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Discovery, excitement and adventure!

Posted on 03/10/2012 by

A group of ITC’s City Campus students and one very brave tutor set off on a wintery morning for four days of discovery in the mighty Waikato region.
The aim of this journey was to enhance the students’ knowledge of the travel and tourism industry within the Waikato region by showing them some of its main attractions.

Day 1 – The group was fortunate enough to secure the services of a Stray bus and driver and guide Dave (better known as Gollum). Dave provided commentary about each place the group passed through, and the journey was filled with lively music and banter.
 
The first stop on our journey was at Hobbiton. This was an ideal opportunity for the students to discover the “real” Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings movies on a piece of picturesque private farmland near Matamata.

Base Rotorua was the students’ home for the first two nights. The hostel overlooks the beautiful historic Kuirau geothermal park and is within a few minutes’ walk of the lake and Rotorua’s cafè and shopping precinct. Excellent service and well-maintained accommodation makes it a great location for backpackers or those looking for stay-over accommodation.
 
Doug Tamaki, founder and owner of Tamaki Maori Village, briefed us before we headed off to the village. A truly inspiring leader with amazing stories, Doug shared the journey he embarked on many years ago in his quest to establish the village – a must-see for anyone new to New Zealand or those of us looking for a true heritage experience. En route to Tamaki Maori Village the guide, Kau, instructed the students on the protocol to be observed on the marae. Kau is a true professional who takes pride in his role.  As the visiting tribe, the group appointed tutor Jacques as the chief who would accept the peace offering and represent those on the coach. Representation of the group in this manner is considered an honourable task in Maoridom.
 
The group enjoyed the active participation in traditional ceremonies and being a part of a “living, working” Maori village. Students were taught how to perform the haka and had the opportunity to learn the art of flax weaving.
After some time exploring the village, the hosts invited the group to the hangi pit area.  The students participated in the hangi lifting and enjoyed a succulent meal.
After a busy first day, the members of the group retired to their rooms but many continued the festivities until early morning!
 
Day 2 – After breakfast in Rotorua, the group travelled to Rainbow Springs – an attraction like no other in the world! Upon arrival, Tony, the marketing manager, gave his insights into the workings of the sanctuary and the inner workings of the business. During the visit students had the opportunity to take part in several different activities, such as feeding native birds and fish, finding kiwis and experiencing the adrenalin rush of the Big Splash. A truly memorable experience that left a lasting impression on everyone.

The next stop was Agroventures. situated within the world-famous Agrodome. There, the students had the opportunity to choose one of four activities to participate in – the AgroJet, Freefall Extreme, Swoop and Shweeb.  This was definitely the highlight of the famil experience. The students loved these action-packed activities!
 
After lunch they enjoyed the natural hot spring, Kerosene Creek, on Old Waiotapu Road near Rotorua. It’s a beautiful hot spring in the middle of native bush with its own small waterfall.
Upon returning to Base Rotorua, the students relaxed the Lava Bar.
Day 3 – The morning of day 3 saw some tired-looking students dragging themselves to the bus to continue on their journey. The scenic route running along the foothills of Mt Ruapehu provided many photo opportunities and the group was awed by the beautiful surroundings.
 
Located in the Ruapehu District, Blue Duck Station is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Greeted by a typical farm setup with gumboots and off-road vehicles in the waiting, this was no ordinary city slicker experience!  The students were split into two groups with one group venturing off to find the elusive Blue Duck, while the others embarked on a kayaking adventure.
Back at the Lodge, the group roasted marshmallows and exchanged experiences. The consistent theme of conversation was that if you were looking for a conservation package that also provided excitement and adventure, Blue Duck was where you wanted to be.
Day 4 – After four action-packed days in the Waikato Region, it was a very quiet ride home, with everyone thankful for the great adventure they had experienced.

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