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Taufiq Asad – a different world

Posted on 20/08/2012 by

Taufiq Asad moved from Afghanistan to New Zealand with his family in 2004.

“I had no idea where I was going,” he says. “I just got on the plane with my family. I remember my sister telling me we were going to New Zealand, which was at the end of the world!”

“We landed in New Zealand and came out of the airport and I saw a different world… so clean and beautiful. I loved the fresh air.”

The family started to settle into their new country, a process that Taufiq describes as being “like a newborn baby” because of the incredible difference between living in a war-torn country like Afghanistan and a peaceful country like New Zealand.

It was also the first time he and his sister had seen their father for eight years: “It was the best feeling ever,” he says.

Taufiq briefly attended Western Springs College before the family moved to Mt Roskill and he began attending Mt Roskill Grammar, which seemed to him to be “the biggest school ever!”

The transition to an English-speaking school was difficult: “I spoke very little English and understood little as well. I was like a small fish in an ocean – I felt lost for months,” he says.
“But then slowly things started to change for me, as I met new people and made friends with them. My teachers spent a lot of time and effort teaching me English, and I spent every night learning English for the next day so it could help reduce my problems in school.”

Taufiq worked hard at his studies and his effort paid off when he received a certificate at the end of his first year for being the second highest achieving student in his class.

“I was very proud of myself,” he says, “and so were my parents.”

Taufiq continued to work hard “step by step, year by year” until he graduated from high school.

He knew he wanted to work in the travel industry, but was unsure what path to take. One fortuitous day he opened his mailbox to find an ITC information booklet.

“I discussed it with my father and he supported me and told me I should go check it out and see what they could offer.”

Taufiq met with Lesley Brough, who talked him through all the course options and requirements.

Taufiq chose to study aviation, as he was interested in working at airports and travel agencies. He began the six-month course in June 2011.

“During those six months I met a lot of beautiful people, including my awesome teachers,” he says. “I don’t have the words to describe them, but they changed my life and helped me get to where I wanted. I don’t think I will ever be able to repay what they did for me.”

After graduating from ITC Taufiq experience the frustrations of trying to find a job. He was working at a café, but knew that wasn’t what he ultimately wanted to do.

Impressed by the hardworking student who showed such gratitude to his teachers and the college, ITC’s account manager Ceri Jenkins helped Taufiq to get a job interview at Jucy Rentals.

“Ceri was always there for me and helped me a lot,” says Taufiq. 

After a successful interview Taufiq was offered a job in April 2012.

“Jucy is a great place to work,” he says. “The people here are friendly and helpful and I’m happy to be part of the Jucy team.”

With his usual hardworking attitude Taufiq says he does his best every single day at work and his manager is happy with him.

“We have busy days and quiet days but that’s part of the business,” he says. “On quiet days I help the groomers and wash cars with them, which I’m very good at! The staff here appreciates what I do for them, including outside working hours.”

While Taufiq enjoys his work at Jucy he still hopes to work for one of the airlines or at the airport. With his attitude and his willingness to go the extra mile there’s no reason to think he won’t achieve his dream.

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Students Show The ITC Attitude at Hawaiian Evening

Posted on 10/08/2012 by

ITC students Sian and Natalia helped out recently at the Hawaii tourism showcase evening at the Hilton’s Auckland hotel. The evening was part of the Aloha Down Under 2012 Roadshow.

ITC regularly arranges onsite work experience like this to give students a chance to see what working in the industry is really like.

Sian and Natalia said that it was a “wonderful opportunity, which not only broadened our knowledge of Hawaii, but also allowed us to meet and make new friends and, more importantly, to be a part of the travel and tourism field for the night.”

The two met event organiser Jill at 2.30 pm at the Hilton. They got straight to work helping to set up the tables for the different agents from Hawaiian hotels, tour operators, transfer operators etc, who would be representing their companies at the event.

Next they set up their registration table at the main entrance with attendees’ name tags and got into the swing of things by donning their official Hawaiian print t-shirts and flower leis.

The students greeted the B2B group, who were there for the first hour-long session, handing them their name tags and leis.

Next to arrive were the agents from New Zealand, who were received with a traditional greeting from the Hawaiian team.

Natalia and Sian continued to greet guests and ensure that anyone who had come to the event dressed in the Hawaiian theme was given a ticket for the evening’s prize draw.

