Dr Latitude: Foliage, festivals and seafood fun

We are travelling to New England in the first two weeks of October to experience the stunning autumn (I should say fall) foliage extravaganza. Are there any not-to-be-missed festivals, food or music or whatever on at that time? We'd like to plan our itinerary accordingly.

In Cape Cod the Wellfleet Oysterfest (www.wellfleetoysterfest.org) takes place on the weekend after Columbus Day (second Monday in October) and is a hugely popular event. The town hall parking lot becomes a food fair, with a beer garden and oyster-shucking contest.

Throughout the whole of October, the Witch City, Salem, celebrates Halloween with special exhibitions, parades, concerts, pumpkin carving, costume parties and, of course, trick or treating.

You might just catch the tail-end of the Beantown Jazz Festival, which takes place on the last weekend in September. The Berklee College of Music sponsors this free two-day music festival in Boston's South End. New England's vegetation puts on a stunning show each year in autumn. Go to www.yankeefoliage.com for more information about the peak times in certain states.

WWOOFing Europe
I recently heard about WWOOFing and was wondering how practical it would be to WWOOF my way around Europe, or part of it, for a couple of months. I'd also like to hear other travellers' experience of WWOOFing in Europe.

For those who don't know, WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and began in England in the 1970s. It's basically an exchange network where food and board, as well as practical experience, are given to travellers in return for helping the host farmers. WWOOFers generally stay for three to four days before moving on but can vary. You work for four to six hours a day and no money changes hands.

There are WWOOF organisations all over the world, including in Asia, the US, New Zealand, South America, Africa, Israel and Kazakhstan. Currently you can WWOOF in 14 European countries. It costs from $25 to $75 to become a member, depending on the country. The problem with travelling in many different countries in Europe is that you would have to join each country's WWOOF organisation to be accepted. It's still a cheap and interesting way to travel, however.

Go to www.wwoof.org for more information and to the European website at www.wwoof.eu. Also check out Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum at www.lonelyplanet.com to read other travellers' tales of WWOOFing.

Slow boat from China
Are there any ferry services between China and Japan, in particular from Shanghai?
Luci Walker

There are a few sea options for getting from China to Japan, and it is considerably cheaper than flying, if you're prepared to share a room. There is a weekly ferry from Shanghai to Osaka and twice-monthly services between Shanghai and Kobe. These trips take 44 hours and tickets range from around $260 (eight-bed dorm) to $1100 (luxury twin cabin). These are operated by the China-Japan International Ferry Company and the Shanghai International Ferry Company (www.shanghai-ferry.co.jp).

You can buy tickets for both in the Jin'an Building, 908 Dongdaming Rd in the northeast of Shanghai.

There is also a weekly ferry from Tianjin to Kobe taking 51 hours (costing between $290 and $990) operated by the Tianjin Jinshen Ferry Company (www.tifeco.com.cn). Buy tickets at the passenger ferry terminal.

You should make bookings ahead for travel in July and August and it is recommended you arrive at the international terminal three hours before departure to get through immigration.

- NZ Herald

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