This is a new anti-drink driving commercial that NZTA has put out! It is GREAT!
Posts tagged canadians working overseas
This past Friday was the opening of the Rugby World Cup and it was EPIC! The Auckland City Council had contacted all of the local business to recommend that they let staff off at 3pm and luckily my employer agreed! From the get go in the morning there was a buzz and excitement in the city. Everyone was rocking black and white in support of the All Blacks. To be honest it had to be one of the most unproductive days in New Zealand history. I think everyone was just waiting to start the party!
At 3pm we had a couple beers in the office and then it was off to Base to have some drinks on there balcony bar. The streets were just getting busier and busier by the minute. I didnt even bother to try and get into Party Central or even hit up the Queens Warf as it was already full – I could see that it was backed up at 2:30pm with people waiting to enter, so I wasn’t going to go fight those crowds. I was happy to be at a bar watching it with a group of Rugby mad travellers from all over the world! With the beers flowing we watched a fleet of Waka’s arrive into the harbour, a mass haka, live music from Dave Dobin and the Finn Brothers. After a couple beers at Base we shifted down the road to the Bluestone Room that was packed full with partygoers. Here it was jug after jug of beer with a bunch of rugby fanatics from France at our table.
There was a massive fireworks show at 8pm. Six thousand explosive shells wereill be let off from four floating barges in the harbour, the SkyTower and four buildings in the CBD. EPIC! The streets were packed with people supporting their team and the party was in full motion. People were on top of bus shelters dancing, in the streets, up light poles and on any space available. The fireworks lasted 12 mins and it was mesmerizing!
With the fireworks done it was back to the bar to watch the opening ceremonies before the game. The opening ceremonies included mix of Maori tradition and rugby heritage. It was amazing too! Well-done New Zealand! Soon enough the game was on and the Rugby World Cup had begun. The All Blacks and the Tongan’s each did there haka.. awesome! Then the All Blacks easily beat the Tonga side, but it was a fun game to watch and the atmosphere was electric.
On the walk home from the pub the CBD (central business district) was packed with people. It was estimated that 200,000 people were downtown and the Queens Warf had an additional 12,000 people. That is a lot of partygoers! For the most part there wasn’t a lot of trouble. Of course there were a couple fights, but with that many (intoxicated) people in one spot it is bound to happen. In the end the police arrested 63 people. Overall, it was an EPIC event! New Zealand should be proud as they represented very well. The tournament runs for 6 weeks, so this is just the beginning. When the All Blacks win, it will be pandemonium!
It’s back to the grind for me! My month long vacation has come to an end and I am now back in New Zealand. My trip home was amazing. It was great to be able to catch up with my friends and family. My month consisted of visiting friends in my home town, a couple trips to Toronto to visit old co-workers, hanging out with my young niece and nephew, helping my brother move into his new house, and two weeks of bliss at the cottage. To be honest I think I forgot how beautiful Canada was. Maybe I took it for granted, but going home with fresh eyes made me realize how lucky I am to be able to live in Canada. I know I rave about how stunning and amazing New Zealand is, but Canada is right there beside New Zealand.
Im now working on obtaining residency in New Zealand and hopefully it will be a smoother process than obtaining my second work visa for New Zealand. I love being in New Zealand. It just feels like a second home. Flying into Auckland felt great, it just felt right. Don’t know why, but it did. I do think I will move back to Canada one day, but for now New Zealand is home and I feel lucky to be able to call it that.
So what is in the forecast for me? Of course lots and lots of riding! Taking a month of the bike has let my shoulder fully recover – sweet! I keep thinking to myself I should have a more balanced life, not just riding in all of my sparetime. This is easy for me to say and hard for me to do. All I want to do is ride on the weekends/evenings, but I am going to try and make a effort to mix it up. Meh.. we will see, but odds are Ill be riding just as much or more a year from now. Who am I kidding I live to ride and ride to live.
