(Departed August 18 and Returned August 30)
The phenomenal success of Lake G Volleyball Teams at last year’s National Schools Cup provided an opportunity for our students to Tour NZ.
The NZ volleyball schools who competed at the National Schools Cup have invited LGC to play them.
We have accepted their offer and will be playing a host of NZ sporting schools in the North Island (Otumoetai College, Trident High and Rotorua Lake High are just some of the sporting schools that have agreed to play us).
We have also organised numerous cultural tours on the trip and will also be visiting Queenstown and experience some famous sights!
The ENZED Diary – Graeme Budd (Supervising Teacher) unplugged
Subject: NZ Day 1
I have just purchased mobile internet coverage and decided to send a quick global message before students start sending emails from tomorrow.
Thank you Parents for ensuring we left Canberra on time. Unfortunately, there was a crash in the tunnel near the airport which made our check in and boarding a little more rushed that we wanted. Everyone successfully negotiated the flight and battle to get to our hotel in the CBD. Parking was especially challenging but we found a spot for our 2 mini buses and trailer just in time to go to our pre booked dinner at the skytower restaurant. WOW.. i hope the kids don't expect meals like that again.. the food was spectacular and a great way to finish day 1.
Everyone is having an early night due to being very tired and this should help as tomorrow is another very big day.
Day 3 may be done tonight if i have chance... but kids are using this computer to email home and facebook.
Glow worm caves.. www.waitomo.com/dailyphotos
Travelled to Rotorua and the kids are in love with our accommodation... plenty of similar aged kids in sporting teams sharing a hotsprings pool that is open ‘til midnight.
Tomorrow Gondola & luge in the morning, then Polynesian Spas followed by Tamaki Cultural evening..
Day 3 started with a yet another great breakfast followed by a visit to the famous Waitomo Caves. There is a photo you should be able to access as we left the glow worm cave.
Glow worm caves.. www.waitomo.com/dailyphotos
We then drove to Rotorua and upon entering the town comments of 'what is that smell?' came thick and fast. Our group simply love our accommodation... plenty of similar aged kids in sporting teams sharing a hotsprings pool that is open til midnight. There is plenty of friendly chatter and they seem to live in the hotspring pool. We all went into Rotorua city centre to have dinner. Our students are either grouped together singing songs initiated by Brad or Matt who play the guitar OR they are grouped together in the pool. They are getting on really well.
Day 4 (today) began by travelling to the nearby Skyline Gondola and luge rides. This provided us with magnificent views and an opportunity to race each other on these luge rides. Everyone loved it. It catered for all abilities and egos as everyone did not want to leave. After lunch we then visited the heritage listed polynesian spas. Students were again hit with the strong smell of sulphur as we enter the spa pools. However as our group moved from 38, 39, 40, 41 then 42 degrees pools sitting on the lakeside the smells were quickly forgotten. We got back to the hotel in time for some rest (For the record Frederika, Lauren, Georgia, Amy others were all seen doing school work instead of lying around the pool). We were picked up at 6pm for the Maori Cultural Evening. This was a brilliant showpiece of NZ culture and our kids showed no hesitation in participating in the Dancing, Singing and other aspects of the evening. They were great ambassadors of Lake G as well as Australia.
Tomorrow we hit some adrenaline rides Zorbing, Schweeb, Freefall, Jetboating & the Swoop. More activities are being coordinated. The next day we travel to Otumoetai College in the bay of Plenty to take on the best NZ team that participated at the Australian Schools Cup in 2010.
Finally, the weather continues to defy all expectations as 'the land of the long white cloud' has yet to provide us with a day with any cloud at all. The students have been using the 2 laptops religiously each day to go on facebook so i hope parents have been getting some feedback other than from me.
Until next time.
Day 5.... WOW!
All the effort & paperwork demanded to make this day happen was so work it. The Zorb was the first activity of the day. Zac wrote in the sign in book upon leaving 'the best thing I've done in my life!'. He and the other students were not to know that it was about to get a lot better. The Agroventures park activities Shweeb, Freefall, Swoop and jetboat were insane. We were the only group there and the sun was shining yet again. There were so many pictures taken and the park staff there were great. Some students who had previous injuries or did not want to attempt certain rides were simply allowed to have another go on something else. We left scratching our heads thinking 'did that just happen.. how good was that?!'. The day ended with a dinner cooked by the students. There will be so many great photos and memories of this day.
Believe it or not, later that night i again found a group of students (Georgia, Lauren, Brad, Johno, Amy, Fred) working on assignments and other school work. Good stuff.
Day 6... Otumoetai College game
We had a relaxed start to the day that involved a bit of family present shopping before we departed for Tauranga in the bay of plenty. Otumoetai is the 5th biggest school in NZ and the best performing volleyball school for the last few years. Our girls put up a good fight but our consistency let us down against this we drilled side. The girls have learned a lot from these games so far. Our boys had already played their boys team in Melbourne last year and fortunately we were able to beat them again today. The games were played at the highest skill level and spirit. We then drove back to Rotorua for dinner and rest in our very familiar hotel hot spring pool.
Tomorrow we have some more activities planned before we play our last game in Rotorua against Rotorua Lakes High. The morning after that we depart for Queenstown. We are a little worried that there will not be any snow as the weather here has been unbelievable.
‘Til next time.
Today was another sunny (some cloud for the first time) day.
