Road tripping and relaxing was the original plan; however, when our Kiwi-hosts recommended a WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) opportunity at the Moehau Community located at the northern point of the Coromandel Peninsula we had to take it! En route to the “farm”; however, we started to question our decision. For months, we’d taken to the open road, showering infrequently, eating less than appetizing meals, and enjoying the freedom of our free schedule. If we committed full-on with the WWOOFing gig we would be working (key word is working) for accommodations and food, and following a farm schedule (potential 5 am wake-up times?).
All in all it seemed like a good deal, but then again, these people were total strangers (family friends of a family that we had just reconnected with after 15 years) and we were at the far reaches of a peninsula located at the far reaches of an island (located at the far reaches of the world). Of course, after a brief moment of rational thinking we were back to our usual selves and all for it – WOLO! And man, did it pay off!
The community was situated on a piece of heaven on Earth! First, we were welcomed by sweeping views of beautiful Sandy Bay. After gawking at the ocean we made our way up the gravel road to the farmhouse to be greeted by none other than Hazel (the community’s milk, butter, and cheese source). We drove past stands of luscious fruit trees (mango, apple, banana, mandarin oranges, mountain guava) and backyard gardens full of fruit (rainbow chard, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash, tomatillo, and leeks) before we finally found Johnny, a free-spirited, knowledgeable vulcanologist (among other things) tending to the communal stove.
The week that followed our initial drive into the community was full of work and play, tea with honey and milk, dirty fingernails and scratches, teamwork and adventure, and delicious food and fireside chats – the days and nights rolled quickly past. We could probably write a book about Moehau (and maybe one day we will), but for now we’ve just decided to make a brief list of our WWOOFing projects: weeding (community garden), planting winter crops (garlic patch), transplanting tomatillo plants, hauling brush, invasive species removal, kitchen chores (dish-washing, fire-tending, sweeping), milking (Hazel), and the occasional baking (for fun)!
Our hosts were gracious Kiwis and the bonds formed and friends made are truly invaluable. The people (Johnny, Jancey, Stevie, Marie, Baerbell, Jerry, Robin, Amy, Peter, and Carla) were wonderful, the farmhouse sleeping arrangements were cozy (and it was nice to be able to stand up to put clothes on), the hot showers were amazing, the tea breaks were delightful, our WWOOFing comrade from the Netherlands was COOL AS (Evelyn), and the fresh-cooked farmhouse food was unreal – especially the smorgasbord available at the Monday night Moehau Pot Luck!
Moehau was definitely worth the trip and hopefully, we’ll be able to visit again soon! If you want to hear any of our Moehau stories, we’d love to share – just ask!
– Go. Change your state of mind.
Song lyrics: Miranda Lambert “Automatic”
Next stop: Waitakere Ranges