New Zealand

Nelson: Workaway Apple Picker’s Cottages

When we finished the TA, we thought it would be great to have a small hiking break. Therefore, we welcomed the opportunity to help out in the garden of a kiwi couple in exchange for food and accomodation. Staying with them close to Nelson, we did something useful and at the same time we could relax from the trail and explore the area around Nelson.

We were accommodated in a hostel called Atlantis in Picton. It wasn’t pretty but cheap and just for 2 nights. Picton was a nice little town on the coast. We liked it although there wasn’t much going on.


We got the offer to help in the garden of a couple close to Nelson until our plane leaves to Auckland. We found them over the website 5 hours of work, 5 days a week for food and accomondation was the deal which sounded pretty good to us!

This meant hitchhiking again… this time to Nelson! We met our host Elsbeth at the entrance of PaknSave in Nelson. She picked us up and took us to our new home for the next 10 days – our last days on the South Island for now! But we will surely be back for the winter 😊.

Elsbeth was super nice and asked us a lot of questions about our Te Araroa hike. When we arrived at her house, she showed us around and took us to our little own house for the next days. We also got to know her husband – a keen tramper as us – and another helper from Australia. And then we had dinner! It was great to eat something different than our usual trail food for supper 😉.

Elsbeth’s house
A big garden that was also highly appreciated by the neighbors’ goose

We were really lucky with our own little house. It was one of the cottages that Elsbeth usually rents out to paying guests. Luckily, no guests were expected 😊. Normally, helpers are accommodated in a caravan but currently, the Australian girl was living there. So we got the luxury to stay in the cottage with our own bathroom and kitchen 😊!

Our own home! A cute little cottage just for us 🙂
Our own kitchen, very luxury!

The next day, Elsbeth showed us our daily work: weeding. I think I never found working so relaxing as after 2.5 month of hiking 😊. Elsbeth had quite a big garden and besides weeding there were also other tasks to complete as bush trimming and planting.

It was fun to plant all these little native trees

We started working every day at about 9am and then kept on going for about 5 hours. We really liked the gardening work. Timo’s favourite job was bush trimming, you could say he became a professional in this field 😊.

Timo, the professional bush trimmer  😉

Elsbeth always made us a very delicious lunch. Usually cheese sandwiches or tuna rolls. Both were really good! For breakfast and dinner, she always got fresh groceries for us and we could prepare something ourselves. A few times she invited us to join her and her husband for dinner in her house. It was a really great to have dinner with her but we also enjoyed having our own kitchen and preparing our own meals.

Preparing yummy burger in our own kitchen was great!

We also enjoyed to pick fresh apples and feijoas on Elsbeth’s property. Her garden was very large and had a lot of apple and feijoa trees. We both did never have feijoas before and we really liked them!

Freshly picked apples from Elsbeth’s apple trees
A lot of feijoas, they were our favorite fruits at this time!

After work, we either just relaxed in the sun or we tried Elsbeth’s sport equipment. As Elsbeth’s house was located on a pensulana, it was surrounded by water. She owned two stand-up paddeling boards and a few kajaks. None of us has ever tried stand-up paddeling, so we definitlz needed to take our chance to try it here! We actually did quite well and could manage to stand on the board quite quickly and to paddle around a little bit. At the beginning it was quite wabbly but after paddling a few rounds, we got better at it 😊. At another day, we took a kajak and tried our luck with it. I have been in a kajak before but for Timo it was the first time. It seemed to be harder to paddle together in a kajak than trying to stand on a stand-up paddle board… Somehow, we didn’t manage to find a good paddle rhythm at the beginning and we just went randomly to the left and to the right. But we improved our paddling skills in a short time and at the end of the day we almost managed to paddle along a straight imaginary line 😉.

Stand-up paddling
Getting ready to take off, this time with a kajak!

Altogether, we had two days off. We decided to rent a car for these free days. We found a quite cheap deal close to the airport. This was quite handy as we could keep the car until we had to leave for Auckland and could just drive ourselves and our backpacks to the airport. One day we drove to the surrounding mountains and the other day we visited Abel Tasman National Parc. The article about our days off can be found here: