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Monday, February 19, 2018
Field Trip Name: 
Spirit of Adventure
Field Trip Place: 
Hot and humid

Kia ora koutou,

The Spirit of Adventure field trip is the perfect way to start the year. Over the next week you will take part in a five-day Inspiration Voyage onboard the Spirit of New Zealand sailing ship. The Spirit of Adventure Trust was set up over forty years ago and gives students from all over the country the opportunity to seek adventure and set sail. Over 75,000 students have taken part in Spirit voyages over the years and this week you too will experience what life is like at sea. 

Weather watch

The Inspiration Voyage is run each year to allow students with disabilities the chance to overcome barriers, develop confidence, work together and meet challenges. One of the challenges that we will all have to face this week will be the weather. Tropical Cyclone Gita is currently tracking its way south east and is due to hit New Zealand on Tuesday. Thankfully it looks like the Hauraki Gulf will escape the worst of the storm, but it’s certainly something we will all be keeping a watchful eye on.

The journey north

Your adventure began with a flight of over a thousand kilometres from Dunedin to Auckland. There were a few bumps as you left Dunedin Airport and headed north up the east coast. Clear skies soon turned grey, but Aoraki Mount Cook was easy to spot as it towered above the blanket of cloud. The clouds parted again above Nelson and you could clearly see the arc of Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island. It made me think more about the challenges of sailing. Being an island nation it's not surprising that sailing is popular in New Zealand, especially in Auckland.

Welcome to the City of Sails

Auckland is known as the City of Sails because so many people make the most of the sheltered harbours for sailing. Around one in three households own a boat and as you descended into Auckland Airport you could see why. Auckland is surrounded by water and with lots of islands not far from shore it seems like the perfect place to begin our sailing adventure. 

Life onboard

After a smooth landing you headed into the viaduct to meet the crew onboard the Spirit of New Zealand. The tall masts of the ship made it easy to find. The friendly crew showed you around the boat and to your bunkroom. This week you will be sharing the 45-metre-long ship with 50 people. It’s amazing how much can fit into such a small space. Bunks have been cleverly designed to make the most of the limited space and lots of cupboards allow safe storage of gear. You had to unpack everything into these cupboards, so nothing would roll around once you were out at sea. The first thing you learned was that anything that isn’t stored correctly, tied down or attached to something can become a hazard in big seas.

Leaving land behind

With the excitement of the journey ahead it was hard to sleep. The hot humid weather didn’t make it any easier. By morning everyone was keen to get through breakfast and escape the city. Once you had completed your safety briefing you were ready to leave land behind and head out into the Hauraki Gulf to not only learn how to sail but to meet new people and new challenges.

See you tomorrow,

Shelley the LEARNZ field trip teacher.


Shelley and the ambassadors prepare for their flight from Dunedin to Auckland to begin the Spirit of Adventure field trip. Image: LEARNZ.

Cloud drifted in as you headed up the east coast of the South Island. Image: LEARNZ.

You could see Aoraki Mount Cook towering above the clouds. Image: LEARNZ.

The ambassadors enjoyed a smooth flight north to Auckland. Image: LEARNZ.

The three masts of the Spirit of New Zealand ship were easy to spot at the Auckland viaduct. Image: LEARNZ.

Shelley and the ambassadors get ready to board the Spirit of New Zealand. Image: LEARNZ.

Meet members of the 2018 Inspiration Voyage onboard the Spirit of New Zealand. Image: LEARNZ.

The adventure begins as you leave land and prepare to explore the Hauraki Gulf. Image: LEARNZ.