By Shaiyena and Juan

Hello fans of group HONGI 2017! We’re here to bring you the latest updates of our past week in New Zealand.

This past week was filled to the brim with adventures consisting of hot water beaches, hiking Mount Doom (kind of), and visiting Cathedral Cove. We started our STD (Student Travel Directed) in Wellington, a big city filled with museums, street art, and Tim Tams. After our short two days in Wellington, we headed off to Tongariro, home of Mount Doom—an active volcano—which is often associated with the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After a surreal hike with breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains, we headed off to Whitianga to explore a hot water beach. As a group we mutually agreed that these hot water beaches were bizarre—basically, nature’s hot tub—insane! Luckily, the hostel we stayed at provided our group with shovels that enabled us to dig below the surface of the sand to create our hot pools. After Whitianga, we headed to our current location, Raglan. Here in Raglan we had a nice group dinner and are currently awaiting to embark on our next journey to the local Marae.