Posts by Country

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween in Milford

On Thursday, October 31st we all scavenged for whatever we could use for costumes. While I made do with a horse head and a grey blazer, others made themselves into elves, princesses, DOC rangers and even dolphins. 

We all met at boxes and then headed for the pub where I continued to get strange looks and slapped more than a few times... not easy being a horse face.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


On Tuesday, October 29th we had a bit of fire safety training. Someone set off the extremely loud alarms to get us out to the muster point and, after a bit of an introduction, Kim had us practice putting out a diesel fire.

After a few of us had a go we grabbed some flares and started shooting them off then had a barbecue at Shaun's.

The next day a few of us went for a walk along the foreshore and I went to the Rainbow Shed, an opportunity shop run by the local backpackers, to get some camping supplies.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October Fest

On Wednesday, October 23rd we began cultural awareness training at Real Journeys. Over a couple of days we went over cultural stereotypes and realities such as why people from a particular culture act the way they do, high context vs low context cultures, etc. Some of us also attended MERT (Milford Emergency Response Team) training where we learned about the opportunity to volunteer for the local fire department.
On the 24th we enjoyed the first of many barbecues with venison as the main dish at Shaun's. That night everyone went to the pub for the October Fest event that they do year after year.

Over the next few days we all enjoyed many communal evenings such as Fajita night and gatherings at Jucy house. On the 28th we all went to Shaun's again for fresh seafood and some of his home brew beer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kayaking Milford

On Tuesday, October 22nd I went kayaking with a couple others in Deepwater Basin and up into Sandfly Point.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Doubtful Sound

On Sunday, October 20th I went to Doubtful Sound for my first famil - a staff perk where we get to do tourist activities, normally hundreds of dollars, for free in order to become more "familiar" with our products. I went to Doubtful for a day cruise but, since I showed up late, they put me on the overnight, a massive upgrade. I went from a $50 day cruise to probably a $600-700 overnight cruise which ended up being way better than I could have ever hoped.

After cruising over Lake Manapouri we took a bus over Wilmot Pass and then boarded the Navigator for the night. That evening we went kayaking and I was one of two volunteers to jump off into the fiord, three times - not a warm experience but totally worth it. For dinner we had every meat including some of best Salmon and Cheesecake for dessert.

The next day we returned and I rode back to Milford in the middle of a massive storm. At first just a harmless drizzle the sound of thunder beckoned a relentless downpour that completely drenched me to the bone. If this wasn't enough, the harsh gales forced me to turn hard into the wind to keep from flying off the road. Even stopped at the tunnel, waiting for the light, I found myself almost being knocked over by the angry gusts. Upon my arrival in the village a few bystanders gawked as I stood up and water poured off and out of my sleeves and off of every surface of my being.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Milford First Days

On Tuesday, October 8th I bathed in Lake Gunn. Of course, this is a glacial lake so the water was fricken absolute zero - quite refreshing actually. After going back into Milford and finding out that I had been accepted for the position of storeman, I returned to Lake Gunn to tell my new friend Sam (American) the good news. I also told him to give it a go since they still needed another storeman.

Over the next few days I had my drug test and moved into the Real Journeys village. I also began using the free gym facilities to burn off the incredibly greasy, delicious daily buffet and unlimited food supply available in our village food store "Tardis."

October 13th I saw my first heli medevac - a necessity when the nearest town by road is two hours drive.

The next day it was extremely rainy and windy. That afternoon I helped some fishermen dock their boat and they gave me a massive crate of fresh Gourney.

October 15th the roads closed and I began to realize that Milford is a pretty wet place - 2nd wettest in the world as it turns out, wetter even than the Amazon Rain Forest...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Milford Sound

 On Monday, October 2nd I headed into Milford for a cruise with Real Journeys. I met a girl named Karla the night before at the Lake Gunn campsite who works there. After the cruise I spoke to her about her work there and she told me about village life, the community and, of course, the free daily buffet for staff. Needless to say, if you know me, I immediately asked for a job. Karla excitedly expressed that they were in dire need of storemen. One guy had shown up for one day and run off in the night - I later found out this was because he was in New Zealand for a working holiday but hadn't intended on doing the "working" part. Karla went upstairs and, when she returned, told me I had an interview with the boss. A couple days later I would start seven months of living and working in one of the most wild and beautiful places in the world.


Sunday, October 6, 2013


On Saturday, October 5th I rode on till I arrived at the Clifden Suspension Bridge.

The next day I went to the Clifden Caves for a quick peek inside before finally moving on to Lake Gunn in the Fiordlands.

Friday, October 4, 2013


 On Friday, October 4th I took the ferry back to Bluff and rode up to the scenic lookout. Next I checked out Stirling Point then headed off for my camping spot at Daffodil Bay.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rakiura Track

 On Thursday, October 3rd I headed out on my 32km "three day" tramp with just 2 litres of water and a couple sandwiches. Others have walked it in a day and I didn't see the harm in doing the same. Unfortunately, after only 10km I found that my run the previous day had taken a toll on my left knee. Before long I was limping and soon after that my other knee began to give out. After about 20km I could hardly walk and every step felt more painful than the last. I kept going though and, after a few extremely uncomfortable hours, I finally arrived at the end and made my way back to town. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ulva Island

On Wednesday, October 2nd I hopped on a little $20 ferry boat and headed over to Ulva Island. After walking around looking at various birds and beaches I went back and waited for the ferry to return. 

Back on Stewart Island I ran over to Ackers Point with Matt to check out the light house. It was about a 10km run but didn't seem like it. Afterward I was a bit sore but still had every intention of doing the 32km Rakiura Track the next day.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stewart Island

On Tuesday, October 1st I headed to Bluff to catch the ferry to Stewart Island. It costs extra to take a bike on board, and safe vehicle storage in Bluff isn't free, so I asked a local garage owner to let me leave my bike with him for a few days. When I arrived on Stewart Island a friend I met on the ferry gave me a ride to Marc's place. I met Marc through where I've met a few local friends and hosts over the years. Since I needed a few days to see what I wanted on Stewart Island, and camping (my preferred budget-friendly form of accommodation) wasn't allowed, I sent Marc a request on couchsurfing. That night Marc, his roomy Matt and I made a hearty meal and talked about our respective journeys that had brought us all to this place. Matt (American) was a kayak guide helping to launch a new kayaking venture on the island and Marc (Swiss) was working locally diving for oysters. I explained that I was traveling New Zealand on my motorcycle and would be continuing up the West Coast after having a look around Stewart Island.