Westport, New Zealand

This town is famous for gold and coal mining. I think there is not much to do here in Westport but I stayed here doing volunteering work for a week anyway.

Aside from my wonderful Punakaiki trip that I did while in Westport, I liked the Denniston Experience which is just around 17km from Westport.

I also visited the Seal colony but the viewing deck was too high so it’s far from the seals to get a good photo but I’ve seen a few of them and certainly was entertained. I took this photo because I saw a baby seal being breastfed so it’s up to you to find them among the stones. πŸ˜‚

From the seal colony viewing deck you have an option to walk to Cape Foulwind which is 2km, one way. Taking this track instead of driving was super nice and worth it. The views were stunning.

There’s also this newly opened track just by the fishing wharf. I forgot the name of it. I went but since it’s new, don’t expect anything but a walkway.

Pretty much these are all I’ve got to see while staying in Westport since I didn’t have a car. Not much but I still had a great time. πŸ™‚

Punakaiki, New Zealand

Punakaiki is located between Greymouth and Westport on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes which are both a picturesque must-see when visiting the West Coast.

I was staying in Westport when I went here. It’s about an hour drive and some are winding roads. 

So this is the walkway to the pancake rocks and blow holes. Beautiful walk!

Almost there…

Lots of pancake rocks! πŸ˜‰

And you just have to wait for the sea burst for those holes to blow! I did!!! πŸ™‚ 

Luckily, the weather was beautiful.

And on the way out is just as beautiful as when you enter. 

After enjoying the spectacular views, I’d say that Pancake Rocks Cafe is a good place to eat. They serve pancakes of course! I was with a french woman who never had pancakes before so we shared it with pepperoni pizza. Each meal cost NZD 18.50. They were both delicious and I highly recommend to try this cafe. 

Just about 3km away is the Truman Track which is just 15 minutes walk down to the beach. Be sure to check this out while in the area. 

Punakaiki is truly one of the must-see places in New Zealand. 😊

Murchison, New Zealand

I spent two weeks in this little town in Tasman region of the South Island. Murchison is also known as the “whitewater capital” of New Zealand due to nearby rivers. 

I stayed at The Lazy Cow Backpackers which is an excellent, cozy place.

Right across is the Ultimate Descents where I’ve done my first whitewater rafting for free! This is because they just needed people to fill the raft for the practice of their future instructors which I believe are students from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. How lucky were we! Thanks again for this opportunity guys!

Me and this German girl, Beate were going to Kahurangi National Park but didn’t make it. These pictures are just on the way. πŸ™‚ 

I went to Maruia Waterfalls with the Swiss guy, Christoph. 

My English host Ali and Phil were kind enough to show me around. They first took me to see Rotoroa Lake in Nelson Lakes National Park which is so beautiful. 

Then, we had lunch at The Red Barn Animal Park and Cafe where I fun feeding these cute living beings. 

I did the Skyline Walkway which was harder than I thought it would be but the views were amazing so of course it’s worth it. 

Here’s the view of this little town taken while I head my way up to Skyline Walkway. 

Just the day before I left Murhison, I got to do whitewater rafting again but this time we had to pay NZD 20 per person which is super but this time, they had professional photographer so all these nice photos in action were captured. What a lovely experience! 

There is the Cow Shed Restaurant. Phil makes perfect cappuccino. πŸ™‚

Ali cooks delicious, yummy, sumptuous  food! These are what I got to try. Just yum!

And here are some beautiful photos I’ve taken during my stay in Murchison. 

Most people stay here just for a night to rest from a long drive but Murchison has a lot to offer and is worth staying for 3 days or so. This is now one of my favorite places in New Zealand. πŸ™‚

Ryshel The Explorer

For those of you who doesn’t know my story, I spent almost 8 years being the breadwinner of the family. I supported my two younger sisters from high school to their college even though I didn’t get to have my own college diploma.

Thanks to Call Center industry in the Philippines which paid well so that helped me a lot to help. Most call center companies hire people without a college diploma as long as you can converse and comprehend in English language well. This industry taught me to be punctual at all times. One second late is late and late is not a good record and I don’t like any bad records. If you maintain a good record of attendance, quality, AHT (Average Handle Time) and a great attitude towards work and co-workers, you get rewarded by either recognition certificate, gift certificate or cash. I also learned how to be patient, how to empathize, how to sympathize and specially how to give an exceptional customer service, all over the phone or through email which I also get to apply in my daily life.

When my younger sister graduated in 2012, I felt somewhat free. When she got a job few months after, when both of my younger sisters are finally making their own money, I finally became free from the financial responsibilities I voluntarily took over for years. Then the ME time started. I work. I travel.

