North of the South

Mapua was a great time. I’ve never felt so little stress in my whole life. As Au Pairs, we spent between two and eight hours a day looking after three children and a dog. The kids were 7, 10, and 13, so basically we just had to look after the two youngest ones. I feel like a real adult now!

We supervised these youngsters as we built things, played sports, played board games, coloured, styled our hair, or played video games.

Basically, we got to play for a month. A few times we cooked dinner for the family, we’d walk the boxer once a day, but those were the most strenuous things we had to do for a month.

img_7224It was great. I’d recommend Au Pairing to anyone.

This was the boxer Diesel. He was a real treat to look after!

The first bit of “time off” we got we went to check out the hippy town of Takaka – the marijuana capital of New Zealand. When I say time off, I mean, time for exploration. Basically, the whole time we were living in Mapua was time off – it definitely wasn’t real life because it was just way too easy.

On the way to Takaka, we stopped to see Kaiteriteri. I didn’t know what it was, but when I saw a road sign with it, it sounded familiar enough for us to go check it out. I knew the name sounded familiar from somewhere.

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The only photo we took in Kaiteriteri

The lady at our hostel mentioned a few places we should check out while we were in the North part of the South Island, so most of our time in Takaka was spent doing a short roadtrip. While we were in Takaka, we checked out Te Waikoropupu Springs, or “Poo Poo” Springs. It was preeeeeetty spectacular.

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Our next destination that day was Wharariki Beach, this place was unreal! When we parked, we were greeted by a couple hungry fellas. Good thing we had food leftover from when we went to see the Moeraki boulders and fed some deer.

We hiked a short way through a paddock with sheep and lambs surrounding us.

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Eventually, we got to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The sand was so fine it felt like liquid slipping through my hands. It was so quiet and peaceful. It was weird being somewhere so magical, but so uncrowded. We only saw a handful of people while we were out there.

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On the venture back, we noticed a stream down below the pathway. A bundle of baby sea lions were swimming around, and they were very interested in getting to know us.

As we drove back from Wharariki Beach, we decided to stop at the legendary Mussel Inn tavern. We heard it was the first brewery ever in New Zealand. I looked it up, and that fact isn’t actually true, but it’s still really old so we had to go anywho.

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We were having a pint, and who walks through the door? This girl.

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Magda from high school!!!

We met up while I was living in Queenstown. Thanks to the beauty that is Facebook, it’s easy to know when your friends are traveling the world. It was a real nice surprise to run into her again after traveling up half of the country. Mussel Inn is in the middle of nowhere just off the highway, so it was quite the coincidence that we crossed paths. The world really is a small place.

The next little excursion we went on was with half of the family we were staying with.

They took us to see the Riwaka Resurgence,

and Split Apple Rock.

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If you see it from another angle, it has a split right through it, hence the name “Split Apple Rock”. We failed to get a picture though…

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We even saw a lady walking her hog on the way!

Down the street from Mapua, there’s a place called Jester House that has wild eels that swim up to the stream because they know people will feed them.

You can buy some meat shit that’s on a popsicle stick to feed the eels with. We were just poking them since we didn’t want to spend money on eel food. Part of me was hoping the little lass would fall in and the eels would have dinner for days.

Mapua is near the famous Abel Tasman National Park, so we had to do a hike while we were there. We went and did a hike for a few hours since we were close by. We aren’t the biggest of hikers, but we knew certain friends would rip into us if we didn’t at least go check it out. We went all the way to Appletree Bay! Yes, it’s like the very first bay, but at least we tried!

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We ran into our old friend Weka while we were out there. It’s always nice saying hi to their kind.

I will never forget what Jessica said when she saw this bird in the water…

“Look! A geese!!!”

At one point, a tree had fallen onto the pathway, and it almost stopped our adventure right in it’s tracks.

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However, Jess was able to clear a path like Paul Bunyan, and we were off on our way.

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Another thing we loved was the animal farm near Mapua. Animals really get us.

Before coming back to work at Raetihi Lodge, we stayed at our Boss’ house in Nelson.

This house was a lovely spot on the hill overlooking Tasman Bay.

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This was where I had my first experience with bed bugs. Fine little creatures they are.

It’s not as bad as being back at the lodge though, this guy has been here since last season!

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The old Colin would have crushed him; the new Colin just looks at him every day while he poops. I even scooped up a wasp in a tupperware container and moved him outside yesterday. Saving the world one bug at a time =D

I’m sure gonna miss these little kiddos,

but it’s really nice to be back at the lodge

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Until next time…

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Kusz, out!

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