Staying with the Wilkes family throughout our stay in Invercargill has been so lovely. They are a family of 6; Dean and Stacey are the Mum and Dad and their four kids are Anastasia (18), Lachlan (16), Arielle (14), and Raquel (12).
We arrived on late Monday after our wild day in Milford Sound. Dean and Stacey both came to pick us up from the drop off in town and brought us back to their place. We stayed in a luxury caravan they had sitting in their drive way. I have never actually slept in one of these RV – Caravan type things so I was slightly more into it then the average person.
Our first day Rach and I were so pooped from our week of fun and excitement in Queenstown/Routeburn/Milford Sound that we basically just took the day off. We caught up on our journals, with friends and family and relaxed and read our books until Stacey & Dean got home from work and the kids got home from school (all except for Anastasia because she is just starting her first year at the University of Wellington).
That evening we accompanied Lachlan to Venturers which is the advancement after Boy Scouts (it’s also co-ed). He took Rachel and I out paddling on the river along with 2 of his other Venturer friends. We were out for about 1 hour and 15ish minutes. The whole time we talked – or mostly they talked and Rachel and I listened with nostalgic ears on what it was like to be 16 again.
Over the next three days Stacey took work off and drove us around all of her favourite places of Invercargill and the Catlins. How lucky are we!?! We visited the small towns of Bluff and Riverton exploring cafes and brunch-y restaurants. We visited Cozy Nook, Colic Bay, Slope Point, Nugget Point and a bunch of waterfalls. Slope Point is the most Southern Point of New Zealand – we can officially say we have done New Zealand top to bottom!!
She also took us around to the boat shop / workshop that her and Dean own so we could take a look at what they do for a living. We even got to hop on some of the boats to check out all the new gadgets that they installed and how they basically manage to make the boat into a tiny floaty home.
The Wilkes Family are at the stage where each kid in the family is involved in one or two sports full throttle – Stacy and Dean were almost always driving someone somewhere or picking up. Raquel played rugby, rode their pony Rosie, and did competitive ballet. Arielle did about 30 hours of synchronized swimming a week and Lachlan did Venturers and played badminton. It was funny because it reminded me a lot of what my family house used to be like – Natalie with soccer and basketball, Joe with volleyball, soccer, hockey, me with basketball, and volleyball – plus all of our after school clubs and teams. After watching this family in action I messaged both my parents a MASSIVE thank you for committing all that time driving and attending all those sports. I didn’t realize how time hungry all of those extra curricular added up to because I really only saw it from my point of view.
On Friday morning Stacey dropped us off back in town bright and early to catch our kiwi Bus to make our way to Dunedin. Because of all the little stops that the Kiwi Bus makes to check out views, wildlife, etc., we didn’t arrive in town until about 6pm. Rach and I killed some time grabbing a pizza and a beer while we waited for our new WWOOF hosts Sarah & Robin to pick us up to take us out to their place in a wee town called Port Chalmers (just outside the main town of Dunedin). Robin is an English Teacher and Sarah is an Art teacher in town. We met their two crafty daughters Emily-Rose (12) and Aly-May (10) and their sweet pup, Bowie (7 in human years).
The house reminds me a lot of my friend Isabelle’s house. Full of life, art, music, plants, cooking, and people coming and going often. It’s a lovely atmosphere and makes me a little homesick missing my gorgeous friend, her family, my family, and all my other dear dear friends.
Our jobs here are kind of all over the place. Yesterday it was rainy and wet so we weeded outdoors for a bit and then came in to do some work – all kinds of cooking. I made muesli bars and Emily-Rose decided to make lemon squares. After that we all pitched in and helped with dinner – a fabulous “everything but the kitchen sink” type salad and homemade pizza!
Today we have a couple of jobs both inside and outside – some more weeding, ironing and cleaning the oven. Some how over the course of the Routeburn and Milford Sound I have contracted a bit of a cold but I’m drinking lots of water, Vitamin C and trying to bundle up / stay dry for our outdoor jobs.
It’s hard to believe that we only have just over a month left – less than that in our beloved New Zealand. I am starting to become a bit tired with the idea of picking up and moving every couple days. Being nomadic can be quite tiring! So there’s a part of me that is looking forward to returning back to Sharon. Never the less I am soaking up every minute here because I know it’s not forever and truly I love to be so emerced in travelling, in these experiences and with these families.
We are only here for two more days and then we cruise through Queenstown for a few nights. Sending love from sweet Dunedin. ❤️ xx