IV Travel Blog #1: Te Anu, New Zealand

So we left Hanmer Springs!  Yehaw!  On the way to the coast we had to pull over to check out the free wine tasting:

We headed to the coast and slept near the beach.  We spent the morning laying around reading and watching the waves.  A nice family of Kiwis from Nelson invited us to eat some Paua (Pronounced “power” its Maori for abalone) on the beach.

Of course, we had to take the ferry across the Cook Straight.  We took the BlueBridge and learned that we recommend the InterIslander!  BlueBridge and the InterIslander are both ferry services, but InterIslander is without a doubt a superior service!

We found our way north via the east coast.

Here is our first Travel Blog Video! More to come! We will get more professional as time goes!

Get your travel guide from here and keep V and I on the road!

Become a Jackaroo

Six Steps to finding Cattle Station Work in the Australian Outback

This is a quick guide to getting yourself into an amazing and dangerously adventurous position where you can make money and have a wild time.  The Australian Outback is big and scary so I really only recommend this path to really hardy people.  You need to have a lot of common sense and guts to make it as a jackaroo (or inexperienced Australian station hand).

  1. Get yourself a passport.
  2. Get a working holiday visa in Australia by filling out the online application. It costs about $200 USD. Mine took 3 working days to have it issued. The Australian Immigration office will send you a e-mail with a visa number on it. Then you have the green light to go work in Australia. It’s really easy for American citizens.
  3. Fly to Australia. Use kayak.com or studenttraveluniverse.com (I got a cheap student ticket after already having graduated 2 years ago.)
  4. Travel to a very isolated area in the outback. Mt. Isa, Queensland will be your quintessential wild Australian outback mining/cattle town. I recommend the Mt. Isa area if you really want an adventure.
  5. Go to the information center and ask for a list of cattle stations in the area.
    1. Cold call all of them. Either chat with the station manager or leave a message with your phone number and your name. If you don’t have the guts to do this, then I really don’t advise going on this mad adventure.
  6. Get a job and stick to it. Last at least 2 months, otherwise your a sissy.

What to expect:

  1. The Pay: I earned $550 a week as a level one station hand (jackaroo.) I saved 95% of it because there was nowhere to spend money in that super isolated place.
  2. The Time: 5-6 days a week. Expect to start as the sun goes up and finish about an hour before it goes down.
  3. The Work: Sometimes the day goes so fast you don’t even know what happened. For example: mustering days are adrenaline pumping days on horse back or motorbikes in the mad dust and heat. The work is wild and fun. Sometimes te days are slow and monotonous. You can end up mixing concrete and cleaning out water troughs all day.
  4. The Good Times:
    1. Rodeo: small scale rodeos in little towns. This is where you can get into some awesome stuff; bronc/bull riding, calf wrestling, tug-a-war, or just beer drinking
    2. Race days: great events where you can gamble on the horse races and check out all the pretty girls (or cowboys if your into that sort of thing) in their facy dresses and unique hats. Great times at the pubs after a day at the races.

Tips:

  1. Keep a positive attitude. Being sociable is really important out there.
  2. Always do your best. Australia is a huge country but a small community. Being an honest memorable bloke/shelia (Australian for guy/chick) will pay out in the long run.
  3. Be proactive: no one wants to have to tell you everything to do and when to do it. Find problems and fix them before you need to be asked.
  4. Work for a reputable person. In the outback there are some scumbags so don’t even start with them. I heard about a Spanish guy who worked 4 months at a station in Western Australia. The station owner then bought him a ticket to Brisbane. The spaniard never got paid. Don’t fall into a trap. If you find yourself in a trap, leave right away.
  5. Have fun. It’s one hell of a time in the outback. Enjoy it.

Down South Island – New Zealand

Catching up on nearly a month of inactivity.  Sorry! 🙂

Veronica and I found a lovely place at theFarm near Whangaruru (pronounced: fangaruru) in Northland, New Zealand (theFarm website).  Mike and Ellen own the place and they are the coolest people in all the land.  Mike is an avid dirt-biker who is brainwashing the future generations of Kiwis to get on a motorbike and shred.  Ellen is an excellent provider of natural horsemanship; one lesson with her and you will be able to break horses without breaking your back.

We absolutely loved our time at theFarm and recommend whomever visits New Zealand, to go there.

While there we had some awesome times.

-Shocking surf at Elliotts Bay.  A six footer gave me the axe out past the break and I was sore for the next few days.

-Awesome horse treks up steep cliffs in the mountains.  (Video to come as soon as I work YouTube out better)

-Great motorbike rides up and down rolling green hills and down aggressive muddy trails.

None-the-less. we felt that we had to move on and look for more opportunities.  While there I got a job offer from Hanmer Horsesthat would allow for Veronica and I to both work together as horseback trail guides in the alpine village of Hanmer Springs!  Wow what a great deal… or so we thought.

So we packed up and headed south.  We drove along the coast.

Got to Wellington to go to our first Rugby World Cup game.  Australia vs. USA!

Took the ferry from Wellington to Picton.

Arrived at Hanmer Horses.

