Duke of Edinburgh adventure

by Bianca Bayly, Kaipara Colleg

From left: Riley Gudopp, Bianca Bayly, Jessica Cameron, Lukas Fairweather, Rosie Gudopp, Brock Colsen, Glenn Cameron, Alex Sergeant

As part of Kaipara College’s new timetabling we were offered an opportunity to get involved with projects we are interested in. My friends and I chose to work on our Duke of Edinburgh award and organised to do the Waikaremoana tramp during the holidays.
On the second Tuesday of the holidays, after a 7-hour drive which included a few cases of car sickness, we arrived in Waikaremoana. We still had a few hours of daylight to kill so we found a stick, made a ball of duct tape and played a game of bat down.
On Wednesday morning our driver took the eight of us out to the start of the tramp and sped back to catch a ferry into the walk to meet us. We found out later that he had missed this ferry by just a few minutes and the next ferry had broken down. We met him at midday and made our way to the first hut, which was right next to the lake, where a few of our group had a quick swim/ice bath. Luckily, we had all made an agreement beforehand that everyone must have deodorant, so we didn’t have any issues with smells. Or at least we all smelt the same as each other.
The second day we headed up to the waterfall for lunch and made it to the next hut. In the middle of the night I woke up to a completely indistinguishable sound. After some time, I began to hear others waking as well and realised that the sound was from someone snoring like a train. Some of us started to make comparisons between the snoring and an elephant farting, or a lawnmower, and someone even genuinely thought there was a sheep baaing. By this time, we were all lying on our bunks trying not to laugh.
The next morning, we headed up to our last hut. On the way, we walked through old moss-covered beech trees and mist. At the hut we keep the fireplace going with mossy, wet branches. The hut overlooked the lake, and in the morning, we watched the spectacular sun rise. We walked out on Saturday afternoon and had fun exploring the caves at the bottom.
After successfully completing the Lake Waikaremoana tramp we all thoroughly enjoyed pizza for dinner in Rotorua that night. It was a nice change from cooking back country meals on gas cookers.
We all had an amazing time and came away with lots of stories to tell. We had heaps of satisfaction from planning the trip for several months in advance. I thoroughly recommend getting involved with the Duke of Edinburgh award if it interests you, as it gives you purpose to organise fun activities. We are all excited to plan our Gold adventures journey next year.

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