Existing Member?

Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

The farm in Whitianga

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 1 October 2008 | Views [1155]

Mill Creek Rd., which is where I was headed, was very rocky and bumpy, and he seemed to enjoy driving through the rocks. He dropped me off right in front of the property. After eight rides and several hours, I was at my destination. It was raining, so I had to put my bags in a dry area. I didn’t see anyone at first, so I put my bags in a little outhouse, and then walked up the hill. There, I saw their house. I walked all the way up, bags in hand, and they greeted me at the door. There is no electricity, and I can’t even charge my computer because all the power they have is on car batteries. They offered me some mashed potatoes and baked beans for dinner; both very good. Nikki showed me around the house. They have a pretty nice place. Nikki travelled around the world last year and they said their last house burnt down while they were away. This is the real New Zealand! I’m at a place where almost no tourists ever go. Nikki and her family drink milk that isn’t pasteurized. Pasteurization kills all the essential nutrients in milk, so raw milk has a lot of benefits. It was dark out, and my laptop battery died because I couldn’t charge it. I played a game of chess with Bill, Steve’s friend’s son. Steve is the father, and Nikki, Elly, and Sheree are his children. Nikki is 22 and works at a day-care centre, and Elly is studying film in Invercargill. There is a girl named Maria from Spain also staying here. They were watching a movie, and I made a cup of tea and then washed up to lie down. Since the gas is limited, Steve instructed me to boil only enough water for me (or whoever wants a cuppa), otherwise it’s a waste of gas. The sky had cleared, and I could see millions and millions of stars! This reminds me of living in Arizona, only there is absolutely nothing around here (other than cattle, sheep, and green pastures). By the light of the stars I soon feel asleep.

It was day #37 in New Zealand. Today I woke up at 8:30 and it had stopped raining. I washed up and then made my morning tea. I’m hooked on the red bush tea. Since the skies were grey the water wasn’t hot enough for a shower. Nikki had already left for work and Steve had walked down to milk the cows. Lance asked me if I wanted to ride Zina, the horse. They have no saddle, so bareback is the only option. I put on my hiking boots and walked down to the gate. Zina was feasting on the abundant grass. Lance met me there and tried for like 20 minutes to get the bridle on. As I climbed up onto the horse I ripped my shorts. This was only my second time riding a horse and the first time riding bareback. We went up the hill to the house and I got off to let Lance have a got at it. Flo made some pancakes and I had a few. He also heated up some of the lentil stew that I made last night. That came out really good! After filling myself up and having a hot cuppa, I went looking for Lance. Zina was near a shed close to the highest point of the property, but I didn’t see Lance anywhere. Zina just kept munching on the fresh green grass when I tried to ride her. Anyways I walked back down to the house. I wanted to call Teressa but it’s a huge hassle trying to recharge phone cards. I had to call back later. I lay down for a few minutes researching what to do and where to go on the South Island. Lance came back at about noon and offered to take me possum hunting. We made lentil stew for lunch; he likes to put soy sauce in his. First, we had to go down to another farm and pick up another horse. Steve fixed up a bicycle so we could have that and Zina. Lance, Sheree and I set out. As I was going down the hill on Zina’s back, I got nervous because I lurched forward. Sheree then took the reins. We walked into the shed and got an extra bridle. I then wanted another go at riding Zina. This time I was more confident. She ran and I had Sheree take a photo. A few minutes later I got off and then Sheree rode her. As we passed heaps of sheep and cattle, I rode the bike through the dirt and gravel with all my heart. At one point I went straight through a raging stream and then waited for Lance and Sheree to catch up. After going about 3 km we were coming around a corner, and all of a sudden a stallion jumped over the fence and ran toward Zina. The two horses were fighting, presumably as a courtship ritual. It was a pretty violent fight and the stallion had skinned one of his legs. We had to get out of the way or otherwise we’d probably get trampled. I’m not a horse enthusiast but it was a great display of animal behaviour. Sheree said she hopes Zina gets pregnant because they had to pay $200 last time so she could have a foal. I’m going to be checking later in my travels to see if she’s having a baby. They spent like an hour trying to separate the horses. I was having fun busting up old cars. Sheree decided to leave Zina and leave a note for the owner of the stallion. I hopped on the bike and decided to make my way back. I went through that stream again and all the way back to the farm. I made a cup of tea and then called Teressa. This guy simply will not leave her alone! We talked for awhile and I told her how much I love her. She had to go because Olivia was calling so I told her I’d call back. I heated up some lentil stew; it’s kind of like an Ethiopian dish I’ve had. Tonight I wanted to make something sweet, like a cake. Steve showed me a recipe for chocolate cake that he says is really good. We had everything we needed so I got to it straight away. Sheree helped me out a bit because the recipe was a little confusing. After putting it in the oven I called Teressa back to say goodnight. She’ll always be my love. While the cake was baking I played chess with David; a man from Invercargill who came while I was gone. Sheree and Lance (like two hours after I got back) showed up and they brought Zina back. I’m not sure how they were able to get her away from that stallion. We didn’t have enough time to go possum hunting, and it started to pour down rain. It’s helpful because Steve planted some avocado trees the other day. The cake took over an hour to bake because the oven is so slow. Before that I had some porridge. That too is yummy delicious! In all, today was a great day and I really got a first-hand experience of country life. The cake turned out really well! For awhile we just sat and chatted and let out some laughs. I was thinking to leave on the 10th but I might stay until the 12th or 13th because it is so nice here. David told me that he climbed Mt. Taranaki and that it’s amazing. After everyone was starting to file out, David and I had a chess rematch. He really brought his A-game this time and had an answer to just about all of my strategies, but I won at the end. Nikki even said it was the quietest I’ve ever been. I had one more cuppa before washing up to lie down. It’s raining and I love hearing the rain as I drift to sleep.           

