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Northland captures the hearts of our international students

Eve Salvador

The International student’s Northland trip was one of the events I was looking forward to most in Term 2. I was apprehensive to go at first, but it was a ‘once in a blue moon’ journey for me. I was delighted to venture outside of Auckland for the first time the day we left for Northland. Perhaps the vacation was an excuse for us international students to relax, but it was also an opportunity for us to take in the stunning sights of New Zealand. On the first day, we drove for around 3 hours before arriving in Parry Kauri Park, which is home to some of New Zealand’s oldest and tallest native Kauri trees. We had a brief look at the wonderful area which was an unforgettable experience for all of us. Proceeding to our next destination, we stopped in Whangārei and toured the Hundertwasser Art Centre, is an exquisite landmark. The place itself was the most unique I’d seen in New Zealand an inventive structure; it has left us all in awe. When my fellow international students and I were wandering around the site, all I could hear was people marvelling at the authenticity and beauty of the building’s exterior. The art centre holds such significance in Whangārei, and we were so grateful to have been given the chance to see it in person.

Following this, we immediately headed off to the Bay of Islands, where our hotel was located. We left our bags in the hotel and got ready to go on the water. After another long drive, we were finally able to rest in the boat and enjoy the beauty of the ocean view. We saw Motukokako/Piercy Island, often known as “The Hole in The Rock” (its Māori name, Motu Kōkako), which is located off the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island, at the very northern tip of Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands. We wrapped up our first day with a delicious buffet dinner at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel. It was a very fulfilling day.

We all got up early the next morning.  This was my favourite day because the weather was wonderful, and our tour destinations was Cape Reinga. Our bus left at 7:20 a.m., with a very humorous bus driver, his stories kept me entertained throughout the journey. We initially went to 90 Mile Beach to see the rugged views of the West Coast and then enjoyed sandboarding at Te Paki’s enormous sand dunes. It was my first-time sandboarding, and to be honest, it was a lot more fun than I thought. It was dusty, but it was definitely worth it because everyone had a blast falling and playing in the sand dunes. Afterward, we travelled down Te Rerenga Wairua, which is the northernmost tip of New Zealand’s Aupouri Peninsula. The view from here was breath-taking. We all had an amazing time exploring the area, and it was incredible to think that we were on the northernmost tip of New Zealand. While the sun radiated brightly, we enjoyed the cool breeze from the peak. It was a nice spot to see the clean and blue ocean, as well as the green trees and grass. We ate our lunch here while sitting on the grass and gushing about how splendid this place is. This was our final stop for the day, and our second day concluded with us returning to the hotel and enjoying dinner together.

Our final day in the North Island. We got up extra early because we needed to pack our belongings and leave the hotel. We destined for our final stop for this trip, the Waitangi grounds, where we had a tour (New Zealand’s most important historical site, the Waitangi Museum). We were treated to an authentic Māori traditional performance, which was followed by a scrumptious hāngi. The day was loaded with knowledge, experiences and fun as we got to see New Zealand’s cultural personality.

It was a thrilling experience for everyone, and we had the time of our lives. Not only have the team bonded together but we have been lucky enough to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world.  This trip will be treasured and remembered by all of us. Special thanks to the staff in the international department who helped make such a memorable trip possible; we couldn’t have had as much fun without your assistance.  Thank you for organising everything for us, and we hope you had a good time with us as well.