Where did you get travelers insurance from and how much did it end up costing? Would you recommend it for a 6 week trip? Also, we are considering kayaking the Milford Sound, would you recommend it? Thanks!
We purchased travelers insurance through World Nomads and paid 520 USD for 12 months. Insurance was required for our visa, (though they never checked on it when we arrived), but I would recommend insurance, just for the peace of mind. I think you can pay for exactly 6 weeks too.
Kayaking in the Milford Sound was amazing. We did the Stirling Sunriser with Rosco’s Milford Kayaks. The price is a bit steep (175 USD), but the views are incredible, the tour consisted of just us, another couple and the guide so it was pretty personal, and we got to kayak under a 150m waterfall! It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Happy traveling!
Wayward Vegan Cafe in Seattle--so nice, we ate there twice
Seattle’s U-District, a neighborhood seemingly made for vegans, is home to what is one my newest favorite place to eat. Wayward Vegan Cafe serves up huge portions of diner style breakfasts and lunches for more than reasonable prices. In our four days in Seattle so far, we have eaten there twice.
This is not the type of food that most people think of when you say vegan and I think that is a very nice thing. Vegetable based dishes certainly hold a place in my heart, but as a southern girl, if you put biscuits and sausage gravy on a menu I will be your best friend. There are omelets (vegan omelets!), and french toast, and pancakes, and tofu scrambles, and sandwich and every single thing looks so very tasty. Luckily they have there menu posted on their website so you can see what I mean.
Here’s what we ate: Country Bumpkin Biscuits, herb biscuits topped with tofu scramble and sausage gravy with garlic greens, Cheezy Scramble, a cheddar-cheesy scramble with lots of veggies, greens, and so much toast, the Pull No Pork sandwich, house made BBQ sauce with shredded seitan, onions and peppers, plus fries and a pickle, The Wizard, seitan and sauerkraut covered in horseradish sauce with a side of greens (instead of fries and a pickle), Chiggen Wrap, lettuce, tomato, onion and fake chicken in house made ranch(!!!) wrapped in a giant tortilla, and the Black Magic sandwich, fake chicken in a black magic sauce, coleslaw and cajan mayo with fries, a pickle, and a side of ranch.
Here’s what I thought: SO EFFING DELICIOUS. I am glad my friends like to share because goodness all of these were great tasting. The Chiggen Wrap was a nice change because it was less greasy and heavy tasting and the Black Magic sandwich (from the specials board) was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. I was a little disappointed by the biscuits and thought they were a bit too dense where as I prefer layered, flaky biscuits. The tofu scramble and gravy made up for it though. The Pull No Pork was exactly the sandwich I find myself craving ,sweet and tangy like the BBQ I grew up with. Also, a side of ranch dressing is only $0.50 and it made my day. Seriously.
In summation: if you are in Seattle, go to Wayward Vegan Cafe, and if you are not in Seattle, got to Seattle and eat at Wayward Vegan Cafe.
How much money do you guys recommend saving for WWOOFing in New Zealand? Plane ticket, visa, domestic travel, weekend activities, etc? I remember when I was there for a short conservation project their dollar was weaker than ours, but the costs added up. Love your blog, thanks!
We recently figured our costs out to be 500 USD per month… each. Which at first look seems like a lot, but it includes all our big ticket items - plane tickets to and from NZ, travelers insurance, buying a car in NZ (including all the petrol and car upkeep), plane/hotel for our trip to Melbourne, and a kayaking trip in the Milford Sound. Plus, as you may have gathered, we like to eat out. The rest of the time we’re on a pretty strict budget. We don’t stay in hostels and instead camp or couchsurf when not WWOOFing. There are a lot of low cost or free things to do if you look for them and we don’t feel like we’ve missed out by sticking to a budget.
We saved up the majority of the money before leaving the US, but because we weren’t completely sure how much everything would cost, we also planned to work for a few months while we were here. Two months working in the vineyards of central Otago wasn’t the most fun, but it let us relax a little more about money. Hope this helps!
orange cake with chocolate ganache and candied peel
Orange Cake We used this cake recipe from Family Nature almost exactly: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 8 inch square pan. In a large bowl mix together: 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt In a medium mixing bowl mix together: 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (Save the peel for making into a garnish later!) 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup vegetable oil or margarine 1 Tbsp vinegar 1 tsp vanilla Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Chocolate Ganache Melt approximately 150 g dark chocolate, 1 Tbsp margarine and 2 Tbsp water in a pot over very low heat until the ganache begins to thicken. Drizzle over cake. Candied Orange Peel (the quick method) Take the peel from the oranges used in the cake above. Slice into 1/4 inch strips. Place into a small pot of cold water, with enough water to cover the peel. Bring to a boil. Let boil for a few minutes, drain, and repeat about three times. By this time, the peel should be tender and a little translucent. Drain another time and again add cold water to cover the peel. Also add 1/8 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring until the sugar has disolved and becomes syrupy. Pour the peel and sugar syrup into a small bowl and place in the refridergator to cool. When ready for the garnish, drain the peel and let the sugar syrup drip off. Coat the peel with more sugar and place attop cake, or directly into your mouth.
