Work & WWOOFing

Before coming to New Zealand we obtained what is called a Holiday/Working Visa. Sometimes the word “scheme” is thrown in there; here it doesn’t mean you are up to no good.

Under this plan we are eligible for most jobs. However people with this scheme tend to drift toward casual jobs, temporary kinds of things where you won’t be obligated for long because remember you are on holiday. This is all well enough but after a year of travel in the van we don’t feel the need to always be on the go. Lucky for us we have those good mates in Gizzy which lends a bit of stability to our wanderings. A flat of our own may even be in the cards.

Time will sort all that out. For now though we are WWOOFers, Willing Workers on Organic Farms. In this scheme you work a half day, about 4-5 hours, in return for meals and a place to stay. All sorts of places are in the program including farm stays (think B&B with a farm) to families with small vegetable gardens to wineries with guest cottages.  Usually the stay is around a week although it can vary. Workers contact the participating farms through the WWOOFer website.

We’ve just completed our first week long stint as WWOOFers at the upscale Knapdale Eco Lodge. Knapdale is an environmentally friendly lodge and farm. It is owner operated by Kay & Kees, a hardy local couple. For us it was five hours of work and the rest of the day spent wondering around the farm, relaxing on the deck or playing with dogs. To top it off someone else cooked dinner. The someone else being Kay, an excellent cook ,who caters events at the lodge.   Both Kay & Kees stayed in constant motion as they have outside jobs in addition to managing their property. We felt very decadent stopping work after only five hours when there was always more, much more to be done as there is on any farm.

Next up for us is Brodie Estates, a vineyard with olive groves and a farm stay. It is in the up and coming wine region of Martinborough- not Marlborough the super sized wine region on South Island. Martinborough, known for pinot noir, is a village of about eleven hundred souls an hour northeast of Wellington. I’m looking forward to checking out southern North Island and then cruising back to Gisborne to be among the first in the world to ring in 2010.

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One thought on “Work & WWOOFing

  1. Steve, we tried to find a place to live closer to you guys but the commute was a bit much thanks for thinking of us though!

    Of course we miss you guys and dislike you a little but definitely in the “Team Suck” sort of way. (Hope no one takes that the wrong way. It’s really meant with a lot of love, actually.)

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