Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Reggie and Tim

Building a rock wall in the rain

View of house from road

Two goats (lawnmowers)

Vicki the chef

Fred the captain

The friendly road crew

Water tank for collecting rain off the roof and greenhouse

Rock wall that we built

Playing with Reggie down by the lake

We're just about done with our 1st woofing experience now. We've been here about a week with our hosts Fred, Vicki, and their dog Reggie (a wonderful lab and great dane mix) on their beautiful land about an hour south of Auckland. Fred is a former captain on super yachts (over 100 feet long) and Vicki is a former chef on the same boats. That's how they met. Apparently it is a lucrative business, but has really long hours and is taxing on the body, so recently they decided to move ashore and bought 12 acres of land and a house. They call them lifestyle blocks over here, and they have 7 sheep, 7 chickens, and 2 goats to keep them company on the land. They are in the process of subdividing it to build another house, so one of the things we helped do was build a road and spread around tons (literally) of gravel.

It's been fascinating talking about the yachting world and what life is like. It sounds quite amazing, to live basically in theswe worlds of paradise in Fiji, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. The clientele who charter these boats must be super rich as sometimes the cost to charter a boat for one week is around 70,000 US$. Fred even had Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg on his boat one time, and Vicki cooked for Sting too. They had some great stories! Another fun connection is that Vicki is kind of an aunt to Keisha- that amazing little girl from the move 'Whalerider'. There is even a signed poster on their wall! Apparently her Vicki's goddaughter is good friends with Keisha and there are some pictures around from when they visited.

We've been spoiled by great food all week, including roast lamb with fabulous mint sauche, meatloaf, fajitas, fish on the grill and just today this tasty carrot juice made in a fancy juicer. Much better than the ramen and pbj sandwiches we lived on during camping. It will be tough to get back to that routine for sure, and sleeping in a tent after our comfy king sized bed too!

Thankfully the weather has been mostly nice, except for one day where it was a complete washout. We still worked outside, as you can see, we just threw on the borrowed yellow slickers and finished landscaping the driveway with those huge rocks. In fact, we spent a fair bit of time at a place neither of us ever thought we would see in NZ- the quarry. Also on that rainy day we were accomplices to sheep murder. Yep, we helped the neighbor gather the sheep in a pen (no easy task- especially in poor weather)to be taken to the butcher the next morning. In between chasing sheep on that rainy day we managed to fit in 2 movies- Racing Stripes and The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy- nothing very spectacular.

We loved getting to know some locals, adn that even included some construction workers who were fixing the road that Fred and Vicki live on. They were great characters! We were amazed at how interested they were in the old American cars- like the one you have Uncle Bill. They said it would be a great business to get some old cars over by cargo ship and sell them for twice their worth in New Zealand- apparently they're a hot commodity over here- so, Uncle Bill if you get bored with your project you can always sell it in New Zealand. They also showed us some pig hunting pictures- a popular sport here- along with something that looks like spearfishing. Apparently the Koi Carp is a good fish to spear- use for bait and it's also known as a pest fish here.

So as you can see, it hasn't been too strenuous and we were able to fit in some fun things. Most days we woke to birds chirping around 7am, got to work around 8-ish doing some sort of thing on the land- digging a ditch for a retaining wall, helping put up a fence, spreading gravel, collecting rocks from the quarry, building the little rock walls, mulching- and then enjoyed a 'tea break' around 10:30 and continued to work until lunch time around 1. Afternoons consisted mostly of relaxing, maybe taking a drive to see something close by in town or running errands, and of course the most fun, playing with Reggie down by the lake! Before dinner we'd help by feeding the chickens and watering the garden, and usually pick some fresh veggies to include with the meal in some way.

Next we're off to Rotorua, known for its smell of sulfur and amazing geothermal activity. We've got a nice hike we're looking forward to over volcanoes, and we're all booked to take our car on the ferry to the South Island on February 7th. So stay tuned for the latest, and until then be safe and happy and rest assured we will be too!

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