When most of the guests had arrived, Jill invited Natalia and Sian to sit with the audience and take in the evening’s presentation.

“We were also invited to join in on the food and drinks, as we were now ‘off duty’,” says Sian. “We had such a great evening. We learnt so much about the six islands of Hawaii and it was so cleverly presented that we were both sold on the idea of making a trip out there one day.”

At the end of the evening Natalia and Sian helped Jill to pack up even though she assured them they could leave, but in true ITC style the students said “we were more than happy to help her ‘close up shop’ quite simply because we had helped her ‘set up shop.’”

The evening held special interest for both students, as they are currently covering destination marketing in their ITC qualification.

“It was super to actually see how all the principles and methods we are being taught were being applied throughout the Hawaii tourism evening, ” said Sian. “We are very glad to have represented the college in the form of assistance, but, if anything, it was of more help to us.”

Thanks to Natalia and Sian for showing such great enthusiasm and professionalism at this event – this is exactly the kind of attitude that takes graduates far in the travel and tourism industry. Well done!

 

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A Journey Through 10 Countries… In Botany

Posted on 06/08/2012 by

Global Friday is ITC’s annual student event that takes the college on a whirlwind adventure through exotic countries exploring their cultures, festivities, language, and most importantly, their food! 

Each class draws a country to discover and share with the rest of the class. They are then given a designated area to transform into their selected country.

The aim is to enrich our knowledge of the travel and tourism industry that we are so passionate about – and to have a great deal of fun while we’re at it!
 
Thailand took us on a journey complete with two silent monks – we learnt that Tiger Woods’ mother is from Thailand and we enjoyed the delicious Thai green chicken curry.
 
The UK was all geared up for the Olympics – we learnt how to wave like the queen and had a performance by the “Spicy Girls”.
 
In the USA all the students were down in the ‘hood and some brave tutors joined in with the street style dancing.  There was pizza, doughnuts, Coca Cola and American brownies – the complete food pyramid for the nation!
 
Mexico was a fiesta with the whole class performing a Mexican line dance while we feasted on tacos, guacamole and spicy rice – it was absolutely delicious!
 
Japan was a sea of fluttering fans and giggling geishas – a tower of sushi, sweet and sour pork with rice and noodles and a shot of “sake” completed our trip to its wonderful shores.
 
Argentina presented an in-depth display of its culture and we got to try Argentinean hotdogs!
 
India was a sea of colour and incense, we had a dance performance that we all thought was amazing and the food was out of this world.  The best curry I have tasted in New Zealand!
 
Italy was famous for its scrumptious pizzas – they must have been delicious because by the time we got there they had all been eaten!
 
A student dressed in an abaya introduced Morocco to us; we sampled cous cous, hummus and Arabic sweets, which we washed down with delicious mint tea.
 
Last but not least, we journeyed to Greece – the land of Gods.  Interesting facts on the mythology of the Greek gods brought lots of laughter and ended with the Campus Manager being offered to Hades the God of the Underworld as a sacrifice!  Two couples performed a traditional Greek dance, which was followed by three male students performing a hilarious Greek line dance – lots of clapping, laughter and whistles echoed the airport area! A tower of Ferraro Roche chocolate with blue and white cupcakes, cheese and crackers and a Greek salad was laden upon tables for the students and tutors to devour.
 
A journey of a thousand miles through ten countries… and all at Botany Campus of The International Travel College of New Zealand.

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8 tips to getting a great part-time or full-time job

Posted on 23/07/2012 by

1. Get experience
It’s one of the great ironies of job hunting that many employers want you to already have experience. But there are plenty of ways to get experience outside the traditional working model.

Gateway programmes are available through many schools. Volunteer work is another fantastic way to explore different work environments, give back to the community and add to your skill set.

Even if it isn’t in the industry you want to work in, any teamwork and customer service experience is going to be seen as valuable by an employer. ITC has great industry connections and we offer work experience whenever possible, so if you are studying with us, make sure you make the most of the opportunities we provide.

2. Knock on doors
You would be amazed how many managers will employ people who go the extra mile to find work. Like volunteering, it shows you have motivation and initiative. 

Present yourself in a professional manner at a business you wish to work for and ask to see the manager to enquire about any current vacancies. Dress as if it’s your first day on the job – you want to look like you could sit down behind a desk straight away and belong there. Present your clean and pristine CV in a clear wallet, and if you have the opportunity, explain briefly to the manager why you would particularly like to work for their company.

