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Omarama, Place of Light

Last January, after 3 months of thrilling travels and cheap living, I found myself back in Auckland persuing office jobs once again after promising myself I would not do another office job for the rest of my time in New Zealand.  I was staying for a few weeks in Whangaparaoa, a penninsula 40km north of Auckland, with friends.  After just a week of job hunting on various websites I had an array of offers coming in for sales and administration jobs.  But something in the back of my mind told me that this was not what I truely wanted to do, and so, I decided on a change of course. 
I looked on the seasonal jobs website one evening and searched for hospitality and south island.  Up came a list of various hotel chains in places such as Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo... all of the beautiful places that I knew I would miss out on if I were to waste the rest of my precious time in Auckland!  Then low and behold, one particular position caught my eye!  This was in a place I had never even heard of.  I knew I had passed through, but like all other small towns, the first time I had passed through Omarama, it had never really blown me away enough to stop and have a coffee, and it had never imprinted on my memory.  I looked on Google, found the location and read a little bit about the town - A small town with approx 800 residents.  The location was perfect, just 100km from Wanaka, Tekapo and Oamaru.  This was just what I needed to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to go and live and work somewhere quiet, where I can work as many hours as I like (which was a lot after 3 months of not earning) and that I can manage my finances.
Reading the fine details about the job, and having checked out the estasblishments website online, I knew then and there that this was the job for me.  I called the telephone number on seasonal jobs and the very next hour I had a call back.  Could I send my CV and a brief covering letter?  Yes! Of course!  The next day(actually my birthday) I received a telephone call.  We would like to offer you the job, and as youre experienced you will be starting on a little more than our basic entry wage.  Wonderful! thats exactly what I had expected!  The next day I packed the van and set off on a 3 day road trip to Omarama, Place of Light.  When I arrived late in the night, three days early for work, the employer never failed to disappoint.  Everything that was promised to me was delivered... Unlimited hours, good wage, accommodation provided for a lump sum, induction, training and a beautiful, quiet and scenic backdrop to enjoy the rest of what had already been a glorious summer.  Starting work in the restaurant/housekeeping departments, I later transfered to the kitchen, first as a kitchen hand, then being trained as a chef assistant.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the region and worked at a local skilodge for the winter.  But before I had left for the winter I had secured my job back at the same establishment in Omarama for the following Summer.  Im still here now, as a breakfast and lunch chef, coming to the end of my second summer season, and once again I am looking at the seasonal jobs website to try and find some income for the winter.  Ive been asked to return to my job in Omarama again next summer season.  Of course it depends on my VISA but I would have no other objections.  To me, Omarama was where I was meant to be all along, it feels like home to me.  Being here has changed my life in many ways, it feels like the path I was always meant to take... the road less travelled!
Charlotte Cook
UK Traveller & NZ Enthusiast

Submitted by: Charlotte Cook
Date submitted: 3/04/2012 7:57:24 PM

Apple grading & stacking Fri Jun 8

Grape picking Fri Jun 8

Blueberry picking Fri Jun 8

Hop work in Motueka Tue May 16

Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27


The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I donít live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team weíve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Letís go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17


Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize itÖ Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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