Maybe you are wondering why there has been no recent post on this blog… well let me tell you a story. I had some trouble getting my second work visa for New Zealand. I ended up having to apply for 3 different visas until immigration found a visa that would work with my situation. This meant that I have been in New Zealand for the last 4 months without a visa, without being able to work, without being able to leave since i would not be allowed back in. It was a stressful 4 months to say the least. Just before the trouble started I purchased a flight to come home to Canada for the month of July. Of course once i had laid down my hard earned money on a flight i found out that there was some issues with my visa. I was hoping the visa situation would work itself out by July, but there seemed to be no rush from immigration to assist me. My flight back to Canada was on June 29th and I had until the 27th of June to cancel my flight so I could obtain a partial refund (I would loose $750!!). On the morning of the 27th I was planning on cancelling my flight, but before I thought I would check my online account with immigration to see if there had been any changes. To my utter surprise there was. It was lodged. My mind started to run; is there any chance it would be issued before the end of the day?? Who knows… I then go back to the website 20 mins later and find that immigration has issued me another work visa! Pure joy and excitement overtake me. Im high-five’n everyone and the stress from the last 4 months was instantly gone!
Next thing that was on my agenda was to get ready for Canada! Yikes ive only got 2 days and I have so much to do. Ive got tonne of work to do: pack, get some prezzies for family and kids, hand-over notes for work and so on. To be honest the day i was issued my visa, it was impossible to work. My mind was running in a thousand different directions. In the end I managed to get a lot of it done, but I will be doing a bit of work online from Canada. Which i think is a fair trade off!
I writing this short update from Canada and this will be the only posting until i return home to Auckland on the 29th of July. So for the month of July I will be in Toronto visiting friends and past co-workers, helping my bro move into his new house, hanging out with my niece and nephew, catching up with my best friends and chilling at the cottage for the last two weeks. Coming home has been amazing and I am seeing it in entirely different eyes. Sometimes you get so accustomed to things around you, you forget how amazing this country is. I didn’t realise how much i missed everyone and everything until I got home. Now I am just trying to take it all in and enjoy every minute I am home!
For the final day in the Southern Lakes district we would take a bit of a tour to Wanaka. Up early as usual we hit up Bob’s Weigh for breakie. It’s a great little place downtown Queenstown that great food and coffee. After a good feed we loaded into the car and headed through Crown range, which I believe is the highest range in New Zealand. Once again, stunning scenery everywhere. This is the kind of road that buses aren’t allowed on as it is windy, narrow and steep!
The first stop of the day was for a beer at the Cardrona Hotel, located in the Cardrona Valley. It is one of New Zealand’s first hotels as it was established in 1863 because of the gold rush. Now a popular tourist stop, it’s a great place to have a drink and take a break while driving through the crown ranges.
After a beer it was back into the car and 45 mins to Wanaka. Wanaka is a small town that started because of the gold rush. Now it is your typical tourist town, with a huge number of people moving their over the winter months because of its close proximity to the ski hills. It’s located on the southern end of the Lake Wanaka, so it is busy in the summer with many locals visiting during their holidays. We didn’t spend too much time in Wanaka, as there isn’t much to do. Pubs, cafes, tourists shops pretty much own the town center.
From Wanaka we headed to puzzle world. Here you can find your way through a maze, (which completely frustrated me) visit the optical illusion rooms and try to figure you more puzzles from all over the world. We spent about two hours here and that was enough. I’m not one for puzzles, so not really my kind of stop, but when you are in the area.. why not!
Done with all of the games it was into Queenstown to head up the Gondola to watch the sunset. We managed to time this perfectly. Some photos on the viewing deck and beers in the pub. From here we had dinner at the speight’s ale house, where you can always count on a hardy meal. That pretty much sums up the last day of our southern trip. I love it down south and hope try life in the south sometime in the future.
