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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Winter Activities in July!

Winter Activities in July! 1

Koa ano! Hello again!

We left you off in Rotorua, but since then, our trip members have accomplished so much and had some pretty amazing experiences. After departing, we were back on the bus driving to Blue Duck. Along the way we stopped and took some sweet photos at the Huka falls, which is a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River. We continued the drive down south-west and to our destination, the Blue Duck Station.

Shortly upon arrival, our bus came to a standstill because a flock of sheep was taking up the entire width of the road. This lasted several minutes until a man and his dog came and shepparded them to the side of the bus, allowing us to continue our journey towards the lodge. Once at our destination, we were greeted by a man in his ATV with a single sheep buckled in his passenger seat. This was definitely a picture-worthy once-in-a-lifetime moment that the trip members found hilarious. We were then divided into two groups. One group went kayaking and the other group hiked up a mountain where they witnessed some incredible, scenic views and took in the natural beauty of the world. Blue Duck is where the trip members really started forming strong bonds playing games around the bonfire.

It was then time to move on to our biggest adventure yet: hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – which is rated the top 1-day hike in all of New Zealand. The trip members got geared up and fitted with hiking boots, warm layered clothes, crampons, and ice picks for the trek across the mountain. The beginning of the hike was mostly upwards, then we came across a flat area on part of the mountain where we put on our crampons, took out our ice picks, and continued upwards on an icy slope. Once we reached the peak, the wind started blowing faster, but everyone was in awe of the incredible view! We had a quick lunch before starting our journey to the bottom. Eventually, we got out of the icy cold snow on the mountain and into a rainforest and finally back to our bus where we reflected upon the adventure.

We left the National Park and drove to the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. Our time was short in the city, but the trip members partook in a mini version of The Amazing Race around the downtown area that began at the Mount Victoria lookout and ended at the property where we were staying.

The next morning we were off to Queenstown, our last stop in this incredible country. One of our first activities there was walking through a Haunted House – the screams and laughs from the Trip Members that created a cacophony of sounds. Spookiness filled the air, and each group navigated their way through the dark maze. Everyone left the experience laughing and we were certainly wide awake!

The group that went skiing had an amazing time on the slopes as they were greeted with clear skies and good conditions. The view from the top was spectacular, and the day was enjoyed by all. During the evening, a couple of the Trip Members even said how grateful they felt to be able to ski in July in New Zealand. 

While the larger group went off skiing, the other trip members had a day filled with fun activities. They went ice skating, went for brunch and then went to an escape room. Everyone had a blast. We concluded our afternoon with a visit to an ice bar. The group got to spend 30 minutes in a room full of ice sculptures. Did I mention the temperature was -8 degrees Celsius? 

We’ve certainly had a great time in Queenstown, and we are all very excited to start our adventures in Australia. 

For the last time in New Zealand,  

Haere Rā, 

The Westcoast Blogger 

Do you want to experience the adventure of a lifetime? Learn more about our 23-day Australia and New Zealand adventure! To browse all of our programs, click here.