Here are some ramblings about our time in Katikati – we actually left 3 days ago so pretend that we posted this right away.
Katikati is a nice little town about half an hour from Tauranga, which is the 5th biggest city in New Zealand (go google). We spent a lovely 8 days there, although that’s rather an exaggeration because the place we were staying was another 6 km into the countryside. We were woofing (translation; working in exchange for food and a bed and stuff) with a family who have a holiday lodge on their property in addition to some pretty lush gardens people can visit.
We were mainly working with James, a fellow Brit who mercifully understood the importance of tea breaks and lavished Twinings upon us. The gardens take a fair old bit of looking after so we spent a lot of time weeding and generally tidying up the flowerbeds, etc, as well as a bit of planting, some work in the veg patch where we accidentally let the chickens escape (sorry James) and the most exciting part where we got to cut up a tree with a chainsaw.
James and Victoria (who is a Kiwi and is a Montessori pre-school teacher so is a mine of information if you’re interested in the subject like me!) have 2 gorgeous boys Caspar (7) and Felix (4) who were very gracious and spent many a long hour entertaining us and educating us about Star Wars and such things. We also really enjoyed the bed after the last place – shame it didn’t come with a cow but the en-suite and the pool were probably worth the trade.
We were really lucky that we got to tag along on a few family outings – Easter here seems to be a much bigger deal than it is in England. Possibly because it’s really the last bank holiday of the summer so people like to make the most of it, so we all went to the beach which was really great. We also had a hike in the forest next door, which is currently being felled so we had a good old nosey. From what we’ve seen so far in New Zealand a fair bit of the industry is made up from timber manufacture – it’s a weird thing to see but undoubtedly interesting!
Every year the Tauranga Rotary club holds a massive book fair, and we somehow managed to time our visit on that one weekend, so we got to go along! As it turns out, taking a couple of book lovers to look at hundreds of books they have neither the money nor the luggage space for is a small kind of torture, but nevertheless we had fun, most particularly when little Felix – attracted by the brightly coloured cover no doubt – picked up ‘The Little Book of Complete Bollocks’ and requested a reading. Brilliant.
Probably the thing we’ll miss most about staying there (apart from the company) was the awesome views – the benefits of being really far up are that you get to enjoy immense scenery that makes you feel like you are in a Truman Show-style bubble where you could walk up to the sky and touch it. Really wish I had the camera/skill as a photographer to capture some of the images, but here are some poor attempts for you instead… Enjoy!