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It turns out that after spending a week at my first farm, with no internet connection, really limits my ability to post content here. I read a bit of news and got on Facebook, and was met with notification from Spark Mobile that I was running low on data. Gotta top off I suppose and up my plan.

On Tuesday, I caught a bus up north to Wellsford. My first farm had an emergency and needed to cancel my first week with them. I got on my mobile and started contacting various farms in the Auckland area. Tracy Wood had posted that she needed help asap and I jumped at the opportunity. I booked my tickets up and back on Monday night and was heading up to Wellsford the next morning.

I got some journaling done on the trip up. It’s annoyingly difficult to write while bouncing around on a bus. Tracy picked me up in town and we took care of some of her errands before heading out to the farm.

My first task was to take some photos of Tracy feeding her calf for her website.

Tracy with calf.

We rode around the property in her utility vehicle and fed the cows silage, which is fermented grass. It has a strange distinct smell.

Tracy with cow eating silage.

We chatted and got to know one another. She is a lawyer, but has turned to farmer. She told me about her cows and what it takes to raise them. Even with having been given a crash-course in all the terminology that goes along with it, it was all over my head.

I spent most of my time at this stage of my trip giving Tracy’s pagola a fresh coat of paint. I made sure to cover up with plenty of sunscreen while working. On the second day, it was overcast and much cooler than the day before, and so didn’t feel the need to cover up. Iwas burned as a result, despite the cloud-cover. It’s super easy to get burned in New Zealand.

Tracy is a healer and works with Reiki. The farm had some really cool features to it such as the the ring near the quarters that I was staying in, up the hill from the main house.

Ring at Tracy Woods' farm

There were some sweet farm animals.

Maggie the cat.

The farm was beautiful, especially in the morning.

Tracy Woods' farm.

On my second to last day, a young wwoofer named Bobby showed up in the afternoon and got to work. He’s a nice kid from New Jersey. Later in the evening, a couple from China were AirBnB-ing at the farm. This was the first time that Tracy had guests as BnBers. We all had a nice time chatting and learning about each other’s backgrounds.

Each evening, Tracy made the most delicious meals. I definitely lucked out by getting on board at her farm.

I finished up the week and hopped on a bus back to Auckland. The plan was to get straight into the car and meet up with Sue and their friend Shalvin. I was eager to meet him, as I have heard so much about him through Cassie. We were going camping for the weekend around Rotorua, with a list of things to do.

Shalvin at breakfast

We drove 3 hours south to Rotorua where we camped at a park that was similar to a KOA back home. It was pleasant. It was a bit chilly in the evenings, but comfortable.

Cassie at Rotorua

In town, we drank beers while we watched the black swans. Cassie tried a handstand on a post and ended up going over and falling in the water. We all enjoyed a laugh about that.

Cassie falls in the lake

But she got a solid handstand in the end.

Cassie's handstand in Rotorua

The birds were all used to people getting right up in their faces.

Seagull at Rotorua

We hung out behind a building and sipped brew, took photos and chatted with passersby. This British fellow came over to ask jokingly if we were a camera club. He noticed Cassie’s and my Fujis and his eyes lit up. He started discussing his X100T and the hood that he has for it. It was an enjoyable random interaction.

British man with Fuji X100T

We threw the rugby around and Cassie showed off her prowess.

Cassie’s rugby backflip

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Cassie at Rotorua Lake

A Maori vessel on display at Rotorua Lake.

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Then it was off off to the Polynesian Hot Springs. These date back to the 1800’s when they were run by priests. People would come from far and wide for the springs’ healing qualities.

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After the hot springs, we headed back to camp for drinks before our next endeavor. Cassie and I taught Sue and Shalvin the finer points of Beersbie. Then it was off to a Maori event that Sue had booked for us. We loaded up into a shuttle with other tourists to go to the marae (village).

We got a lot of information from the event about the Maori people’s heritage.

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Moari at Marae

Toward the end of the night, the group performed a traditional Haka, which is meant to psyche the warriors up for battle, as well as instill fear into the enemy.

After the evening, we got back to camp and crashed.

Sunday was was filled with more adventure. We saw the Huka Falls. These are more of a long, cascading falls.

Huka Falls

We stopped at a roadside shop that sold all kinds of honey. Cassie bought a piece of honey comb that we all sampled. Chewing the wax is comparable to regular chewing gum.

The main event of the day was hanging at a park that specializes in fishing for prawns. You catch ’em, they cook ’em, you eat ’em. We fished for a couple of hours. We all had a blast, but no one as much as Cassie. She also caught more than anyone in the group (6 tasty prawns).

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After the fishing, we enjoyed our catch with cold drinks.

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After our late lunch, we got back into Sue’s pickup for the 3-hour drive back home. Big thanks go to Sue for driving the whole time; I really appreciate it.

We stopped during the way to pee, and I found some friends.

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Cows.

The wwoofing experience so far has been great, and the weekends have been filled with fun with new friends. I’m ready for more.

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