) Wake Up is a great place for the partier or the traveller headed to work in the morning, definitely a prime spot for any ‘princess level’ and budget!

Although I’m on my way out of Oz, Wake up definitely seemed to have every service humanly possible to land you on your feet if you had just arrived. They had a desk for everything from jobs to travel plans, tons of computers to pay for internet ($40/week is alright…otherwise the $4/hr was hefty…standard…but a hard pill to swallow after the spoiled flat life). They sold phone recharges and had tons of maps and Sydney-savvy staff (my test is asking for a running route close by).

All in all, I’d definitely pay the extra 8 or so dollars it costs to stay at wake up v. some of the other backpackers close to George street. (PS: the location is SICK…not only is it right beside central station, but it’s also right by darling harbour and china town…china town = dollar stores and cheap food!!). The internet is my only beef…but there is a Peterpans 3 minutes away as well as every other backpacker travel store that offers free internet. There are also numerous ‘macca’s’ [McDonalds] within a reasonable walk. I know friends in every variety of room that were beyond happy with their space and roommates, in fact most of my friends that were staying in wake up were repeat patrons. Helpful [pretty] staff, CLEAN, and tons of activities and ways to meet people. Considering the fact that they could get by on the historic building and location alone, Wake up has taken great care and pride in their building and way above industry standard initiative as far as activities and welcoming its guests to Sydney (and to many, Australia).

When in Sydney

Ahhh I’m so excited to share this post with you all!  So here’s the background, I’m leaving in THREE sleeps for Oz, so I figured might as well attempt to apply for some jobs and look at places to live seeing as how I can actually make appointments with people relatively soon.  Most of the jobs I’ve applied for seem to reply with “come visit when you get here”, and most of the places to live are not willing to wait to make an appointment because they rent by the week so turnover is much quicker.

I will begin by discussing places to live.  So this is ONLY in Sydney, I’ve looked at other places too (Melbourne, cairns, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Byron…) but for some reason Sydney has some sort of extra charm.  There are ads on gumtree [basically Aussie Kijiji] for roomshares and flat shares.  As much as a roomshare could suck, it could be decent if I shared with one person and saved tons of cash ( I thought).  So here are some of the ads I managed to find.

” FREE kimchi 
FREE rice 
FREE washing powder 
FREE toilet paper 
FREE laundry & dryer 
FREE wifi 
FREE foxtell”

The free toilet paper thing is pretty sick…however I cannot imagine how my belongings would smell with unlimited rice and kimchi being produced in a 2bdrm apartment in Sydney CBD (CBD is central business district…basically ‘downtown’_)

“free for attractive femail 16-25”

ew…ew…ew

“free toilet paper, rice, laundry, wifi. Pool and sauna and gym in building. close to transit…”

sweet?

…”share 2bdrm 1bath with 7 students from asia”

no, gracias.

“share double bed with german girl in sydneycbd 200pw plus bills plus wifi”

In what world is that acceptable or a good deal…maybe if it were a German boy…

So, you get the point. Moving on to jobs.  I’m planning on applying for cafe jobs because they’re fun, I’ve done it here, and I figure I have to pack less nice clothes.  I applied for the following ad (once again on gumtree)

“looking for 2 cafe all rounders/baristas to start asap.  make great cash and meet lots of new people.  ideal for holiday visas/backpackers.  email your CV , info about yourself, and a photo so we know who we’re chatting with to  ____ for more information on an awesome job near the beach today!”

Vague, no website…I get how it’s not gleaming with legitimacy, but I did NOT expect this reply:

Hi babe 
the boss loves ur photo and asked me to send u this package below 
thank you for your reply, your job is looking after 25promo girls,
booking
travel arrangements
and travel with him ,organising meetings and sit in them,with him
,all the admin which he will train u paying the girls, typing
proposals, getting in sponcers …
Remuneration
5.1 Your Total Salary will be aprox $1000.00 per week, paid weekly.
5.2 Your salary shall be reviewed annually to such an amount as may be
recommended by your manager.
5.3 An annual salary review does not necessarily guarantee an increase
to
your salary.
5.4 10% shall be paid every time you bring in a sponsor.
5.5 $100.00 shall be paid every time your promo girls sell a
cruise.2000×100= 200k
5.6 If you complete a sale of the boat injune 2012, you shall receive a
bonus of $250,000 .
5.7 so total payout should be 500k.possable 1milliom.
5.8 company car (sporty) in Sydney
5.90 end of the months shopping time/day spa
5.10 Every second week hair and nails, pedicure
u provided u keep
him happy on the side .. are u up for it its fun babe
discretely wat are ur thoughts . .
when are u free to meet up with him for an interview

___ 

p.sbabe u will set ur self up for life r u up for a challenge

So, yeah. That being said, if anybody has any opinions on where to live in Australia while trying to make money and have fun, or where to work, or has a friend needing a flatmate for a reasonable price, I’d love to hear from you.

Three Sleeps!!