When freedom reach your mind! Northland.
Auckland is nice, but don't stay there too long. A week is more than enough, maybe two if you want to discover more museums or do other tourist atractions. For us two weeks were too long. As we got our paper works done, we started to look for a job. For us it wasn't that easy. We used most popular backpacker sites with a lot of vacancies for people like us. But nobody responded. Many of them required to have a car. Also, we knew that with our heavy bags we will not get anywhere. Even getting to the bus station would be challenging not to mention hitchhiking.
Our plans also were so indefinite, that it was hard to plan something and as there were not a lot of responses from employers we didn't know which way to go. Of course, we could stay in Auckland and work there a while, but as noone responded from Auckland as well.
We were lucky when local Latvian couple offered us stay at their place till we figured out our situation. And I can't even describe how nice they are and how much we appreciate their help. Also, I was glad to use a real kitchen again (Yes, I love to cook). So we had a chance to spend our time with nice people while I was writing application letters to every vacancy I saw located somewhere around Auckland.
This "waiting for a job" situation kind of started to get on our nerves, so we decided to buy a car. We wanted to be mobile and also have a chance to sleep in it if that would be necessary. Of course, we had to calculate our budget, but in the end, there were more pros than cons so we bought it.
We found a traveler couple who wanted to sell their car before leaving New Zealand. So we got transformed Honda Odyssey with a build in bed and storage area. So that meant that we can drive somewhere, look for a job (especially after buying a car) and sleep in the car in designated areas (No, you can't sleep wherever and Yes, mostly you have to pay for sleeping in your own car).
At the end of our second week, we knew that we have to do something. So on Monday we started to drive. First day we found some wineyards and asked for a job. The owner told that as the last couple of days were raining they stoped most of the work , but he had something for us. The only problem was that he couldn't say when. We couln't stay and just wait when the rain will stop and when he will give us a job, as he said maybe only for two days. We needed something more stable.
We spent the night on Campground where we had to pay 15 NZD for each and the only facility there were toilets. Night was rainy and birds were loud, so we did not get much sleep. When we woke up, it was still a bit rainy, but we had to keep going. We had a nice walk in the woods and saw huge ferns.
As you may know New Zealand is very popular for it's walking tracks. This one reminded me of "Twilight" and the rainy city of Forks. After driving around and checking places we ended up in another campground (Baldbrick farm) where a nice lady greeted us. For 12,50 NZD each we had toilets, kitchen, shower and a free wifi (many places you have to pay for Wifi).
Then I checked my email and there was an answer from the hostel which provides jobs for backpackers. It is interesting that most of the job advertisements are provided by hostels, not the actual employers. They have some kind of cooperation so if you want to avoid it, it can be very hard to find something. We took the job and drove more up North from Auckland.
It was Valentine's day, so we had to come up with something. We decided to hike. The day was gorgeous so we walked the Mangawhai Cliff Walk. It was steep and very hot, but views were worth of every hard step we took. Sad that we didn't brought enough water for the ~3 hour walk. Heat was really crazy.
When we got down from a mountain we saw a lot of cliffs and waves smashing against the coast, hidden beaches, and shell graves. It was interesting that in high tide there wouldn't be a track to walk. So we were lucky.
You could even see how white sand mixed together with black sand.
After the hot and scenic walk, we decided to go for a swim. It was February 14th, so we started our swimming season quite early this year (Ha ha, in Latvia you can swim in February only if you like ice cold swims).
To make this day complete we got some coffee (we drank 3in1 most of the time. But that's not a real coffee) and really cool frozen berry ice cream. For the first time, I got to know about berry called boysenberry. Turns out it is cross between Loganberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries.
After that, we arrived in a hostel where its owners, a very nice couple, greeted us. They told us that we will sign our works contracts the next day and everything is organized for us. It was a real peace of mind. Finally, everything fell in places.
So once upon of time, two managers started to work on a mandarin orchard. What a change! Next day, we got our training and started to work. It was on an open field so we had to work in a hot sun, rain or wind. It was way out of our comfort zones. We knew we will be affected by weather a lot, but we were ready for a change. Usually, backpackers work in the orchards (picking or thinning fruit), vineyards, farms, hostels, and restaurants. Sometimes a job is for a day or two, sometimes for a few month (the rule is not working in one place longer than 3 months).
Following days weren't easy. As we were thinning fruits from early morning when trees and grass are wet, our working gloves and feet were wet and sun was burning our heads. I was shocked that so the consumers could get perfect, round, undeformed fruits, 70% of them go wasted. But I guess this is the world we are living in.
Despite the physically hard work and hurting hands my mind was free. It flew like a bird. Hands were moving, but I was going deep in my memories, thought about future or just daydreaming. It was kind of liberating feeling.
I could listen to the wind, bee buzzing our birds and that was all I needed. No people speaking, no cars, no stress.