If the manager is unavailable, ask if you can come back at any other time, or at the very least leave your CV. 

Ensure you maintain your professionalism when speaking to anyone within the company – if you are unable to meet the manager, this person’s comments on their impression of you could be critical.

3. Offer your services on a voluntary basis
Say you would like to prove to the employer how good you are and that you will commit to a week or two of unpaid work to prove that to them.

Even if it doesn’t lead to a job, it will still be great experience to add to your CV, and you could ask for a letter of recommendation if it has gone well.

4. Apply for the job that is advertised
It sounds obvious, but all too often people send a generic CV and covering letter that doesn’t actually address the specifics of the job being advertised.

Read the job advertisement carefully and ask for a job description if the ad says one is available. Job descriptions provide a lot of detail about the duties and skills required, so it’s a great way to show you really understand and can meet their needs.

Do some internet research on the company as well, so that you really know what their business is and who their customers are.

Your CV can be a reasonably static document that you might just tweak a bit for each job you apply for, but you should always write a brand new covering letter for every job application.

5. Create a professional CV that shows off who you really are
Your CV is the most important way of marketing yourself that you have. You may not always get to dazzle a prospective employer with your sparkling personality, so ensure it shines through in your CV.
Remember the phrase: “Show, don’t tell”. Writers use it to write stories that really engage their readers. For example, instead of saying you are honest, hard working and reliable, show HOW you are those things. Your honesty might be shown by the fact that you have been trusted with cash handling experience in a job; your reliability might be shown because you always get to work on time. You might be able to prove you are hard working by saying that you worked part time while studying at school and maintaining good grades. Even if you only have a small amount of experience, if you can tie it in to positive employment attributes, your CV will stand out.

Make sure the design is clean and tidy; the structure is easy to understand; and you have had it proofread by someone who you know has good English skills.

6. Make the most of your contacts
The phrase  “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is still true in any industry. Once you start to reach out to people – friends, family members, and other contacts – you will be amazed how many people you can connect with. It’s not always about asking for a job either – ask for help and guidance with which companies are great to work for, which companies are hiring, and what are the most important things they are looking for in their employees.

7. Google yourself
Increasingly this is what prospective employers are doing, so you need to know what they might find. Check your security settings on all social media sites, like Facebook, to ensure your private life stays that way. Create a positive profile of yourself on the web – ensure anything you do that is positive is all over the internet! Join relevant discussion posts and social groups and create a professional profile for yourself – you can do this through reading and interacting with relevant blogs and forums, and using business networking sites like LinkedIn.

8. Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more
If you make it to the interview stage, this is your big chance to impress. Research the company and the sector you are interviewing for. If you know who is interviewing you, research them too if possible – it’s amazing what is on Google. If you have something in common with people on the interview panel this could be a great way to create a connection with them. Take advice from anyone who has experience with interviewing and research interview techniques and practice answering tough interview questions with a friend or family member. And remember to relax and be yourself as much as possible in an interview. You want them to get a good sense of who you are and how you might fit with their company.

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Opening their eyes to opportunuty

Posted on 04/07/2012 by

ITC classes 12CTT01A, 12CTT01B, and 12CTT02 and tutor Catherine O’Dea went on a famil trip and packed a huge amount of activity into their four-day adventure.

DAY ONE – 29 May 2012
The students and Catherine hopped aboard their Stray bus at 7am.

“Our driver was really friendly and passionate about New Zealand tourism,” said the students of 12CTT01A.  The spacious and comfortable Stray bus got the tick of approval from students, too.

The first stop was Blue Duck Station. The station is located in the Whakahoro Valley in the Ruapehu District on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers, and surrounded by Whanganui National Park.

The station’s mission statement is focused on the conservation of endangered wild life (including the New Zealand blue duck, for which it is named) and the health of the native bush and rivers.

“Dan from Blue Duck Station gave us an insight into how the station is run and its relevance to tourism,” said Catherine. “He also had a little chuckle to himself when I got out of the bus wearing a white trench coat and high-heeled boots to a working farm!”

After being settled in their rooms (and changing into more appropriate attire), the group headed off to explore the station on 4WD vehicles.

“All of the students got well and truly dirty. Mud was everywhere!” said Catherine.