Unfortunately, the woman who runs the place is a cruel sort.  She treats her horses like royalty and the people who work for her like scum.

So thats where we are now.  We have stopped working for Hanmer Horses and have instead decided to do some more traveling.  Traveling north of course.  It’s bloody cold down here.

Thanks for reading!  We will get back at ya later!

6 Step Costa Rican Organic Farm Adventure

This adventure is one of my favorite on earth. Attack this adventure like a buddhist. Define the goal (Goal= reach Punta Mona) and focus on the process (Process=Getting there).  It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.  Along the way enjoy great surf, great parties, afro-caribbean culture, jungle hikes, heaps of wildlife and real adventure. If your looking for the quintessential “The Beach” type adventure this is for you. Punta Mona is an awesome, isolated jungle community.

  1. Fly into San Jose, Costa Rica. Either take a taxi to a hostel or book a hotel for the night that has airport pick ups. San Jose is a interesting place full of sin and booze. Avoid this if you can.
  2. Take a bus to Puerto Viejo. To get to Puerto Viejo you must take a bus towards Limon. It’s a stunning bus ride and an adventure in itself.
  3. Stay at Rockin J’s Hammock Hotel in Puerto Viejo. Travel east or west along the beach and you have great surf spots.  Rockin J’s is walking distance from the Salsa Brava (Salsa Brava is dangerous so don’t get too confident). Stay here a few nights.  Drink a lot and get all the partying out of your system. J’s does all sorts of fun stuff. This is the greatest hostel in the history of hostels, or greatness.
  4. Wake up early and hitchhike down south to Manzanillo (take a bus if all else fails). This is the most southern town on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Have a smoothie and a feed at Maxi’s Restaurant.
  5. Once you get to Manzanillo, choose between these 2 Options:
    1. Find “Baco”: Baco is a local ledgend. He runs the recycling program for the area so almost everyone knows him. Baco can take you to Punta Monaon his boat. It costs about $50 a person. This is a stunning boat ride along the beautiful undeveloped coast.(or)
    2. Hike south: This involves bush tramping through the deep forests of Costa Rica. The hike takes about 2-3 hours depending on the conditions. Encounter wildlife like big spiders, howler monkeys, wild pigs, enormous ant hills and whatever else the jungle can throw at you. I love this hike. It’s best to go bare foot. The deep mud will ruin your shoes and get you stuck (it will pull gum boots straight off your feet). Punta Mona is on the coast so as long as you keep the ocean on your left you won’t get lost. This is one of those real adventures, be careful, be smart.
  6. Arrive at Punta Monaand spend a few days
    1. This place is could be described as “hippie;” but have no fear. There is so much interesting stuff to learn and experience. You will be fed some really delicious food and you will learn a whole heap of new skills. Learn about sugar cane, miracle fruit (makes sour things taste sweet), banana trees (harvest by cutting down the tree), old spice, cinnamon, and a thousand other exotic unbelievable life. There is great diving and the surf is pretty good down the beach.

 

It’s important to check in with Punta Mona (puntamona.org) before you hike out there. Confirm that they have a place for you to stay!

Best of Luck!

Red Triangle California Surf – Shark Infested Waters

 Sharky Waters

Surfers use a term to describe certain conditions: SHARKY.  I was blown away with the abundance in wildlife – sea lions, otters, seals; it was all so beautiful but I couldn’t help but think that these are all part of the GREAT WHITE SHARK diet.  But hell, it was the first opportunity in my life to get a taste of California waves.  They were peeling off like an aria with no wind.  No wind means glassy, oil slick textured water.  It’s wonderful.

Cayucos, California was my first spot.  My mate and I hit a few spots in the area.  The rock down near Morrow Bay has a great feel on low wind days.  The massive rock provides for a mesmerizing backdrop during lulls.  South of the Rock you jump off the docks of Morrow Bay marina, paddle between all the exotic sailboats and hike across the peninsula for a beautiful low crowd spot.  I got a jellyfish down the neck of my wetsuit but it was real fun.

The Cayucos house dried up and we headed North along Highway 1.  I fell asleep and we woke up near Santa Cruz.  Big Fail!  I slept through some really great spots.  We were now in Santa Cruz and I missed the miles of Big Sur and unoccupied California beaches.  These are the places.  There are epic spots around here.  Dangerous and fun.  Go on a venture down there.  Bring ropes, harnesses and climbing shoes.  Rappel down.  Call me, I’ll join you.  Something awesome can happen down there.

North of Santa Cruz we hit a great spot.  After a short hike from the high way down to the beach we found a right that sits in the pocket of a cliff which protects it from any NE winds.  This spot hits the best as the tide is going out.  Its just north of Santa Cruz, you have to cross a rail line just once you get out of the highway.  The spot is silent from highway traffic or anything else really.

Later on in the week we adventured out to a spot called Point Reyes.  Point Reyes is way out north of San Francisco.  It’s a wonderful little town with a sustainable food and community vibe.  This is the sort of place I must live in once I slow down with all this travel.  The small town vibe is just rich and abundant.

The surf there is cold and sharky.  Im tired now so I must take a break