My last bit of wwoofing for the month of October was spent at Ruapehu Homestead in Ohakune, the picturesque little town famous for being the carrot capital of NZ! Ohakune is located pretty well smack-dab in the middle of the North Island, in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu. It was here that I found a wonderful place to stay with Sue and Don, and of course Mia, Apollo, Cherokee, Apache, Angel, Tane, Dot-com, Jimmy... the horses ;) Sue and Don run a horse trekking business in this small tourist town, although in my 10 days here I only saw 2 tours go out... so the horses, many saved from the meatworks, lead a pretty chilled out life! My working days were spent with Marie, a fellow wwoofer from France, working hard caring for the horses- feeding them carrots and hay, brushing them, and cleaning stables. We also looked after the goats, sheep, barn cats, 3 dogs, AND chopped firewood. Heaps of firewood! Marie and I shared a caravan in the yard, where we enjoyed lots of tea in the evenings cuddled up with our books and some good French music, and woke often in the night freezing our butts off. Pretty easy going days mostly. Sue and Don were often quite busy with work and other projects on the go, so Marie and I did our own thing on the farm.
Of course I couldn't leave without doing a proper horse trek myself! And so their daughter Veronica was sweet enough to take me out for a few hours, with Tane and Mia, through the trails and across the creeks of a neighbouring conservation area. Such a wonderful ride, and such a great place to stay. Couldn't be happier spending my days with the animals, getting cuddles from the cats watching the horses' antics in the paddocks. Such characters!
On one of my days off I enjoyed a magnificent hike on one of New Zealand's best treks- The Tongariro Crossing! This alpine trek runs between 3 mountains, including Mount DOOM, and other landscapes popularly known as Middle Earth :) Although the day I chose to do the hike turned out to be a cloudy one (as it is 75% of the time up there), the views were still spectacular. My boots treaded across mosses, scrubland, lava rocks, and snow! The only snow I'll be seeing this season actually-- so crazy to be having 2 summers in one year. The best sight was the Emerald Lakes up at the top, a perfect, albeit chilly place for lunch. 8 1/2 hours later I was met by my ride on the other end, and back to the homestead.
My great days in Ohakune ended on Halloween- and although my heart was breaking to not be celebrating my favourite holiday, it was time to move on to my first job since Korea- Seacliffs Dairy farm in Hawera!