Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins & Salad

Many people will be surprised to know that you can still make very delicious and tasteful baked goods without the use of butter, eggs and dairy. It’s a change from what I was taught in Culinary School. Thanks to the local Blenheim Library, I read a book on Vegan Baking with recipes and information. Chia or Flax Seeds ground up can be used as your egg with some water. It taught me a lot and how to replace animal products with plant based ingredients. I have a love for Banana Bread and also articles on Yahoo! and one day there was a link with 20 or so recipes of different recipes. With the knowledge I read I converted the recipes to plant friendly and tried each one out. Everyone in the hostel enjoyed the Banana Fiesta I made. Occasionally I Google vegan recipes but most of the time I just take it as a challenge to make the recipe Vegan.

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Here I share a recipe of Banana Muffins that taste even more amazing than they look. And a Garbanzo Bean Salad they are also know as Chic Peas. The salad is so easy cook the beans with some salt and boil until soft after chop some Cilantro, Capsicum, Jalapeños, Lemon Zest, Radish and Purple Cabbage mix in a bowl. Grab a seat and go to Munchy Town.

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Gecko Egg Pizza

Living in many different share houses and hostels can lead to meeting all sorts of characters. Some are really lovely and some are just french. On average, we live in 2 different flats in each town we live in. Wanaka – 2, Blenheim – 2 , Melbourne – 4, Darwin – 3 (if you include living in a van at Mindil Beach). Now we are living in our second flat in Darwin, located in Stuart Park. With 14 other flatmates. One of our favourite things about this flat is that it has an outdoor kitchen, equipped with a pizza oven. When living in a tropical area, an outdoor kitchen is sublime and having a pool next to your outdoor kitchen is taking it to the next level.

We soon realized that this pizza oven hadn’t been used in a while. When we opened it to clean it out, we found some gecko eggs and a geckos nest. I don’t know if geckos make nests but that’s what it looked like. Ive always loved catching lizards as a kid and I learned that I still have a knack for it. We were able to relocate the eggs and the gecko so nature could take its course. Then we started on our course, a chunky tomato pizza and a mustard leaf pesto pizza.

This is our recipe:

We start with the pizza dough, this should yield about 2 medium size pizzas. Make the dough first to allow it to rise (let it sit for around 1-2 hours in a warm area for best results) for a more fluffy pizza. We used a gluten free, dairy free, wheat free flour that Junior got from work because it was going to get thrown out. This flour didn’t rise and the dough was strange to work with but the taste and texture was about the same. Any type of flour will work.

Dough:

  • 3/4 oz yeast
  • 16 oz luke warm water
  • 1.5 pounds flour
  • 1/4 oz salt
  • 3/4 oz oil

Mix these in a bowl together and let it sit to rise.

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Roll the dough out. Make sure you place flour on the rolling surface and on the dough to avoid the dough sticking to everything. Cover your hands in flour too, just take a bath in flour while you’re at it. We used a jar to roll out the dough. Anything cylindrical will work.

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Next we made the pizza sauces. First the tomato sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tomatos
  • 1 Capsicum
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Small Onions

Seasonings:

  • Salt + Pepper
  • Basil
  • Wine (its always good to season your stomach with it too)
  • Chili Powder

We cut the tomatos into quarters to make the sauce a bit more chunky. We diced the onions and capsicum tiny to balance the flavour more. Add the garlic to the pan first, then add the onion and a bit of wine. Add the capsicum after the onions have reduced a bit. Put the tomato on hold.

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Add the tomato at the end and beat them up in the pan. Beat them until you get your desired chunk. Add your seasonings to taste. Here is our finished sauce.

Now the pesto sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch of Mustard Leaf (or any leafy greens)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Table spoons Chia Seeds
  • 1/3 Cup Sunflower seeds
  • 2 Table spoons Black Sesame Seeds
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

 

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Throw it in a blender, add the olive oil as its blending until you get to the consistency in the picture.

 

Now cut the toppings. We just use everything we have in the fridge. Its a good way to clean it out.

  • Tomato
  • Pumpkin
  • Capsicum
  • Mushrooms
  • Courgette
  • Onion

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Lay down the sauce and add the toppings. Stick it in the oven at 250 degrees Celsius for around 10-15 minutes. Bam, Pizza.

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We had a few too many drinks and forgot to take an after picture, but this is what it looks like before the oven.

