After more than two months spent in Wellington living a sedentary life with house and jobs, we decided to head to the countryside. To save money, we decided to volunteer as Helpx workers. First stop: Te Aute, a small town located in Hawke’s Bay.
9 days as Helpx Workers in Te Aute
Thanks to our jobs in Wellington, we could save a bit of money to go back on the roads. To start with, we’re going to explore the North Island. As we want to see more of the beautiful nature of the country, meet more people and spend as less money as possible, we thought about HelpX.
Helpx is a website which connects local people with travellers. In exchange of few hours of work a day, you get the accommodation and sometimes food is also included. We never worked in any farm before, so we were very interested in this experience. To get to Te Aute from Wellington, we booked a ticket with the bus company Intercity. Is cost us $NZD 25 per person and the trip last a bit less than five hours with half an hour of lunch break. One of our hosts picked us up at Te Aute College bus stop to drive us home. The 10-minutes-drive to get to the farm were just amazing. Rather than words, I just let you enjoy the pictures below.
We spent 9 days working in this farm. We had our own studio next to the main house which was pretty cool! The idea was to work 4 hours per day in exchange of them providing us the accommodation and the food. Our tasks were not too hard actually. In a nutshell, we had to put some net around hundreds of oliver trees, paint some walls and fences, feed the chickens and the dog, water the gardens, pick up the beans, move some oaks branches…
After only three days, our hosts left us and decided to visit their daughter in Auckland. Consequently, we had to handle the farm on our own for five days. That was relaxing, however we felt like we did not have enough to eat. We could eat food from the garden, but except some leeks, salads, strawberries and beans, there were not much to eat. We still had some bread and two sausages left in our fridge, and could get some eggs from the hens, but after few days, we started to be on the waggon. We were kind of shocked that they did not care about leaving us enough food. Anyways, we could handle it at the end, but we felt quite hungry time to time to be honest and did not even eat on our last night there… However, we enjoyed our time there as we had a beautiful weather everyday and a wonderful view to enjoy. There was nothing and almost nobody around (the first supermarket was 5 hours-walk away!) and the only noise we could hear was that of the bulls, the cock, the bees, the birds and the sheeps. Sometimes boring, but definitely relaxing. We really felt alone in the world for five days.
We spent some good times with our hosts when they were around though. They cooked us some nice dinners and lunch, we could enjoy some appetizers and Brendan’s homemade liquors in the afternoon. One day, he even proposed me that we play together with my ukulele and his guitar. That was good fun!
Three days after our hosts left the house in Te Aute, we felt very happy as a neighbor who came around invited us for a dinner at his home. Keith and Louise were also hosting a French couple as Helpx and decided to organize a dinner so that we could meet. They really made us feel home and we had a wonderful night, eating, drinking and laughing with them. On our last night, they invited us again to enjoy a fire on their terrace and drink some wines. Then, on our departure date, as our hosts did not want to make too much effort to drive us to our bus stop, Louise accepted to drive us. It was so kind of her. She had to go to a birthday event at her workplace in the morning, at Waipawa council. She proposed us to join and enjoy the breakfast there, before she would drive us to Hastings. We had an amazing time and were so grateful! We will never forget her and her husband, as we really felt a lot of love and sharing spirit. They really cheered us up and were helpful. Definitely the kind of persons you love meeting on the road.
Visit of Napier
On our first day, we worked for 6 hours, which gave us the right to have a day off. On that day, Brendan (the male host) drove us to Napier, so that we could enjoy some time in the city. What makes Napier special is its preserved 1930s architecture. On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes and destroyed majority of buildings in teh city center. The city was quickly rebuilt and became one of the purest Art Deco sities in the world. When in Napier, you feel like being back in times, and at the same time, fashion is everywhere. This is definitely worth the visit. If we had to recommend you a place to eat there, we’d say Ujazi Cafe for their tasty breakfast!