I have spent my last three weeks working at Kinloch Lodge, which is located in the Queenstown area. Kinloch is a wilderness lodge that is nestled in a valley in close proximity to a couple of famous New Zealand tracks, such as the Routeburn Track.
It is also in close proximity to what many Lord of the Rings fans know as “Isengard.”
I think that Kinloch is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life. I loved having breakfast every morning while looking out the window and viewing the snow capped mountains. I loved the green meadows and glacier blue rivers. And I loved how far away it was from everything. Civilization was more than a hour’s drive.
Winter has arrived in New Zealand, so the mountains are in their full glory with their winter blankets. Some mornings we would wake up and frost would sparkling all over the valley. There is just something about the mountains that intrigue me. I would catch myself a few times a day stopping to stare up at them with eyes wide and my mouth open. I felt so small, yet so fitting with the mountains towering over me. They would take my breath away.
There was a total of 12 WWOOFers from all over the world living at Kinloch while Luca, Anna, and I were there. Kinloch was closed for a month and needed some extra help for end of the season maintenance, so they took on extra helpers. It was inevitable that the 12 of us would become basically family within a couple of days. Life was good.
Anna and I were usually paired up for work and we had a variety of tasks consisting of tearing down trees, cleaning the facilities, collecting rocks from river beds for a project, and sometimes splitting and stacking fire wood. The work was back breaking and boring most of the time, but we tried to make the best of it.
After work a group of us would find some kind of activity to do for the afternoon. We would sometimes go kayaking for a few hours.
Or visit Glenorchy, which had a nice hike with a view of the mountains.
We would go on hikes up mountains or in the valleys.
For the last few days the boys took on fishing and caught many yummy fish that we had for a week to follow.
In the evening we would relax in the hot tub that overlooked the mountains or play games.
One night we had a fire on the lakeside and waited to see the Southern Lights while I played guitar. Unfortunately the lights never came, but the fire was still really nice.
It was hard to leave Kinloch. Not only was the location absolutely breathtaking, but I was leaving my New Zealand family. However, I am eager to see some of them in the future when we meet again. For now it was just a “see you later.”