Home Away from Home
So, this journey appears to be taking a change of course in the direction of reality. Yes, Jeannine and I have found a place to live, and will even be working! Accommodation was a bit of a concern, and we had anticipated living in a "room and board" type farmhouse due to the shortage in rentals. As it turns out, we've found a cool little holiday home in a village called Methven, just a few minutes drive from the foothills of the Southern Alps.
A small town near a prominent ski area... sound familiar? There is a Collingwood-like feel to Methven, although it is VERY small. Like many towns in New Zealand, there are probably more sheep here than people.
After finding our living quarters, we made one last journey to the mountains for a trekking trip near our beloved Wanaka, an incredibly beautiful mountain town near the better known Queenstown. Incredibly, the track we wanted to hike was booked out (hiking is highly regulated on some of the popular walks), so we made our way to a lesser-known region, that had been highly recommended by a few fellow travellers. It turned out to be a great decision: the "Cascade Saddle" trail was an amazing walk above the bushline, surrounded by massive peaks, and the impressive Dart Glacier. If you've been reading our journals, this might sound repetitive, but it was unquestionably, the most incredible, jaw-dropping alpine scenery we have seen...maybe anywhere. It was also very difficult, but the steep ascents and descents were worth the effort.
Driving back towards our new home, we decided to camp on the shores of an alpine lake in clear view of the largest mountain in NZ, Mt. Cook. For two "outdoorsy" types like ourselves, it was a fitting end to what has been a great adventure. Watching the sun go down over the majestic mountains, we reflected on our most recent Cascade Saddle excursion, and looked back on the past seven months of travel. We've learned so much about the world, and about ourselves, it is hard to summarize all that we've experienced.
As much fun as we've had, it's a good feeling to be "growing some roots" and staying put for a while. Although we still have plans to see other things during our time here, we're hoping to get a taste for the real New Zealand, and soak up the "Kiwi culture". There's already so much to tell about the friendliness of the people, their constant discussion of the weather, and their devotion to sports (right now, the America's Cup sailing). We definitely will have lots to share. But for now, we've gotta run...we've got tickets for the Super 12 rugby game in Christchurch. It's footy time!