Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Group Names - What the?

You might be wondering how we came up with these strange names for these groups. Those of the caving persuasion will know that they are the names of famous caves in the South Island.

Xanadu is found around the Fox River on the west coast, Bulmer and Nettle Bed are part of the Mt Owen massif in the Kahurangi National Park and Starlight is the cave at the bottom of Harwood's Hole near Takaka.

Wednesday 1st June

Wednesday id the first day of the two full days spent at Waitomo. Two of the four groups spend the day caving, while the other two divide their time between a lecture by the education officer - Scott Adkins at the Waitomo Discovery Centre; a drive out to some prominent landmarks such as Marokopa Falls and the Mangapahoe Natural Bridge as well as a guided visit to the Ruakuri tourist cave - a physically easy but thought provoking day.

The cavers on the other hand spend their time with guides in Zweiholen and with staff in the Mangapahoe cave found on the Stubbs' Farm out Te Anga Road way. The caves are dramatically different and rewarding in different ways. Zweiholen is pretty, it is mostly dry (but muddy) while Mangapahoe is wet and rough on the body,

Tomorrow will follow much the same pattern.

Tuesday night shenanigans

Well kind readers, we have settled in.

Dave Stout provided much entertainment while the students got to know each other by way of introductions, groups were formed by drawing numbers from a hat and organised into the various daily activities as is dictated by the programme.

Dinner was cooked by Rosemary Barsanti and a variety of offsiders. It proved excellent fare and was devoured eagerly by the punters. Followed by the classic kiwi pud of Orange Chocolate Chip ice cream and fruit salad from a tin. Yum!

That wasn't the end of the night though, We headed off to the Ruakuri reserve for a night walk to test the cohesion of the new groups and to introduce the students gently to the world of caves.
Many screams were heard and nervous peals of laughter when some encountered spiders and cave wetas up close and personal.

One group even walked the whole track twice, not recognising any of the noticable landmarks on the way around.

At the conclusion of the walk when students were asked to describe the path that we had taken, many struggled to visualise the small figure of eight pathway. Duncan, one of the staff on the trip pointed out some constellations in the crystalline sky using an amazing torch before we loaded up the vans and headed back to Tokikapu Marae for a well-deserved sleep.

Wednesday brings a full day of activities. Some will spend the day above ground and others under; completing at least two caving trips over about six hours.

Look out for reports by the students on the various activities of the day.

Adios muchachos!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waitomo Time!

Hi there all you followers and watchers!

The Time for Tongariro has passed and now we are off to Waitomo.

This year, as in previous ones we are combining with Waiopehu and are staying at Tokikapu Marae just outside Waitomo Caves township.

We are here for the next two busy days participating in and learning about New Zealand's Karst landscapes.

The students and staff will be caving in two different cave systems, tube rafting in a third and visiting NZ's premier show cave - Ruakuri. We will also be visiting the Waitomo museum as well as visiting other sites of particular interest to our topic.

Check here for daily updates on the exploits of the various groups of students!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Holy Smokes Batman, its Double Update Thursday!!

Year 13 Tongariro Camp: Day 3

This day was very... full. So full in fact, that a blog post was forgotten in the chaos. Possibly this was the chaos of a very intense poker game. Possibly not.

The sanity of some students was deeply challenged. Upon a graceful stroll through Mt Ruapehu's tussocky foothills, a group measuring plant sizes found something else to measure, encountering a group of (mixed gender) naturists in their full glory, enjoying nature the way it was intended: butt naked.

The Tongariro crossing group enjoyed a trouble (and nudist) free day, with some students braving the harsh environment and swimming in a crater lake (name drop - head boy). Other activities included attempting to push into said lake a 6 tonne boulder. Needless to say this failed miserably.

Rafters enjoyed a white water filled journey over 16 km of river, including a stretch running through Tongariro Prison. No hitchhikers were picked up.

Anticipation is ramping up for tomorrow, as the last group prepares to cross Tongariro, and tensions run high amongst sleep deprived grumpy teenagers who are attempting to prepare skits for a show tomorrow night. However this did not stop the six hardy young men sleeping in the wilderness from debating the meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything into the early hours of the morning. The answer was unanimously decided as 42.

Year 13 Tongariro Camp: Day 4

Barbara Streisand.

Do do do doooo dodo doooo dodo doooo do do.

Do do do doooo dodo doooo dodo

Barbara Streisand.

As far as last days go, this was one.

The Tongariro crossing today was probably the most eventful of all. As far as mountains go, this one has grown close to us: we swam in its lakes, kissed its rocks, peed in its soil. But this didn't stop us from knocking the bastard off one last time. However, it so happened that one particular individual suffered from a spell of light-headedness; meaning, in this case, a complete lack of consciousness and collapsing to the ground. Several times. However he/she/it pulled through to complete the crossing with great form. Big ups.

The biology fieldwork group today was under some internal meltdown as an overeager Geo teacher caused them to walk a very very long way. Some caved in. (LOL!!!!)

The debauched evening was embellished by the acting out of several skits, which happened to include speed-dating grappling hooks, spatchula spanking zombies, lazy-eyed super heros and multitudes of satirical piss-takes at students and teachers alike. Speed-dating won.

Overall this has been an awesome camp experience. We are sure that many who have embarked with us will leave changed people, and we speak for everyone when we say that we will never forget this most incredible week of our lives. This has been a week of trials and tribulations but the friendly, high spirited atmosphere here now proves that tiredness, pain and 20 km walks can't keep the eternal spirit of youth (and the young at heart... Collier... Brooks....) down. Ever.

Thanks to the possible two (maybe one) people that may have been following this blog.

This is Luke Hiscox and Fraser Williams..... Signing off.

P.S Barbara Streisand

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Year 13 Tongariro Camp: Day 2

Day 2 and the rain has set in. Its raining. Stop it. Stop the rain.

A day full of activities has seen many a camper come to terms with their humanity, aka the head boy face planted into a rock, while rafting. Other events that challenged our developing young souls included a gut-wrenching haul of a 6 kg rock over the top of a bigger rock (by the name of Tongariro), witnessing heart stopping vistas of the breathtaking central plateau landscape, and the slightly more sobering events that enveloped Christchurch this afternoon. Our thoughts go out to the Cantabrians.

More tommorow gee dawgs, beddy bye time.

In sincerest gratitude L Hiscox, F dub.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Year 13 Tongariro Camp: Day 1

After a trouble free, uneventful start to the day, with no stragglers or no shows, our bus convoy left the school around 9:36:45. We enjoyed a beautiful drive up, with no crashes or thunderstorms. Heavy dosings of reggae did occur. The trip was enhanced by two stops organised by Mr Collier, where he explained to us the significance of the surrounding landscape and geographical features. All very important. Yep.

At approximately 2:27:53 we arrived safely at the campsite where luxurious bunkrooms filled with soft delicate matresses were divied out, except to 6 hardy young souls, brave men all, who decided to exist in a tent and to become one with nature. Respect.

At 3:06:12 (precisely) in the afternoon, we set off on the first trek of the camp, to Taranaki Falls. The experience of standing under said falls stung like gravel being thrown by 1000 toddlers. Some found inner peace on a boulder behind the waterfall. Others relished the freezing cold water.

The evening was filled with preparation for the following days events (plus mean food) as various individuals prepared themselves mentally, physically and spiritually to face the mighty Tongariro.

Shoutout: Yo Littley, from yo boiz/girlz

Gladly written by Fraser W and Luke H

Tongariro 2011 - The Return

Finally, we have caught up with the mobile revolution.

Look for daily updates of the adventures of Freyberg's Yr13 students on this year's version of the Tongariro trip.