New Zealand

Video by Olivia N.
By Ronni H.
April 23, 2019

The New Zealand interim trip, full of beautiful scenery, sprained ankles, and kiwi birds, was a life-changing trip for the 19 students and two faculty members who adventured to the North Island right before spring break. The trip included extremely physically demanding activities, but the true highlight of the trip was being able to experience the indigenous Maori culture from the native people, and get a glimpse of local New Zealand life in Rotorua.


After a long 14-hour flight, we arrived in New Zealand and met up with the local guides Karl, Kayla, and Jen. Over the next few days, we ventured to Hobbiton, the worldwide attraction that was created solely for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, we went luging and did trail repair with the Rotorua Trails Trust in the Whakarewarewa Forest.


We then started our four day backpacking trek on the Te Arawa Lakes Trek. Following the shores of Lake Okataina, we backpacked for four full days, hiking over approximately 30 miles. Our sore bodies and strained muscles were soothed by the natural hot springs and lakes we encountered on the way.


When the trek was over, we traveled back to our Marae homestay in Rotorua. The next few days were filled with singularly New Zealand experiences like rolling down hills in the OGO balls, visiting the native Kiwi birds, riding in boats through the Glow Worm caves, and going on a sunset sail on Lake Rotoiti.


We ended the trip in Auckland, where the team reflected on the amazing experiences and the great memories. Then it was on a plane back to LA with the crew content to be going home but already missing the people we met in New Zealand and the adventures we had.