Over the holidays, the Somerset 1st's Netball team, our Coach Sheryl Burns and Manager Jacqui Sina travelled around the beautiful country of New Zealand on the school’s first ever international netball tour.
Leaving on the afternoon of the first Monday of the holidays, my 7 teammates and I arrived in Auckland at around 11pm. Waking up bright and early, the next day we explored Auckland’s spectacular scenic coastline and we ended our first day with our first game on tour against St Cuthbert’s College in the heart of Auckland. After a tough game against the talented private school team, we were incredibly proud to come away with a great win after a well fought game.
On day two, we spent the morning at Snow Planet for some tobogganing and fun in the snow, where we quickly discovered that any more than three people flying down the slope at one time did not end well! After a fun filled morning we began to head south to Hamilton to arrive later that afternoon.
On day three, we journeyed to Matamata’s Hobbiton to learn all about the making of the set of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. After our two-hour tour of the set, we headed to the centre of Hamilton to play our second game against Hamilton Girls High School. This was also a hard fought game with us unfortunately going down by three. Our spirits were lifted quickly though as we traveled to beautiful Mount Maunganui straight after the game.
On day four, we looked around the town’s shops in the morning before walking up to the Mount summit in the afternoon. The hike was certainly a challenge, but the views from the top were worth it with amazing views of the Bay of Plenty region and coastline. We ended the day at the Mount Maunganui hot pools where we all relaxed for hours.
On day five, we journeyed to Rotorua where we took on the Luge. Although it took some of us a while to get the hang of it, with a few minor crashes and a lost ticket, we were all racing down the advanced track by the end. The gondola and chairlift rides back up to the top were just as fun, and the views of Lake Rotorua were stunning.
We later went to one of Rotorua’s most famous attractions: the geothermal geysers. It was here that we also experienced a traditional Maori greeting from the area’s native members. We had driven to Lake Taupo by the end of the day where we enjoyed a refreshing dip in the freezing lake and indulged in a typical kiwi dinner – fish and chips.
On day six, we endured a 6 hour drive to Wellington. It was here that we were lucky enough to watch an entertaining netball game between NZ franchise teams Wellington Pulse and the Canterbury Tactix.
On day seven, we spent the morning at the famous Te Papa museum, at which we walked through an amazing ANZAC themed exhibition. Later that afternoon, we moved off to St Oran’s Girls College where we played our third and final game. Despite us winning the game by over 10 points, there were no hard feelings as we all shared pizza at dinner before heading home with our billet’s for the evening.
On day eight, we all met back up at the school and said our final goodbyes to our billets. We spent our morning at the Weta Workshop where we learnt about the process of making different props for different movies including Peter Jacksons Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and how the massive life like soldiers were created for the amazing ANZAC exhibition at Te Papa museum.
We spent our final afternoon in New Zealand shopping before packing our gear and flying home the next day.
This years New Zealand netball tour was a truly memorable experience. We came face to face with Kiwi style netball, learned all about Maori and Kiwi culture, visited so many of New Zealand’s most exciting attractions and bonded as a team.
It really was a once in a lifetime trip and I, and the rest of my lovely team, will surely never forget it.
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