I first started my adventure when I went to Doha, Qatar to visit my best friend. I got a job in logistics after couple of weeks so I stayed. After almost a year, I went back home and worked again in call center for a year. I walked to and from work everyday which usually takes 30-40 minutes. I packed lunch. I resisted frequent clothes and shoes shopping. The money I saved from doing all these went to travel funds. I then quit my job in June 2014 and took off to Singapore in July  where my whole backpacking started. I traveled solo for total of 10 months in Asia where I had such a wonderful experience by volunteering. I still remember how tough and fun my first farm experience was.

I didn’t want to stop exploring the world so I took a TEFL course online and I got my certificate after three months which landed me a job in my dream South America  in the middle of 2015. The company paid for my roundtrip flights, visa fee and accommodation. How blessed I am that I got to work and travel within Colombia and Peru for total of 9 months. Here, I got to spend my 29th birthday on top of Machu Picchu mountain. 

From South America, I went back to Singapore in April 2016, I traveled to Thailand to visit my first ever help exchange host and to India where I attended the Indian wedding  of two of my good friends. I then flew back to my home country, The Philippines.

After couple weeks catching up with my family and friends, I felt my itchy feet. I felt like I gotta get out again, go somewhere again, meet new people again, make memories again. I booked a flight to Singapore, then to Malaysia and the next thing I know, I was back in Singapore again for my New Zealand tourist visa.

New Zealand is the 15th country I got to visit and I’d say it’s the most beautiful country I’ve even been SO FAR. I got to extend my visa until December 15th so I am here to explore the country for total of 6 months.

I am jobless right now but of course I have to get a paying job soon. I mainly do help exchange to keep me traveling, to meet new people and to experience the local life. Since people speak English here, teaching won’t work for me. I started doing housekeeping instead. Who likes doing household chores? I just had to do it to keep me on the road. I learned interesting and fun handy jobs though and I acquired new family and friends.

My work varies. Usually only 2-4 hours of work so I still get lots of free time to travel.

I got to feed cows.

I got my hands dirty by doing some gardening tasks.

I walked and played with dogs.

I played with my host’s kids.

Read books and even put some of them to sleep.

I also do help exchange in hostels.

I change bed sheets. Put them in the washing machine, dryer and fold them.

I split kindling and keep the fireplace going for the cat… I mean for the guests.

I wipe surfaces, clean windows, sweep, vacuum, clean bathrooms and sometimes cook Filipino dish for my hosts. All these in exchange of food or accommodation or sometimes I get both. If I don’t get food, (mostly in hostels) I settle for instant noodles and bread but I treat myself to a good meal or ice cream once in a while. For transportation here in NZ, I sometimes hitchhike or just walk for hours to save money lol. Most of the time, my hosts are kind enough to drop me off to places and pick me up.

I go couchsurfing when I’m not volunteering. So far, I’ve got good reviews from all my hosts. πŸ™‚ 

This is how I get to travel for those of you who’s wondering. I mostly live day by day. Enjoy the moment as it comes. 😊

I’m not a rich kid at all. I am just blessed for having a good heart I guess. I share and give as much as I can and in return, I receive lots of blessings in so many different ways. 

“Help someone not for the reward but for the sake of changing a life.”

I may not have a degree nor a lot of money but I have a lot of genuine family and friends all over the world. I have a lot of good and not so good experiences, memories. I learn from them, I treasure them, I share them. πŸ™‚

If you truly want something, YOU make it happen. 

So . . . Travel if you can. Travel when you can. Travel while you can. 

I am Ryshel. 😊

Nelson, New Zealand

I started my South Island trip in Nelson on August 15th. I stayed here for two weeks doing help exchange. I previously posted World of Wearable Art and Classic Museum and my Abel Tasman Full-day Trip.

I’d say that they are my top two favorites here. But aside from that, I also loved The Centre of New Zealand. It was so only 15 minutes easy walk to the top and the view was just amazing and serene.

There’s Founders Heritage Park which was kind of a throw back. Plenty of interesting little museums. There’s NZD 7 entrance fee for tourists.

The Queens Garden was also nice but since I came during the winter, still not much flowers.

Who would want to miss the Saturday market in Nelson? They’ve got pretty cool stuff and yummy food.

The Nelson Provincial Museum is tiny but worth visiting.

Nearby is church hill.

Tahunanui Beach is my 3rd favorite with another beautiful relaxing views!

And don’t forget to visit Penguino in town if you’re an ice cream lover like me.

And here’s a beautiful view from one of the lookouts.

It was mostly sunny during my stay in Nelson and of course this place is just one of the “a-must-visit” in New Zealand.