December 2014

As I still want to have some kind of diary here – for me and anybody that is interested – I post monthly updates of what we did (including pictures), what we are up to and what our future plans are. Ideally that will also show a bit how much our plans change and how our progress and planning goes for the near future. You can find all entries until now here.

What we did

Apart from our trip to Taiwan we spend most of December in Warkworth to help Liz and Geoff at their hotel, the Warkworth Lodge. We worked 4 days a week and had 3 days off and in return we were provided with food and accommodation. It turned out to be quite a good deal that saved a lot of money as our only expense was the beer and wine we drank in the evening. On our free days we went to Auckland to see Agnès’ brother, his wife Claire and their two children Paul and Margo and helped Liz’ dad on his boat, repairing some of the engine parts and polishing the hull.

The good thing about living in a family is that you experience all the local traditions; especially for Christmas in the southern hemisphere that is pretty interesting. We spent the 25th with Lizz’ parents and their family, having a huge feast at 30°C and enjoying a great view over the coast. We also got invited to join a fishing trip with the boat we repaired and overhauled and caught some fish for dinner.

Apart from that we had a look around in the area, went to a couple of beaches and a marine reserve, spend New Years Eve at the local pub (without fireworks) and had a look at the traditional New Years Day Rodeo in Warkworth.

Right now we are in Auckland at Agnès’ brother’s again, trying to get a car and preparing our trip to the south island.

What we plan to do

We will have a car soon and head off for the south island; that’s all that is actually planned. We know a few national parks with nice hikes and have a few people to visit but where and when we go to certain places will probably be decided from day to day. The rough schedule until now is to cross from the north to the south island some time around the 25th of January. We have to be back in Auckland early March again to welcome Agnès’ mum, before we leave for Melbourne a few days later.

Problems

Like always, not everything goes completely as planned. A few days ago I woke up and my phone didn’t work anymore and although it is a Google phone and you would think Google is able to replace it anywhere in the world, I have to send the broken one to Germany and get the replacement to New Zealand somehow.

I also realized that my passport is only valid until February 2016. That is still more than a year but if I want to apply for a work&holiday visa in New Zealand it needs to be valid at least until September or October 2016. On the same occasion I also realized that I need a chest x-ray to get this visa because I stayed too long in certain countries (namely Argentina and China). However these are minor annoyances mainly because they cost money that wasn’t really budgeted.

What I learned

  • how a boat engine works and what’s important about setting it up
  • how to fish
  • how to make a bed the New Zealand way
  • how to fold a flower from a towel
  • how to drive on the left side of the street (and stay there)

To Do List

  • Get a car
  • Go to the south island
  • Get a new passport
  • Get a new phone
  • Book a flight back from Australia to New Zealand
  • Get a chest X-ray
  • Get a long-term visa for NZ
  • Catch my own fish for dinner

Pictures

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