HUMP DAY! BLACK RICE SALAD.

So working at the Milk Bar Café has let me experiment with making salads. It’s an amazing thing, you use whatever is in season and use new ingredients like today Black Rice. Why not use black rice it looks way better than white and is better for the body. Nature is a beautiful thing and gives even more beautiful, trippy plants. Look at the cabbage or the watermelon radish, there’s so many amazing plants you haven’t tried and probably better for your health than a bag of chips or an oversized burger. So go out to your local market and be amazed and create something with your new knowledge.  Eat more plants. PHOTOSYNTHESIZE.

For this salad I cooked the rice, diced up carrots and blanched them, all the rest of the ingredients are raw and just cut them into the most funky shapes possible. It tastes as good as it looks.

Photosynthesize Tacos

Our goal when coming to Australia was to open up our own food truck. After being in the land down under for 6 months, we finally found the perfect vehicle for our mission. A 4wd 1995 Mitsubishi Pajero. We have named the vehicle Food Wheel Drive and our project is Photosynthesize. It may not sound like the ideal vehicle to use as a house and as a kitchen, but its Cowabunga. With our lifestyle, we believe if you give, the universe will give back.  That’s a part of Cowabunga. Fully equipped with a rooftop tent, pullout canopy and dual fuel and our collection of equipment including: solar panels, batteries, gas and electric bbq cookers, pans and pot, we’re ready for liftoff. Its just taken a few months of working 75 hours a week each to get the money, equipment and vehicle we need.

We plan to travel Australia with the intention of sharing good plant-based food with good people. Working as chefs for the past few years, Junior and I have found that a lot of food goes to waste in many different restaurants and supermarkets. Food shouldn’t be wasted. The only reason food is wasted is because there is nobody to pay for the food that’s being thrown away. To solve this problem, we’re going to give our food away for free and ask for donations to cover food costs.

This is our Food Wheel Drive Taco Recipe (Plant-based, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free):

The tacos have 4 components. Tortillas, Pinto Beans, Rice and Plants.

We start by making the Tortillas (or putting the beans on to boil because they will take around 45 minutes or grabbing a drink, in this case Tasmanian Pinot).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Maseca (Corn Flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Salt

Mix these in a bowl until you get a playdough like consistency.

 

Now we roll the large ball into smaller balls.

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Grab two flat surfaces (cutting boards, plates, textbooks, whatever floats your boat). Then think of a sandwich. The two flat surfaces are your bread, each slice of bread needs a spread (Cut plastic bags), then smash the tortilla dead. Just look at the pictures if you don’t understand.

Stack your tortillas with a plastic sheet in between each one so they don’t stick together.

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Heat the tortillas in a non- stick pan, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your share house. Store the tortillas in a tea towel to keep them fresh.

 

Next, we will make the Pinto Beans.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of Pinto Beans
  • Water
  • Salt
  • A few garlic cloves

If you put the beans on to boil before, then they could be about ready once you finish with the tortillas. Adding salt and a few cloves of garlic to the beans when boiling will give them a better flavour. We always have to hunt for these beans in every town we go to and in Darwin we found them at the Rapid Creek shopping village in an African store.

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The beans are cooked when they are soft. Blow on them and the skin will peel off. Usually we re-fry the beans by adding oil to a pan, heating the oil, frying some onions, then adding the beans and mashing them in the pan. In this case, we just left the beans whole because they still taste great.

Next, we made our Rice.

With the rice, we made a tomato base to cook the rice in.

Ingredients for the tomato base:

  • 1/2 Onion
  • 4 Tomatos
  • 2 Chili’s
  • A bit of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt

Throw all of this into a blender and blitz it. It should make around 4 cups of base.

The next step is to fry and cook the rice. Fry a bit of onion in a pan and then add the rice. (Make sure you have a pan that has a lid to fit). Fry the rice until golden brown (about a couple minutes). Add the 4 cups of tomato base, bring to a boil and let it boil for a couple minutes. Then cover and set aside. Let the pan sit covered and the rice will cook in its own steam as long as the ratio is 1:2 Rice:Base.

  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • 4 cups Tomato Base

 

 

Finally, we make the Plants.

