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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

New Zealand Fiji: Goodbye North Island, Hello South Island!

Kia Ora!

We made it to Wellington with a few scenic stops along the way. The most memorable was our lunch stop at Paraparaumu Beach where we had the most authentic Fish & Chips while soaking in the views of the Tasman Sea. The day was so clear that we even had a great opportunity to see the alps on the southern island which is where we will be in a few days!

Our first dinner in Wellington was at a contemporary heritage restaurant. Andy, Jake,  Zac Morgan, Hannah, Maria,
Ben, Noah, and Chad all got hot stones emitting heat at 350 degrees in which they grilled their own food! Just before leaving, we surprised Matt with a nice ice cream sundae to celebrate his 15th birthday!

Once back at the hotel, we all gathered and surprised Matt a second time with a card, a gift and a birthday cake in which we all sang happy birthday and enjoyed some delicious chocolate cake …Happy birthday Matt!

Our second day in Wellington started off with an excellent brunch on the famous Cuba street. After our delicious meal, we marched down to the waterfront to visit Te Papa museum – a museum dedicated to New Zealand’s
natural history. The trip members learned about giant squids, volcanic rocks and much much more! After spending the afternoon taking in the sights of the city and getting in some shopping time on Cuba street, Matt found a cool
looking Swedish army hat that he’s proudly been wearing since. On our way to dinner, we took a beautiful walk to the river where we had dinner at a Westcoast Connection / 360 Student Travel favorite – Wagamama’s … An Asian fusion restaurant with mouth-watering
dishes.

The next morning started at the crack of dawn.  We sadly said goodbye to the North Island, and embarked on the ferry for a spectacular ride to the South Island. After the first hour, the views from the observation deck were
breathtaking. Chad and Ben took some exhilarating photos but no photo can do justice to what the eye can see. The mountains were a lush green, the water was clear, and the sun shining down made for an extraordinary day of smooth
sailing. We even had some dolphins join us and swim along the side of the ferry!

Upon arrival, we checked into our lodge in the city of Nelson,  and all the trip members jumped into the hot tub/ sauna before heading out for dinner.

Our last day in Nelson was quite beautiful. We hopped on a sail boat and spent a couple of hours on the Tasman Sea where we visited the world famous Split Apple Rock. A little further down the bay, Ben, Justin, Matt and myself hopped off the boat onto a private beach where Ben tasted a fresh oyster and Justin indulged in fresh mussels. After taking some scenic
photos, we continued on to a small island where we were lucky enough to spot some baby seals, and blue penguins! Our last spot was a couple miles away where we disembarked and hiked just under 8 miles along the Tasman Sea. The views from atop the mountains overlooking the water were just amazing. Nearing the end of the hike we saw the bus in
the distance and broke into a race to the finish line!

Famished by our day on the sea, we popped into a popular Nelson pizza joint and indulged in some gourmet pizza with interesting topping choices like cranberry sauce, brie, lamb and yogurt!

We are now off to our second to last stop in New Zealand, Franz Josef, to hike some glaciers and take a scenic helicopter ride over the mountains!
Stay tuned as our adventure continues on the South Island!

Sincerely,
Your New Ziji blogger

The Westcoast Blogger