We arrived in Taupaki at about 5 in the evening, it was just getting dark. We arrived to find no one around but then realised they were all in the Pack House. We walked in and were introduced to everyone and we started to make boxes up for the persimmons (a fruit like a cross between a carrot and an apple). We had worked for 2 hours and didn't realise, everyone is so friendly. Afterwards we were shown around our accommodation, it's a really lovely one bedroomed flat and so much cleaner to what we have been used to in Martinborough.
We started work the next day and worked for 3 and a half weeks. We worked in the pack house in the morning, we packed what was picked the previous day and then we picked when the light was good as you have to pick to colour. Jeff picked for about ten minutes until everyone realised being colour blind made it difficult to pick to colour so Jeff did some other jobs likemaking up boxes and picked up the full crates of fruit on the quad bike. Once the light started to lessen we went back to the pack house and packed the fruit.
It was a perfect set up for us and we took the opportunity to explore Auckland and the coast at the weekends. We met some friends in Auckland for a beer on the waterfront. We went to Bethall's beach which has black sand and huge sand dunes. Shirley and Bruce lent us a sand boarding board and we spent the afternoon sliding down the dunes. It was hard work to climb up the dunes but a lot of fun. This also meant that we have now completed everything that we had written on our wish list when getting to NZ almost a year ago. Things on our list included, do a multi-day tramp, climb an active volcano, bungee jump, sky dive, go to the mussel capital of NZ, swim with dolphins, walk the tongariro crossing, sand surf, get a tattoo, learn to surf, glacial kayaking, go whale watching, see the All Blacks, go wine tasting.
One of the guys we work with has accepted to buy our van for a great price which has been very well timed. We still want to explore the Coromandel Peninsula and Northland, so once we have finished the last leg of our trip we will hand over our van to Ben. We're finishing up work here and coming back for pruning the kiwi fruit. So off we go for our last campervan trip…………………