We just like to saute whatever vegetables we have in the fridge and in this case we added:

  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Chili (Jalepeno’s are the best)
  • 1/2 Capsicum (Bell Pepper)
  • 1 Courgette (Zucchini)
  • 3 Mushrooms

Seasonings:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic

Add oil to your pan then add some garlic to get a nice aroma in your kitchen. Adding Jalepenos will make you sneezy as and it will give it a nice spice. Add the plants that take longer to cook first: Onions, Mushrooms, Carrots. Then add the rest of the plants. Season to taste as you stir the plants.

Now that everything is ready, we make the Tacos. Tortilla, Beans, Rice, Plants and top it off with Cilantro and Lime. If you don’t know how a Taco is made then here is a picture to help. Also, here is our recipe written out if that makes it any easier.

 

June 2016 Dry Season?

June rolls through with Brudah Bin back from Bali and an old sister. After days of non stop work, Junior(I) woke up early to go pick up Ben from the airport. As I was strolling down the pick up section of the airport I found a golden guy. It was Ben, as bronze like I never seen him before. In his backpack, two litre bottles of Jack Daniels. As Sveet! Unfortunately he had to drop me off at work because for the third time in one year I got a flat tire on the bicycle. Another 16 hours of work awaited me. 

 

 

As our friends from Mindil Beach Backpackers were having a party and a full day of work for myself I joined the others at the beach to celebrate life. Our flatmate Pier was doing some production at a pub in town. So after some time at Mindil we (7 of us) hopped in Federico and Slava’s van. To town it was. Back to the car park of the place I just finished working and the first time driving a scooter. Google Mapped the place and made our way there. Celebrated life with new people and listen to some music.

Morning followed by finding people at our house, the homies from Mindil Beach. Everyone chilling, talking and happy about life. A few went to market to get some nice fresh fruit and vegetables. With curiosity, we tried for the first time a Star Fruit. Awesome looking and Delicious! As more friends joined a swim in the pool, we cooked up a nice feast. Roasted vegetables, purple sweet potato mash, cous cous and most importantly fresh made tortillas. Ben’s arrival was sweet as. We went to watch the sunset at Mindil Beach and listened to our friend Like from the Netherlands jam out with guitar. And to top the day off, we went to an outdoor screening of a marine life documentary, projected by a solar and old fry oil powered bus. Beautiful documentary, not sure the name, David Attenborough narration though. 

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Over the next five days our van made three trips to the airport. We spent our last days with the brother Giacomo. He was headed off to Melbourne then Berlin, Germany in the pursuit of happiness. Ben dropped him off and a couple of days later we made a surprise pickup of our sister Audrey. A couple months after us meeting in Melbourne and her doing some traveling she arrived to discover Darwin again. She ended up just living with us and enjoying the Good Vibes of Darwin.

Whilst riding his bicycle to work, Ben somehow lost his front tire to a bump. He was rewarded with some nice scars on his body.  And laugh because I am as I write and as Ben did when he told me and as his reaction getting up from his fall. As we should do when upset or sad, it can only lead to smile and happiness. Everyone be Happy you’re Alive.

Again, another week of long work and finding work for Audrey,several Actually. Saturday night arrived and all three of us were home along with the cousin Robbie. We got ready for a Jungle Party at the George Brown Botanical Gardens. Costume parties are always fun, so we painted ourselves with dust from the red rocks and made some clothing with palm leaves. With Audrey staying home, Robbie Ben and Junior walked to the Botanical Gardens. We followed the sounds of music in the air and ended up on the dance floor of some live tunes but to our quick surprise we were simply out of dress code with no shirts and painting on our bodies. It was a wedding, coincidentally and we were not welcomed there.

As we listened for new tunes in the darkness, we followed and ended up at the right place. Amazing costumes and found our friends and made new ones. Danced on the stage and enjoyed life. Soon there was a last call for a big shuttle bus taking the party goers to a club in town. It was like a field trip back in Elementary. Danced some more, enjoyed happy people met some more Cowabunga People and enjoyed a great live show of drag. These were nice and happy people so everyone treat them as human and enjoy their presence.

