Existing Member?

The small town girl spread's her wings “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

A place to stay for a while and make new friends!

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 23 February 2010 | Views [955]

Wanaka is a quaint little town in the Central Otago region of the South Island.  Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps are what make this town so stunning. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this place; a quick walk by the lake and I was sold. I needed to start working very soon and the hostel we were staying at was looking for people to work for accommodation.  I thought what better place to stay for a while. I decided to go to Queenstown for a few days first since most of the group was splitting up. I wanted to say my goodbyes and party one last time with the gang.  That story will be in the next post.

I was back in Wanaka 2 days later and got the cleaning job in the hostel right away. They set me up in one of the staff rooms. It was an eight bed dorm and I was sharing it with Adam, Clarissa, Jenny, an American (I forgot his name) and Thomas.  The job involved changing beds, mopping and cleaning bathrooms for 3 hours a day in exchange for a bed.  There were around 12 of us working at the hostel; most of us had the day shift cleaning and a few had the bar shift.  It didn’t take long to get to know everyone; we had a pretty awesome cleaning team. 

I arrived on the Monday and started work the next day. Most of the time, I was working with Jenny and Thomas on the first floor changing beds and mopping.  We would always volunteer for that job because we didn’t have to clean bathrooms :).  I meet a lot of great people in Wanaka many of them I consider good friends and will hopefully stay in touch with.   The first few days were pretty quiet.  Jenny, Thomas, Adam, Clarissa and I rented a few movies and took it easy. 

Wednesday Jenny, Clarissa, Thomas, Camilla and I went in search of Wanaka’s hot pools.  After a 5 km walk we arrived at the infamous hot pools and Camilla and I decided to pass, we settle for lemonade and then headed back to the hostel.  That night I got together with two American’s, Trevor and Nick, which I met in Queenstown. They happened to be heading back to Wanaka because Trevor was participating in the Wanaka Challenge Triathlon that weekend. There rest of the week involved lots of late nights and rough mornings but that’s all part of the backpacking life!

The Wanaka Challenge Triathlon was on Saturday so that morning after work I headed down to the lake. The Challenge involved swimming 3.8 km, biking 180 km and running 42.2km for a total of 226 km (madness).  To make matters worse the day of the race was one of the hottest days we had seen so far. Just standing in the heat to watch was brutal, never mind actually having to do the Iron Man. While Trevor was racing or what he called “the worst idea of my life” Nick and I enjoyed a few pints of beer away from the sun.  A hard life we had ;) After 14 hours and 40 mins Trevor (my hero) crossed the finish line.

Sunday was Jenny, Clarissa and Thomas last night in Wanaka so we had a reason to party, not that we needed one.  We decided to head to the Mint bar which is the hostel bar and pretty much the only bar open late in Wanaka. We had spent lots of nights in that bar, so much so we knew everyone working there and the locals. It was Bingo night at the bar, Bingo = Free Pitcher! That’s my kind of Bingo game! Most of the “cleaning team” joined us that night. Like every night in Wanaka it was a good time!

My last day in Wanaka I headed down to the internet cafe after work for a skype date with Chad and Mimi which I had been looking forward to all week. After catching up with my friends back home, I went down to the lake to meet up with the gang.  They had been enjoying the sun for a few hours now so I joined in.  After the lake the 10 of us got ready and we all headed out to Red Star with a beer in hand.  Drinking in the streets, one more reason to love Wanaka!  We shared a few laughs and enjoyed our burger and beer on the deck outside and then we made our way back to the hostel for Karaoke night.

Charlie part of the “cleaning team” was in charge of the event.  He is one of the funniest guys I have met and very good freestyle rapper hence an excellent choice to host the Karaoke. It was a busy night at the mint bar. There was two Kiwi Experience bus in town and since the mint bar is the place to be in Wanaka it was packed.  We had a great time listening to drunken people making a fool of them self. It was perfect day and a perfect way to end my week in Wanaka. The only sad part of this story is having to say goodbye to my new friends, unfortunately that is also part of the backpacking life and something I’m hoping will get easier with time.

The gang on our way to Red Star

The gang on our way to Red Star


Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.