Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the NZone

Eco tourism, sustainable travel and volunteering are hot buttons right now in the world of travel - people are keen to travel green, and my recent experiences on the North Island with Earth Talk, Earth Spirit and Earth Song all relate to these topics!

Earth Spirit is the lesbian elders village on the drawing board of Arafelle One who lives in Northland, with a partner in a nursing home in Whangarei. Me, Arafelle, and her support troops recently toured EcoSong, an eco-neighbourhood in the western suburbs of Auckland, to see how such a community might work with lesbian seniors and elders needing health services short of a nursing facility. EcoSong is capitalising on eco-toursim by offering a $10 tour for interested members, as is EarthTalk, which charges $5 to tour their organic gardens and footpaths to the estuary. Arafelle and I have separately visited EarthTalk on the Awhitu Peninsula, to walk around this diverse, sustainable property which provides its owners with a healthy lifestyle and some income from the produce, orchard and exotic timber plots.

The volunteering bit? I've spent a rewarding week tending the land at the semi-organic farm of Andi and Kim at 881 Homestay. The first day's adventures included chasing their cheeky cow around the house and back into the pasture whilst keeping the two goats out of the freshly weeded garden, and rescuing ducks and chooks from the muck (a gift of a record-setting month of rain)! Believe it or not, overseas visitors love being on a working farm and giving the owners a hand with myriad tasks. RainbowTourism.com can book your stay at 881 Homestay or at the Poller View Farm, a working sheep and cattle station. Yea haw!

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