 

Another wake up of people at the house and a Sunday. Before the Jungle Party Ben and I made Fresh Basil Lasagna Pasta strips for the next day. So to cook I went, created a plant based Besciamella as the Italians say and cooked the stuffing of many vegetables and fungi. Somehow constructed a “Vegan Lasagna and took a trip to the Yoga Festival. Did some stretching and catching up with friends from work. Made our way home and popped that bad lasag-na into the oven. Enjoyed a beautiful  Photosynthesized made dinner. The Mindil Crew later joined and had some cabbage with the enjoyment of life. The same ol’ same ol’ work for the week. It was also another see ya to a friend, Charlotte, I worked with her at the cafe. She was definitely cowabunga and also from Blenheim, New Zealand our Kiwi Retirement Home. Charlotte left to Italy to live and the pursuit of happiness. Her childhood friend and our friend Katrina left also, to Byron Bay which we’ll find her later. 

With all his free time, Ben collected stuff for our food truck at the local outdoor shop. Table, Water Tanks, Hose Faucet, Grill, Stove, Pans, Barbecue, Solar Panel, Snorkel Gear, Power Box, and much more free by Georging the system. The little time Ben & Junior(I) was around 16:00 for an hour, this was also my break from both jobs. A nice park with the view of the beach on the Esplanade. We’d fly like paper and get high like planes with throwing the frisbee or kick the fútbol. At Char we rarely finished at the same time. Every Friday we would go on hunt for our fiend and bread giver Matthew at Mindil Beach with no success. Towards the end of June I came to the realization that Char isn’t for me. Work is suppose to be fun not something you dread going to. Also my body was tired, at one point Junior woke up in the middle of the night looking for a food order I was dreaming about. That’s when you know you are working too much. It was a countdown to finish from that place. One of the worst place to work.

George, Georged, Georging: Meaning not to steal but borrow, take advantage, to gain, as a backpacker you have use every opportunity you can to help you in a positive way and never steal from anyone. 

April 2016

 

April Fool’s Day started with us arriving back into the city from our Road Trip through the Great Ocean Road. The going in circles and BS came back as soon as we made it back to Melbourne. The great thing it was still a sunny day. I (Junior) had to start work the following day as the Pastry Chef at an Italian Restaurant. It was not too bad there, a lot of hours and Italians. At times I forgot I was in Australia with them speaking so much Italian. The city and its cold, cloudy weather finally got to me, I got sick for the first time in nearly 6 months. I would later pass it to Ben.


As I worked, Ben worked vigorously in finding us a home on wheels, which he eventually did a 1992 Mitsubishi L300. A bit smaller compared to what Dorothy was in New Zealand but no complaints it was a step forward in getting out of Melbourne.We were also visited by a familiar face, Carlos. We worked together at Cardrona back in Wanaka, New Zealand, it was awesome to see some one we already knew. The following day all three us went to the Yarra Valley outside of Melbourne, a wine region on the pursuit of checking out Domaine Chandon as they are connected to Cloudy Bay where we worked. The wine wasn’t anything spectacular, I believe the brand name just increases the price but that’s just my opinion. Since we were in the region, we went to a couple of other wineries and a brewery, learned some new stuff about wine. This trip made me want to leave Melbourne even more.

And that’s what we did, I had work the following days, we determined to leave on Saturday and so I resigned work on Thursday. We had the intentions to go up the East Coast of Australia but a phone call to Ben of a job in Darwin changed our route the day before leaving. Our last full day in Melbourne was great, met up for picnic at the Botanical Gardens with a large group of people through CouchSurfing. We’ve never done anything like that, was a good experience. We later went to the pub with some new friends from the picnic. After a couple of hours, we had to leave to see a show headlined by Opiuo. Ben knows his music quite well and we got to see him also at a festival in New Zealand.

The show was spectacular, the lights, sound, bass, people everything was so well for the last night in Melbourne. I left before Ben, wasn’t sure if he would make back to apartment as the trams always get us confused. Woke up in the morning luckily he was there, somehow he said he made it home. A trip to the Victoria Market for some delicious, inexpensive vegetables to cap of leaving Melbourne.P1010715.JPG


Off to the Grampians National Park and to the Outback. We got a late start as we drove for 3 hours before the darkness set in. Another day of driving before making it to Grampians, a lot of vineyards we passed. We entered the park with no knowledge of it, when we finally made it to a I Site, and learned we drove pass so much. The park reminded me a bit of Yosemite with less giant rocks and more tress. We did a few tracks and view points, a trip through the Grand Canyon yes we can say we’ve been to the Grand Canyon of Australia. Haha. Amazing views and the continuation of getting to the Outback. After a few more days of driving and restocking of food and water, also a view of the Southern Ocean. Cold was no longer an issue. Now headed towards Port Douglas and a trip on the Wellington Ferry, second time we ride a ferry of the same name. We finally made it to the beginning of the Outback and the redness began. This was the only time we would see live wild kangaroos.