While WWOOFing, I have become increasingly aware of my use of resources.
How much water am I using? How about electricity? Where is my food coming from? Am I using too much internet? These are questions that I find myself constantly pondering.
(Yes, in New Zealand you can use too much internet we quickly learned. Unlike what we were used to, you don’t pay for a speed, you pay for an amount of data, which means you have a monthly limit to how much information you can transfer.)
We’ve stayed with a lot of people that are working toward self sustainability, where it really matters how much it has rained in the past week, or whether the solar panels have collected enough sunshine. Food may be plentiful and fresh during the summer and autumn, while in the winter, all the work of canning and preserving really pays off.
It was never my intention to be ignorant of these things before WWOOFing, but staying with people and both using some of and adding to their resources has really brought awareness of this to my everyday thought. And it is certainly something I will take with me when I move back to city life where the connections between the resources I use and their sources are not so clear and obvious.
My number one, favorite artist/draftsperson/painter died today. His work inspired my decision to study drawing at university and it is sad to know that there will be no new work from this incredibly prolific artist.
What kind of visa did you get? Does WWOOFing qualify you for a working visa?
We have working holiday visas which allow us to travel and work in NZ for 12 months. You can check if your country of origin qualifies you here. It was simple to apply online and we heard back within a week.
On our way back up north, we made a stop in New Plymouth to visit the Govett-Brewster Contemporary Art Museum. We had heard from numerous people how great the gallery was and so we headed there with high expectations. Even though the main gallery was closed while they hung the next show, what we were able to see did not disappoint. In fact, it was really great.
Some of the highlights were Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan’s Passage (the Eighth Fleet) which invited viewers to build a cardboard ship of your own to add to the instillation.
Brook Andrew’s The Cell was an inflatable patterned magic world. After you put on a full body suit with a matching geometric pattern you are allowed to enter the piece. Lindsay and I spent most of our time rolling around until we were dizzy, it was the most fun I have had in an art gallery probably ever.
In summation, go to Govett-Brewster. Unfortunately, thses shows have come down and new ones have gone up, but if the work that we saw was any indication, the curators have awesome taste and it would definitely be worth a trip.
bagels, not as terrifying to make as one would think.
I made those!
Go figure, right? I have wanted to try my hand at bagel making for a while now but have generally been too intimidated to try. The outrageous cost of bagels in New Zealand and having a kitchen to ourselves for a few weeks gave me the courage to try and, goodness gracious, I can’t believe that I hadn’t tried sooner.
Bagel making, it turns out, is really, really fun. The process is pretty similar to any other yeast bread except that you boil the dough before you bake it. I followed this recipe with a few changes:
-used 4 cups plain white flour plus 4 Tablespoons wheat gluten/ gluten flour instead of 4 cups bread flour -to make it vegan I exchanged a few Tablespoons of rice milk instead of an egg wash to brush on top of the bagels before baking -added about 1/2 cup of frozen blackberries to half of the dough before I started -kneading the dough (this made the dough super sticky, but worked out much better than I thought it would) -made a mix of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, dried onions, sea salt, and dried herbs for the top of the other half of the dough -made 8 regular sized bagels instead of 12 smaller bagels -boiled the bagels for just over a minute on each side
One of the most fun / challenging WWOOFing projects we’ve taken on is making a winter coat for our long-time vegan friend. Yolanda has been vegan for over 20 years, which is pretty impressive. It is quite difficult, however, to find an extra warm and stylish coat in New Zealand that does not contain wool. Everything is made out of wool here. What are vegans to do?
Make our own of course!
We did a little research, made some guesses and combined a bunch of different warm fabrics. Here’s a cutaway of the interior layers of the coat. From the outside - brushed cotton outer fabric, water resistant nylon, fleece, ‘sherpa’ fabric, and lining.
We used McCall’s 5525 coat pattern which is intended to be a summer jacket, but worked with the extra layers of fabric just fine.