Wild and wacky student adventures

    Hello Family and Friends!

    This week was our student directed travel week! The week began with a trip to Hobbiton, the film set for both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. During our visit we had the opportunity to walk through the shire and learn all about how the movies were made. Pierce and Aislinn, our die hard Lord of the Rings fans, was bursting with excitement the entire four hour tour. After the tour the group boarded an overnight bus to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington! On only a few hours of sleep we all arrived at the infamous Zebra hostel. After dropping our bags we began to explore the vibrant street of Wellington in search of caffeine :). While exploring different shops Olivia unexpectedly ran into an old friend from elementary school who was studying at a local university. Later that day Doug led a fun adventure to a beautiful lookout of the entire city. This adventure ended with an ice cream and many happy faces! The following day started early with a short walk to the Te Papa Museum. Students spent the 5 hours exploring the wondrous exhibits. Nora especially loved the exhibit on World War 1, while JJ was awed by the colossal squid on display. Next we broke up into small groups to participate in a city wide scavenger hunt! Caroline, Tom and Molly especially had fun photographing some of the wacky dressed people of Wellington. Once completing the super fun scavenger hunt George went for a celebratory swim in the ocean.

    The next day we boarded the InterIslander Ferry and left the North Island 🙁 After landing we hopped on a bus to Nelson in order to rent cars for a journey out to Abel Tasman National park. This entire day of travel would not have been possible with out all of Miranda’s hard work. On our way to our hostel in Takaka the group drove through the beautiful mountains and even had to chance to see an incredible sun set. For our first day in Abel Tasman the group ventured out the coast line to hike the steep and scenic Gibbs Hills. Nils, a lover of the outdoors and hiking, led the group on this 5 hour day hike. Sweaty and exhausted we ended the hike with a swim in ocean. Aislinn described her swim in the ocean as, “Amazing!”. From the coast we venture back inland to the Wainui Waterfall. Doug, Molly and George went for a quick dip in the freezing cold water of the falls. Tired from all the outdoor adventures the group snuggled up and watched The Lord of The Rings (Pierce was very happy). The following day the group journeyed back to the coast for an glorious day of sea kayaking. While kayaking we saw seals, eagle rays, and giant jelly fish. Kate even managed to get some awesome underwater footage of the massive rays. We then drove to the Pupu Springs, where the group got to see some of the clearest water in the world! It was beautiful! To end our incredible time in Abel Tasman Kate baked us a lovely cake celebrating both our accomplishments and women’s voting rights in New Zealand. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.

    For our final day of student directed travel we drove back to Nelson to stay at the luxurious Quality Inn. Lucy did a fabulous job booking all of our accommodations for the week. As student directed travel comes to a close the group is excited for our last week in New Zealand.

    Sending hugs and kisses to everyone back home,

    Love George and Olivia <3