As you can see at the heading of our page we are no longer in Auckland and have moved onto Wellington, at the very bottom of the North Island. VNTRbirds have been very busy moving in, checking the sites and enrolling in our courses, so yet again, we are behind. But we’ll get into all of that in the new blog which of course will be of Wellington! The most beautiful city TUB has ever seen. But going back into the past VNTRbirds were just about to leave Auckland on another trip to Rotorua for some fun, fun, fun!

Storing the luggage of about 23 people who each have at least two bags is not a pretty site. And on top of that, making it at 7am creates straight chaos. Once room 907 was crammed with luggage and some breakfast food that was supposed to last the entire week, everyone smooshed themselves into the elevators to make it to the bus to once again greet Chris. This time we would be on the bus for about 3 hours awaiting some of the craziest adventures.

Zorbing, being put into a giant hamster ball, adding extremely warm water and being pushed down a steep hill, is one of New Zealand’s greatest past times. While everyone was waiting for the van to bring them to the top to start their crazy ride, the man in charge, Pete, decided since it’s going to be a wait, that being ran over by a couple of Zorbs would be a good way to pass the time. Of course, everyone jumped on board with that! This Zorb is a big plastic bubble, and when it runs you over, it feels like a HUGE bouncy ball has just hit you. No pain, just a weird sensation that has everyone wait for another one to come down again.


After a couple of Zorb trend marks on TUBs’ backs these birds flew up to the top and got into line to start the insane decent to the bottom of the zigzagged course. Kelley was up first between the two birds. She dove head first into the Zorb and stood in the middle while a guy filled it with steaming hot water. This felt really good after waiting in a cold line in just your togs (bathing suit). Kelley walked and pushed the ball to start it rolling towards the slope, but without being able to see from the steam, the slope came quicker than expected and sat her right down. The next few minutes felt so long, Kelley was slipping and sliding around as if it was a waterslide, but able to go all the way in a circle. The water kept from any sticking and came splashing around. Jaime went next on the same course and stepped out with an ear to ear grin.  Watching the Zorbs roll down the hill doesn’t seem too intense, but when you’re inside of them it’s a crazy whirlwind! Lauren, Michelle and Melissa the orientation leaders all chose to do ‘theDROP’. The drop is a straight course with, well, a drop that shoots the Zober air born!



Eating lunch at the Fat Dog, which was awesome pumpkin and feta Paninis with some type of delicious vegetable soup, VNTRbirds were thinking nothing could ever top Zorbing. It is the most exciting thing that TUB has ever done. Well, guess again birds, up next is white water rafting. Now, white water rafting isn’t something that Kelley or Jaime would think as an event that people travel all the way to New Zealand for, but after the trip, VNTRbirds couldn’t wait to go again.

First things first, squeezing into a wet suit. No, wetsuits are not flattering at all! After the suit the next layers came on, a fleece, rain jacket, booties, life vest and of course a bright yellow helmet. Jumping onto the van to be taken up river, VNTRbirds met their river guides – they were some crazy bunch of Kiwis. After getting all of the safety information, the van arrived at the drop in destination. After saying a Maori blessing for the river to take care of each person while on the river, TUB was antsy for some action! Everyone had to carry their own rafts (7 to each plus a guide) and then set it into the river. Splashing in Kelley was in the front and Jaime was in the back with paddles at the ready. The first few minutes was just preliminaries. Working out the kinks so everyone in the raft paddled together and didn’t look like a drunken octopus. Even this boring part was fun, and the guides knew how to get everyone to laugh (sorry kids you wouldn’t be allowed on this trip).

The first rapids came into sight, FORWARD PADDLE! Quickly jumping into action these birds were paddling their hearts out. STOP! BACKWARD PADDLE! Again, using all the muscle in their little wings, VNTRbirds were sending the raft down river at a quick pace. Now the fun part about this particular river is the 7 meter waterfall everyone gets to raft over. This is the biggest commercial waterfall that one can raft off. When it came into view, the birds were ready, but nervous. With some powerful forward paddling, the raft raced into the rapids. GET DOWN, was barely heard from the guide in the back with all the sound of the rushing water, yet everyone squeezed into the seats grabbed the rope and ducked their heads for the free fall. Being sucked into the freezing cold river to be spit right back out within seconds was insane. Everyone in the raft made it through and stayed on the boat.


There were a couple of smaller falls after, but by then TUB were professionals. Jaime and Kelley got the opportunity to jump out of the raft and hold onto the side while gliding down the rapids floating on their backs. Kelley, though let go of the boat and was pushed down river in a heartbeat. Good thing this bird is part fish, because she had to challenge the current and make it back to the boat. Clinging onto a rock on the side of the river bank and her legs still flowing down, her guide plucked her right out of the river. Jaime was a champ and held on for the fun ride. Afterwards, with everyone back in the boat, the guide plunged the group into the rapids to lift up the back of the raft. Jaime, now in the front was completely submerged.  The trip came to a stop well before anyone wanted it to, but these memories will last forever.


Finally, rest was coming and a lot of down time once at the hostel. This hostel was very nice, grade A stuff in New Zealand. Everyone changed bathing suits to a dry and one, found some dinner on the main street, and went out to the natural sulfur springs for some spa quality relaxation. Yes, the spa was stinky like rotten eggs, but once inside and soaking in the steaming water all worries melt away. Though, VNTRbirds did think it was a little awkward when walking into the bathroom/ locker room to see a million naked ladies.

The next morning, the bus left for the three hour drive at 10:30. TUB was able to listen to some New Zealand music like Fat Freddy’s Drop and Black Seeds, which everyone should download and enjoy. The birds also watched a NZ film, BOY. This was a heart wrenching tale that unfortunately made Kelley cry at least 3 times, but she wasn’t the only one.  Jaime caught some shut eye and watched the NZ scenery floating by.
For the last night in Auckland, each person from the TEAN group got fancied up and all went out to a farewell dinner. Some would be staying in Auckland, some flying down to the South Island and VNTRbirds – Wellington. Champagne toasts followed the dinner with some dancing and laughs. This was a great way to say goodbye to all the friends that were made so quickly and easily. VNTRbirds want to say that we really hope you all still follow the blog and keep in touch so visits can be made and trip will be taken together!

Tomorrow VNTRbirds will be in Wellington. The final destination, well for a couple days at least!

– VNTRbirds