Weeks of wwoofing
14.03.2008 - 05.04.2008 68 °F
We crossed Cook Strait with some uncertainty in our hearts. After two months of WWOOFing without a real base we were beginning to feel a bit homesick and with our finances dwindling we were anxious to find a place to either get jobs or just settle down for a few weeks. The beauty of Marlborough Sounds combined with the hospitality of our WWOOFing hosts James and Barbie banished our worries.
We spent our first two nights on the south island camping in Kenepuru Sound. It is renowned for its beauty and marine life. The cove we camped in seemed like it belonged in the Caribbean or some other tropical paradise; with its turquoise waters we could hardly believe the area shares roughly the same latitude of southern Oregon.
One of hundreds of jellyfish carcasses that lined the beach
After two nights of relaxing by the beach we headed to our next hosts, at the “Green Shed”. We arrived to find that James (whom I had spoken to via email) had promised his wife Barbie that when we arrived he would “send us away”. They had just had a pair of American WWOOFers who proved to be less than ideal. With Easter coming up Barbie had declared that she wanted no more WWOOFers. We sat at the kitchen table which looked out onto Queen Charlotte Sound and took in the bleak news. James told us we were welcome to stay; he’d discuss our situation with Barbie when he picked her up at the airport. Needless to say our first dinner with our new hosts was slightly tense. The next morning we got up and started killing passion fruit vines (a particularly virulent invasive species) and tried to charm Barbie. Apparently it worked. James and Barbie offered us the use of the Bach (holiday home) just down the cliff from their house and we thoroughly enjoyed our five day stay. Since they wanted a quiet family Easter weekend we found new hosts in Nelson and “buggered off”.
The “wild” Weka we befriended at the Green Shed
We spent Easter weekend camping outside of Nelson and exploring Tasman Bay. We walked a small section of Abel Tasman National Park, took care of getting our car’s warrant of fitness updated (which involved having a small piece of metal welded onto some rust inside the driver’s door) and spent one night in town at a hostel where we checked our email and found or next hosts had cancelled on us. Without a host we knew we’d continue to eat our money and go a bit stir crazy. We posted a piece about ourselves on the WWOOF website and emailed James (he and Barbie had mentioned if we ever wanted to come back we’d be welcome) letting him know that our plans had evaporated.
We are now WWOOFing for James and Barbie’s daughter Sophie and her husband Mark. We went back to the Green Shed for a few nights and then moved slightly south to Blenheim. Here we’ve shared meals and conversation with our youngest hosts (mid thirties) and worked for room, board and PAY. We’ve been working full days painting their roof (roofs are almost exclusively tin in NZ) and scrapping off the paint our notorious American forbearers had neglected to do properly.
Though we’ve been working hard we found time to borrow bikes and ride the highly publicized Marlborough wine tour route. We managed to bike 30 km and visit four different wineries for tastings; the crisp and fruity Sauvignon Blanc that Marlborough is famous for exceeded my expectations so much so that I purchased a bottle of Matua Valley Paretai Sauvignon Blanc. It was my first time in a vineyard and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (even if the women administering the tasting were a bit aloof).
We’re heading back to the Green Shed tomorrow. We’ll spend three more nights enjoying James and Barbie’s stories of traveling through Africa and living in Malaysia before we depart for our next tramp in Nelson Lakes National Park.