People To People Student Ambassador Program - Summer of 2006
New Zealand and Australia

Updates will be provided as often as they can be. Please check back often.

- Trip Schedules -
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  • Flight Schedule
  • Hotel Schedule
  • Trip Itinerary

  • Information From About:
    New Zealand  and  Australia

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      Friday - 07/14/2006 - Los Angeles, CA

    • The group checked in at LAX at 6:40pm Friday the 14th of July to get luggage checked and bording passes. Were originally scheduled to gather back at 8:00pm to go through gate security together for the 9:40pm flight. Well... the flight was delayed until 1:00am... so everyone got very familiar with the LAX terminal. Finally gathered again at 11:00... took group photos... gave hugs to the parents... and headed through security to begin the adventure.

      Sunday - 07/16/2006 - Aukland & Rotorua, New Zealand (Sat 7/15 in the USA)

    • Email from Sue (group leader) to the parents read:

      Just a quick note to let you know that we arrived safely. The kids have been great, polite and are all still awake. We just checked into our hotel after visiting the thermal sites this afternoon. They have all been fairly quiet (I think they are all tired and are still getting to know each other. I'm sure I won't be saying that for long (the quiet part, that is!) I'll send updates when I can!

    • Dillon called home to check in and let dad know all was good. Had slept 10 hours of the flight and had a good breakfast onboard. After landing in Aukland New Zealand... spent the day at the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland near Rotorua New Zealand... then checked into Kingsgate Hotel in Rotorua.

      Monday - 07/17/2006 - Rotorua, New Zealand (Sun 7/16 in the USA)

    • Start the day at the Agrodome Sheep Show & Auction... then off to Mount Ngongotaha, overlooking the city of Rotorua. (The Gondola ride to the top takes a lot longer than the luge ride to the bottom!)
    • Spend the night in a Marae... an authentic Maori meetinghouse and the focal point of the Maori culture. Upon arrival, the Maori People formally welcome guests in a traditional ceremony. During the ceremony, a Maori Warrior challenges your delegation. Dinner this evening is in the style of a Hangi. The traditional Hangi is prepared using steam or hot rocks in a pit oven. The oven is then left to steam until the meat is cooked. Then, explore more of Maori culture through songs, stories, and dances.

      Tuesday - 07/18/2006 - Wellington, New Zealand (Mon 7/17 in the USA)

    • What a day... starting with the thrill of your life aboard a Huka Jet Boat as you skim along on a ride up the Waikato River to the magnificent Huka Falls! Then... travel by coach past the volcanic terrain of Tongariro National Park and the small settlements en route to Wellington.
    • Check in for a 2 night stay at the Brentwood Hotel in the picturesque capital of New Zealand... Wellington... built up on the hillsides surrounding Wellington Harbour. A center for the arts, Wellington has many museums and private galleries to see.

    • Email from Sue read:

      "Wow! This trip is amazing and packed with great adventures. I know that some have been having problems using the phone cards and we leaders have not been able to help. Some cards work and some don't. I hope that some are taking advantage of internet but there has only been one computer at each of our hotels so far. All are safe, and healthy as of today. The Huka boats today were fun, cold and WET!"

      Wednesday - 07/19/2006 - Wellington, New Zealand (Tue 7/18 in the USA)

    • Learn about New Zealand's system of government at the Wellington Parliament Building, known as the Beehive because of its distinctive architectural design.
    • The rest of the day's exploration of Wellington spent at the Te Papa National Museum, a fascinating museum with interactive exhibits devoted to Maori culture, natural history, modern art, as well as science and technology.
    • This evening, meet with a representative from Capital E OnTV studio and have the opportunity to either develop a group CD in the Sound House studio or produce a group video at the OnTV studio!
    • Finish the day with a last night stay at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington.

      Thursday - 07/20/2006 - Home Stay in Oxford in New Zealand (Wed 7/19 in the USA)

    • Email from Melaine (group leader) to the parents read:

      Hi Parents,

      We are having a blast! The Huka jet boats were fast and furious, and we all got wet, but loved the thrill. Kia is cute as can be in her New Zealand jacket. Alex made a New Zealander friend (safe and friendly), CJ cracked us all up with his acting last night while we wee making a TV newscast at the studio. His Ninja immitation was one for REAL TV. Natalie was an anchor-woman, and Pablo has been our Maori chief and anchor-man on the newscast. Allison was the Director, par excellence.

      Today we're taking a 3 hour ferry to the South Island and will meet up with our host families for homestays in Oxford. We're both anxious and excited. It is snowing a little there.

      Must rush off, but want you to know we LOVE bringing your children to new worlds. They are all super, and have gleaned many compliments for their Ambassadorial behavior. We simply like them, too.