The first night in the Outback we were quickly welcomed by a swarm of flies that don’t leave you alone. Our goal was to make it to Uluru in two days for April 20th. The day followed with 900 KM’s of driving, along with many dead kangaroos on the side of the road, victims of the Road Trains (massive semi trucks). The desert is like nothing I’ve seen everything is red literally the rocks, sand, road, some bush. Driving through the Outback I learned what they mean when they call it Bush. There’s only bushes in the Outback, some grow like trees but they’re just bushes.

Finally, we made it to the “greatest” thing in the Outback, Uluru, I had mixed vibes when we got there. It’s this amazing rock, biggest in the world and the sacred site of the Indigenous traditional owners of that area. The site is exploited by tourism and people disrespecting the values of it and climbing the rock. I’m a bit ashamed to have visited Uluru but that’s my opinion. We saw an amazing Sunset with a nearly Full Moon rising in the background. We left the park and camped some 25 K’s outside park, there we saw our first Dingo and they didn’t eat any babies. The Outback has some amazing wild life especially the birds, Cockatoo and many other beautiful colored birds. Along the way at a road house the ladies convinced us to stay the night there. She said it was going to be busy Friday night with all the locals and Australian Footy was going to be on. We later met a group of backpackers living and working on the adjacent Camel Farm, one was from California, very friendly people. They wanted us to go ride a camel the following day. We went in the morning to see the Camels, freaky animals but we didn’t ride one.

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The journey continued to Alice Springs, the biggest town in the center of Australia, mixed vibes there as well, a town with thousands of people after seeing nothing and no one for nearly a week, a bit overwhelming. Bought some more food and water and went to the West MacDonnell Ranges to a water hole. Beautiful view, cooked a quick lunch and continued the driving as we still had 2000 kilometers to go. At one roadhouse while paying met another backpacker from Germany/Turkey, very friendly chatted a bit and served us the best cold water we had in a while. We later stopped a rest area to cook lunch and the neighbor told us of some amazing thermal springs in Mataranka, that became our target for the day to make it there and relax. We made but the darkness beat us and couldn’t afford to pay for the campsite, we park a bit away and visited them in the morning, got to see Wallabies(small kangaroo animals). Beautiful, clear, warm water naturally coming from the Earth. We stayed a while and then visited similar thermal springs down the highway, even more spectacular, this crazy clear water in the middle of tropical forest, something I’ve never seen before.P1020185

The driving continues with Darwin 420 kilometres away, along the way you can see the change of plant life, also ginormous termite and ant mounds. Some were easily 3 mteres high and some as wide as 2 metres, that amazing building by tiny, smart animals. Stopped at Litchfield National Park, amazing waterfalls unfortunately an overflow of water brought the potential of crocodiles in the water. We hiked to the top and could not resist a swim the amazing clear water holes. After the hike and wanting to meet people we saw a group of fun looking people at the grass and joined them, Giacomo, Camille, Alex and Kimbely. They were also headed to Darwin we made a bonfire and chatted for the night. The following day we followed them to another water hole with jumping spots and went for a swim, then to a park for lunch and some futbol and frisbee. The weather was hot and humid. We finally made our way towards Darwin less than 100 K’s away but the longest, traffic came something that didn’t exist in the outback. As it later turns out we were at Uluru the same day and camped at the same site but they left early in the morning before us. We took different routes the next couple of days but later met and Litchfield and it was then our awesome van lights reminded them they have seen the van before.


We were welcomed to Darwin by humidity that made you sticky and sweaty and now the search for where can we sleep, it was getting dark and options shrinking. Eventually drove out the city to a caravan park that was closed and waited finally the security checked us in and enjoyed a swim in the pool along with a shower. Some dinner than drinking games was fun, by the end it was half past 3 in the night. Woke up to the sun shinning at my face and had no choice but to wake up. There was this amazing bouncing playground that the more you jumped the more you laugh. Finally made it to the city and wondering where to park everything was payed parking and as backpackers cannot afford that. Finally found parking walked around, went to the lagoon and relaxed. It was now time to meet with the job that brought us to Darwin, a dinner cruise ship that goes around Darwin. We boarded on not knowingly what was coming, some free dinner, beer, cold water and amazing views all free. Can’t complain for the second day here, it’s amazing where cooking can take you.

