For the next three days, we took a little break from travelling and instead decided to couchsurf on a sheep farm. In fact, we had been invited by our hosts while we were looking for a place in Auckland and decided some time on the farm would be fun. We caught the bus to Bulls and were collected by a Belgian couple in their campervan who would also being staying the night. We drove through the countryside and arrived at the farm in a tiny village called Kiwitea. Our hosts Vicky and Daniel were there to greet us and we felt at home right away. Their children Ayden and Amelia were mid nap and waking up to a house full of strangers overwhelmed them a little. Once the fish and chips arrived we obviously seemed a little less scary and we enjoyed getting to know one another. That evening was also fitness night and Zoe had agreed to share some of her kick boxing knowledge. Teaching a class of 4 some kicking and punching techniques turned out to be a lot of fun. Before bed we helped feed the two goat kids and the pet lamb and then put the lamb to bed in his luxury horse trailer.
The next morning, we slowly woke up to the sounds of the budgies and kids starting their day. Ayden, who had been shy the evening before made sure to keep checking whether we any of our eyes were awake and reported any movements we made to his Dad. We were sleeping in the middle of the living room and he was keen for us to get up so that the days playtime could begin. After breakfast Vickys extra children arrived and we all set off on a tour of the farm. As we drove along both sides were bright green with ewes and lambs dotted everywhere. We stopped off to feed the 4 horses and 2 shetland ponies and the carried on up the hill on the top of the farm, we had a fantastic view of the surroundings bathed in sunshine. Besides the sheep and horses, the family farm is home to cattle, ducks, goats, a guinea pig, pig, chickens, cats and dogs. We stopped by to see Daniel at work and he took us on a tour of the wool shed and explained when and how the sheep are sheared and what happens to the wool. The rest of the day flew by as the children got us involved in their games and the other couchsurfing couple departed.
What a view!
The next day we went on a bush walk to hide rocks for others to find. We had seen painted rocks in the Redwood forest in Rotorua, but didn’t know that they are part of an initiative to get families into the great outdoors while the kids hunt for the treasure. Some of the rocks are labelled and could win prizes for the children that discover them. We worked up an appetite for lunch and then since it was a nice day we set off on another walk to the village centre. Kiwitea is so small that it only has a hall, a playgroup and a school all centred around a road junction, but it also isn’t too far from nearby Fielding. Since we hadn’t done quite enough walking, Vicky and Zoë went off to a boxacise class and Matthias cooked a delicious dinner of Kässpätzle with ham hock. Our final evening with the family was lovely just chatting the night away.
Very early the next morning we said our goodbyes at Palmerston North where we would be catching the bus to Wellington. We had saved a few hours here to take a look at the national rugby musuem. It turned out to be well worth it as the museum was well set up and took us on a journey through the history of rugby in New Zealand. Interestingly they liked to brag about their records against Wales and the British lions as well as make it very clear that Maori were always a big part of the All Blacks. We had time to grab a bite to eat before our bus and took a recommendation for the café across the road from the museum. We both had yummy meat pies and went on our way.