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Whenever you start planning a trip to New Zealand, and when I say a trip I mean a “one year trip on a working holiday visa to the most isolated country in the entire world”, you don’t realize what adventure means till you arrive at the airport in Auckland. Nobody is waiting for you, you have a backpack that weighs half your weight and a customs guy is making you explain what is that Argentinian infusion you are bringing with you. You don’t even realize at that moment that you are putting yourself into the most adventurous year of your life. And I’m not just talking about swimming with sharks, jumping from the highest tower or driving the most dangerous road. Definitely not (even tough you can also do all of that in this country). I’m specifically talking about saying goodbye to your family (and not see you tomorrow) leaving all your friends and safety places like your home and your job, getting on a plane for more tan 15 hours, traveling approximately 12000km to a country you barely know about, landing right in the other side of the world without the slightness idea of what’s going to happen from the very first day, and still… getting on that plane and saying goodbye.
It’s been six months since we arrived in the greenest country I’ve ever visited and in early February we started one of many “adventurous trips” when you only know the beginning but never even imagine the ending.
(By this time you must have realised that I’m not travelling on my own but still I like to create sort of a mysterious atmosphere)
After spending two fabulous months at Mount Maunganui working on the beach, literally on the beach (cleaning the oil from the Rena spill) we decided to keep on travelling and move on (well, we, our employers, who cares?) We had no idea where to go, so we decided to visit a friend we made during the first months of our “one year trip on a working holiday visa to the most isolated country in the entire world”, who was at that moment living in a farm in the middle of nowhere. Just what we needed.
So, once again we said goodbye, now to our lovely flatmates, packed all our stuff put some petrol in our car (the kiwi movil from now on) and started our first road tripping (yeah! If you sing it, do it aloud!  Road tripping. Yeah!)
I couldn’t sleep the two nights before the road tripping and that’s not because I had conjunctivitis (for god sake!) It was only for the simple reason that that was going to be the first time I was driving in the high way, in my own car with a map and a co-pilot as the only witnesses. Yes, I have to admit it. I got my International driver license just a few days before coming to New Zealand and even tough I drove a lot in the city I had never ever driven in the high way before I arrived to  New Zealand (and, for my delightful, I found out that I’m a really good driver)
So, a few hours later, my nerves a little confused by the up-side downs and more than 500 km driven non-stop, we got to Russell, the first New Zealand capital (a long time ago) and one of the most peaceful and beautiful places we’ve been in New Zealand so far. Our friend was waiting for us in her new home, she hadn’t made cookies or a big dinner but a bed and good shower was enough. We decided to rest and wait till the next morning to go to town, celebrate our friend’s birthday and see what Russell was like (yes, I know that I’ve already said that is one most beautiful towns in NZ but at that time we were about to find it out)
The next morning we woke up early, had an empowering breakfast, took some fruits and drove straight to town. We spent only one hour hunging around the town till, by chance and without any expectation, we found a tiny little ad at the post office that claimed:

“We are looking for experienced, tidy and responsible people to
join our team. Please send us your CV or come to the hotel”

If my mother was told one year ago that I was going to be a housekeeper at a five star hotel in one of the spots towns surrounding the beaches of New Zealand, she would have laugh really loud and said ‘no way’. But there I was, two days after that miraculous morning, introducing myself to the incredible world of the bleach, the mop and the air freshener. Becoming a master of the vacuum cleaning and the ironing. Willing to know new products everyday and using them as a professional and experienced cleaner. Extremely tidy and organized. Dusting, polishing and moping. Becoming the bellboy, the service guy, the pool man and the manager’s hand. And, at last but not least, being a member of the funniest, coolest and most cheerful (and international) housekeeping team in the world!
Our job started on a Sunday, can you imagine starting a job on Sunday? That is hard working! And it was only the beginning of the hard working. We spent the following three months working a lot, I think that we only stopped to drink some tea and have some cookies, no I’m just kidding we worked a lot but, luckily, we also spent some time going to the beach, cooking, reading and having the good life but not for a long time because, even tough we never thought that we were going to stay for more tan a week in Russell, I myself, found a second job (and yes, my mum is still laughing and couldn’t believe I was working double!)
So here comes the description of one my typical double shifts days.
8.00 am. Alarm clock went off for the first time.
8.30 am. Alarm clock went off for the fourth time and I jumped out of the bed.
8.35 am. With my face and teeth cleaned, I started to make and have breakfast
9.00 am. Signing in at my first job (still a bit sleepy)
9.01 am to 3.30 pm. Cleaning, dusting, cleaning, moping, cleaning, vacuuming!!! Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!!!
3.30 pm to 4 pm. Quick shower, fast lunch and preparing myself for my second job
4 pm. Signing in at Sally’s Restaurant.
4.01 till late. Stocking the bar, making coffees and drinks, waiting, writing the specials on the board, helping in the kitchen, taking a ten minutes break, making the bills, counting tips, cleaning and closing the restaurant.
Late. Having dinner and some drinks at the restaurant, next to the Russell wharf, relaxing with my new friends (and the enigmatic someone that has been with me through all the trip) and having the best time of the day under the shining moon (unless it was raining. Then, it was only the restaurant’s roof)
Later (after late). Getting home in my Mercedes Benz, smoking a Cuban cigar, drinking my scotch on the rocks, listening to chill out music and taking a long bath. Oh no! I felt asleep again! Sorry! The last part of the day wasn’t that interesting so we’ll skip it.
Adventure means out of any convention for me so a fantastic summer spent in the unthinkable Russell, working with wonderful people, spectacular viewings and the best environment ever is an adventure itself without any doubt.
Our Working Holiday Visa Tour is still on, so buy your tickets. That was just the beginning.

Submitted by: Juan Ignacio Murillo
Date submitted: 6/06/2012 7:15:33 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 don’t 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 we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s 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 it… 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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