Today was an outrageously adventurous day in New Zealand. I woke up at 7:30 and washed up. Steve and Nikki were having their morning cuppa so I decided to have one too. Nikki left for work and Steve went to milk the cows. The sun shone briefly but then we got some rain again. Heaps of rain can be a real hassle sometimes but that’s why New Zealand is so green and beautiful. Lance promised to take me possum hunting today. Steve was wondering what was going through my mind yesterday when I was smashing up the old cars, but I was just having fun. They didn’t belong to anyone, so no worries. The sun came out and I was hoping it’d be out long enough to have a shower. I made a peanut butter sandwich and another cup of tea and then waited while Lance checked the possum traps. Steve sells the fur for about $100 a kilo, and it takes anywhere from 15-20 possums to get that much. The other day I was hearing a bird that I thought was a quail; David told me they were introduced and that it in fact is a quail. There were no possums in the traps. Lance, David, and I started our trek up into the hills. It started to rain again, but some trees were there to stand under. Steve asked us to bring some cows down through the gate, but they ran off. Samson was with us and we began our possum hunt. We had to go through this dense, prickly plant called gorse. David went down another trail and we continued on. Samson started barking loudly and there was a possum high up in the tree. We tried to throw rocks and sticks at it to knock it out of the tree, to no avail. Lance tried to boost me up into the tree because the nearest branch was about three metres off the ground. That didn’t work out and I got nervous and basically had to ride his back to get down. I then boosted him up into the tree, but the possum was too high. We thought we’d come back. As we were going down a hill, I slipped and slid wildly down the hill. My shorts have really taken a beating these past few days; I’ll have to stop at the Salvos when I go to New Plymouth or another city or town. It was a fun ride but thankfully I didn’t slam head-first into a tree. Anyways, Samson caught and devoured a baby possum. Lance’s gumboots were falling apart, so we decided to go back and get the .22 calibre rifle and change our footwear. I stepped into some really soft mud and my hiking boots sunk deep into it. They are the only boots I have, and I may have to stop in Christchurch or elsewhere to get new ones at some point. We walked all the way back to the house and I changed into some gumboots and Lance got the rifle. I’ve always had a fear of guns, but I was willing to try a shot or two just to say I’ve done it. I called Teressa and talked with her for a bit. She used to hunt and fish when she lived in Utah. She told me to be careful and always treat a gun like it’s loaded. You should never look into the barrel of a gun, whether real or not. I made a cup of tea and then walked up with Lance into the bush. We saw David on his way down as we were going up; a good thing we did since we’d be using a gun. Samson started barking loudly and he was onto another possum. He attacked and killed it. Lance pulled all the fur off and fed a leg to Samson. Out of respect, we let a baby possum go so that it has a chance to grow and enjoy this world. Samson is a pure farm dog; he rounds up animals and never goes inside. We walked a few metres up the path and the possum was still in the tree. I stood behind Lance (as you always should when someone is using a gun) as he fired a shot into the tree, and then another shot. This time the possum was hit but it was still in the tree. Lance decided to climb up into the tree and get it down. Even though the bullet struck his head, the possum was still alive and came down the tree. Samson chased it and attacked it. Lance had to go down the hill to get the dead possum and pull the fur off. We had two kills already. We continued through the thick bush. We came upon a stream and I wanted to go for a walk since I had Wellingtons (gumboots) on. After just a few minutes I stepped into an area deep enough that it filled my gumboots with water. I took them off and left my socks on, because they act like a wetsuit. If you’re wading or walking through cold water, your feet will be warmer if you wore socks than if you’re barefoot. Lance and Samson followed along but I lost sight of them after awhile. I kept walking on and on for like