The girls did not want to do the activities in the morning as they wanted to save money.. and shop!? Bec and Sarah were only too happy to supervise this. I on the other hand had the tough job of taking the boys Drift Karting, golfing followed by riding a mechanical bull. All of these activities were affordable and great fun. We had lunch and then prepared for our game against Rotorua Lakes High. This was an opportunity for our non volleyball tourists to play against a 'normal' volleyball school. This made the games a lot of fun and bonded the whole group as players. We won convincingly in a fun environment with a team we coincidently had dinner with that night. The Dinner was at a Mongholian restaurant where we had meals cooked in front of us according to the ingredients we collected at the buffet. Students have been packing tonight in preparation for our departure to Queenstown tomorrow. Part of the preparation apparently involves having one last hot spring pool party. Good times.
A lot of the students seem to have picked up a cough and refuse to believe it has anything to do with having 10 spa's a day. Either way they seem to be very happy and ready for the change in location.
Many students have recently realised they probably have not been good budgeting their money. We are agreed that if they want to do further optional activities in Queenstown they will need to buy groceries and cook their own meals more often. Time will tell.
Til next time.
We checked out of hotel in Rotorua with very fond memories and had the hotel manager personally send us off and claim we were fantastic guests and wish us well in Queenstown. As the itinerary says we could not all fit on the one plane, so we split into 2 groups and boarded our separate planes. The flights were amazing. Snow covered peaks stretched for the whole length of the southern island and many photos were taken outside the windows. The boys group landed in Queenstown first amid sunny blue skies and spectacular snow covered mountains. This gave an opportunity for the boys to have some snow ball fights (without the girls) and realise that it was fun to throw but painful to get hit. The girls group arrived 2 hrs later and they were just as shocked at the beauty. A short drive with our newly acquired mini buses and trailer to our accommodation was next. The buses were excited and noisy until we saw the Gondola and luge rides we had planned to do on day 9.. it was massive and soooo steep. 'Oh my god' was the most common response. So tomorrow should be interesting. We will probably not do Segway tomorrow but frisbee golf looks on the cards after our Luge rides.
This accommodation is not providing cooked breakfasts BUT provides limitless milk, bread, sugar, cereal, vegemite, jam etc for the dorm kitchens. The boys went through 3 loafs of bread before going to bed. The girls cooked a group meal with groceries from down the street. This will be a good way to save money. There is a rumour that the staff have been given ridiculously lavish private rooms with ensuites and jaw dropping views. Let me just say that if this was true i would feel very guilty... :)
There have been and will be so many photo's of the landscape in Queenstown but they will not give it justice.. it is unreal. The forecast for Saturday snowboarding is 17 degrees sunny with 2m base of snow!
We started by walking the 5 minutes from our lodge to the base of the Gondola. We travelled up to the top of the mountain and began our now familiar and highly competitive luge races. There were a few minor crashes due to the competitive overtaking manoeuvres but everyone escaped injury. Jono and myself did clash spectacularly on the last race which everyone loved evidenced by the luge photo purchased by Blair. From the top of the Gondola the views are breathtaking. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo. Unsurprisingly we had more great weather.
At lunch we came down the mountain and ventured another 5 minutes into town. The girls again wanted to shop the moment they hit the city centre but we walked for a little longer to fully gain our bearings of the area. We then split into 2 groups with the girls either resting or shopping. I took most of the boys frisbee golfing around the Queenstown gardens which was an expected bonus as the boys absolutely loved it. We all then met up at the hotel and cooked each other dinner and watched movies in preparation for a big day of skiing.
Day 10.. ski day
We drove our mini buses up to coronet peak by 9am. Everyone hired their equipment and went to their compulsory lessons (unfortunately for me, i had to hire helmets for everyone as they were not part of the package). As forecast, the weather was again perfect. The day went as planned for most. Some of the students struggled to get through the whole day due to pre existing injuries Eddie, Tarnee, Amy etc but all walked off the mountain at the end of the day happy and injury free. phew..
The students are a little tired right now and have gone to bed. Tomorrow is the free day were they are allowed to participate in any activity that was previously approved. Most have opted for having their first sleep in. Later that evening we have our last paid for dinner for the trip for Lauren's 18th Birthday. Monday Paintball seems like our last organised group activity, except for Frisbee Golf which is being played every day.
Not long before we head home.
Due to money shortages many students & staff decided to use this free day as a rest day. The boys again found frisbee golf the best way to spend the day. When i walked everyone to the purpose built frisbee golf course in the park with the fantastic views on the first day, i could not have hoped that it would have been this successful. It is free to play (apart from the frisbees i bought for the group) and has saved them money and kept them happy and entertained. We will continue to play until we leave on Tuesday.
Resting may have been an option for most, but some decided to go all out. Some of the girls when on 1hr long get boat rides while Bec and myself thought we should jump off the biggest cliffs and bungee ledges in the world. Bec said it was the best day in her life.. a big call with her wedding only 6 weeks away. Sadly, not all went according to plan. Elise's in grown toe nail again was causing her concern so I took her to the medical centre where it was determined her but toe nail had to be removed. Ouch. She was very brave and got through it and was determined to go Laurens 18th Birthday Dinner at the top gondola mountain (voted best restaurant in NZ). As planned this was a great success.
Today is the final hurdle. If i can get the group through our final activity safely i can then relax, play some more frisbee golf and have one more sleep.
We will pack in the morning and not be too rushed before departing.
I have been downloading photos and videos from the students and staff onto a laptop but will need to do some serious editing before i can distribute them back to the group. I expect to do this over the September break and then supply everyone with either 1 or 2 dvds (or copy them onto a USB if a student can supply it to me). There are 1000's of photos and heaps of videos (30GB so far).
This may be my last email for a while so i would like to thank the many parents who have emailed their gratitude for my updates over this tour and would like to say the students have been wonderful. I have no doubt that they will take away fond memories from this trip they will remember forever. Thank you for letting them go.
Graeme Budd Supervising Teacher