Kia ora koutou katoa!
In Māori, this means, “Greetings, and hello to all,” and we are so happy to share our global adventure with you. We did some time traveling at the beginning of our trip, crossed the International Date Line, and arrived in New Zealand on the morning of July 4th – what seemed to be two days later according to the calendar. We’re so excited to be in the South Pacific, and explore all the wonders of New Zealand!
New Zealand has been incredible and we’ve done so much so far. During our first days, we hiked up Mount Eden in Auckland, explored Mission Bay, and traveled to Rotorua. Once in Rotorua, the real adventure began with whitewater rafting down waterfalls. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and our journey down the river only brought us closer together. Sophie noted, “I will never have a chance to do something like this again! The guides did prayers for the river and made rafting a cultural experience. I’m so happy about the teamwork that happened while rafting, and I’m always going to remember it!”. We navigated the rapids like native Kiwis and with each dip, our laughter could be heard from miles away.
Also while in Rotorua, we experienced the New Zealand thrill of Zorbing! Imagine this: you’re in a rubber ball filled with warm water and bouncing down the side of a hill. It felt like a wild waterslide! Madison and Emma shared, “It made us laugh so much! This is what I was looking forward to the most, and it exceeded my expectations! You can’t comprehend what the experience is going to be like until you actually do it!” Zorbing, like rafting, only brought us closer together.
Additionally, we spent some time at the mud baths where people have been traveling to since the 1880s. We experienced the wonders of the sulphuric mud and piled heaps of mud all over our arms and legs. Miles said, “The baths went beyond my expectations. My skin now feels radiant! The walks in the area were enjoyable and it was interesting to see informative and comedic signs in the area.” All throughout the spa, you could see vapor rising from the ground!
The highlight of the trip so far has been Haka World, which was an introduction to Maori culture and a haka lesson. We learned that people associate the haka with the New Zealand rugby team because it’s performed before each of their matches. Max K. said, “At first, I was a little nervous, and still curious about the Maori culture because I had seen the haka before. But then, I thought the leader was incredible, and I got into it and was having fun. In the end, it might have been the highlight of the trip! You’re in these outfits, and it was a bonding experience.” All of our trip members were so into it and it really was a great moment to connect with the local culture and take us out of our comfort zones.
Beyond this, we’ve seen the Lady Knox Geyser erupt, we’ve luged down a mountain with a scenic view of Rotorua, and we’ve enjoyed an evening bowling! New Zealand has so much to offer, and there’s so much more exploring to do every day!
Chat with you on the flip side,
The Westcoast Blogger
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