After four weeks at Rongo Backpackers, it was sadly time to say goodbye to all the lovely people living and working there and to head north for exploring the North Island! My host family from Wellington asked me whether I wanted to celebrate their Christmas in Auckland with them which made me really happy. I visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Russell, the first capital of New Zealand – everytime with people I’ve just met shortly before! That is what I love about travelling: You learn and experience to be really spontaneous and flexible and become friends with people from all over the world.
After the Bay of Islands, the next stop was Taupo, where I went to the Huka Falls and did “donutting” (see picture) on Lake Taupo. In Napier, I’ve had my hottest days in New Zealand so far, which I quite enjoyed by relaxing at the beach and walking through the Art Déco-city. Before going back to Auckland for the Christmas-celebrations, I stopped in Rotorua, where one of my dreams finally came true: I visited Hobbiton and had an amazing day – finishing with a Cider at “The Green Dragon”! I also walked around Lake Rotorua, which not only has a unique colour but a unique smell as well.
It was then finally time to go back to Auckland where I got to know a lot of new people and traditions: Christmas is not only celebrated in completely different temperatured, but also unlike in Germany on Christmas Day (December 25th).
After unwrapping presents, we had a huge Christmas-lunch with han, turkey wrapped in filo pastry, roasted vegetables, potatoes and salad with almond dukkah, followed by fruit mince, persimmon pudding and strawberries – simply delicious! The whole day was a completely new af great experience for me and I will never forget my Christmas in summer that was marked by cool drinks, spending time outside and going for a swim in the pool.
After the holidays, I headed south again, celebrated New Year’s in Wellington and took the ferry to Picton on Sunday, January 5th, to start my second project in the Queen Charlotte Wilderness Park, located in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.
During the after-flood-day, all of the Wwoofers and volunteers worked on the farm for the whole day and we accomplished a lot! After harvesting a big bunch of potatoes, we collected all the grass that had just been cut and make a large pile because we needed it for the compost. Afterwards, everyone went on the meadow to collected sheep poo, because this is another essential part of the compost. At the end of the afternoon, we were finally able to layer the compost that consists of many different layers and it was very interesting and impressive to learn about such an import aspect of farming. This kind of compost is supposed to be ready after 21 days when it is turned every third to fourth day. We celebrated the finishing of the compost with a beer and a good meal.
On Tuesday, the floor of the cinema had finally dried and so the team moved all the furniture back in. We re-opened the cinema with the extended edition of the movie “The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring” while enjoying a nice fire and mint tea – prepared with herbs of the garden!
The group of people working here is so multicultural: Swiss, American, Indian, Australian, Kiwi and German. This is why we celebrated a vegetarian/ vegan American Thanksgiving on Thursday night with many people who all brought something to eat – we had a potluck! Fortunately, I had my day off on that event, so a friend and I were able to prepare lots of food: pumpkin-sweet potato-gnocchi with sage pesto, corn muffins and hummus-soup. And that wasn’t even everything that was served: In addition, we ate garlic-rosemary-bread, nutbread, salad with caramelized cabbage and yoghurt-sauce, vegetable-strada, vegetable-frittata, bean-stew with fresh thyme, dark-miso balls, banana cake with coconut cream, cheesecake and pumpkin-pie!
I’ve spent three weeks now at Rongo’s and I had some busy but also some quiet days. The first week we did not have that many guests, so there wasn’t much to do in the hostel. Regarding farmwork I did things I’ve never done before in my life and I had lots of fun. One day, I turned the compost that was built two weeks before and it was impressive to see that in this amount of time all ingredients had turned to soil already! We also weeded in the Backpacker’s entrance area and reorganized a stone-bed which was partly exhausting but definitely worth the effort as every guest sees this area of the hostel. On Friday, we dropped off a guest who wanted to start the Heaphy Track and I was stunned by the amazing view of the beach at Kohaihai. During my second week, three new Woofers arrived, that I introduced in what has to be done in the hostel. It was very nice to have them there to cook dinner together (we used vegetables grown on our farm like potatoes and parsnips).
In week three, three more Woofers arrived and it has started to get busier at the Backpacker’s – also with guests! In this way, we can share the work that has to be done and we finished everything even faster. It allows us to go on trips, so I want to the Oparara Basin with four other people on Thursday. The trip was wonderful: During the 45-minutes car drive you go through the National Park and can have a look at all the huge trees and green plants. There is a round-walk during which you get access to the first arch and another short walk to the second arch. It was impressive to see what nature has built and how diverse it is.
There were immense rainfalls in the night from Friday to Saturday resulting into a small flood in Karamea. Consequently, we had to remove all the furniture out of the cinema, roll up the carpets, and stack the chairs on benches. In this way, we saved the chairs and electricity and afterwards just waited for the flood to go back. Karamea was woken up with sunshine on Sunday – the flood was gone!
My name is Hannah, I’m 18 years old and from Northern Germany. In the following six months, I am going to do some volunteer work all around New Zealand and I am very excited about everything I will experience. Before starting my studies next year, I wanted to leave Germany for a while and travel to New Zealand, as is has been fascinating me for quite a long time now.
I’ve just spent four wonderful weeks in Wellington while studying at the Campbell Institute where I made many new friends and had some funny lessons. New Zealand’s capital is definitely worth a visit, it offers you a wide range of activities: Hike up Mount Victoria, walk along the Waterfront, take the Cable Car up to the Botanic Gardens or just wander around Cuba Street and Courtney Place!
My first project is called ‘Living in Peace’ – located on the beautiful west coast of the South Island. Im working at a hostel called ‘Rongo Backpackers’ and at a farm which belong together.
Today is my fourth day here at Rongo Backpackers and I’ve already experienced quite a lot. To start with, my journey to Karamea took me more than two days: On Saturday morning, I took the ferry from Wellington to Picton which was very impressive thanks to the sunny weather! Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to visit Picton, because my bus to Nelson left one hour after we had arrived at the port. I spent one night in Nelson und got the chance to enjoy free chocolate pudding in the hostel where I was staying (Yummy!). On Sunday, I took the bus to Westport where I had enough time to prepare myself for the last part of my journey to Karamea. I finally arrived at Rongo Backpackers Monday afternoon and was warmly welcomed there – giving me the day off and letting me settle in! My first day of work started with stacking firewood into a new-build shelter and farming after lunchtime. The wonderful thing about the hostel is that guests can turn up every time, which four travelers did on Tuesday evening. They were immediately stunned by all the artwork that exists at Rongo’s. To me, it is very inspiring and I hope, I’ll come up with some ideas in the next days and start a small ‘project’ as well!
We have a huge garden here and I can get many vegetables for free and use them for cooking. On Wednesday evening, we lighted up a big bonfire and listened to a new set of the local radio here: You can have your own radio show at Rongo’s, which means you can pick some songs and play them while commenting and later upload that show on the Internet, so that it can be heard all around the world!
“Learn to make coffee in one of the world’s great cafe cities”
The Campbell Institute successfully completed the first Mojo Barista course in December 201, and received great feedback from the students participating in the programme.
“I adore coffee and I heard that Wellington had the highest concentration of cafes in New Zealand- that’s why I wanted to learn about coffee in Wellington. The teacher from MOJO was really amazing! He was always fun and the atmosphere was vibrant and full of energy every time. If you love drinking coffee and want to learn more about the coffee culture in New Zealand, I highly recommend this course!” Soojin – South Korea
The Campbell Institute, in association with Mojo Coffee, one of New Zealand’s leading coffee house chains, will run the programme six times in 2015. Students graduating the course will have an industry recognised qualification suitable for work in cafes, restaurants and other hospitality fields.