I want to be a Hippie! – Festivals, Working and Ice Cream on the South Island

My first birthday on a ship! Okay, technically my birthday began 12 hours later, but I did not want to wait that long for my chocolate cake. This was then already largely consumed on the ferry and the rest was demolished the next morning in Picton, on our arrival on the South Island of New Zealand.


From there we drove along the shimmering blue waters of the Charlotte sounds directly to the southwest, to get to the Rainbow Gathering, an annual hippie festival taking place worldwide. Unfortunately, the designated parking lot was situated one hour from the actual meeting place and since we were spoiled by the van-sleeping and already had become soft, we did not even think about sleeping in a tent. So she walked to the meeting place, where we join the combined group dinner with 500 others. After dinner everyone who wanted could give a small donation. Then the fire was lit and everybody danced to the beats of the drums. We were unfortunately a bit too tired to party and made our long way back. The next day we visited, inter alia, a survival and an aerobatic workshop and helped out a bit in the kitchen. After a delicious dinner there was a big fire show and as the full moon set in all danced more or less clothed into the new year. Really funny!


The following two days we spent in the van due to extreme rain and decided on the third rainy day to abort “Mission Hippie” and headed to our first Woofing host in Nelson.
Our tasks were mainly set in an “ecovillage” where we had to clear an old house from paint, prepare the garden and cutting down undergrowth. We had a nice accommodation with brilliant views of the sea. Moreover, we still had a paid job as a House-Keeper (cleaning) in a five-star hotel in Nelson. So we could supplement something to the funds of our trip in those three weeks.

We felt very good in Nelson, especially since we discovered a delicious ice cream shop which offered a big cone for only 50 cents! But then it was time to travel further. So it went on to Takaka, where another hippie festival took place. The somewhat more commercially oriented Illuminate Festival promised a lot of bands, various workshops and lots of fire. After we had looked for a shady spot for our Elvis and made friends with our super nice neighbors Kathrin and Robin, we went on into the fray. In the next five days we learned to swing Pois, did some Thai massage and played cool drums and heard live and electronic music. The best, however, were the people and it was always wonderful, to sit at the gigantic bonfire in the evening and watch the weirdest characters on their trips. Unforgettable!


But all that is beautiful has an end and so we moved on to the next adventure, a nearby goat farm.