I just heard that New Zealander’s based in Auckland experience some of the top rated quality of life in the world! Oh yah.. no wonder I love this place so much. (Don’t kid yourself though, Canada always ranks near the top too!) NZ held 3rd spot on the Mercer 2011 Quality of Life Survey for the 4th straight year and taking the highest ranking in the Asian Pacific region… take that Australia. The researches considered 39 pieces of criteria including economic environment, health, education, transport, housing, personal freedom and recreational factors like restaurants, sports facilities and cinemas. Out of 221 cities Auckland took third place… suck that Wellington! If you don’t know there is a bit of competition Wellington and Auckland… not really surprised to hear this as NZ has a pretty chill lifestyle. If you don’t believe, come down and give it go!
Posts tagged live and work in new zealand
This past weekend was Michelle’s Birthday weekend, so we headed down to Raglan for a little R&R! We scored a deal from grabone, which is an online discount site where you can get deals on everything from clothing to weekend getaways. For $150 we got 2 nights accommodation at Solscape and surf lesson (board and wetsuit included)… pretty good deal.
Upon arrival to Raglan we had some fish and chips and then headed out to check out Bridal Falls – a 60-meter waterfall just outside of Raglan. There are three viewing decks; top, middle and bottom. It only takes about 10 mins to walk to the waterfall and another 10 to walk to the bottom. Very picturesque, def worth the walk. It is here I realized that I didn’t charge my battery for my camera, even though I had thought I did… oops! After Bridal Falls went back into Raglan to get some food and pick up a disposable camera – who knew they still made them! Finished shopping we headed out of Raglan to Solscape an eco hostel part of the YHA chain.
Solscape is nestled in the hills mount Karioi which over looks the tasman sea. They have a variety of accommodation 1) Cabooses – 12 NZ rail cars that have been fitted out for a good nights sleep, which offer singles, double and dorms. 2) Tipis – 3 different sized tipis that are outfitted with beds and are located a short 5 minute walk into the bush – def want to go back and stay in them 3) Camping – 6 camper van and 8 tent sites that overlook the ocean. All of the accommodation have access to the two kitchens and lots of shower facilities and we cannot forget an eco reading room… yup this place is run by hippies! It is a great little hostel and I would totally recommend it to anyone looking for a unique hostel in Raglan. The staff was very friendly and helpful and even provided a bit about the history of the hostel.
We stayed in the caboose which was a new experience for both Michelle and I. It was outfitted with a double bed, a couple shelves and a heater to keep that tin can warm! It was really cozy! After settling in there we went into Raglan for a nice birthday dinner at the hotel. There isn’t a lot of choices for restaurants in Raglan but the hotel did put on a mean feed! After dinner we picked up some beers and chilled back in our caboose ahaha that just sounds funny eh! The next morning we went to the beach, collected sea shells and drift wood (michelle’s choice) and then toured the touristy shops of Raglan where we scored some sweet xmas presents from some family back home.
Our surf lesson was at 2pm so we had a quick lunch and headed back to the hostel to chill before our lesson. There were only 4 people in the lesson, which was way better than the last one I had at another hostel in Raglan (40 ppl in that) We did a bit of a briefing at the hostel and then squeezed into our wetsuits and headed down to the beach. Once at the beach we did a couple more practice paddles on the sand and then it was straight into the water. I did so much better this time around! I got up the majority of the time.. I loved it! Michelle on the other hand wasn’t enjoying it as much as me. After a few attempts she decided it wasn’t for her and called it a day.
Once back at the hostel it was a quick shower and then off to a mates place down the road for a BBQ. Their batch was sick! It had a hot tub and nice private deck – super chill! Here we had a couple beers and a good feed. I didn’t get carried away as i usually do since i was driving..yup i had to behave. We were sitting around on the deck when we heard a rustle in the bush. At first we thought it was a Tui bird, but it seemed a bit loud for that. All of a sudden a shadow emerged and started coming towards the table. I thought it must be a possum and as soon as i said that one of the girls at the table screamed. Just after the scream emerged a dog. Im guessing it smelt BBQ and was hoping for a treat. It hung around for a while and then wandered off. We stuck around a couple more hours and then headed off to our caboose to call it a night.
