Opotiki. Press a pause.
After some travels we needed work again. So we found a job in kiwi picking in small city Opotiki. Here we connected with hostel manager Melany. She managed a job for us and also very nice accommodations at private house.
As the picking season just started here, we got many days off. We used those for hiking. Around Opotiki there are some interesting hiking trails.
Kohi point scenic track is very interesting and relatively easy. Just you have to check tides before going otherwise beach part is not available. Walk on the beach was very nice. We just sat on the cliffs for a while and watched the waves. It was peaceful and hypnotic. After a while we noticed that water has come closer to the coast, so we had to rush back to the trail. We still managed to find nice shell rings for our upcoming wedding (obviously a joke).
Onekawa Te Mawhai Loop track was also easy, but nice walk. There is glowworms in one part of the walk too. It crosses private land at its highest point and a view is very nice. Part of the walk is on the beach. We enjoyed the sunset.
We also very enjoyed Tauranga historic bridge (not even close to Tauranga) bushwalk. The history behind it is quite exquisite. It is the only surviving harp suspension bridge left in New Zealand.It was built in 1922 by the Public Works Department to provide access to sheep farms up the Tauranga Valley. The valley was subdivided in 1906 and settled under a government scheme to create farms from unproductive forest land. The rugged landscape proved unsuitable for farming and the settlers struggled with the difficult conditions. Ultimately the farms failed and from the late 1920s farmers began to abandon their properties with little to show for their efforts. People lost their fight with nature. Bushwalk takes about 3 hours and during it, you can really enjoy the majesty of hills and silence of the valley. It is a perfect getaway for those looking for peace and loneliness.
Besides hiking, we also started to work in kiwi picking. The beginning was rough. Not because you have to get used to a heavy bags, but because at the beginning of the season work time it is very uncertain. First two weeks we worked very occasionally and barely could cover our rent and food. It was due to the fact that fruit didn't reach the right sugar levels and also many days was rainy. In rain, we can't work. After that, it got a lot better, but Aldis decided to start working in a packhouse as it was possible to work more hours and the weather couldn't affect it as much. I decided to stay with the picking.
For those who don't know there are two types of kiwifruit - green (nothing special) and gold (considered more luxurious). I worked with both. Turned out there is even red kiwis ( and many more odd ones), but as it is mostly experimental, very hard to find them.
Opotiki is a very small city. 60% of the population here is Maori. Many people work on farms or in kiwi growing and exporting. There are not a lot of things to do here, but if you come here for work, then this is the perfect place to live, work and save money. The temptation for unplanned purchases is very low. The only thing that is a little complicated is grocery shopping. There is only one decent size grocery shop and it, of course, isn't so cheap. There are no actual farmers markets, so we had to drive 40 min to the closest city to make bigger purchases and get our fresh produce for better prices.
This place is like a pause to our trip. We settled down, found a job and take a little break from driving around.
Fall is coming. In one week temperatures dropped very fast. Around 6pm it is getting dark and it is a little weird. In the daytime it is still at least +16 to +20 degrees, but the sun is quite low. Nights are different story. Temperature drops below +10 degrees and it is very cold even inside. When it comes to house heating New Zealanders are a little behind. At least in North Island, most of the houses don't have heaters or fireplaces. People use electrical heaters for warmth. We are lucky that we have one in our bedroom.