106 Days on the Road
Update: Rongo Backpackers is now Rongo Dinner Bed & Breakfast.
Rail, hail, wind, sunshine, rail, hail wind, sunshine… You know us. We don’t usually let the weather get in the way of what we want to do. (Take the other day in Charming Creek, for example. Now that was insane). But today, sampling the Heaphy Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, does not seem appetising. We do, however, have a pretty tempting alternative that would be perfect to do on a wild weather day like this that would be a lot of fun. We are going to record our own radio show on Radio Karamea 107.5!
Establishing our radio names
Paul, the owner of Rongo Backpackers or DJ Crap, as he is known on Radio Karamea, told us that the main rule on Radio Karamea, which is just based around the back of the hostel, is that we need our own radio names. Since Paul doesn’t seem to take it too seriously, we’re going for the dynamic duo, DJ Back and DJ Pack. Oh jeesh, that sounds so awful it’s hilarious.
Finding the farm
So we are due to go live on air this afternoon, but this morning, we have a scheduled lamb feeding at 8.00am! Some of the WWOOFers at the Rongo Backpackers work on a permacultural farm, so we are going to help them feed the lamb. (By “help” we mean revel in its cuteness while holding a bottle above its head. Let’s make it clear, they do not need any help).
Getting lost in Karamea
Like moronic tourists that we are, we follow a map to the farm near the Karamea Farm Baches, however, when we get there, no one is around so we conclude that we’re in the wrong place. We then walk around to the next street where our map could possibly be pointing, knock on someone’s door to see if anyone we have seen around the hostel is inside… Nope, turns out we have disturbed an old lady in her dressing gown… Robin puts on his best dramatic French accent to play the “I’m lost in your strange country. Please help me,” role.
The lady points us back across the sheep fields to a waving WWOOFer. We hop the fence and run to her. Yay!
“We thought you weren’t coming,” she says. No, we were. We just thought we’d knock on everyone’s doors first.
At her feet is a little lamb leaping around her in anticipation of a bottle feeding. Laura goes first feeding Elvis, the lamb. It’s so cute with its little face sucking vigorously on the bottle.
As Elvis seems to be downing the milk quite fast, Laura passes the milk onto Robin for a go. Cuteness overload overwhelms. The other sheep in the field judge us quietly then get back to eating their grass.
What WWOOFers do on sustainable farms
Since we are here, Dave and his girlfriend (we are so sorry we forgot her name – this is what happens when you’re introduced to a group of people) are going to show us around the sustainable farm.
First, we hit a section of the farm that intends to be a mini forest full of fruit to feed people. They have applied all sorts of methods to keep the ecosystem of the forest working together, from the nest of sticks around a tree to give the soil nutrients to the chickens running around to keep the grass down (and lay a few eggs). These are new projects that the WWOOFers are really excited to be apart of and beg that we have to come back to check how things progress in a few years!
The vege garden
We cross the sheep field into a vege garden where the ducks are waddling their large selves around and various patches of veges grow. The end game is to be able to feed the town of Karamea, but for now, the farm feeds the WWOOFers and provides meals that can be bought by people like us at the Rongo Backpackers during summer. (Of course, we got to taste some of this delicious organic produce at last night’s potluck dinner).
Making a radio show plan for our avid listeners
We walk back to Rongo’s for some breakfast of leftover kiwifruit and feijoa crumble and ice cream from last night, and do some work. We then make a rough plan of our radio show, which we know will have at least two listeners who are sat in the living room with the radio on right now!
Setting up the show
One of the hostel managers, Tristan, shows us how to work the radio equipment, which is as easy as turning your mic on and off and the music on and off. (Or, at least, we think it is easy…).
So the concept of our show is talking about our first 100 days on the road in between playing our favourite road trip tunes – a show that will last 2-3 hours, we have no idea.
Never let backpackers loose on a radio show…
Robin gets the introductions going, presenting DJ Back and DJ Pack to the world, then we leave the audience with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.
“Quick, what did we do on the first five days?!” Robin asks frantically. Laura writes down a rough plan of what we did over 100 days of New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year. Then the song finishes, and we ask each other questions about the first five days.
No wait, never let travel writers loose on a radio show…
Our voices may or may not have been recording when afterwards we realise the mic was not on… Oh my God, we make terrible DJs! We should definitely stick to writing websites…
DJ Back and DJ Pack bringing it back!
After a few more songs, we are back on the mic, talking like nothing happened, going through our days and reminiscing on the good old times. To be fair, we did have an epic 100 days travelling New Zealand so far! This stuff just writes itself!
Then loosing it again…
We open up a couple of beers and just enjoy our time chatting together, until the song choices get a bit weird as Robin puts on songs that he thought we other songs but are actually the score from The Pirates of the Caribbean, for instance. We apologise to any listeners out there…
An open apology to all our listeners
All in all, it was probably a pretty dreadful show to listen to, which is confirmed when a hostel worker, Brian, says: “Good effort”. It’s like school, isn’t it?! You never wanted grades for “effort”, you want results! Never mind, we actually had a lot of fun and we are super happy to say that we have had our own radio show in New Zealand! How awesome is that?!
Tomorrow, we leave the good vibes and magical radio waves of Karamea and head down the West Coast on a pretty lengthy journey to Punakaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks and Blow Holes. Who know what will happen?! Join us tomorrow to find out!
DJ Back and DJ Pack on the air! Theta 360 Loading...
Really? That’s awesome! Check out these articles:
- 12 Things to Do in a Hostel on a Rainy Day
- West Coast – Guide for Backpackers
- How to Create a WWOOF Profile That Hosts Can’t Refuse!
See you tomorrow!