So this week I was too head down to Wellington to attend a conference put on by Tourism New Zealand. I heard about this conference last minute so I registered pretty late in the game. By doing so I unfortunately I booked a flight on Jet Star, going against a promis I made to myself to never book on that airline, as Ive always had shit experinces. Looking at flight costs Jet Star was a couple hundred dollars cheaper compared to Air New Zealand, so ill save the company some money and take the cheap flight. Turns out that cheap flight would cost me more in time and money!
The conference started on Thursday at 9am, meaning it was going to be an early morning. I was up at 5am to catch the bus at 5:30am, which would have gotten me to the airport at 6:10am. All airlines will ask you to arrive at least a ½ hour early before your domestic flight. This is what I had planned on, but the the airbus running 5 mins late I arrived at the airport at 6:15am. I really didnt think much of it as it was 5 mins and there was still plenty of time to board. WRONG! I guess Jet Star closes the gates exactly 30 mins priror too departure. Being that I was only 25 minutes early to my flight I was denied to boarding. BRUTAL! I didnt have any luggage to check – I told them that, but they said they had already printed the passanger list. I guess they limited ink and paper, so reprinting was out of the question. WTF! Customer serivice doesnt live at Jet Star. I had to pay $90 and catch a flight at 10:30am making me late for the start of the conference.
I finally get into Wellington and hit up the conference, which is great by the way. Day one went off without a hitch, well other than not catching my flight. Day two was just as good. Learnt lots of useful and interesting things and the day flew by. I catch my shuttle to the airport for my 7:25pm flight. This time I am a good hour early – not missing this flight. Little did I know…
Things are ticking a long like they should. I grab a bite to eat, have a beer, read some of my book and then proceed through security. No problems.. so far. Get on plane, buckle up and we start to make the move to take off and then all of a sudden the pilot comes on and tells us there is a problem and that he will have to park the plane and have one of the engineers come on and take a look at the problem. Ok, a little hickup and we will be off soon. WRONG!
After sitting on the plane for an hour we were asked to get off the plane and sit in the departure lounge. 5 hours later we are still sitting in the lounge waiting for some information – any infomration, but no we are being kept in the dark. We ask the flight attendants what is going on and they give the same old line, ‘we dont know anytthing, but as soon as we do we will let you know.’ There is another Jet Star plane sitting at the next gate and someone ask, ‘cant we just use that one?’ to which they reply ‘sorry, that plane is not working as well.’ My confidence in the Jet Star fleet of planes is at an all time low. Do I even want to get on one of these fucking planes?
All this time Im just rolling with it, what else can you do eh! So im reading, listening to music and just waiting for info. Then I see all of the staff come off the plane, bags in hand and head the opposite way of the passangers. They didnt even bother coming to tell us that the flight had been cancelled. WTF!
As soon as I saw them come off the plane I new it was time to book it to the Jet Star checkin desk to rebook and see where they were going to put me up for the night. The line was long – I pretty much said fuck it and walked to the front of the line and asked what the deal was. I was then rebooked for another Jet Star flight to Auckland the next day at 3:35pm ahha. So there goes my weekend. They were putting us up at a hotel and would shuttle us back and forth. I arrived at the hotel at about midnight and checked into my room. I then called Michelle asked her too book me a flight home with Air New Zealand called Jet Star and refunded my return flight.
Jet Star is just a comedy of errors. In the end it would have been cheaper just too book that flight with Air New Zealand even though the initial cost was a couple hundred more. My only advice is dont book with Jet Star if you want to arrive at your desintation on time. Jet Star definitely lives up to their nickname.. Shit Star. If for some reason Jet Star ever reads this post because you care about your PR and oline profile I just want them to know – YOU SUCK MONKEY BALLS!
This is a new anti-drink driving commercial that NZTA has put out! It is GREAT!
The tracks in the morning were closed since it rained last night, which didn’t really bother me. After riding a full day prior a half day up the hill was sounding pretty good. The morning consisted of eating day old Indian for breakie, cleaning and checking my bike and finishing my book. Nice chill way to start the day – let the body rest before thrashing it again!
At 11:30am we headed into Queenstown to grab a lunch at Bob’s Weigh – my favorite café in Queenstown. You will also get a good coffee and feed at Bob’s! All fuelled up off to the skyline to huss some tracks.