How do you start your day when you are visiting Queenstown, New Zealand? How about jumping off a 134 meter bridge and following it with the worlds largest canyon swing.. sound good? That is exactly how I started my day in Queenstown. First I headed into the A.J. Hackett office and registered for the bungy and canyon swing and then it’s a waiting game. They have videos playing of all of their jump locations and free use of computers so you can facebook all your mates around the world letting them know that you are about to do something extremely adrenalin filled.
Once you board the bus, the driver pokes a little fun at the situation, puts on some tunes and then it is off to the Nevis Valley. The ride takes roughly 40 minutes and the bus was pretty quiet, a nervous silence you could say. You could see the fear in the eyes of some and excitement in others. I was pretty stoked and a wee bit nervous too.
Upon arrival to the jump location you are briefed, geared out with a harness and then it is time to head out in a cable car to reach the jump pod which is hanging over the Nevis Valley. It’s high, really high! Once in the jump pod the fun begins. People get twitchy and even a little funny. Tears, laughter and excitement and is a common site. You sit and watch as people toss themselves from the jump pod. It is great to watch and then it’s your turn. I personally love doing bungy’s. They feel extremely safe to me and are a great shot of adrenalin. It’s crazy how plunging toward the earth with the ground rushing towards you makes you feel a live.
After the bungy it was off to do the worlds largest canyon swing. This was awesome. You first get to walk across a seriously wicked suspension bridge that sways with the wind! Since I had did the Nevis first, they said I should do it upside down and backwards.. sounds good to me! Strapped in, wave to the camera and then whoosh you are off screaming through the valley at mind blowing speeds.
Both the bungy and canyon swings are a must do! If it isn’t on your bucket list, added it! New Zealand is the home of the bungy, so you must do at least one while here and with the largest canyon swing right there why wouldn’t ya make it a doubele shot of adrenalin! Thanks Queenstown for the new addiction – my name is Mike and I am a adrenalin addict!
Ive got a busy week ahead! On Tuesday I am off to Wellington for work and Wednesday I will be down in the south island in Christchurch. This will be my first time back in Christchurch since the earth quake. Just yesterday there was a 5.0 magnatiude aftershock 11km below the serface. There were no injuries thankfully, but from the photos it looks like there was a lot of liquifaction. Now that is nothing compared to what hit early this year, but it still makes me a bit nervous about heading there. Hopefully the earth remains motionless while I am down south.
After Christchurch I am off to Queenstown for Easter. Michelle and my mate Tim will be meeting me down there where we plan to do a bit of a tour. We’ve got a car rented and accommodation booked for a couple nights. The rest of the time we will be staying with Tim’s brother. Im looking forward to touring around down south with a local, as they always know the best spots. We will be hitting up Milford Sound, which im pretty stoked about. The place looks prestine and Ive only heard good things. We will also be visiting Wanaka, Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Cromwell and Alexandra. Unlike my last trip to Queenstown, this is a non-riding trip.
This time of year brings a lot of travel through work. Ill be heading off in May as well to Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North. On the road again…
On Sunday Michelle and I went to the Auckland Domain for the Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix. It was the third trolley race held in NZ and the winner gets $10,000! Teams come from all over New Zealand to compete in hope that they will be crowned the champion. They are judged on the following criteria 1) Creativity (originality, innovation and design) 2) performance (showmanship of the team before and during the race – including introduction skits, spins, crashes and costumes) and 3) finish time (race time)
It was a blast of a event! There were over 100,000 people there! Finding a good place to stand was a bit tough. They did have a huge screen so you could watch the trolley’s make there way down the windy course. I would recommend getting there an hour or two early and trying to get a spot at the jump, which is where everyone crashed! We managed to stand a long the side of the course for a while, which was a great place to see the fly by (well some flew by, some didn’t make it 100 meters).
The trolley’s were amazing. They had a Buzz Bee toy, roast chicken, mr potatoe head, run-a-way portaloo, giant golf ball, transformer, lego, office desk, mt taranaki and heaps more! There were over 80 enteries for this event. When I first heard about the event I tried to enter a team, but unforunately it was too late.
