Category Archives: New Zealand

Clip ‘n Climb

On the last day in Auckland we went to an epic indoor climbing arena called Clip ‘n Climb. You went into the arena and were immediately dwarfed by the climbing walls! My favourite climbing wall was a Tetris  wall.


We had to be in special harness’s and each wall had a safety line to lower you down slowly once you climbed.





There were some wobbly sticks to climb up.










Whakawerawera ( fa-ka-re-wa-re-wa ) is a living Maori village in a thermal area. They take the advantage of being a thermal area; they use steam vents to cook (they would dig a hole by the thermal vent, place some railings over the hole, and make a lid )and use hot pools like we would use a saucepan to steam vegetables( they lower it in the pool in a net and leave , they secure so it doesn’t sink!) The pool is so deep it is immeasurable!



At the entrance to the village there is a memorial archway to remember the Maori who fought in WW2, WW1, and other wars.


The name of the village has been shortened to whakawerawera from Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao so it’s easier to say. Lots of Maori words seem to have lots and lots of vowels in them, but they don’t. The alphabet only has 13 words, 8 consonants and the 5 vowels!!!


I think that the carved meeting house at the front of the village is very intricate and has lots of Paua shells, shells that the inside can be polished to be colourful and shiny.



The village was very interesting and smelly!!!

Motor and Quad bike ride

In Rotorua I got to ride a dirt bike round a small track! On the motor bike it was hard to balance until I got the knack of keeping the throttle smooth and it wasn’t as jerky. It was fun to ride a motorbike, it was different to what I expected, the professionals make it look easy( Well to them it is )

After I’d finished we went on a quad bike! I was on the back of Dads and that was bad because he kept zooming off the track and slowing down to go super fast and catch mum up. We went on a grassy hill, you can see lake Rotorua very clearly. The guide told us that lake Rotorua is actually a volcano crater with a volcano in the middle Moraeki Island.




White Island Volcano

We got up at 6 am to drive to Whakatane, the place where we got the boat to White Island, New Zealnds only active marine volcano!
Whakatane (Fack-a-tarn-ai) got it’s name from when the Maori first sailed to New Zealand. A canoe full of Marori men and women came up a river to a beach and landed, the men went off, absorbed in their findings. The Maori Chiefs daughter could see that the canoe had not gone far enough up the beach to be safely anchored and the boat drifted out to sea, she called out a warning. The men took no heed, they were fascinated by the new land. The captains daughter said “I wish I could act like a man” because women were forbidden to handle oars in the Maori belief. She picked up the oars and saved them, Whakatane means to be like a man in Maori.
This is a statue of the chiefs daughter.


White Island is a long way from Whakatane, it took us an hour and a half to get there, the sea was really smooth.

The boat anchored in a bay and we had to get a dinghy to a slab of concrete sticking out from the shore. Then we had to clamber over boulders to get to the beach. We needed hard hats and gas masks to be allowed on the island because it is an active volcano.


The volcano doesn’t erupt lava anymore, it spits out rocks and ash, there is a high quantity of silica and that acts like glue sticking the lava into rocks.


The volcano is 100,000 – 200,000 years old and is mainly under water. The main magma chamber is only 5 metres below ground.
We saw 4 different colours in the rocks on the island because of the minerals in the volcano. Green from copper. Yellow from sulphur. Pink from iron (that has gone rusty). White from calcium.




The main crater spews horrible smelling steam and we had to wear our gas masks, at the bottom of the crater was a green lake which was really hard to see unless the wind blew the steam away.


We started walking around the main crater complex, there were vents, and mud pools everywhere! We got to feel the mud on the guides hand, it was strangely smooth and it dried really hard and pale.


We washed our hands off in a creek, the guide told us to taste it, it tasted really metallic from the iron. A bit further on there was another creek and this one tasted like lemon juice!

Sulphur was mined on the island at three different times. The third occasion was the most successful, and lasted for ten years before they stopped making money. The sulphur they got was used as fertiliser on fields. The remains of the last mine were left on the island, it closed in 1933.


New Zealand is on two plates, the Indo-Australian one and the Pacific plate. That’s why there is a lot of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, earthquakes and mud pools.

Captain Cook

Captain Cook was from Yorkshire, from a poor family of farmers, he went to work on a coal ship, then joined the Navy. He worked his way up to Lieutenant. He was sent on a voyage to see Venus travel over the Sun in Tahiti, on the ship he captained, The Endeavour.
Captain Cook had secret orders to find the southern lands, Mr Banks paid a lot of money to fund the voyage, he went along too.

