Saturday, August 31, 2013

A hut on the lake.

Whilst in Thailand we headed to Khao Sok to a little hut on the lake, where we would stay the night surrounded by the rainforest, go kayaking off the little wooden walkway, trek to caves, and see monkeys!

This is such a worthwhile experience, and something you cannot do anywhere else! It felt really weird sleeping on this little hut on the lake, and I have to admit it wasn't the best night sleep I have ever had. The pure darkness due to the lake of electricity, and the feeling that we were flouting was very disconcerting! Getting past that though it was a great experience which didn't feel too touristy, and our guide was amazing and hilarious! 

Campervan Buying!

We are soon heading off on a campervaning trip around NZ and in true NZ traveller style we have bought ourselves a converted campervan! It is a people carrier which has had the seats taken out and a mattress put in the back, with some space left for storage. Buying a car like this has some risks as they are normally old, have done lots of miles, and have normally been owned by travellers with little money to spare to do it up. We therefore looked carefully into things we should check over before buying the car and I thought I would share our tips with you :)

1. Check the WOF! The newer the better, you don't want to get stuck with a huge bill just after buying the car!
2. Have the car checked out by a mechanic! We did this and it cost us $50 but this provides a much more in-depth look at how the car is running, something the WOF does not cover.
3. Don't pay ridiculous amounts, and if you can don't buy it in Auckland! People arrive in Auckland and buy campervans for far more money than they are worth elsewhere in the country. Also travellers can be really stingy! Remember the van you are buying will be old, it will have miles, and it is probably not worth $4000!
4. Go for the car which is going to come with less risk. We looked at two identical vans, and on first viewing one seemed far more aesthetically pleasing with a sink, pull out sofa bed, pull down table etc etc etc. But, this car needed its tyres and windscreen replaced. Don't get swept away with the aesthetics, they are not too hard/ expensive to put in yourself!
5. Do the standard checks, the tyres, the windscreen, make sure the windowipers etc work. We used this website, print it off and go through it when checking out the car!
6. Offer lower than the asking price, most people will add $500 onto what they actually expect!

I am going to post photos of the van before and after! I am hoping to install a sink, storage and curtains :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Paradise in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Luang Prabang, is home to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls. We spent a day here with friends swimming, jumping, and rope-swinging in the waterfall. A must do in SE Asia!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Photo of the week...

The beautiful drive to Glenorchy! One of the most scenic drives in the world!

Photo by Charles Bowman

Spaghetti CAKE!

Two of my favourite words put together, only Jamie Oliver could do that! Spaghetti Cake is something Jamie discovered whilst travelling Italy and it is so yummy! It is kind of between a quiche and a pasta dish. His was a vegetarian dish but we didn't have all the ingredients so we bulked ours up with sausage and tortellini! This was really good because it added a bite to the dish. We probably should of put more pasta in (we didn't really measure it, and it looks like Jamie had far more pasta in his) but overall it tasted soooo good!

If you want Jamies recipe head to his website.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dine & Drink in Queenstown

Yakitori Daruma Sake Bar Queenstown. 

We visited this bar for a bit of change on the usual Winnies, 1875, Searle Lane bar crawl. I have also never tried sake before. Not knowing what to order we got these shots of cold sake which were a bit gross. Its a cool place to come and drink Japanese beer though, and you must do the famous sake bombs!

I really enjoyed this bar, it had so much character which unfortunately some of the other bars in Queenstown lack! Anyone visiting Queenstown should definitely check it out, I have heard the food is good as well. The sake bombs are also so much fun, the whole bar joins in the chant and it creates a great atmosphere in the bar! My favourite drink was the Japanese beer.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Queenstown Guide.

I wish I had known some of the realities of coming to Queenstown when I headed over here, so here are some of things I learnt.

1. Its SO hard to get a job- prepare yourself.
2. Do not come from April-June, this is when shops/ restaurants etc shut down for a few months because it is so quiet.
3. If you are here for the ski season make sure you are here by mid/ end of June. It will be hard still to get a job, but go around all shops, get to know people (its the best way to find something), apply for everything and anything. You cannot be picky in this town.
4. Pester the Job Agency, and be reliable when they give you shifts
5. Arriving mid/end of June does limit you housing wise, but its better than sitting around with no job. Live in Queenstown if you can, Fernhill is cold and damp (its in the shade a lot), and there's not much going on in Frankton.
6. Electricity is expensive, try and find somewhere with a heat pump, and is modern and warm.
7. Watch out for leases, we have to give two weeks notice before we leave but many people will ask you to sign up to a 6 months lease.
8. You are in Queenstown to have fun, don't get bogged down with work. This is not the place to go and make money.
9.. Go to The Remarkables Sweet Shop, and get Creme Bruele Fudge
10. Go to The Sake bar!
11. If you come in a low season try and win a sky dive! There are competitions in the bars all the time, and with so little people in the bars it is easy to win!
12. The Lakes Weekly is your new best friend, it has all the jobs in so make sure you grab one!
13. Speak to people, get to know people who work in shops/ bars and you will have more chance of getting a job!
14. If you come to Queenstown you will meet people from all over the world, but you won't meet Kiwis! Its a tourist town, and Kiwis are no where to be seen. This was the first thing that shocked me, every shop I went in I was greeted by English shop assistants etc. Its an amazing town, but its not the real NZ, so make sure you travel around NZ as well whilst you are here.
15. Queenstown doesn't have any big, cheap supermarkets which other towns have. You have to learn how to shop here, and what to buy, but you can do a cheapish shop if you buy things which are in season.


I LOVE New Zealand, and I would love to live here forever if my family and friends could join me. However, there are some quintessentially English things I really miss!

1. Our countryside. New Zealand is pretty damn beautiful itself, but I think being an English girl I will always love the English Countryside more. Its so green!

2. The English sense of humour! I really miss our sense of humour, I need some more sarcasm and self-deprecation back in my life.

3. Shopping! I have never appreciated how much choice, and what great style we have in England.

4. Trains. I love the simpler way of life here in NZ, and not needing to get to different places fast. But growing up in England you are used to convenience, and sometimes when planning a trip everything would be a lot easier if you could jump on a train.

5. English Architecture. I miss our old historic building, which make our country really unique!

6. Queueing! This is something I particularly missed in SE Asia! English people love to queue, and we cannot stand it when people don't respect the queue. This is a daily occurrence when queuing to do the jumps on Coronet Peak, or The Remarks, where people are constantly butting in. If it was England an orderly queue would be made.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A tour of our Queenstown flat

In an earlier blog post I listed what inspired me when decorating our little Queenstown flat. I love lots of bold cushions but unfortunately couldn't afford to buy new cushions for our temporary home. However, the flat was fully furnished when we started renting it and I made the most of the cushions which came with the flat. I also bought some frames from Warehouse (the NZ version of Wilkinsons), and found lots of pictures on-line and from magazines to fill the frames. Candles and a floral throw completed our look and added some colour. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 9.

15 photos for 15 days in Queenstown

'Up on the hill was a lonely goat'.

Walking up Queenstown hill on a lovely sunny day :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 8.

15 photos for 15 days in Queenstown

Our attempt at Jamie Oliver's Spaghetti Cake! Sounded too crazy not to try. We actually really enjoyed it, its similar to a quiche! I am going to put up a step by step guide for this so other people can try this too :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 7

15 photos for 15 days in Queenstown.

Today I worked a 12 hour day and the most interesting thing that happened was this plane coming into landing practically above my head whilst walking to work.