Here’s a scattered post about my experience wwoofing in New Zealand so far. The wwoofing expectations are these: work 4-5 hours each day, get meals and a place to sleep. Within those loose parameters, anything goes. You might leisurely work 4 hours and then lounge the rest of the day, or you might works from 9 til 7 because it would look weird for you to lounge while the farmers are toiling away. You’ll always have breakfast on time, but never any other meals (this is a constant at each place I have been).
Coffee break is pretty normal, dinner is sometimes called tea. You can plan ahead for the wwoof spot of your dreams, contact the farmers months in advance if you want. But as this is my blog you all know that I definitely did not do it that way, I have been doing it anywhere from two weeks to a few days in advance, which actually works well. Some hosts are so used to wwoofers flaking our on their plans that they don’t even let you book a spot until the date gets close. Wise, because plans change here so much, depending on who you meet, the weather, and just how you’re feeling about working on a farm versus exploring the country.
I am currently writing from my 3rd wwoof spot of my trip, and I plan on having 2 more. I am lying on some cushions next to the wood stove, it’s 8:40 pm, and I just did a load of dishes at the sink after saving the house from burning down, I am a hero! Sort of kidding, but I did walk in to the house right when the pot of butter on the stove went up in flames and I put a plate on top of it and took it outside. My host has an 8-month old baby you see, and was trying to put her to bed and was also trying to cook dinner at the same time. Here's a pic I took of the cosy-looking house that was actually a kitchen fire.
I volunteered my dish washing skills on my wwoof profile, and I have been cashing that in at this spot even though I’ve only been here 3 days. There is no running water here because they’re still getting set up, so dishes involve filling a jug from the tap outside, boiling some in the kettle, pouring it into the bucket on the sink because the sink isn’t attached the the plumbing, soaping things, then rinsing, then dumping the bucket outside somewhere. Honestly a four bucket trail crew system would be easier, but alas I only have the one bucket. Anyways enough about dishes, the view at this place is absurdly beautiful. My tent/ palace overlooks a stunning mountain range and the nights have been clear enough for the Milky Way. I have walked down to the Dart River 4 times in two days for cell service and bathing and admiring the views, and because it gives me something to do.
Basically the purpose of this wwoof site is to bide my time until I do a 4-day tramp in this area, and to live cheaply and learn something during those extra days. My previous site was to experience a working sheep and beef farm, which is what so many farms in New Zealand are. I suppose my first wwoof site was just chosen for location convenience and to try out wwoofing for the first time. They all have served a different purpose for me in my travels, and I’m glad for each spot. You really get a taste of family life in this country, and a sense of opinions and politics and natural history and customs.