Thursday, 1 November 2012


So Laura and I being the "last minute spontaneous hitch-hiking experts" that we are decided to take one more crazy trip this week because of A) How beautiful the weather was and B) We both needed to make it to Wanaka before we left NZ. As always it started as a joke on Sunday night with Laura saying "Wanna hitch-hike to Wanaka tomorrow?" Not knowing if she was serious or not my response as always "why not!"(That "why not" was definitely a common term used during the trip!)

I had a 9am exam on the Monday morning, so I was up early cramming all the stuff I have previously not studied through procrastination. I finished the Training Principles exam within an hour and a half
All the requirements when
(suppose to take three hours) and still beleived it went very well and we'll hopefully find out soon enough. Getting home from the exam, Laura was still dead set on taking over Wanaka! Having no money, no where to stay and no way of getting there we packed our bags, found a tent and got dropped off at our usual spot by Mr.Ben! The coolest Kiwi I know.

It took around 20 minutes for a girl in the gas station across the street to signal us and say we can catch a lift. Emily (driver #1) was only going 40 minutes down the road to a town called Milton. Emily was an Otago student who taught us a thing or two about sheep shearing. Milton being a very small town did not have much traffic flowing through but Glen (driver #2) picked us up after another 20 minute wait. We couldn't tell but didn't want to ask if he was Australian or not (his accent was in between a Kiwi/Auzzie). He took us to a town called Lawrence that has free town-wide Wifi! Weird eh? Glen was a sheep shearer and on vacation going hunting. Lawrence was our longest wait of around 30 minutes, when a Kiwi couple (Driver #3) (forgot their names) that lived and work in Dubhai were back visiting relatives in NZ. They took us to Alexandra which is just over halfway to Wanaka! Within 3 minutes Zoey (Driver #4) had pulled over; she was heading back home from work and lived in Wanaka! Score! Got a ride the whole way there! Zoey told us about all the cool things to do and see in Wanaka and said that we should go talk to Simon at the information center when we get there.

This next part just shows how strange the universe really is! Laura was super bummed about not getting Ferg burger (we were either trying to make it to Wanaka or Queenstown that night) but Zoey said she knew a great burger joint called Red Star Burger in Wanaka that she can drop us off at. The staff at Red Star were largely entertained by our huge backpacks and happy go-lucky smiles when we walked into the restaurant. We found out our cashier was from Montreal so it was super awesome to meet a fellow Canadian. We asked her if she knew anywhere around Wanaka where we could camp for free and without hesitation she told us "you can camp in my driveway!" Laura and I both said "why not!" So we exchanged numbers with Kiki (cashier girl) and she said she would text us when she gets off work. We headed up to her house set up the tent literally in her driveway and then met up with Kiki and her flatmates in town for a drink. (If Laura had not been craving Ferg burger, then Zoey wouldn't have told us about Red Star and we wouldn't have ended up meeting Kiki) CRAZY!

Lake Wanaka
It was a fun night getting to know Kiki, Andy, and Christopher (all from Montreal). They've spent half a year in both British Columbia and Australia all working within the restaurant business. Now they have a work-visa for New Zealand and are planning on going back to BC when it expires (what a life!)

Could be making Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
Tuesday morning we woke up bright and early expecting to do a hike that was 45 minutes outside of Wanaka so we were back to hitch hiking. (Side note - Prior to the hike we went to the super market looking for sunscreen which was awfully expensive so we pulled the "student card;" squeezed a bunch into our hands walked out and applied it in the parking lot: no shame!) Jimmy (by far the coolest guy who picked us up during the entire trip) was from London and was on his way to check out a property outside of Wanaka. He told us some hilarious stories and gave us some amazing advice ("you are never lost, your just taking a different route to get there" & "Im only 25% for sure for sure?"). That crazy car ride ended and we were halfway to our hike when we realized that there were absolutely no cars at all around that area and that we definitely were too far outside of town to get back to Wanaka after doing the hike. We ended up hitch hiking back into town and doing a closer hike that we could walk to from downtown. We ended up at the information office and asked for Simon who was quite a jerk... Funniest part was that Zoey (who told us to go there) broke up with this Simon guy last week; so Simon was quite surprised that she told us to ask for him haha!
Where we got our water the whole weekend

After the hike we went into town and got the knarliest Chinese food that you could get for $10 in Wanaka (bad decision). We sat on the beach, ate our Chinese food and watched the bus loads of tourists get off the buses to take pictures. That night we went back to the tent, ate the classiest PB&J sandwiches, showered and headed back into town to meet up with some other internationals students from Otago that we met up with during that day. It was an early night because Laura and I planned to catch the early morning traffic that would be leaving Wanaka the next morning.

Me and Spot!
Long story short we were having very bad luck on the way back and it took 4 rides (from Peter who was German, and Linda, Andy and Cliff who were all Kiwi) to get from Wanaka to Alexandra! We were getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere with no map and no idea when we'd get picked up next. Cliff told us some really cool stories about Otago. He was a riot officer in the 1989 student riots at Otago and explained to us that the students today just aren't what they used to be. So it was very interesting hearing the difference between Otago then and now. We waited an hour an a half in Alexandra until our friends (Ben and Jess) stopped by and picked us up! (They were in Queenstown earlier that day). Laura and I, both super sun burned and exhausted passed out in the backseat; so thankful we were able to get back to Dunedin.

Getting home, the sudden realization hit that it was October 31st and we were having a Halloween party at our flat that night... The shenanigans never stop!

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