The group also had the opportunity to kayak and ride horses.

In the first of two water-related mishaps, tutor Catherine fell into the river fully clothed while kayaking: “It was freezing and the students were very quick to point out the large eels and watch as I squealed in complete terror!”

Everyone headed back to the lodge for a hot shower, dinner and the chance to warm up around the fire.

“We also learnt the ways of the people who lived without technology,” joked the students from 12CTT02, as Blue Duck Station doesn’t have cell phone coverage.

DAY TWO – 30 May 2012
The group headed off early the following day for Rotorua via Tongariro National Park, Tawhai Falls, and Taupo.

“We had a breakfast stop at The Park Travellers Lodge in Tongariro, where the general manager Jason spoke to the students about his business and the area while we enjoyed our meal and coffee by the fire,” said Catherine.

“During our short visit to Taupo we got to see the sheer power of the Huka Falls as they drained Lake Taupo and dropped off a five-metre waterfall,” said impressed students from 12CTT01A.

The students spent some time settling in at Base Backpacking Hostel in Rotorua before heading out to meet Doug Tamaki, founder and owner of Tamaki Maori Village.

“Doug was truly inspirational and a great public speaker,” said Catherine. “He spoke to the students about how he started in the industry, his struggles and his triumphs.”

It was certainly a highlight for many of the students.

“It was the best part of the trip,” said Marylee Mala’e from 12CTT01B. “Most of us had no idea about how the Maori had lived. We all went back to the hostel with so much more knowledge about Maori culture.”

Student Rehan Tata from 12CTT02 was elected to represent the ITC group as chief and took on his role with great enthusiasm and respect, said Catherine.

“We received a thrilling powhiri welcome,” said Rehan. “Then we were able to explore the beautiful Maori village and do some fun activities and games. After that we were all invited to attend a big amazing hangi feast.”
 
DAY THREE – 31 May 2012
Day three was another action-packed one. Students were split into two groups – one went to Kaitiaki Rafting and the other to Agroventures, where they could choose from four extreme adventure activities. The two groups then switched activities later in the day.

“The guys from Kaitiaki Rafting were great,” said Catherine. “They put the students at ease and were extremely encouraging and supportive.” 

“I just happened to be in the raft that capsized down the seven-metre waterfall,” she continues. “Yes, the second time on this trip I got myself soaking wet, but I loved it!”

The students from 12CTT01A sum up the day at Agroventures: “We got to swoop 40 metres at a speed of 130kmph, jet from 0 – 100kmph in the blink of an eye, bungy from 43 metres high and experience a minute and a half of free fall above a giant wind column!”

“I think it’s safe to say the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Catherine. “We were all encouraged to take part and do something we normally wouldn’t do. I did the Swoop super swing with two students and we came off feeling alive!”
 
DAY FOUR – 1 June 2012
“Forty-six tired students and one tired tutor piled onto the bus and headed for Auckland where we arrived just after 1pm,” said Catherine. “I had an unbelievable time and would do a famil again in a heartbeat. I have a different relationship with these students now, as we have shared this amazing experience together.”
 
The students agree with Catherine’s sentiment. “The trip brought us closer to our classmates and students from the other classes, and we even got our awesome tutor Catherine to kick back and hang with us,” said Rehan.

And amidst all the excitement, the point of it all wasn’t lost on the students either.

“Before this trip we didn’t realize all the job opportunities there were available to us in the industry,” said a representative of class 12CTT01A. “It was a great way to open our eyes to the real world of tourism in New Zealand.”

 

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The Right Attitude Shines Through at ITC’s Graduation

Posted on 12/06/2012 by

Over 100 students recently graduated from International Travel College’s range of airline, travel and tourism certificate courses, and 11 students graduated from the International Air Transport Association’s IATA Foundation Diploma. The 320 staff, students and guests celebrated on 29 May in the beautiful ballroom at The Langham in Auckland.

“The IATA diploma is an internationally recognised qualification in airlines and ticketing and one that we are very proud to be able to deliver,” says ITC’s Managing Director Kerry Priestly.

IATA is an international trade body that represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic. As an IATA Authorized Training Center, ITC is authorised to teach IATA’s travel, tourism and aviation training programmes. In 2011, the college was named as one of IATA’s top 10 Asia Pacific Authorized Training Centers.

