I arrived in Te Anau last October. Since then, the New Year has arrived and here we are in 2017 almost late January already. Four months in this little corner at the southern tip of New Zealand. I came to work two months as a housekeeper in the Lakeview Holiday Park, the biggest Holiday Park in the village a little apart and I am four months later still here.
This is the first time I live in a holiday park. Before that, it never occurred to me that we could live permanently in a holiday area. For the anecdote, the film crew and the actors of the Hobbit, the trilogy of Peter Jackson lodged in the park, in the five-star block named Marakura, when they came some years ago to shoot scenes of the movies in the area. Living in the same place as the Hobbit team, it’s really nice!
I live in the West Arm Lodge, a quiet space at the end of the park consisting of six blocks articulated around a common space. Most of the seasonal staff lives here. My small room is located in the block named Chalky, named after a small island south of New Zealand. The first time I walked into my room, I thought it was old-fashioned, small and not very clean. Then I cleaned up, put my things in the drawers and got used to it. And the bed is comfortable. It takes little to be happy.
The work is not very complicated. But there is nothing extraordinary about it either. The days follow and resemble each other. In addition to daytime work at the park, I also work four to five nights a week at the Kepler restaurant. The menu is mainly focused on fish and seafood with some meat dishes and some Chilean specialties. Since the owner / chef is Chilean this is understandable. The food is very good and the presentation of the dishes extraordinary. When I started last November, the restaurant was ranked number 2 on the TripAdvisor list of the best restaurants in Te Anau. Then in December, it passed number 1! It must be thanks to my smile … But in return, the restaurant is full all the time and the pace is fast and tiring.
Between my two jobs, I do not have time to do much. The time runs and the routine sets in. A little too much for my taste. During my days-off, I usually go for a walk or bike tour around, spend time in the library for the wifi (the fastest of the NZ) and I lunch at Mile’s pies, a tiny shop that makes the best pies in the area.
Life in Te Anau is quiet and peaceful. The landscape that surrounds me overlooking the lake and the mountains of Fiordland is a permanent delight for the eyes. The village is well located either for hikes or to go to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown or Invercargill, the main destinations of the region. Tourists are not too visible despite the fact that they make up 80% of the population. No, the area is really nice. The only fault of Te Anau is the climate. Being situated at the end of the South Island and close to the fjords opening out to the sea, we almost always takes the climatic changes. That means rain and wind a majority of the time. Which makes me sad and melancholic. So I sit next to the window and watching the clouds scrolling in the sky, I dream of adventures. It’s probably time to leave Te Anau behind me.
Trail notes is the gateway to my current journey and all that implies. This means lots of fun and adventures but also lots of interrogation points.
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