What is WWOOFING and why you should do it?
WWOOFING is the commonly used term for volunteering a few hours a day in exchange for free accommodation and food. The term stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms, but don’t worry if farming isn’t your thing, there are lots of different areas to volunteer your time. Trust me is well worth it and really gives you a different perspective on the world.
WWOOFING in NZ is easier than you think. There are many different ways in which to offer you help in exchange of accommodation and food. It’s an brilliant way of setting up base in different areas to explore, all the while not spending a single penny on accommodation. Please Please don’t spend your hard earned money on paying these fat cat travel agencies to “provide” you with volunteer work. Honestly just ask around when you arrive. By doing this you also get to gauge if the place is right for you and if the people are right. Just let go of the nerves of not knowing whats going to happen next and embrace the unknown!
There are lots of ways to find volunteering opportunities, but if you are thinking about signing up, we would recommend trying HelpX. Although we didn’t directly use these ourselves, we met many who found great voluntary work though this particular site and some even got paid! Win!
Our experience WWOOFING on Aroha Island Eco Camping Ground
By far the one of the best experiences of our lives and we have been around the world so that’s saying something! We arrived on Aroha Island when looking for accommodation during the Kiwi picking season. While we where looking for work, the manager of the Conservation Island (Simon) asked if we would like to volunteer a couple hours each day in exchange for free accommodation. We jumped at the opportunity, I mean who doesn’t want to stay on a paradise island for free?? From then on, we built incredible friendships with the two managers Wendy and Simon and of course our fellow WWOOFERS.
After giving two or three hours up early each morning, we had the rest of the day to spend how we pleased. We would explore the amazing bay of islands, use the free kayaks or even try our hand a catching a Snapper for diner. But there is a lot more to this island that meets the eye, as this is the home to 4 wild Kiwi birds. People come from far an wide to visit this place, spending the night to hopefully catch a glimpse of the nocturnal wonders. For us on the other hand, we had the chance to venture out each nightfall to spot our feathery friends.
The chances of spotting a Kiwi Bird is very small, but if you’re patient and very quiet you may hear the rustling of the branches and spot the little beauties. We became very attached to these animals and fact that we helped conserve their natural habitat was something we are very proud of.
So where to find Aroha Island? is placed in a town called KiriKiri located in the Bay of Islands, just 4 hours north of Auckland. Click here to find out more about Aroha Island and for if you would like to know everything there is to do in the incredible Bay of Islands check out our post here!
Don’t be the next horror story
Now for the serious bit people. We have heard horror stories about people being scammed and certain “WWOOFING” establishments taking advantage of the good will of many travelers. Please always be aware of people trying to exploit you in anyway. Remember that WWOOFING is suppose to be a highlight of you trip so the moment it stops being fun then maybe it time to move on. If you ever suspect that you may be a victim of exploitation then speak up, tell friends and the authorities. The NZ government takes this matter very seriously. For more information about WWOOFING safely click here.