My days in New Zealand are coming to an end. It's felt like a year! My last week is being spent in Kerikeri, in the Northland region of New Zealand. This area is famous for its beaches, avocadoes, kiwifruit, and oranges. It's the warmer part of the country, and I'd say it's the equivalent to Florida in some ways– where seniors come to retire, orange groves everywhere… And then there's a touch of Hawaii, too, with macadamia nuts, surfing, and diving in some areas.
I'm staying with a wonderful couple who are hard workers who have been on the land here for over 20 years. They've really built up the place to be their dream oasis. She with her sprawling and beautiful gardens, he with a workshop full of tools and equipment for woodworking, tinkering, engineering, and doing all kinds of things with his hands.
The WWOOFing here entails some weeding and working in their orchards. The orange grove is seeing its last fruit (winter is their season), and my co-WWOOFer and I are thinning feijoa trees. Thinning means snipping off the excess buds and flowers so that the remaining fruit can grow bigger. Feijoas are fruits that are native to parts of South America and are now grown quite extensively in New Zealand. They're also known as pineapple guava or guavasteen. here's a photo:
Unfortunately, I will not be able to try one because they don't get ripe until March. I've heard they're amazing. But I'm starting to see buds in my sleep because it's quite tedious– looking through the trees for excess buds and blossoms to snip off:
The work here isn't too hard, and the house is lovely, the couple is lovely, and I've been able to cook and bake for them which has been great fun. They really appreciate good food, and I've been able to be creative. There's another WWOOFer staying here, a Chinese young woman, and we've done some cooking together, too, although she doesn't know how to cook so much.
Here's a sampling of what I've made:
I'm seriously gaining some weight here– my pants fit a little tighter. The feijoa-thinning isn't as much exercise as weeding and other work that I've done on other farms. But it's great fun being in a nice kitchen, cooking and baking. I haven't really done it for so long– basically since I started packing almost three months ago! I realize how much I love to cook and bake, especially for others. I think this IS one of my passions that I need to do for my future career/ job/ worklife.
Besides eating and enjoying a beautiful room and house, I went on an easy hike, again with the other WWOOFer to Rainbow Falls and then following the Kerikeri river to the town of Kerikeri. It was a beautiful day and we saw some really nice sights along the way.
And we also went to Puketi Forest where there is a stand of Kauri trees, famous trees for their largeness and their oldness. Beautiful tall, straight trees. They were used for their timber until they became endangered, and now they're protected. Huge!
The man of the family used to do a lot of woodworking, and he used Kauri tree scraps to make things like cutting boards– they're a beautiful wood with interesting lines and designs in them.
Just a few more days here before heading out to Bali! I'm getting excited. I've booked my first accommodation in Ubud for a few days. And then hoping to get in a diving course!! It's getting into rainy season there, but I hope it's nice and warm so I can swim, snorkel, and enjoy the beaches.