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Farming in Kerikeri Bay, New Zealand

The Oldest Stone Building in New Zealand
The Oldest Stone Building in New Zealand, Kerikeri Bay

Kerikeri is a backpackers best and worst nightmare about 3 hours north of Auckland. If you’re travelling on a budget around the North Island, Kerikeri is definetely a place you can find work. The city, like most citys in New Zealand, is pretty small and basic. There’s a local supermarket, a few shops and a Mcdonalds (of course!). Unless you have a car you cant really get to the outer edges to see what little else it has to offer….theres a chocolate factory, a few prehistoric buildings and you can check out Rewa’s Village – the start of a bush trail. Finally, they’ve got Rainbow Falls waterfall, which is nice to look at, but nothing spectacular.

Now as I said, if you’re looking for farm work there’s plenty going. If you have your own transport then its worth driving around all the local vineyards and farms to see if you can set up camp there and work for them. If you’re able to camp while you work, you can cut out accommodation costs allowing you to save more. If you don’t have any luck doing that, you can always go to Hideaway Lodge, “Guarenteed work all year round”. Yes, Hideaway Lodge will find you work… depending on how you are with the owner. If you pay the over priced rent on time (for dirty conditions) that’ll help. You may get an hourly paid job, 5- 7 days a week, or many get on 12hr days doing back breaking contract work for barely any pay. Even worse yet, you may only get 1 or 2 days a week doing some awful job, so you earn just enough to pay rent, but not enough to save so you can leave. Now as backpackers, we can usually put up with a bit of mess and poor(ish) facilities, but Hideaway Lodge is even worse than poor. You have a choice of living arrangements, you can camp in your own tent, theres spaces for cars and campervans, you can stay in one of about 8 different 8 bed dorm rooms, or if you have a bit more money, you can stay in a cabin for 3 people (which has its own fridge). Hideaway can accomodate at least 130-180 people at a busy time, with only 2 kitchens that don’t provide pots, pans, or crockery. There are 2 male and 2 female bathrooms, both of which are rarely cleaned, and only provide 5 showers and 3 toilets for each sex. Now you can imagine when everyone gets in from work what the shower situation is like. Between the queues and the cold water you’re lucky to get any of that dirt off you.

Now as everyone is in the same boat, everyone rally’s together and you do meet some amazing people here. They have some great parties here, but don’t get stuck! Many people fall into the trap of only working a small bit, and having nothing to do to pass the time other than drink and party. These people get stuck here for months drinking all their time away! If you read that theres a pool and a common room (which I’m sure you will!), know that I wouldn’t wash my dog in the pool, and the common room is a rotting wood hut. Yes, it has a tv but it looks and smells like the inside of a crack den!

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