Our adventures in New Zealand continued as we ventured to a land before time. Suddenly our bus was less a bus and more a time machine, as we rode to a remote conservation effort farm. Blue Duck Station provided us with the opportunity to experience a different style of life, complete with ATV rides to waterfalls and tasting incredible manuka honey, harvested from bees directly on the farm. We also had the chance to experience the culture of the farm life, from sheep shearing, to helping with conservation efforts by setting traps to protect the native life to New Zealand. Deemed by many trip members as the most delicious meal on the trip thus far, we loved our fresh goat seasoned to perfection and a delicious assortment of fresh vegetables cooked in a Thai green curry. To conclude our night, we reflected on the trip and shared our hopes for the remainder of it.
The next day, adventure called! Several trip members liked taking a dip in the Tokaanu Thermal baths and enjoyed absolute relaxation after our hikes. Our group had the chance to stop in Taihape, home to the sport of gumboot throwing-the long distance throwing of rain boots! All the trip members enthusiastically showed off their impressive skills. Another memorable stop included the town of Bulls, complete with un-bull-ievable puns all over the town such as the library “Read-a-Bull” and the police station, “Const-a-Bull”.
Upon arrival in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, we took a great tour and visited the Te Papa Tongarewa, a renowned cultural museum. We were all amazed by the amount of detail in the Galipoli exhibit, which included extremely life-like models made by the same studio that did the special effects for the Lord of the Rings films. The experience was incredibly immersive, as well as educational, as we heard stories about soldiers and nurses in New Zealand. Our group then enjoyed a yummy Japanese meal, followed by delicious local ice cream from Kaffee Eis.
Our final stop on this journey could not have been in a more spectacular place than Queenstown! The flight alone took our breath away with stunning views of the mountains. Everyone enjoyed exploring the city, that is commonly referred to as the adventure capital of the world. We celebrated Gia’s birthday with a Dessert Bake-Off, where teams had to design unique treats and needless to say, all of our sweet-tooths were satisfied.
In the morning, many of us gathered our equipment and hit the slopes at The Remarkables, a mountain range nothing short of its name. Located within the Southern Alps, we were surrounded by snow capped mountain ranges, and everyone enjoyed the remarkable experience on the freshly powdered slopes. Other trip members opted to enjoy a lovely breakfast on the waterfront and lunch at Fergburger, a Queenstown staple, followed by putting their brains to the test in order to complete an escape room. Lastly, no visit to Queenstown in the winter would be complete without some ice, so the group took in a round of ice skating, followed by mocktails at the Ice Bar. At night, we all enjoyed spending time together with a movie and delicious local pizza.
The following day, several trip members hiked the Queenstown Hill Walk before having a blast on the exhilarating Shotover Jet Boat. Our final night in the Land of the long white cloud was coming to a close and we reflected as a group on all we had accomplished and wrote a postcard to our future selves.Then we shared an incredible view atop the skyline gondola and and a wonderful dinner at the restaurant at the top. We topped our night off with a trip to Cookie Time, where Jenny and Caroline serenaded everyone with a rendition of ‘I Want It That Way’ by The Backstreet Boys.
Thank you for all the unforgettable memories, New Zealand!
The Westcoast Blogger
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