First Weeks Up North.

Piles of snow. That’s what we hear we’re missing in the frigid MN north. Compared to our 60-70 degree days, we really aren’t missing anything except you sweet people.

We are 3 weeks in and overall our outlook is positive, though there are definite adjustments to living in a house that isn’t ours and not having much control about the work we do or the food we eat. But c’est la vie! We’re trying to approach the unknown of each day with new zeal.

Our first long weekend was spent staying in hostels and getting crap done. We got a New Zealand cell phone, set up our bank account, booked hostels for each night in Auckland and bought a car. We fit in a few great restaurants but overall, the week was tactical. We ¬†missed some of the great little pockets of the city that we’d love to see with more time.

>Auckland city


>The Occidental, our favorite Auckland restaurant that served only Belgian beer, Cole’s favorite.


Cole: Felt overwhelmed and successful at multiple points during the weekend. Rocked getting the details of everything organized and lined up. Bought us a car.

Kristin: Loved the busyness and people watching of the city. Hated hauling luggage from hostel to hostel each night. Felt ready to get to first homestay.

Dave, Kirsten and their son Hugh have been a great introduction to the WWOOF experience. They are remodeling their basement and we’ve been working on a variety of painting, sanding and material moving projects.

In our free time we’ve:

>toured the touristy town of Paihia
>tried out a few hikes
>visited a couple of wineries
>driven to the very northernmost point in NZ (Cape Reinga)


>surfed sand dunes

IMG_1103 IMG_1102









>dipped in natural mud pools


>golfed by the ocean (just Cole)












>Looked at the oldest tree in NZ (a 2,000 year old kauri tree named Tane Mahuta)


Apparently that explains why we’ve been asleep by 9 or 10 most nights!

We feel the tension of busying ourselves with everything there is to see in NZ while knowing that this trip, in part, is about slowing down our pace. At the moment, we’re wrestling with trying to avoid tourist traps and make sure we don’t miss the great local spots that each little town has. Since arriving, we’ve learned that making a good connection with our hosts and the location will be very important in future wwoofing relationships – maybe even more important than the work itself.

Cole: Kicking butt at the wwoofing experience and is a great foreman. Going through sunscreen like a madman. Has learned to use a lot of new tools.

Kristin: Feels a bit unsettled staying in other people’s homes. Learning to cook and re-heat food without a microwave. Looking forward to getting ahead in our planning … at the moment we are only booked about 1-2 stays ahead.

We transition to new hosts this Sunday, about 20 minutes from our current location. (

We’re grateful for this experience and all that it has in store, even as we adjust to the newness. Thanks for being with us.


>The amazing accent of our 2.5 year old host, Hugh, who has unbelievable manners and wicked expressions.

>Travel mix from our Monday night crew. Perfect for long country drives.
>Justin Timberlake, Kanye, Sirsly and Mutemath for work pump up music.

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