Whenever someone asks me where my favourite place in New Zealand is you might think I’d say Wanaka with it’s beautiful lakes and mountains, or maybe the Coromandel with it’s long, white sandy beaches. I used to find it hard to decide where I liked best, but that was before I stumbled across Te Hapu Farm in the Golden Bay. But you won’t find this place in the Lonely Planet Guide Book, and it was by complete luck that I found it myself.
Last October I’d been looking for places to do some Wwoofing when I came across hosts, Sandra and Ken, who own a thousand acre sheep shearing and beef farm along with some holiday cottages. The farm lies on the North West tip of the South Island, in between the Kahurangi National Park and the Tasman Sea, right on the coast.
A few weeks ago Chris and I had just finished our second season working at Cardrona Alpine Resort. After being in the the same place for over three months we were both pretty eager to get back into the car and do some travelling again. Also the thought of being unemployed for a while was very appealing.
Our first stop was the Wildside Backpackers in Hari Hari on the South Island’s West Coast. We weren’t going there as guests, but instead as WWOOFERS. This would be our first WWOOFing experience.
We arrived at the Wildside to be greeted by Dan, a friendly guy sporting a long beard and mullet. He directed us past his house and into his work shed instead. It’s hard to imagine what this place is like. It was full of all kinds of tools, machinery, wood work, metal work, three motorbikes, a pool table and a large newly varnished table. Dan cracked open a few beers and started talking, pointing out his various projects around the room, along with the table he’d made that was going to sell for $2,000. “She’s a good life,” he’d keep saying, “she’s a hard life but a good life.” Continue reading →
When you’re travelling around a country such as New Zealand it’s easy to feel like you’re following the same tourist trail as everyone else. As you drive along the roads reading through your Lonely Planet Guide Book there’s countless signs pointing to waterfalls, viewpoints, historical sites etc etc. And if you take the time to stop and check these things out, you’ll usually find you’re just one of many trigger happy tourists snapping away on your camera.
Usually the best experiences you can have are the ones that get you off the beaten track and spending time with the locals. With this in mind I decided to sign up with WWOOF NZ. The organisation stands for ‘Willing Workers on Organic Farms’ and gives volunteers the chance to stay with Kiwi families and experience their way of life. The types of hosts you can stay with are vast from large organic farms, to small family gardens, to vineyards. And it’s not always strictly organic, there’s also a section for Cultural Exchange hosts meaning you can find all kinds of weird and wonderful hosts in the WWOOF database. Continue reading →