Hey guys! This week things have changed up at Wooly Ventures with a guest post from none other than my number one travel partner, Pascal. Read on to hear about his experience working with donkeys while WWOOFing in northern New Zealand.
When Susanne and I boarded our plane to New Zealand last February, we had little idea of what our itinerary would be in this country famous for its Kiwis (a word that applies to both birds, fruits and New Zealanders). Having read about geysers, glaciers, Great Walks, Maori culture, a booming craft brewing industry and much more, my three month stay in New Zealand already felt disrespectful to their tourist scene.
Who would have thought that after only a month or so of tourism, I would split ways with Susanne at the Auckland airport and head north to a little town called Russell, where I would settle for the rest of my stay.
I first heard about this town, and the nearby Waitata Bay Farm, through the a work exchange program known as WWOOFing. Our plan all along was to land in New Zealand, and find an organic farm on which we could work in exchange for food and accommodation. After a week and a dozen unsuccessful requests, we were ready to give up on our dreams of WWOOFing and blow through our 1-year-travelling-around-the-world budget. That’s when we heard back from the Waitata Bay farm and retreat.
In total, Susanne and I must have spent about a week in this paradise-like place. Our day to day lifestyle there is masterfully described by Susanne in one of her previous posts called A Day in the Life of a WWOOFer. Have a look, the pictures are pretty cool. However, this present story is not about my first experience at the Waitata Bay farm, but rather my second experience there. Indeed, I loved the place so much that by the time Susanne’s airplane landed in Vancouver, I was back in Russell.
The reasons that drove me to come back were many. Mainly, the people I was working for and with were simply amazing. The place was totally off-the-grid, and the electrical and water supply systems were things I wanted to learn more about. I knew the fishing in the region was great from my first time there, and I wanted to get more familiar with the Waitata Bay waters. The prospect of working on the development of a microbrewery/microdistillery also played a role.
Looking back at my experience now, none of the things I mention above deceived me. But most of all, I would have never expected that the main highlight of my journey would be the relationship I developed with Texas, Mocha and Joseph.
More on that next week!
- A Glimpse into the World of a Donkey Whisperer, Part II
- A Day in the Life of a WWOOFer
- New Zealand on a Budget