Six Weeks in Coromandel Town
After Simpsons Beach, I made my way to Coromandel Town, where I had my first WWOOFing gig set up. WWOOFing, for those not in the know, stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farmers or Willing Workers on Organic Farms. In my case, because, to be honest, I’m not much for farm work, I was working at an organic, vegetarian café called Chai Tea House.
During the summer, Coromandel Town can have 10,000 visitors in a weekend, but the actual residential population is less than 1,500. I had the pleasure of experiencing both the slow season and watching it ramp up to busy during my 6-week stay right before the holidays.
A quaint village, Coro Town as several cafés, a few restaurants, three pubs, two gas stations, a grocery, a liquor store, a pharmacy, a library, and an array of shops selling trinkets, all on one long main street. There are several nice wilderness walks – up some local mountains, along the river, etc. – and a few more major attractions within driving distance from the town, such as:
- Coromandel Mussel Kitchen (& MK Brewing Co)
- The Waterworks (local, Kiwi-style, independent amusement park)
- Driving Creek Cafe (& used bookshop)
My general schedule was working Thursday-Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3(4) p.m. The café was small enough that about the only job I didn’t do during my time there was barista – I was server, teller, dishwasher, and eventually worked my way to full-time cook when our cook suddenly gave her two-week notice right before the busy season. After work every day, I’d take a dip in the community center’s outdoor, solar-heated, lap pool (bliss!), then explore the town, read in the back courtyard, and make dinner in the WWOOFer flat.
The WWOOFer flat was above the café, and consisted of a kitchen, a bathroom with toilet, shower, and tub, a large main room with couches and TV, and two bedrooms. When I first moved in, all the beds were already taken by other WWOOFers, so we moved a pull-out couch/futon into an alcove off the main living room, and I lived there for the first five weeks. That mattress on the floor was surprisingly comfortable, and despite the lack of privacy, it was fun to live with an eclectic group of people: Phil (North Carolina), Bianca (Germany), Pauline (France). We had some lively cross-cultural exchanges, with lessons in burrito- and sushi-making and conversations about movies, books, relationships, and everything else in life.
During our days off, we explored the rest of the Coromandel Peninsula, so stay tuned for those adventures!