Run it like you own it

To get from Christchurch to Greymouth, a scenic option would be to go through Arthur’s Pass. Starting off early, we made our first stop at Castle Hill. The drive to Castle Hill was gorgeous; it made me really excited for Arthur’s Pass. Castle Hill has these beautiful rock formations which are perfect for those who likes bouldering. There were so many interesting rocks, we spent quite a bit of time getting lost in the maze of limestone boulders. By the time we reached Arthur’s Pass, it was heavily raining. The trails through Arthur’s Pass are rated to be challenging and deemed even more dangerous with such rainy weather.

Limestone boulders at Castle Hill

Bored with nothing else to do, we arrived in Greymouth early to hang out at their lovely McDonalds. McDonalds has slowly became our best friend in New Zealand. They usually have nice bathrooms and reliable internet. We decided to camp one more night before bidding farewell to our travelmate. Due to the last minute accommodation search, we ended up spending the night at Black Ball Communication Center despite the reviews saying it is creepy and haunted. We were all a bit creeped out by the building and the bathroom! We looked up articles about reported ghost sightings in the building before going to sleep. WHY?! Since you are reading this, you know we all made it in one piece and survived the haunted house. No wonder it only cost $5AUD per night!

We spent the next week at the bed and breakfast in Tayorville, which is a 10 minute drive to Greymouth. It’s a hole; there’s nothing to do or see within comfortable walking distance. After just briefly greeted by our host, he entrusted us with the task to run the bed and breakfast on his behalf for a few days while his family goes on a vacation. While the work did not seem complicated, it was so trusting of him to have us manage the place shortly after meeting us.

There were only four rooms to maintain and we stayed in the bar-converted living space area. Our daily tasks included checking customers in and out, changing sheets, laundry, general cleaning, and feeding the chickens. I took the most enjoy in collecting eggs from the chicken; they did not always lay eggs though. There really was not too much to do around the house so it was a great time to figure out travel plans after New Zealand and catch up on things we did not have time for otherwise. I recall snacking on rice crackers for the most part and marathoning through Star Wars episodes 4 to 6. Working at the hostel reminded me of the times when I dreamed about having my own cozy accommodations by the seaside and creating a relaxing experience for visitors to enjoy.

One of the reasons why we wanted to partake in another HelpX around this time was so that we can join a Kiwi family for Christmas. The family had some interesting dynamics where my host and his wife’s ex-spouses also joined for the Christmas feast. Since it is warm during Christmas time in New Zealand, Kiwis often have barbeques at the beach. We did not go to a beach, but we had a barbeque and heaps of wine and desserts. It was not a fancy celebration, but everyone still had fun and felt the Christmas spirit. Our host really tried to ensure that we have a good time during our stay and offered us to use any of the things we see around the house. He even lent me his car at some point for a quick grocery run.

The 10 days at Taylorville was not very exciting in particular, but it was relaxing. We spent most of the time within the bed and breakfast vicinity. Sometimes after all the constant travel, you just want to slow down and do nothing for some time.


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