Phew. Got most of my organizing and booking done today- up to next tuesday that is where my planning has stopped for the moment.
As mentioned before, I went out to Waimate for a few days to meet and stay with Esme Elliot. She gave me a tour of the town (complete with showing me where everyone of importance lived), which is a bit smaller than Carman, took me out to the old Elliot farmstead, and kept me entertained by taking me to her Woman’s Society meeting, and on visiting rounds with other long lost family members. I drank lots of tea, and made lots of small talk- but it was great to meet more rellys.
I spent this past weekend working at a horse show for Tessa Williams (pictures will be up shortly). She and her mom were very pleasant, and it was very nice grooming for people who appreciated your help. She had 4 horses, two in the 7 yr old division, one grand prix horse, and another who didn’t end up competing that much as the first day he gave himself a pretty nasty puncture wound from overreaching. Never seen an overreach that bad. It was quite deep. I slept in my little one person (see picture in next post) tent beside the horse truck and stables, so the melody of horses kicking walls, and NZ’s bird chorus sang me to sleep and woke me up each morning. My tent is so tiny that I can’t really lay straight in it. I always have to be curled up at an odd angle in order to fit. Plus, all the pegs have been bent out of shape by the previous owner- so pegging it down is near impossible. Thankfully there were no strong winds, and the rain held off until the last day. My days were much the same, I fed the horses at 6:30am and then mucked out, watered, walked, and put studs in, and plaited if needed- usually around 8am Tess was either up or texting me with further instructions. On Sunday I let myself sleep in until 7am, as we didn’t have any classes until later in the day. Once competition commenced, I basically spent the rest of the day tacking up, walking to the ring, holding, watching, holding, bringing horses back, getting another horse, and repeat. Pretty relaxed compared to the crazy days we had working at shows for LC when there were 10 horses on the go each day. For three days of work, I got $200. Not bad! That plus the $600 I got from Airhill have pretty much been used up on this week travels. But boy have I got some awesome things planned! Here’s what I’ve got!
Tuesday (Feb 21) I take the train from Christchurch to Greymouth. Said to be one of the worlds greatest train rides- it travels through some gorgeous scenery. That experience (one way) costs me $110. Sure I could take the bus and cut that cost by about thirty bucks, but I’m going to be doing the bus thing for the rest of my trip- so I think I’ll avoid the squished seats, blurry finger/head printed windows, chatty asian tourists, and the awkward guy who headbangs and sings along to his death metal.
I’ll spend two nights in Greymouth ($48 in Noah’s Arc Backpackers). There are rumoured to be some very nice walks and hikes in that area- plus it’s right along the coast. Plus the hostel I’m staying at provides free bikes to use while staying, bonus! I’d love to get up to Punakaiki park, where the “Pancake” rocks are. It’s about 40 minutes up the coast, but unless I can find some cheap transport I might have to skip that (save it for next time:))
On Thursday (Feb 23) I bus to Franz Josef ($40). On the Friday I’m doing something awesome. I’ve booked a full day Franz Josef Glacier guided trek. A must see of NZ. We spend the day hiking up to the glacier, and then climbing up and through the glacier before returning to have a dip in the hot glacier pools. Everyone I’ve told about this has told me “not to fall down any cracks”. Clearly they know me well. I’ll stay in Franz Josef at the Chateau Franz for 3 nights ($72). One night longer then I’d likd, but the bus service doesn’t run on Saturdays for some odd reason and to use the other bus service was going to cost me an extra $50. NO thank you. My hostel comes with a free spa pool and free soup and popcorn so I’m sure it won’t be too hard to stay an extra day. Normally I wouldn’t be this excited about free soup and popcorn (okay maybe I would) but when travelling on my budget, any extra food is absolutely a god send.
On Sunday (Feb 26) I bus to Queenstown ($33), where I’ll stay for 2 nights ($44). On Monday I’m partaking in a scenic day trip out to Milford Sounds ($121) – which includes a 2hr cruise around the sounds. After Queenstown I’ll bus to Alexandra ($15), on Tuesday (Feb 28) where I’ll meet up once again with Marie and Ken, do some laundry, and enjoy a unshared room. This is where I’ve stopped planning. I haven’t quite decided if I’ll go down to Invercargill. I very much want to, but it’s going to cost me $80 in bus tickets so I’ll have to decide if it’s worth it. I also need to decide if I want to go up to the top of the South island to Nelson area. Oh well, one day at a time. At the rate I’m going my bank account might make that decision for me!