Sunday Summary #5 - November 2018
Wow, where should I start? To sum this steaming hot mess of a week up: it was weird. We had planned quite a lot for our last few days in Mangonui, unfortunately we had to let go most of it because of the steady rain, wild storms and even a small earthquake (it wasn’t that bad;) . After all, in the few hours of sunshine we had left, we were able to finish the last details on the van. And since we need work as soon as possible, we worked on our CVs and applied for a couple of jobs. And on Tuesday our e-mail account was suddenly filled with replies. We got the chance to work on a cherry orchard in January. These jobs are popular and you have to apply online for weeks if not months in advance. We do not have a final confirmation yet, but it looks good. We had already received a rejection from another farm because, like every year, they had hundreds of applicants for a handful of jobs. And we get a job as night wardens at a hostels front desk for 22 hours a week. We think about the job offer for a long time ask about details and let us send the contract to clarify the conditions. On Wednesday evening we finally say yes. Our plan: It’ll be relatively short night shifts, so we might be able to work a day job simultaneously and thus fill up the travel funds even faster. In addition, we organized a picking job on a Kiwifarm in the neighboring village the next chapter of our trip seems pretty clear now - workworkworkworkwork. Well, we are pretty happy, the job search in New Zealand is more or less uncomplicated, because there are some financial items we have to take care of. The tax is due again, insurance for the next travel year must be paid, website fees, stock music for our videos, etc. Btw, this month we’d like to publish a summary of the last travel year. In this summary we also write about our finances, because we know that many world travel enthusiasts are very keen to know whatkind of money you need, to do something like this.
Thursday evening we had an incredibly nice reunion with Kim and Judy, killing a bottle of wine together and chat about this and that and Friday morning we finally had to say goodbye to Mangonui and George. Due to the sudden and apparently urgent job offer, we are already at 7 clock on the way to Tauranga, South of Auckland. The farewell is not only difficult for us: George spends the morning in front of our guest hut and jumps in our car when we get ready for the drive. We will miss the little Gremlin! We could have spent a few more days in Kim and Judy's Airbnb for free, but the training starts today. Although the distance is only a bare 500 kilometers, we need almost 8 hours with Vanette. The New Zealand roads are by far no German Autobahn. You can’t go faster than a hundred Ks but with these thight bends and the Kiwis acting like race car drivers its pretty scary at times. On the way we see loads of white crosses next to the road. We all know what they mean. At 6pm we finally arrive at the hostel, ready to start our training. Again, life had a different plan. We can’t accept the job because of the misleading information they gave us. We could have saved us the rushed ride through half the North Island. After this bummer we look forward to a campsite for the night and a cold brew. On Monday we have an appointment with the Kiwifarm to clarify the working conditions. On Saturday we spend some time in the library to research accommodation for the coming nights. We assumed that we would have a room in the hostel. Read more about Harborside City Backpackers in the Downer of the Week section . After all, we find a beautiful free spot 30 kilometers South of Tauranga, where we spend 2 nights: the Trout Pool Reserve! Adjacent is the Kaituna, a water-filled, wild river that winds its way through a prehistoric forest. A popular destination for rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. More about this in the highlight section. ;)
Pic der Woche:
Downer Of the week:
At first we thought the downer of the week will be limited to saying goodbye to Mangonui - far from it. The column is this time but solely dedicated to the absolutely unprofessional job description and correspondence of the Harborside City Backpackers in Tauranga.
The deal was implied as follows:
- 22 hours night shift the week
- 363 dollars (NZ) a week + $ 20 per on call shift
- Accommodation in a double room
We asked about the conditions a couple of times because of a strange gut feeling and also called for the employment contracts for review. Woofing is now illegal in New Zealand hostels, so we expeceted a free staff room, because working for your room is not alowed anymore. And since this was advertised as a paied position and nobody thought it However, when we arrive we are informed about the $ 400 a week, which we have to shell out for the room. At a salary of $ 363 a week! The hostel has made an even crappier deal out of the already questionable woofing deal (tiny room + food for work at the hostel). Practically two people sit (only one may sign the employment contract) 5 nights a week at the reception and clean the kitchen in the mornings for a minimum wage, which goes streight back into their pockets for accommodation. Basically the hostel owners get an employee (in our case two) for free. And you should be willing to be okay with that crappy deal for the next 3 months, pretty please. Anyone who surrenders to these conditions must either be damn desperate or stupid enough to any bullshitting. We are accordingly annoyed and ask the employee, why something that essential was not mentioned in the employment contract, or when we asked about the room in the previous correspondence? He apologizes and tries to talk it down. We do not even get to see the manager.
Now we’re glad, we worked out a plan B, before leaving Mangonui. Because the Kiwi farm job we had to go to the Tauranga area anyway, but we actually planned to get to know the North Island a bit better on the way down South and not skip everything in a massive 8 hour drive. And because of the hostel thing, we had to decline a house sit offer over the Christmas period..
This is the third negative experience we have had with a potential employer here in New Zealand. I can imagine that these Black Sheep easily scam one or another with an infinite mass of young european first time travellers .
To all those who are thinking of traveling and working abroad: do not fall for this kind of exploitation and always look for fair money for fair work. There are plenty of decent employers out there - guaranteed! Everything else is not worth it.
where are we now:
Mangonui, Far North District, Nordinsel Neuseeland
Highlight of the week:
Extensive walks with George, preparing self made pizza, watching a movie while it's raining outside, meeting Kim and Judy again - good times.
But our highlight this week was definitely Sunday. As we open the curtains of little vanette in the morning, a famous New Zealand cliché is welcoming: lush green hills where sheep, cows and a horse graze. In between a few rabbits. The sun starts to peek over the hills, and the sky is finally blue again. The scenery looks like streight out of a childrens fairy tail. As we open the door, a cold strong wind blows in our faces. We make coffee and put on some layers. Our sleeping area near Rotorua turns out to be a perfect location to explore the Okere Falls. Some of our neighboring campers are already on out and squeeze themselves into their neoprene suits - the Kaituna River, which flows through the rainforest-like area behind the car park, is a popular spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking. As we enter the forest, we can imagine why this has been an important spiritual site of the Ngati Pikiao (that’s the name of the local Maori) for centuries. It is Sunday and of course we are not alone in one of the most famous tourist areas of the North Island. In the forest there is no trace of the fresh wind and the sunrays throw shadows of the tall tree ferns on the well-developed path. The rushing of the river with its many small waterfalls and rapids is heard constantly, now and then a path branches off to impressive viewpoints overlooking the many falls. The rafting boats speed down the chutes at irregular intervals. The Tutea waterfall, with its 7 meters, is the highest waterfall in the world that can be rafted on a guided rafting tour. In Finland Anna had the pleasure of paddling down a wild river in such a dinghy. This time however, we are just spectators.
In the afternoon we drive towards Rotorua to refill our water supplies. The city is known for its geothermal activities. You can smell it as soon as you come near the city. Everywhere there is this sulfuric smell in the air, which mixes depending on the district with fried chicken and petrol from gas stations. The thermal springs with their bubbling mud holes and geysers must wait a little bit longer though. We will stay in the area for a while. At a Bike Park we find not only drinking water but even hot showers for free - jackpot! Sunday really was a good balance for the rest of the week. Freshly showered and in a good mood, we make our way back to the trout pool reserve. The wind has increased again and it is getting uncomfortable outside. Luckily, our small living room on wheels is perfect to make ourself comfortable with a beer and a film.