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A worker at a caravan park told us about Mindil Beach where the backpackers go to park and sleep, perfect just what we needed and there was a market there that we had to work at on a food truck. Its like a backpackers at Mindil Beach just have to wake up before the Ranger arrives around 6 or 7 in the morning. Awesome Cowabunga people there, also I believe its the Little France of Darwin. Fridays Matthew of the Solomon Islands comes with bread to give away, great person he is. We would go on to stay at Mindil Beach Backpackers for one week.

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March 2015

First day of March we bought our lovely van, Dorothy. She was equipped with intimidating sheep skulls, a full size bed and a stovetop burner inside. Bought it off of two german guys at the Auckland car fair. Since we bought their van, they had to find another car to buy at the car fair. About 15 minutes later they found one. We all got in, drove to the post shop and registered our cars. No DMV bullshit. 10 minutes and we were done. First adventure in Dorothy was to the Sundaise music festival. The feeling of driving your house around is incredible, everything you own is inside that moving box. We decided to drive out to Waihi for the festival a day early. Along the way at an old gold mining site, we thought to only stop for 5 minutes, ended up hiking around for a couple hours. Encountered our first glow worm, which we thought was light peeking through a crack in the rock. Found some stick insects along the trails as well. Got to the festival site and met our neighbors, Libbby and Lucy, a Brit and an Australian. Everyone was down to earth and really friendly. We were celebrating the beginning of our New Zealand journey. Little did we know, we were just scratching the surface.

Since we were already in the Coromandel Peninsula, we decided to make the most of it. The first stop was at hot water beach. If the tide is right, you can dig your own hot pool, which is exactly what we did. Along with about 50 other people, but the more the merrier. The pools are heated by a natural hot spring under the sand and the ocean water fills your pools, it also destroys them. When we were walking back to our car, we noticed a couple taking photos of Dorothy and we thought it was a bit strange. Turns out this couple owned Dorothy a few years back and built most of the inside. Thats how we found out Dorothy has been around the block a few times. The next stop was Cathedral Cove, a nice beach thats only about a 30 minute walking distance from the car park. Beautiful blue waters, towering pillars and sea caves you can swim to.

Our last stop in the Coromandel was at a place called the waterworks. Its about a 40 minute drive through the hairy 309 highway. We only planned on checking the place out, it was like an adult playground. Flying foxes, hamster wheels, dangerous swings. Its a great place to break your neck, plus everything was made out of recycled material by the owner, Jeff. Deaf Jeff. We met Jeff when we had lunch in the cafe. He offered us work in exchange for accommodation and food, we thought it sounded like a deal and it was. After three minutes of training on the tractor, we were moving gravel or in kiwi terms, metal. Only about three hours of work and we went home with Jeff and his wife Monet, who was from California. They cooked us a nice meal and we chatted about the United States and its strange economy. The next morning, Jeff took us to go fishing on his boat. I (Ben) have never been fishing before and I ended up catching about 10 fish. 9 of them we couldn’t keep because they were too small. We only stayed with Jeff and Monet for a couple days and then headed back to Rosa’s farm in Helensville.

When St. Patricks day rolled around, we hopped on a bus  to Auckland CBD with people who were a few generations older than us but still young at heart. Drinking Guiness at an irish bar, irish dancing with the golden girls (they were the over 90s at the RSA) made for a great morning. We met two lovely girls, Lotty and Tamara, a Brit and a German, who were also celebrating St. Pattys day. It was nice to be with our own generation. After a long day of consuming alcohol with our new friends, we had to book a bed at a hostel because we missed the bus back home. The next morning we went for a coffee and saw a sign for the Hare Krishna festival of colours. After few days of helping out on Rosa and Nigel’s farm, we headed to the Hare Krishna festival in Kumue. We began the festival with plain white t-shirts and ended the festival soaked in corn starch colours. We weren’t exactly sure what Hare Krishna was but surely we enjoyed the festival.

