New Zealand is home to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful backdrops in the world! What we often don’t realise is the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in conserving these amazing landscapes.
We all love to gaze upon gorgeous scenery, directing our camera lens to capture the stunning surroundings and it’s great we are so appreciative! With this blog we can all learn a little more about what goes on behind the scenes to upkeep these spectacular places of natural wonder.
We caught up with one of our volunteers who flew out to New Zealand to volunteer in preserving these beloved environments. Kathleen helped in areas such as coastal restoration as well as surveying and improving the vegetation and wildlife (top work!). We asked her a few questions about the conservation project...
What made you choose the New Zealand Conservation programme?
I was hoping for a new, exciting and once in a lifetime experience. I went, because I wanted to learn about Conservation, pick up some new skills, make some unforgettable memories and meet some fantastic people. It is safe to say that I achieved all of that and even more.
How would you describe the volunteer project?
The project is absolutely fantastic, you get to work outside with nature and see some truly beautiful locations. You meet so many new people and have fun together as a team. In your free time you can see the local sights and hang out with your team mates. You gain a lot of knowledge about New Zealand. The work you undertake is very satisfying and important, plus you get awesome weekends away with your team mates.
What did a typical day volunteering consist of?
A typical day for me was making a difference to the beautiful country that is New Zealand, working very hard with some truly wonderful people. Our jobs included; tree planting, seed collection, restoration of natural habitats, weeding and erosion control. At times work was quite strenuous however the great satisfaction at the end of the day made it so worth it! In the evenings we would have some time to chill or sometimes go and explore Auckland.
Was there a highlight of the trip?
There were so many highlights it is impossible to choose. I accumulated, so many memories I cannot pick one specifically. One memory, which does come to mind, is when we went for a late night walk and there was no light pollution, we could see hundreds of stars and it was even possible to see the Milky Way. It was a stunning.
Where there any unexpected moment?
I did not have one bad moment there it was all fantastic, but there were a few unexpected surprises. The volunteer location was great, it was a stylish cottage in a regional park and the team leader had two little lambs which he had adopted. I fell in love with the little lambs. Another unexpected moment for me personally was seeing sea lions in Wellington.
What did you do in your free time?
In my free time I hung out with my project friends. We went out to the local bars and enjoyed the food too. We would go to the beach quite frequently, explore the City of Auckland and take long walks exploring the local islands. My favourite trip was to Hobbiton (where The Lord of the Rings was filmed), it was a spectacular day and I would highly recommend it.
Are there any must do's, must eats or must see locations?
Must do’s are to try and spot a Kiwi (bird not the fruit) in the Wild - they are pretty difficult to find, experience the Maori hospitality, go to Hobbiton, visit Piah beach and explore the islands surrounding Auckland.
You, also have to eat a Kiwi (fruit) pavlova to keep in tune with NZ traditions.
Can you summarise the trip in three words?
Unforgettable, Adventurous, Unique
Hopefully this blog has provided you with a better understanding on what’s involved in the protection of habitats like those in Auckland. If you would like to get involved in conservation projects around the globe head over to the Real Gap Experience website to discover what’s available.
Team Real Gap Experience