    • This morning... off to the South Island... boarding the Interislander Ferry for a journey across Cook Strait and through the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound.
    • Upon arriving in Picton, board the coach... this evening, meet the home stay family in Oxford, New Zealand to experience two days with them sharing photos and stories... and trying new things.

      Friday - 07/21/2006 - Home Stay in Oxford in New Zealand (Thu 7/20 in the USA)

    • Home stay continues in Oxford with a chance to experience everyday life in New Zealand and meet the locals... an opportunity to make lifelong friends.
    • Have the opportunity to attend school and become familiar with the New Zealand education system.
    • Thank the home stay family, as this will be the last night with them... and exchange address information in order to keep in touch!

      Saturday - 07/22/2006 - Methven, New Zealand (Fri 7/21 in the USA)

    • Today is packed with adventure and personal growth in Methven, New Zealand. Through interactive and challenging workshops led by the Full On team, there is the opportunity to learn leadership skills, set personal goals and step outside your comfort zone.
    • Conquer FEAR by abseiling down a cliff in the rugged Southern Alps or completing an outdoor adventure course.
    • Take some time to reflect upon today's activities and personal achievements after settling in for the night at Pudding Hill Lodge.

      Sunday - 07/23/2006 - Christchurch, New Zealand (Sat 7/22 in the USA)

    • Join in the fun at the Christchurch Antarctic Centre... a showcase for the unique international cooperation that exists in Antarctica today. Learn what it takes to plan and organize a real life journey to Antarctica from people who have worked there and take a Hagglund "through its paces" on an adventure course! The Hagglund is the actual tracked vehicle used in Antarctica by the United States and New Zealand.

    • Dillon called dad to make sure his paycheck gets deposited so he has plenty of souvenier money for the Australia leg of the adventure. Called from the Antarctic Centre... having a great time.

    • Explore the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and have the rare experience of viewing New Zealand's national symbol, the Kiwi, in its natural habitat. The Kiwi is a flightless bird similar in size to a chicken, but their eggs are almost as big as those of an ostrich!
    • Spend the final night in New Zealand at the Holiday Inn On Avon in Christchurch... and take time to reflect and journal about the experiences in New Zealand.

    • Email from Sue (group leader) to the parents read:

      We have had so many "once in a lifetime" adventures. I think being cold might be one of them. It was 28 degrees F the other day. The hills are full of lots of snow and the views are awesome. The homestays were fun and we all survived the rappeling yesterday. Even me! We leave for Australia in the morning. I won't give you the specifics as I'm sure the kids will have plenty to say.

      Moday - 07/24/2006 - New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia (Sun 7/23 in the USA)

    • After checkout, board the coach for the Christchurch International Airport for the flight to Sydney Australia... and on then to Brisbane, the capitol of Queensland. Brisbane has become Australia's third largest city and was the second original convict settlement.
    • For the first night in Australia, check into the Travelodge Garden City in Brisbane.

      G'day, mate! Welcome to Australia, the land down under!

      Tuesday - 07/25/2006 - South Stradbroke Island, Australia (Mon 7/24 in the USA)

    • Have the opportunity to experience the Australian education system during a visit to a Queensland School. Learn all about the subjects and the classes. Best of all, make a few international friends with the Australian students!
    • Continue onward to Runaway Bay... and board a ferry to South Stradbroke Island for a two-night stay at the beautiful Couran Cove Resort. Couran Cove is a remarkable achievement in technology. It is a full service resort that is also an experiment in sustainable development.

    • Dad got a call from Dillon... at 12:45pm! (The time difference confused him... only 5:45pm there.)

      He's at Couran Cove Resort and says it's beautiful there. Reminds him a lot of the Santa Cruz area and will have some time tomorrow to do some surfing. Said too that he's going to look into going to a university there and maybe live & work there afterwards. Said New Zealand was OK... but much more rural than what he's seen in Australia. He's been talking with the security people at the resort... and they use the same camera system that he's been working with at the spa here at home. He'd like to live & work there? Well, duh... wouldn't we ALL?

      About 10 minutes into the call he realized he had just a few minutes to get across the island to catch dinner... so would call or email tomorrow. Would have to be on his calling card again... since he has fried his phone charger. (I guess the voltages there are confusing too - grin)

      Was great to hear from him. He was excited and in great spirits. He's had a great time so far... enjoyed the home stay family... and survived a 5' slip while rock climbing the other day. He's already in love with Australia... and the best is still to come!

