flying into auckland

Well, I’ve almost been in New Zealand for a week now and it feels like I’ve been here for months. I’m totally adjusted to the 16-hour time difference, thanks in large part to the 12+ hour flight which totally threw me off. The EcoQuest campus is located about an hour southeast of Auckland near the Firth of Thames in the village of Whakatiwai (fauk-uh-tee-why). EcoQuest emphasizes living in a way that makes as minimal of impact as possible. We grow a lot of food right in our yard! Lemons, limes, mandarins, grapefruit, tangelos, olives, figs, persimmons, broccoli, garlic, swiss chard, rhubarb, and we even have a banana tree! Our living situation consists of cabins spread out around campus with a communal bathroom/shower/laundry area, called the ablutions. Then there’s the wharekai, or house of food. Our kitchen and eating area is here, but it also doubles as our classroom when we’re not in the field.

Our first excursion off-campus was to the Hunua Ranges about 45 minutes away. It was like stepping back in time, very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. The ferns were like nothing we’re used to, some growing up to 30 feet tall! During the first part of our hike, we had to cross a stream as part of the trail. We were up to our knees in water, but it was a lot of fun!

More pictures: