And Better & Better
I just spent a week in a small town called Picton. It's located in the north of the south island and it's where the ferry drops off people coming from Wellington in the north island. The ferry ride was amazing and I had a gentle journey through the Cook Strait through mountainous scenery and sunny, gorgeous weather. The journey normally takes about 3 hours but if the waters are rough it can take over 5 hours. I was lucky that I traveled on such a calm day! The ferry looks just like a mini-cruise ship with a movie theater, cafe, and reclining chairs. I arrived in Picton, where I had intended on staying just 2 nights, but as I was checking into the Villa Backpackers, I was asked by the staff if I wanted to work for a week in exchange for food and a bed. I decided to give it a go as they say here and see how it was working in a hostel and living in a small town for a week. I'm sure glad that I did because it was an amazing experience. My co-workers were so kind and are independent travelers like me from all over. The Villa crew felt like a mini-family for me. On Easter morning Helena (from England) got up early and made everyone a delicious breakfast with a beautifully set table and another co-worker left everyone yummy chocolate candy on our pillows. :) After working in the mornings (stripping/making beds, emptying the trash (rubbish as they say here), and cleaning toilets), we all would hang out together, watch some movies, go for walks, and a German girl (Catia from Munich) taught me how to make some German bread! The hostel dog, Milly, was quite a character and constantly was getting into trouble! Check out my photos for more info about Milly!
Picton located just on the water is a beautiful town to spend a week with many local walks and Picton is the gateway town to the Queen Charlotte Track, where one can spend 3-4 days hiking around the bays and inlets. I did a section of the track for a day! It was beautiful. My favorite part of the track though was on the water taxi ride to the trailhead. During the ride there were dolphins jumping high near the back of the water taxi. It was amazing!
Yesterday I left Picton on the bus and arrived in the town of Nelson last night. Nelson is considered by many as NZ's most liveable city and upon minutes of arriving in Nelson I could tell why. The city is extremely well laid out and very walkable. The town is known for its good weather and good food! I feel really at home here. I made a booking for a local hostel with just a few beds per the request of one of my Villa co-workers. The hostel's name is Tramper's Rest and the owner runs the hostel out of his house. This is no ordinary hostel because it is such a warm and homey environment with a lovely living room with comfy chairs, fireplace, good music and books along with a nice herb garden (including avocado tree!!) and freshly cooked fruit cake. The owner is also very knowledgable about tramping (what they call camping here). I'm hoping to pick his brain because I want to try a 3 day trek along the coast next week. I'm glad to be here for sure! Hope everyone is doing great! Much love from the land of the Kiwis!