Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've spent the last week at a small farm in a little town called Ngaruawahia. It's just north of Hamilton City in the North Island. There were three of us wwoofing there, myself, Tim from Germany, and Simon from Austria. The family who owned the farm were Don and Davina, plus their three adopted children, Martin (5), Dallas (4), and Chance (3). Don and Davina actually have four of their own children who are all in their 20's now. Davina's family is Irish, so two of her kids live in Ireland and two live in Auckland and Hamilton. The three little kids come from Maori and Pacific Island families. The boys are full brothers. Dallas is actually from a completely different tribe who actually fought against the boy's tribe.

Once the older kids moved out and Don needed to cut back on the hard farm work, they started having wwoofers stay. The three of us had bedrooms in the part of the house that the older kids used to live in. They treated us very well and I had a great first wwoofing experience. Davina is an avid knitter and there really wasn't much farm work to do at this time of the year. So I mainly spent time cooking for parties, hiking, and kayaking. We did paint some fences, cut some firewood (well, I stacked some firewood while the boys did the cutting part), and helped out feeding the animals and things a bit too. We played in the backyard a lot. The kids have two big trampolines and we tried to teach them to play soccer. This is Dallas. She currently has a broken toe, which happened on the playground at Kindergarten, but nothing slows her down. We tied Tim and Chance 3-3 in the first soccer game.

Martin and I at the Guy Fawkes Celebration. The neighbours invited everyone over for a potluck and fireworks. I spent the afternoon cooking and made: potato salad, bean salad, broccoli/cauliflower/tomato salad, and deviled eggs. They all got eaten up very quickly.

On my third day there, we went on a HUGE hike. It took about 6 hours and was very, very hard. SO much uphill scrambling and tough downhill parts. And there weren't even many places to enjoy the view. It was fun, but is was really tough too.

This is Tim and one of the trees in the massive Kauri tree grove at the beginning of the hike.

One of the viewpoints, also at the very beginning of the hike. Beautiful view here, but no more for the next five hours of slogging through the mud.

We did find a lot of interesting trees and things. Me looking up at some huge palms.

And luckily I decided we needed to pack a lunch. It's hard to see just how muddy I am in this picture, but I was very muddy.

At the other end of the hike we found this dam that the local waterworks uses to control the flow of the river. We sat here for awhile. Pretty exhausted.

Then we sat at the bottom of the waterworks, still pretty exhausted.

A few days later, Simon and I took the flat water kayaks down the river. Don drove us up stream and dropped us off and we paddled for two hours back home. The river was really beautiful and we had a great time.

Davina put Simon's camera in an old Powerade container for us to take along so we could "make some pictures".

And at the end of the paddle we found a cool little waterfall to explore before we went to the shop for ice cream. The tropical rainforest vegetation continues in the North Island. Apparently things are very different in the South.

Yesterday, the guys left to go to Raglan. It's a surfing town on the west coast of the North Island. I decided to continue heading south though because I only have a few more weeks to see the rest of NZ! Today I'm in a town called Rotorua. It's full of hot springs and Maori cultural areas. The entire town smells like sulphur. Tomorrow I'm going to the museum and maybe to see one of the Maori shows and traditional dinners. This is supposed to be the best place to do that.

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