We got out first ride in around 12:30 and managed to get 12 runs in throughout the half-day. Same as the other days; we rode everything. I did manage to have a pretty good crash on Rock Garden. Somehow I went over the bars and head first into the ground. I was pretty lucky not to hurt my neck and am now considering getting one of those neck braces for riding DH – probably a smart move. Our plan was too meet up with a mate at 5pm who was willing to show us a bit of the Fern Hill Loop. You can access it from the trails with a bit of pushing the bike. We met at the bottom of the track at 5pm and hit up a couple of runs together. There were 4 of us, which was pretty sweet. On a couple of tracks we all broke off and headed different routes which pretty cool seeing all these guys rolling together and then all of sudden they flick off in different directions – it reminded me of a bike movie. We waited until the last run up the skyline to head up the Fern Hill Loop. This way we would have an extended day of riding, which is always good!
The push up was about half-hour and being that it was the end of the day it felt like an hour. There was even a river crossing in the middle. The track was steep, rooty & rocky – similar to craigieburn. It was all native bush so lots of beach trees, which means a tonne of roots and slippery ness. Walking up it and seeing what I would be riding back down left a happy/nervous feeling in my gut – it will be fun but there is potential for a good crash ehehe. The thing with roots is they can spit your bike out from underneath you very easily. To ride them you want lots of speed and to be light on the bike so you sort of just skip a long the top of them. Fun eh! After the exhausting push up we had a bit of a breather taking in the amazing view and then it was time to ride. Helmet on, goggles in place, drop in and start hussing. All the apprehension that I felt walking up was instantly gone. My bike was just skipping a long the tops of the roots and the suspension was getting a full work out as I tried to keep up with my mates. A couple of times the back of my bike went sideways, but I always managed to stay on it and keep rolling. Exhilarating! What an amazing trail. I think it is better then some in the park. Definitely worth the push up.
Once back at the car it was time for a beer and then we headed off to Fergburger for a feed. This time I got the Cod Burger… good as! Definitely give it a go! After the feed it was back home for a couple more beers and then bed. Another exhausting, but epic day!
I took some time off this week to head down to Queenstown and do some downhill mountain biking on the skyline. As usual it was an early flight, I like to make the most of my time off so I usually fly really freak’n early to maximise my time riding. Well this time it didn’t quite pan out! I flew into some real shit weather. We are talking about a southerly that has just covered the entire country – cold, wet and windy. Not ideal for riding. When it rains hard and the ground is muddy and soft it is best to stay off the tracks since you just end up destroying! So my day was a wash. The skyline wasn’t taking bikers up, so what was I supposed to do with my time?
Yes Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world and there is heaps to do, but when you don’t want to do a bungy, jump in a speed boat or get drunk there isn’t a lot going on especially on shit weather days. So what do I do? I go the library and read. I spent 3 hours at the library and then another two at a café reading and chilling. It’s like when people go to tropical spots to rest on the beach and read… Well I didn’t have the nice weather, but I read.
By mid avro I checked into my hostel and continued reading. I’ve pretty much polished off my book, which is – ‘two seats left’ the story of contiki travel. Good read! I also hit up the local book shop to read and cruise through some magazines. Also I sent a couple post cards… I didn’t bring my lap top so jumping online isn’t readily available. Now I am just praying for blue skies, sun and dry trails!
I guess my question to you is – what do you do when you are travelling and the weather has gone to hell? Also got any good books you can recommend?
If you haven’t heard New Zealand is potentially facing one of its largest ecological disasters. A cargo ship has hit on a reef of the coast of Tauranga and is now hung-up on it. Why they hit the reef, no one knows. It’s not just like it sprouted up over night – where the fu*k was the captain and why wasn’t he aware of this reef? It is now sitting with a 10-degree tilt in the water. If it remains this way for too long the ship could split in half and sink.
When these types of ecological disasters happen it pisses me off something fierce since they are so easily avoidable. Argh! This area is known for its abundance of sea wildlife as well the people of Tauranga survive through tourism and the fisheries and now that is all in jeopardy.
They are not saying how much fuel has leaked into the ocean but the ship is carrying 1700 tonnes (2 million litres) of heavy fuel oil on board. There is a 5km oil slick at the moment, which is bound to get worse.
People are urging the government to take over, as it really seems the owner of the ship isn’t exhausting all means necessary to stop the catastrophic event. A ship has been sent from Auckland so they can transfer the remaining fuel to it, which will be a very difficult task.
