At this point in the trip, we're in Westport (South Island) for a few service projects and to visit the site of 'pancake rocks' in Punakaiki. Yesterday, 11 Januanary, we worked with Michael Kingsbury (Volunteers New Zealand) to plant ~200 New Zealand flax (Phorium tenax) at the Kawati Beach Reserve. The group (17 students and 3 faculty) jumped right in an planted with a vengeance: we finished our service in <1 hr! Michael was pretty impressed with our efforts.
From Westport today, we travel to Punakaiki to see the famous 'pancake rocks' then travel further south to Franz Josef, where we'll visit Fox Glacier tomorrow. After a brief stay in Franz Josef, our group, which consists of students and faculty from Ohio Northern University (ONU), splits: the ONU group heads to Milford Sound in the Fjordlands National Park, and the MSMC group heads to 'adventure capital of the world': Queenstown.