Donna Kermode – group training manager for Stella Travel Services’s retail arm, Harvey World Travel and United Travel – was this year’s guest speaker. Donna has a wealth of experience in the airline and business travel sectors.

“Donna’s speech was especially pertinent, as she has taught some of our students,” says Kerry. “Eight of them were handpicked to attend the Harvey World Travel Training School that Donna and her colleagues ran at ITC last year. It was not a required part of their course work, and Donna made special mention of ITC students’ motivation and said that they really have the ‘wow’ factor.”

Her speech focused on the importance of having the right attitude in order to succeed in the travel industry. She praised ITC’s students for their flexibility, adaptability, their helpfulness and their eagerness to learn.

“She gave our graduates a real sense of what they can achieve with their ITC qualifications,” says Kerry.
 
As well as the certificates and diplomas, the following awards were given for special achievements.

Distance learning awards
Personal Achievement Award : Te Uruhina Vercoe (NZ Explore – America’s Cup sailing trip for 2)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award: Lynda Scott (Fullers – Taste of Waiheke for 2)
 
City campus awards
Academic Excellence Award : Laura Orsbourn (Intercity – Waitomo Explorer day tour for 2)
College Life Award : Taufiq Asad (Sky Dive Auckland – 16,500 foot jump)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award : Nicky Bennett (Novotel Ellerslie – 1 night’s accom )
Student of the Year : Pattananawadee Singhapanit (Stray Tours – South Island Willy Pass)
 
Botany Campus Awards
Academic Excellence Award : Rosemary Munro (Intercity – Bay of Islands day tour for 2)
College Life Award : Aisea Halo (AJ Hackett – Auckland Bridge Bungy Jump)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award: Emma Pilkington (YHA Rotorua  – 2 night’s accom)
Student of the Year : Aisea Halo (Magic Tours – Northern Discovery Pass)
 
ITC would like to thank the sponsors who gave us such fantastic prizes, and a special thank you to our major sponsor for the evening, The Langham, Auckland.

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Teaching from experience

Posted on 05/06/2012 by

Jacques Janse Van Rensburg joined ITC in 2011 as a tutor in tourism and business management. Jacques talks about his experience in the hospitality and tourism industry both in New Zealand and South Africa.

I started in tourism and hospitality as a general apprentice and over the next 11 years was promoted through food and beverage, function management, adventure and holiday camp management, outdoor education deveopment and, finally, to general manager of a world-renowned game lodge in South Africa. There I had full responsibility for business leadership, strategy, marketing, finance, systems, IT and human resources.

After immigrating to New Zealand, I completed my qualifications and went to work in hospitality and business education. 

I then took a break from education and put my hospitality management and customer service background to use managing a fast food chain.
 
I have now returned to my passion for education as a tutor at ITC. I am a student-centred teacher, mentor and coach, and I aim to encourage my students’ development through understanding them as individuals and their challenges and talents.

I hope that my practical business experience translates into common sense and savvy learning solutions for my students. I am very outcome-focused in the classroom; and I’m passionate about finding out who my students are as well as helping them to achieve the best the results they can.

I’m also a dedicated family man and spend most of my free time outdoors enjoying our favourite family hobby, tramping.

 

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Is Tour Guiding For You?

Posted on 21/05/2012 by

As we are about to launch our new e-book on being a tour guide, we thought we’d ask ITC staff member Sarndra Stephens about her experiences in the role.

What do you think makes a great tour guide?
“Firstly, you need to be passionate about the country you are showcasing and the places you visit. You also need to be extremely friendly, outgoing, open minded, professional and super organised.

“And you need to be able to think on your feet. I was once caught with a group between destinations due to floods. We ended up having a spontaneous mid-winter Christmas at a lodge that wasn’t on our itinerary and we had a hilarious, fantastic night.”

Is being a tour guide hard work?
“It is hard work, as you are pretty much on the job 24/7; but it’s so much fun because you are always on the go, visiting exciting places and doing amazing things with people who are enthusiastic about experiencing and finding out about your country.”

What are some of the challenges?
“You do need to do your research, as you get asked all sorts of questions and you are expected to be able to find answers to pretty much all of them.

“You can’t be prepared for all of them though! An older gentleman once asked me what the breed of cows was we were passing in a field. I had no idea at all! I told him I would look it up on the internet for him. Later that day I researched several different types of New Zealand cows and when I imparted all this newfound information to him he was absolutely delighted!”

