A new beginning. The big upset in Kaikoura meant burying all plans and starting all over again. How to get on with your travel life after things have been turned upside down, the certainty of solid ground erased? How to leave people that have become so dear in just a week?

To start with, our Quake family started splitting ways in Christchurch. A last night celebrating life and I joined the folks westbound, for what turned into an epic daytrip over Arthur’s Pass. The mountainsides we crossed were stunning, yet very different from what I’d seen of New Zealand before. As the West Coast had been calling for me, and I would stay in Greymouth for a while. Every day started with cleaning toilets or guest rooms in the hostel, a charming old building in Greymouth. What I missed, though, was the incredible community spirit and my friends from Kaikoura. Learning to travel alone again.

Not the most beautiful town itself, at least Greymouth is surrounded by beauty and spoiled with massive waves. I only dared to go surfing once and was reminded of the forces of the wild Tasman Sea. The coast however didn’t fail to enchant me; subtropical rainforest and impressing cliffs. Unlikely or not, the first three days in that place with 5000mm annual rain welcomed me with wonderful sunshine, daring me to cycle and hike, explore the green hills and waterfalls. Then torrential rain or hailstorms every hour turned to be the new normal. When a few backpackers joined our hostel team later that week, we explored the coast further up to the amazing rock formation called Pancake Rocks. And had the obligatory pancakes for dinner at home

Trying to figure out my ongoing travel plans, I unexpectedly received a job offer from Coastal Otago. A hostel reception job that I had applied to a month earlier had just got vacant and reached out for. No more cleaning toilets was tempting… It would mean crossing the entire south island again, however I couldn’t resist the outlook for a real hostel community again. It was time to move on.

Next: Glacier Country & Queenstown



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