      Wednesday - 07/26/2006 - South Stradbroke Island, Australia (Tue 7/25 in the USA)

    • Go for a swim, learn about Australian flora and fauna during a bushwalk, and explore the island on bicycle!
    • Take the opportunity to learn about the many innovations incorporated by the developers in areas such as waste management, pest control, and native plant and animal protection.
    • Have an opportunity to help the natural environment by being a part of an important regeneration program.
    • Settle in for a second night at the beautiful Couran Cove Island Resort.

      Thursday - 07/27/2006 - Sunshine Coast, Australia (Wed 7/26 in the USA)

    • Have a close encounter with Australia's unique fauna including koalas, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • Learn about Australia's national gemstone, the opal, during a visit to an opal establishment where you will experience a cutting and polishing demonstration.
    • Spend the night at the Sunshine Coast. Stretching some 40 miles, the Sunshine Coast was given this name because the sun shines most of the time. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

      Friday - 07/28/2006 - Yeppoon, Australia (Thu 7/27 in the USA)

    • Journey to the country town of Gin Gin and stop for lunch, then continue along the Bruce Highway to Rockhampton. Located on the Tropic of Capricorn, Rockhampton is considered the capital of Australia's beef industry, producing about 18 million head per year.
    • Learn about Aboriginal culture, an integral part of Australian history and heritage, through musical and dance performances at the Dreamtime Aboriginal Cultural Centre on the northern outskirts of Rockhampton. The Aborigines are believed to have arrived 40,000-60,000 years ago via Asia.
    • Experience boomerang and spear-throwing demonstrations before heading towards the coast.
    • Check in for the night at the Bayview Tower International, an 8-story motel where every room boasts 180-degree ocean views over looking Great Keppel and surrounding Islands, in beautiful Yeppoon, Australia.

      Saturday - 07/29/2006 - Long Island, Australia (Fri 7/28 in the USA)

    • Venture on towards Airlie Beach, the gateway to to the Great Barrier ReefWhitsunday Islands named by Captain James Cook in 1770. (On the way, explore Mackay, a major center for the sugarcane industry in Australia, and learn about sugar farming.)
    • Meet with a representative of OUCH (Order of Underwater Coral Heroes) for a briefing you on the Great Barrier Reef, a fascinating formation and the world's largest living organism.
    • Take a ferry to Long Island. This beautiful island is home to wallabies and the unusual curlew bird with its long legs and mournful cry.
    • Check in for the first of 2 nights at the Long Island Resort and pack a day bag with sunscreen, sun hat, swimsuit, towel and underwater camera for a full day tomorrow at the Great Barrier Reef!

      Sunday - 07/30/2006 - Long Island, Australia & The Great Barrier Reef! (Sat 7/29 in the USA)

      A Day To Be Remembered For A Lifetime!


    • Cruise to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, one of the greatest natural phenomena the world has to offer, with Fantasea Cruises! Stretching over 1250 miles and covering an area of over 135,000 square miles, the reef is the only living thing visible from the Moon! The Great Barrier Reef is rich in marine life, including 1500 species of fish.
    • Observe this fragile ecosystem and snorkel in the pristine aquamarine water at Reef World. Be amazed by the diverse colors and variety of the live coral. Play with the fish as they dart in and out of their watery wonderland. Semi-submersible boat rides are available to view the thousands of varieties of colorful fish and coral without getting wet. Witnessing life throughout the reef is truly a magical experience!
    • Stay the last night at the Long Island Resort and bring journals up to date. What a day to remember!

      Monday - 07/31/2006 - Sydney, Australia (Sun 7/30 in the USA)

    • Say goodbye to Queensland and fly from Hamilton Island to Sydney, the largest city in Australia and the capital of Port Jackson.
    • A rockin' and rollin' good time at the Hard Rock Café in Sydney, amidst its fascinating collection of music memorabilia.
    • A guided orientation of the majestic Sydney Opera House complex. The visually intriguing structure houses an Opera Theater, Concert Hall, Playhouse, and one of Sydney's finest restaurants. It has become one of the city's most internationally recognized landmarks.
    • Have dinner with the fish at Sydney's Aquarium at Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour.
    • Spend the first of 2 nights at the Citigate Sebel Sydney.

      Tuesday - 08/01/2006 - Sydney, Australia (Mon 7/31 in the USA)

    • Divide into small groups to discover Sydney. Spend time at Darling Harbour, the Pitt Street Mall, or both! The Darling Harbour waterfront area includes Sydney's Chinese Gardens, complete with a traditional Chinese teahouse. Close to the mall are Hyde Park, Macquarie Street, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
    • Continue the day on a high by climbing with a guide to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for breathtaking views of the city!
    • During a dinner cruise this evening, with Sydney Harbour as a spectacular backdrop, see the city's highlights and learn about its amazing history.
    • Spend the last of 2 nights, the last night before heading home, at the Citigate Sebel Sydney.

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