two hours or so. For a minute or so I was thinking I was lost, but I used my wisdom and my instincts to follow the stream out. Being a geographer, I know that streams have a mouth and that if I follow the flow I’ll eventually reach a larger body of water and possibly a building, boat, or something else. After more than two hours of walking through the stream I was in a paddock. There were metal fences. I touched one and held on to it for like three seconds and it shocked me really hard. I was shaking wondering how much voltage entered my body. I was then trying to figure a way out. I had to go under the electric fence in the stream and then I was in another paddock. I had a mob of cows mooing at me. I had to wade under another fence as I was all wet and trying to just find a way to the road. I then had to go under a third and final electric fence; this time I had to completely submerge myself. I threw my shirt over to the other side and then I went under. The water was cold, but since I had been in it for quite some time it didn’t feel so cold. I put my shirt back on and then had to climb over a wooden gate and I was on Mill Creek Rd. It was a tough stream trek, but these were the types of New Zealand adventures that you don’t have to pay for and typically don’t expect. I walked in my wet Wellingtons all the way back to the farm and had to walk up the hill to the house. Steve and Flo were sitting there talking. Today I really followed what I learned here. Instead of turning back in the stream, I trusted my instincts and told myself to relish the moment; not think about things like “What if I’m stuck out here for the night?.” Steve told me it is quite a story to tell. Out of all the places I’ve ever stayed on my travels (hotels, hostels, home stays, etc.) this is the best place I’ve ever stayed at. I’ve learned so much in just the week I’ve been here. Lance made some baked beans, so I had some. David then made some porridge so I had some of that, too. Food is really good there. They don’t cook any meat here, so I haven’t had any meat this week except for fish & chips and what I’ve eaten had Subway. I then called Teressa, but we only talked for a few minutes before the phone went dead. I took a shower because I haven’t had one in a few days. I called Teressa back and we talked for a good while. She really wants me to come home, and she gave me an ultimatum to either come home by the New Year or she’ll never speak to me again. I feel really sad that I left. She hurt me a lot by what she did last month but I still love her very much. After talking for a good while, I made a cup of tea. Steve was making vegetable lentil soup for dinner and it smelled really good. A short time later the soup was ready. It was tasty delicious with broccoli leaves, lentils, and other vegetables and spices. After dinner I made some hot cocoa. David and I then had our chess rematch. He beat me this time and I lead the series between us 2-1. Steve then put on a movie; this time it was Kung Fu Panda. I’m not the biggest fan of movies. Today was quite a test; going through that creek and really following the advice of what I’ve learned here. I’m not sure what to do in regards to this journey; should I go back and be with Teressa, or should I stay and continue this amazing adventure? I love Teressa with all my heart but at the same time I love to see this beautiful world and I’m not ready to settle down. I have a sore throat tonight and I sure hope I don’t get a cold, because I don’t want to undertake a serious climb with a cold like I did during the Inca Trail. I have to get some sleep because I have a busy day tomorrow. See you soon.

I've only scratched the surface on all the stories I can share about this very special paradise deep in the heart of the Coromandel. You'll walk in as one person and leave as another, with a deeper appreciate for the land, food, nature, and people. It's one of the most, if not the most hospitable place I've ever stayed at! If you would ever want to meet "my other family" you're more than welcome to contact me and I'll give you their info. However, you must be willing to enter with an open mind and be a new person when you leave, and if you plan to stay for three days, you'll end up staying three months, I guarantee you!


Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About kiwiaoraki

Follow Me

Where I've been


Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.