In 1769 Captain Cook landed at what is now called Gisborne. ‘Young Nick’ was the first person to sight land on the HMAS Endeavour, so a cliff is named after him. When the Endeavour got to land the Maori did a meeting dance, Captain Cook thought it was a challenge and shot 6 Maori. He named this are Poverty Bay as he couldn’t get any fresh supplies because he’d shot the Maori.
This statue of Young Nick is in Gisborne.


From then on he mapped New Zealand from the sea. In 1770 Captain Cook landed in. Byron Bay, Australia, then in a town called 1770 further up the coast in the same year (1770 was once called Roundhill but changed their name for the 200 year anniversary of Captain Cook landing). When Captain Cook returned to England he was promoted to Captain in the Navy.

He did two more voyages, circumnavigating the Southern Hemisphere on a ship called HMS Resolution, sailing to places like. Christmas Island, Vancouver Island, The Antarctic Circle, Cape Horn, Hawaiin Islands – twice, on the second time he was killed by the locals who misunderstood him.

Weta Caves

We went to the Weta Caves, they’re not actually caves it’s just a film effects workshop.

The Weta Caves were founded by Peter Jackson and his friend. They made costumes, accessories and models for Lord of the Rings, TinTin, Avator and Much, much more!

We went on a tour of the Workshops where we got to feel the latex that the hobbits feet were made out of, hold the ‘ Witch Kings ‘ Mace ( It was soft, but the chain was sharp.) and see a model of Taipei 101 for a come back of Thunder Birds! I was amazed at all of the models in the workshop because it would take people months to build and then it would be seen for only 10 seconds.






We’re in Wellington City, the capital of New Zealand. We got a ferry over from the South Island to the North Island on Thursday, it was a huge posh ferry, much posher than the Dover/Calais ferry! It took 3 and a half hours and was very bumpy, I felt sea sick.

Our first day in Wellington we went to the Te Papa museum, which is the national museum of New Zealand. It’s a huge museum, there were galleries about the nature of New Zealand, earthquakes, human impact on New Zealand, World of Wearable art which is an annual fashion competition, Maui and immigration to New Zealand. My favourite bit was the Giant Squid, it was caught in Antarctica, and brought back to the museum where it is in a display case in preserving fluids.

There’s a skate park near our apartment, which is really cool, we’ve borrowed some scooters from the people who own the apartment.


We went to Raitoke Regional Park because that is where the scenes of Rivendell were filmed for Lord of The Rings. There wasn’t any of the buildings left as they took them all down when they finished filming, but there was boards that told you where all the buildings were.




We went on a tour of the New Zealand Parliament Building, which is in Wellington.

Did you know that New Zealand was the first country where women had the right to vote? Kate Sheppard started a petition to allow women the right to vote and took it to parliament, she got 25,000 signatures.

A Bill is a proposal for an Act (law) it is put before the parliament three times and has a committee to analyse all possible outcomes of the Bill. If the Bill is agreed with on the third reading it is signed by the Governor-General, who is the queens representative in New Zealand, and then it is Law.

New Zealand Parliament is based on the Westminster system, but New Zealand has a different voting system. In England whoever gets the most votes has all of the seats on the Government, unlike New Zealand where you get a proportional amount of seats depending on the vote you received. So the Government is made up of a representation of the peoples votes. I think that the New Zealand way is fairer.


Fox Glacier

We went to Fox Glacier.
A glacier is like an iceberg, but on land. Fox Glacier and it’s neighbour, Franz Josef Glacier are the only two to penetrate a rainforest. Glaciers hold the largest amount of freshwater in the world, 75%!
Glaciers cover 10% of the earths surface, back in the ice age it was 32%.
We drove to a car park where there was a track to the glacier face. The track was rough and boulder strewn towards the end of the path, on a very steep hill.


The mountain sides were littered with rocks from land slides, some of the rocks have iron in them, and have rusted bright orange.



Whitewater rafting

Today we went white water rafting on the Shotover river. It was an hours drive over Coronet Peak which is 1,187 metres tall, Queenstown where we left from is 310 metres above sea level.

We went into the river where they filmed part of Lord of the rings.

On the river there was rapids that were very bumpy, at the end of the rafting we got to do a rock jump into the water, I was nervous on the rock, but once I’d jumped in all I could think about was how cold it was!