Finally, we decided it was time to leave Rosa and Nigel’s farm. The first stop was in Auckland to pick up these useless RTA travel cards we had already paid for. We met up with Lotty a couple more times and hung out around the city. This was where we had our first experience with sleeping in Dorothy on the streets. Realizing that Auckland was just like every other city on the planet, we left. Our plan was to reach the South Island as soon as possible before it got too cold to explore. One stop on the way down was at the Waitomo Caves. Junior’s cousin had a friend working there that we wanted to meet. We explored some of the caves and witnessed the magnificent glow worms. Absolutely breathtaking. Its like looking into the stars of the night sky, you forget its just a bunch of larvae trying to catch a meal. We found Junior’s cousins friend and they invited us out to party, so of course we obliged. The next morning we left for Wellington. Five hours of driving and we made it, booked the ferry to the South Island for the next day. Found a nice free camp site with lots of other vans right by the beach. Watched a majestic sunset and enjoyed a nice devils cabbage salad.

March 2016

 

See You Later New Zealand! Shoots Melbourne, Australia!

With work finished, we woke up early and had to remove all our stuff quickly out Dorothy, we had to drop off our home to a new owner, an Australian working the vintage. He dropped us back off at Copper Beech on the way to his first day. It was then we realized its our last full day in New Zealand, our home for the past 13 months. Had a quick breakfast and tried to organize our stuff, figuring out what we need and what we don’t. A bottle of Whiskey and herbal medicine to finish, was the number one task of the day.

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Finally, after somewhat packing our Estonian family/friends Egle and Hanna, took us one last time to Cloudy Bay to enjoy the final free glasses of the tasty Mustang, Pinot Noir and Te Wahi wines. Enjoyed the beautiful scenery with some more hostel family who joined us there. Took a stroll through the winery one last time, went on a mission to find some awesome people we got to meet; Mark the Gardener who gave us the freedom to eat so many different fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, the wine makers Tim and Dan Cowabunga people who are in charge of turning grapes into amazing wine, Marion she was responsible for deliveries and the museum which stocked six cases sometimes more of every wine ever made in the Cloudy Bay history, and finally our Cellar Door team Nikki, Wendy, Alison, Audrey and our cousin Sebastian who lived with us. After a quick stop to visit Mattew at Cloe Henri, there we tasted more amazing wine at an old church, amazing views and history.

 

Made it back to the hostel drunk, tried to organize our food space and cooking lunch at the same time. This made me (Junior) forget my laptop and GoPro, without knowing it. Took the last tour of the place we called home and the amazing family we made, our stuff packed in Egle and Hanna’s car along with the homie Carolina, they drove us to the Picton Ferry, shared smiles and hugs, left knowing we will all see each other soon some where on this beautiful world. Walking on the ship it was the first time with just our backpacks since we left California, on the ship I learned from Egle I left my GoPro and laptop at the hostel, which took us on a journey a week later. One last view of the beautiful New Zealand sunset. As we arrived in Wellington and a crazy taxi drive later we made it to the airport, still with Whiskey and medicine. Munched on cereal at the airport, learned they lock doors at 2 am. This lead to several trips outside to finish our task, which we failed, left the Whiskey near a country club and the same jar I found herbs in, for someone to find and Be Happy.

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Finally, we arrived in Melbourne a lot earlier than we thought, ate breakfast at the airport wondering what to do. Audrey from Franz Josef responded and gave us directions to meet her in city, a bus ride gave us our first look of Australia, which was quite similar to the US. She along with her friend Juliet and a wild trip to our hostel took us to the Wilson Promontory National Park. Got our first view of The Bush, beautiful sunset, parrots and wombats, the park was the highlight of the day as we made it to the hostel at 11 pm and checked in. The room and place was interesting but it was a bed. The morning showed how disgusting it was, similar to a drug house, a place you don’t want to stay. We learned checking reviews is useful. (So do it) We left to town to open a bank account and get phones, after several circles and bullshit we eventually got them.

