Everyone is finally back at the Quaker settlement for the next two weeks. Seeing that we all just got back from our various independent travel times, we thought it would be nice to give an insight into our little adventures. From city to country, from international to local in Whanganui, we have been all around. Each adventure was unique to our interests so hope you enjoy reading below!
Regan did the responsible thing with spring break. Being a Bonner Scholar at Earlham, he naturally decided to do service on his spring break. He flew back to Whanganui and worked at Bushy Park (a predator-proof sanctuary) and helped out at the Quaker Settlement. At Bushy Park he attempted to keep up with Mandy Brooke’s brisk walking pace. They (along with other volunteers) ran trap lines, cut trees away from the predator-proof fence and moved timber. At the Quaker Settlement he stayed with our lovely internship/homestay coordinator, Belinda. There, he helped build a new chicken coop.
Rachel also went back to Whanganui for her break. She stayed with her host mom from block two of the program (she must have done something right!). She spent her time volunteering at a horse barn in Whanganui. Rachel got to ride some horses during her time, and even made friends with a lonely sheep named Porky. Porky’s best friend was an old pony who had to be put down. Now he is lonely and is now friends with a duck because they both lost their girlfriends.
Truman began his trip on his own hiking the Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park – one of New Zealand’s nine “Great Walks.” He took buses all the way down to the bottom of the South Island – going through the Mackenzie Country and along the Southern Alps. The first day he hiked only about 5 km, but then he skipped some stops and did 23 and 24 km in the next couple of days. After his hike he met Akul and Nathan in Queenstown and had a good time meeting new people and hanging out with other tourists from all over the world.
Nathan & Akul
Nathan and Akul visited Aoraki/Mt. Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand (12,218 ft) and an International Dark Sky Reserve. Unfortunately they only saw a truly dark sky – cloudy and starless. After a couple of days they headed to Queenstown, where they met Truman and enjoyed a taste of nightlife – more than sleepy Whanganui could offer. They met lots of people and even won a bar voucher of $100 in a Jenga competition. Their high score was 28!
Kelsey & Brianna
Kelsey and Bri first flied to Auckland. They went hiking around the numerous beaches located in Auckland and also visited the zoo there. At the zoo, they both fulfilled their dream of seeing a Tuatara. Tuatara looks like a lizard, but is actually the only living member of an ancient reptilian family dating back to the times of the dinosaur. In Wellington their highlights were visiting the Botanical Gardens and going to Zealandia, which is an outdoor ecosanctuary similar to Bushy Park.
Malia was fortunate enough to be visited by her brother-in-law and sister for spring break. They travelled the South Island in a campervan – the kiwi way. Her brother-in-law cooked great food on the way. They drove from Christchurch to Aoraki/Mt. Cook to Wanaka and ended in Queenstown – freedom camping along the way, despite shivering in the van. Freedom camping is a New Zealand policy that allows people to camp for free in certain areas as they travel. In Wanaka they bumped into Gabe and Glynnis twice and met up with Akul, Truman and Nathan in Queenstown.
Eliza began her break by driving down the East Coast of the South Island with Gabe and Glynnis. They saw some Yellow Eyed penguins and baby seals along the way. She stopped in Dunedin to spend a few days with her cousin, Tim. They had a great time checking out the city. She also spent a day working with a bee farmer – learning about the trade and doing research for her final paper. After Dunedin, Eliza flew back up to Whanganui to stay with her old homestay and work with some more bee farmers. She and Rachel visited Palmerston North for a day with Rachel’s host mom.
Woody (Rachel Logan-Wood)
Rachel is the only one who ventured outside of New Zealand. Her destination was Fiji, where she met up with her partner from Switzerland who has spent the previous two weeks exploring New Zealand and surprised her in Christchurch! Most of her time was spent on Malolo Lailai Island at an Island Resort. Unfortunately, 4 out of the 6 days they spent on the Island were met with thunderstorms and a level 1 cyclone, Cyclone Xenia, which can reach 80-100km/h winds. Finally they got some sun the last two days and hung out by the pool then had the opportunity to go snorkeling.
Gabe & Glynnis
For their break, Gabe and Glynnis rented a car and braved the New Zealand roads (Kiwi’s drive on the left side!) After venturing down to Dunedin with Eliza (and seeing some little penguins!), they went further down to Purakaunui campsite on the coast. They lost their forks and had to eat Ramen Noodles with sticks. Later, they drove up to Queenstown for a night and then over to Wanaka, where they did lots of hiking. They stopped at Aoraki/Mt. Cook to camp for a night, and got some great views – despite freezing at night in the tent.
For his break, Alex decided to spend another day checking out Christchurch. He explored the city, wandering around the southern part of the city to understand more the effects of the 2011 Earthquake on the city and the community. Then he headed to Wellington where he looked at various art galleries, the “Beehive” parliament building, the Great War Memorial and exhibit, the Sea and Marine Museum, and saw Kung Fu Panda 3.
Gabe and Woody