Sunday, December 29, 2013

29 December 2013: Our first day in New Zealand

It's been nearly two years since we last visited New Zealand, and it's great to be back!  Our group of 12 survived the grueling flight from NY (and Kansas) to Auckland and we hit the ground running.  The first stop on our first day in Auckland was the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere: the Sky Tower.  At over 600 ft, the building is quite the sight. We had the chance to look at the many extinct volcanoes that are sprinkled around the Auckland area and take some awesome pictures of the views in brilliant sunlight.  The rain stopped for our tramps around Auckland and the temperatures cooperated as well: it was easily 75F in the bright sun.  Following our visit to the Sky Tower, the students dispersed to explore Auckland, and then it was back to the hostel for our first group meal together.  Dr. Moran and I were pretty impressed with the organization of the meal by the students: they were responsible for identifying a meal that all the students/faculty could eat, buy it, then divide the cooking duties among themselves. Dr. Moran and I added some minor assistance, but the students did it all.  We've got another great group of students on our adventure and I'm looking forward to some awesome experiences with them!