The atmosphere was electric and everyone was there for a goodtime! I don’t even know who won, but it was heaps of fun and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Here is a short video from my gopro helmet cam from Grundy’s Track in Queenstown, New Zealand. This track is basically a link between a couple other trails. Fun track.. enjoy!
I can’t believe I have been in New Zealand for one year now! The time has gone by so quickly. Looking back it is just one big fun ride! Ive enjoyed myself so much that I am looking to extend my stay in NZ for another year! Ill keep everyone posted on how that goes… at the moment it’s trying & stressful, but I am just trying to keep in positive spirits.
So I figure it is a goodtime to look at my to-do list and see what exactly I have or have not accomplished from it.
1. Heli-Bike – I cant say I have done this. I did push my bike up a mountain that is commonly heli-biked and hussed down, but no heli ride as of yet.
2. Bungee Jump – Done. Though I would still like to do the Nevis in Queenstown as it is much bigger than the Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungee.
3. Sky Dive – Nope.. still keen, just haven’t gotten around to it.
Learn to surf – Done… well I did a lesson and did ride a couple waves, but I am no surfer.
5. Abseil Waitomo – Done. I actually did this twice, so double check mark!
6. Hike Tangario – Half-done.. so I guess not done. Last year we hiked to summit but had to turn back because of a snow storm and 60km gust.. that was awesome!
7. Work in Bakery – hasn’t happened. I was luckily enough to secure a job a couple weeks before I arrived in NZ and it has been great. Working within the travel industry means discounts and freebies!
8. Learn Yoga – Nope.. didn’t realize how bloody expensive a class is.. yikes!
9. Go Whale Watching – haven’t made it out yet. I could go out in Auckland, but want to save it for Kaikoura as it is the best spot to see whales.
10. Scuba Dive – snorkel – nope.
11. Ride in Moa Beer race – nope. I totally forgot about this race and missed it. Ah well.. im not super keen. But I have drank my share of Moa.. half done ahah
12. WOOF – nope. Been working and had no time to woof.. maybe some other time.
13. Couch surf – haven’t done this, but have managed to meet locals and crash out at their place. So I consider it accomplished.
14. See All Blacks play. Done.. I watched them demolish Wales.
15. Kite-board – this came in as a suggestion and I am still keen. Just been lazy I guess. Being so mountain bike obsessed means that I pretty much ride in my spare time rather than trying some new things… must work on that!
Wow.. still have quite a few things to do! If I wasn’t so addicted to riding tracks over here Im sure I would have more checked off!
A lot of my motivation in NZ has been to ride mountain bike tracks all over this country and I would have to say ive been pretty successful at this. Ive rode tracks all over both the north and south islands and had a couple weeklong bike trips to some wild places. Ive met some amazing locals that have shown me tracks that I would have never had a chance to ride without their knowledge. Do I more tracks to ride and see… HELL YES! I have a few things in the works for riding this year and you will have to stay tuned to learn more.. but if it works out should be big epic rides!
Now what have I missed about home.. family. This was my first Christmas away from everyone and it was toughest time I had in NZ. My family is always in my thoughts and Im always thinking about what I am missing: my nephew and niece getting older, family get togethers, partying and getting way to carried away with my brother, the cottage, my mates and I could carry on with this list for ages, but who really wants to hear about.
So what is to come? First thing first I need to sort this visa out or I will be deported. At Easter I will be heading back down to Queenstown with Michelle and my mate Time (who is a Queenstown local) to see the sites. This is a none bike riding trip – so we plan to do Milford Sounds, Wanaka, Te Anau, Cromwell, Alexander, Glenorchy and whatever else comes a long. Ive got a couple work trips, where I will be taking my bike a long (of course) to ride. And like I wrote earlier, hopefully some big epic rides to come.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of heading to NZ or anywhere else in the world to work and travel… do it! It will most likely be the best experience of your life! Don’t just think about it, make a plan, pick a departure date and go!