“You need to keep your sense of humour too, as people don’t always think before they ask you a question. A passenger once asked me: ‘If I ring home, will my mum be there?’”

What are some of the best things about the role?
“I loved taking clients through New Zealand and getting to see the country in all the different seasons.

“I also loved being able to experience so many different things – to be a great tour guide you have to do all the activities yourself so that you can sell them effectively. The good news is that you get to do all these activities free of charge!

“I have tandem skydived, bungy jumped, parasailed, been glacier walking, white water rafting and whale and dolphin watching and so much more. It was an amazing job.”

To learn more about our new Tourguiding e-book and our other online resources, go to the ITC Online Store at: http://www.itconlinestore.com/

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Do you want your career to fly high??

Posted on 16/05/2012 by

After having been a stay-at-home mum for a number of years, Pauline Ratumu decided to pursue her dream of working in the travel and tourism industry.

Pauline was thrilled when she found about ITC’s Certificate in Aviation course. “Hearing that the qualification specialised in the airport/airline industry and knowing that this course offered the foundation knowledge for that specific side of the industry sparked my interest,” she says.

Since graduating Pauline has attained a job as a flight attendant for Air New Zealand. She is enjoying every minute of it and says the only downside is the irregular schedule. She says she loves having the opportunity to travel and to meet so many new people “and, of course, the duty free discounts!”

Pauline says that her study at ITC set her up well for her new role: “When I went through my training with Air New Zealand I found that what I studied in class was very useful as I had already covered certain areas though my Certificate in Aviation course.”

Pauline is looking forward to her future career, which could include working on long-haul flights and, in time, senior roles in the airline.

And she has some good advice for others looking for a future in the industry too. “Have respect for yourself and be yourself. Have a good, positive attitude in everything you do, and don’t let anything put you off or hold you back from getting you to where you want to be!”

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ITC’s Students’ Stray Adventures

Posted on 10/05/2012 by

A number of students from ITC’s two-year International Tourism and Travel Management programme went on a four-day Stray bus tour as part of their studies.

International student Thalib Meethal was one of the students and said he had a wonderful time.

The group left Auckland on 10 April and travelled to Hahei in the Coromandel, to Raglan, then to Waitomo and across to Maketu and Rotorua before returning to Auckland four days later.

“The driver Mudd gave a great commentary,” says Thalib. “He had lots of really fun stories and helped everyone to get to know each other.  We experienced ‘speed dating’ Stray-bus-style and had five minutes to talk to each passenger and then move seats.” 

Once they got to Hahei some of the travellers were brave enough to go for a swim. The water was cold but Thalib says the sun was out and warmed them up, and later in the day they experienced the natural hot water springs on Hot Water Beach.

“We dug holes in the sand and made our own hot pools,” says Thalib. “The water was much hotter than I thought it would be. The natural spring water is really good for your skin and it’s free!” 

The group were in Raglan the next day, giving them a chance to meet other international travellers staying in the lodge and to seek out the glow worms in the fields later that evening.

There were more glow worms and some serious adventure waiting for Thalib and his fellow travellers in Waitomo the next day.

Thalib did the Hagga Honking Holes caving experience – involving abseiling, rock-climbing and caving.

“It was a long way down (80m) and was really scary!” says Thalib.  “This was my first ever abseil and I’d never been in a cave before. When we got down to the river it was in flood and the next tours were cancelled due to the high water levels.” 

As well as all the adventure, Thalib enjoyed the food on the journey as well. He says that Mudd stopped at all the good places to eat along the way and a Kiwi barbeque in the Coromandel was a favourite, but the stand out meal was at Uncle Boy’s Place in Maketu.

Uncle Boy’s is a purpose-built marae and backpackers.

“We learnt the haka and about historic weapons and the migration of Maori to New Zealand and we heard many other tales of Maori culture.  Here we had a really great dinner – fresh fish, mutton, chicken and vegetables.”

The group also had time to explore Maketu beach and visit many of the area’s kiwifruit orchards before heading off to its final stop on the tour – Rotorua.

“We had to time to wander around the city centre and explore the lake shore,” says Thalib, “and we met some friendly local ducks!”

The group headed back to Auckland that evening.
“This was four of the best days of my life,” says Thalib. “Thanks ITC and Stray!”

 

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