A bird cleaning and rehabilitation centre has been set up in Tauranga and there is a major risk to seabirds such as; terns, gulls, gannets, penguins, petrels and shearwaters. Just landing on the oil slick for these birds can be deadly. The feathers will become clogged with oil and they will sink, drown or be unable to fly. Even swallowing small amounts of oil can have major repercussions to their chicks.
It has been said by the Transport Minister Steven Joyce that the crisis was likely to get worse before it gets better. The oil hasn’t reached the beaches yet, but it is just a matter of time.
Hopefully with a whole lot of luck and hard work they can empty this ship of its oil and end this nightmare.
Yesterday Michelle and I went to see Last Paradise. This doco was forty-five years in the making and looks at the history of Kiwi adventure sport. It starts with the focus on adventure sport in New Zealand but has a definite underlying ecological message that the places we consider paradise are now in peril. It’s a great film, that I would highly recommend to anyone.
This past weekend was the opening of the Queenstown Bike Park – the only lift access bike park in New Zealand! I flew out of Auckland at 7:00am meaning that I had to be up at 5:30am. Yikes eh! Ah well, it was worth it! On Saturday night Ireland beat Australia at the RWC, which was a huge upset. So at 5:30am there was still a lot of drunk Irish kicking around the city, which was amusing when waiting for the bus. I caught my bus and off to the airport I went. 2 hours later I was in Queenstown.
I caught another bus into Queenstown from the airport and then it was off to drop my gear at Nomads Queenstown. I had planned to drop my bags and then hit up the skyline to start rocking some downhill tracks, but it didn’t work out that way. When I went to purchase my ticket at the skyline I found out that wouldn’t be opening until 1pm. I guess on Saturday it rained during the day and the riders ripped up the tracks pretty bad. The tracks had to dry out and the maintenance crew had some work to do, so it was a waiting game.
So what do you do with time to kill in Queenstown? I headed to the local bookshop and read magazines, had a coffee at Bob’s Weigh; Queenstown’s best breakie spot and checked out some really expensive real-estate that I could never afford.
Soon enough it was 1pm and up the skyline I went keen for that first ride. Oh I was not disappointed. The tracks were mint! Dark brown earth, sticky… oh brown pow how I love you! Not all of the tracks were open, but still enough to keep me grinning from ear to ear. It was a great day of riding and I managed to get 12 runs in. At the end of the day I was beat. My legs, arms and shoulders were sore as… but so worth it! I can’t wait to get back down south in October. I plan to make a week of it.
It’s only 5 days until the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand. Already Auckland is a buzz with tourists and rugby fans. This past weekend you could notice a visible increase of people wondering around the downtown core, not to mention all of the buskers – jugglers, musicians, break-dancers and more! The harbour front has been transformed into party central! New bar, restaurants, shops have popped up everywhere.
Opening ceremony, which is this Friday 9th of September will kick start the 7th World Cup and is promising it will a night to remember. There is a 30-minute ceremony in front of 60,000 people at Eden Park that will tell the story of New Zealand. It will also represent the coming together of countries from around the world in New Zealand in pursuit of the World Cup. There are over 1,000 performers and backstage crew to make this evening possible. After the opening ceremony the first game of the RWC will be the All Blacks VS Tonga.
For those not able to score tickets to the open ceremonies the Auckland waterfront will be the place to be!
- 4.00pm – Tamaki Herenga Waka – fleet arrival
- 4.40pm – Dave Dobbyn and band at Queens Wharf
- 5.00pm – Mass haka and kaihoe procession – Eastern Viaduct/Quay Street
- 5.45pm – Mayoral welcome on Queens Wharf, followed by haka
- 6pm – The Finn Brothers concert – headline act
- 7.30pm – Opening Ceremony from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
- 8.00pm – Sound and light show – Auckland’s biggest and brightest fireworks and light show set to music composed specially for the occasion by Don McGlashan
- 8.15pm – Opening Match from Eden Park live on the waterfront big screens
- 10.20pm – Concert by top New Zealand music acts on Queens Wharf, featuring Dane Rumble, Midnight Youth, Kora and Manuel Bundy
- 2.00am – Queens Wharf closes.
So as you can see this will be the biggest event that New Zealand has ever hosted. Ive got my tickets to go see Canada vs Tonga on the 14th of September in Whangarei. Im stoked to be part of a game and even more stoked to be able to back Canada in the RWC!