 

After a mission to find Audrey we got lunch then explored the city along with a new friend Hugo. Later at night we made it to the Queen Victoria Night Market. The night was very warm. As Melbourne becomes more and more Urbanized it still has amazing birds like some parrots, cockatoos and much more. Trams now were our source of transportation, off to Formula One, the reason of landing in Melbourne. Got to ride in a Land Rover up a 62° angle, along with changing tires on a F1 car. St. Patrick’s Day no one else was celebrating besides us two in the whole city, what ashamed. Our goal was to meet up with Ben’s cousin Kane who works on the Mercedes team, it wasn’t until the night before the big race we got to see him and go in the pits. The second day of F1 was rainy and so we sat in a display car for an hour, met some cool people. Our fourth day in Melbourne we were given a gift by the hostel as it was overbooked and could no longer stay at the crack den we had to move. So we eventually found an expensive hostel with no choice, several trams later we made it to the hostel. This place was a lot better, at night we had our friends come over and then their friends, a few drinks later climbed to the top of the National Institute of Circus Arts building. Eventually it was six of us in our two person room not bad for the first day. The morning was also the first time we cooked our own meal in Australia after many meals of bread sandwiches. Drank so much that I lost my passport for the first time, luckily someone in the hostel found it in the living room and returned it to me, I’m an idiot.

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A week of being in Melbourne met Kertu and Sigrid from Estonia, Sigrid did me the best favor ever in bringing my laptop and GoPro from New Zealand that I forgot. She is friends with Egle and Hanna the Estonian Mafia. Spent the day with them and carried our newly bought tent with us. They invited us to go eat dinner so we joined, led to my first Uber ride. Strange, but the driver was cool, it was a new Mini Cooper as well. Lentils As Anything is where we went to eat, a pay as you feel vegetarian place. The concept is amazing and has a community feel to it. You can even volunteer for your meal.

After a few days in that Back of Chapel hostel and a few hundred dollars later, we moved to a third hostel in which was a hotel/dorm system. Weird place, 5 stories and workers always cleaning, strange. Started job searching along the Warf, went on a trial and got the job at an Italian Restaurant. Later cruised the city,  checked out some street graffiti, interesting things. New graffiti art is painted constantly, two days later passed the same alley and it had a new mural. With constant searching, we found an apartment that was not too far from the city. It was now a waiting game to move in.

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A trip to the Queen Victoria Market got us a big bag full of vegetables and fruit with $20, it was amazing. A trip back to the hostel, got our backpacks and now to our new apartment. All packed in, made a trip to the supermarket and just before going in passed the rubbish bin, noticed good capsicums thrown away. So we grabbed a few and a lady came, she was a PRO, gave us a box and then filled it with everything. Another lady joined, soon a worker popped out, quickly and discretely we walked away. Hid our box down the street and went back in to shop.

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The more time in the city, it reassured we are not made for the city life; fast, busy, technology, screens, traffic, smelly, dirty, wasteful. To get out of this environment, we hired a car to check out The Great Ocean Road. It was a big Toyota Camry, took us a few hours to get to the beginning of the road, faster than we thought. The Ocean and beaches with these crazy Limestone cliffs, were spectacular from the beginning until the end. Although, the Pacific Coast Highway from home Oxnard to Los Angeles is just as special. Many stops along the way to my(Junior), dream destination 12 Apostles. Our goal was to see it at Sunset, eventually we made it there, to a crowd full of people. The place was incredible, these giant cliff rocks just chilling in the beach. A drive down the road took us to a campsite, it was dark and after a meal of chip sandwiches, we were too lazy to setup our tent. So we put the back seats down and slept in the car. Not too bad. The next day we went to a National Park where koalas roam free. Along the drive you can see cars pulled over taking photos of the sleeping ones chilling in the tree.

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We did a track that led to nothing, no good view, no animals but on the way back I heard weird sounds, it was a koala on the ground. Walked through the bush which was hard and got to see them close up in the wild, they are very cool animals. Also got to see a small forest of California Red Wood Trees, they grew so well there, the power of Cali. Made it to our campsite early this day and able to walk a track. Part of it went through the backyard of someone and had a few kangaroos. At the end of the track, where there’s suppose to be a waterfall was just dry rocks. But on the way back those kangaroo’s we thought were the owners were actually wild. There must have been 30 or so kangaroos at that moment, they walk/bounce so strangely. The tail also seems to help their balance. At night spent time with some Australian cousin’s who were camping to get away from the family, they were nice and gave us some knowledge and places to see. Next morning capped off the Great Ocean Road which did not disappoint, it reassured we had to get out of Melbourne. The trip also gave us a chance to see our first view of koalas and kangaroos also more beautiful birds. This led to giving our two week notice off moving after living in the apartment for less than a week . Great choice.

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