New Zeland/Australia Adventures


Aria Harris, 11th Grade, BC ECHS


Going to Australia and New Zealand is an experience I will remember and look back on for my entire life. The people, culture, food, and views of these far lands are unlike you’ve ever seen. I went with an Education First organization, where people from surrounding schools and states go as a group on these excursions, so I wasn’t alone. Upon arrival in Caines, Australia, our group took a 2-hour boat ride to The Great Barrier Reef. By the time we reached our destination, many members, including myself, were severely seasick, but the experience was beyond words. The bright, bold colors of coral could be practically seen through the clear Pacific ocean water. Fish, turtles, and even sea cucumbers can be spotted everywhere. It was a truly unique experience to be seeing the native Australian sealife. Once back on land, the tour guide unleashed the group to explore the Caines area. When eating dinner with a few friends, a native Australian resident stopped by our table to complement our “accents” and tell us his stories of when he, too, visited the United States. Everywhere you went, there were kind people.

The next day was action-packed: Skyrail to the Australian rainforests, exploring Kuranda, an Aboriginal questionnaire and dance, boomerang learning, and spear learning. Kuranda is a beautiful small town located on the top of a mountain near Queensland. It was a welcoming environment with small shops, food restaurants, and music performers on the streets. The Aboriginals, a native Australian tribe, living on the continent for over 50,000 years, were lovely as well. They opened a stage for questions and talked about their culture and religion. They grabbed volunteers, such as myself, to teach them how to do a native dance of welcome; “the shake-a-leg!” Applause, laughter, and cheering filled the reserve. Afterward, the Aboriginals taught the group how to properly throw a boomerang and spears, then it was time to reside back in our hotel room. 

On day three, our group and I hopped aboard a flight to Sydney, the big city, but before we did, some friends and I went to a hotel casino with a zoo on the roof. The rainforest dome was small but had a vast array of reptiles, marsupials, birds, fish, turtles, and more. The animals there were mostly free-roam except for a couple of gates to block kingdoms from interfering. We landed by the fourth day, and our group took a van tour to Sydney harbor and surrounding Aussie staples, such as Bondi beach and a Bird’s eye view of Sydney, before leaving for New Zealand. 

In Rotorua, New Zealand, we went to The Agrodome, a sheep shearing and cow show. There, we can purchase wool clothing they made to support their business. After that, the Skyline of Rotorua leads us to the Whakarewarewa, a Maori thermal tribal reserve. The woman who led us through her village was very knowledgeable of her culture, ancestors, and religion and spoke very eloquently. The reserve has natural hot springs that have been around since they settled. The springs are so hot that she boiled fresh corn in the pool in under 5 minutes. After a humble thanks, we traveled to Maori culture and indulged in dinner and music. They used the steam from the hot springs to cook the food and sang to us in their native language while we ate. A great ending to a week worth of traveling and exploring.