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Omarama, Place of Light
Last January, after 3 months of thrilling travels and cheap living, I found myself back in Auckland persuing office jobs once again after promising myself I would not do another office job for the rest of my time in New Zealand. I was staying for a few weeks in Whangaparaoa, a penninsula 40km north of Auckland, with friends. After just a week of job hunting on various websites I had an array of offers coming in for sales and administration jobs. But something in the back of my mind told me that this was not what I truely wanted to do, and so, I decided on a change of course.
I looked on the seasonal jobs website one evening and searched for hospitality and south island. Up came a list of various hotel chains in places such as Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo... all of the beautiful places that I knew I would miss out on if I were to waste the rest of my precious time in Auckland! Then low and behold, one particular position caught my eye! This was in a place I had never even heard of. I knew I had passed through, but like all other small towns, the first time I had passed through Omarama, it had never really blown me away enough to stop and have a coffee, and it had never imprinted on my memory. I looked on Google, found the location and read a little bit about the town - A small town with approx 800 residents. The location was perfect, just 100km from Wanaka, Tekapo and Oamaru. This was just what I needed to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to go and live and work somewhere quiet, where I can work as many hours as I like (which was a lot after 3 months of not earning) and that I can manage my finances.
Reading the fine details about the job, and having checked out the estasblishments website online, I knew then and there that this was the job for me. I called the telephone number on seasonal jobs and the very next hour I had a call back. Could I send my CV and a brief covering letter? Yes! Of course! The next day(actually my birthday) I received a telephone call. We would like to offer you the job, and as youre experienced you will be starting on a little more than our basic entry wage. Wonderful! thats exactly what I had expected! The next day I packed the van and set off on a 3 day road trip to Omarama, Place of Light. When I arrived late in the night, three days early for work, the employer never failed to disappoint. Everything that was promised to me was delivered... Unlimited hours, good wage, accommodation provided for a lump sum, induction, training and a beautiful, quiet and scenic backdrop to enjoy the rest of what had already been a glorious summer. Starting work in the restaurant/housekeeping departments, I later transfered to the kitchen, first as a kitchen hand, then being trained as a chef assistant.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the region and worked at a local skilodge for the winter. But before I had left for the winter I had secured my job back at the same establishment in Omarama for the following Summer. Im still here now, as a breakfast and lunch chef, coming to the end of my second summer season, and once again I am looking at the seasonal jobs website to try and find some income for the winter. Ive been asked to return to my job in Omarama again next summer season. Of course it depends on my VISA but I would have no other objections. To me, Omarama was where I was meant to be all along, it feels like home to me. Being here has changed my life in many ways, it feels like the path I was always meant to take... the road less travelled!
Charlotte Cook UK Traveller & NZ Enthusiast
Submitted by: Charlotte Cook Date submitted: 3/04/2012 7:57:24 p.m.