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As somebody who really wants to make a difference in the world, the idea of traveling to another country such as New Zealand and working as a volunteer rather than just being another tourist sounded like a very exciting and rewarding experience. I had never traveled outside of the United States before, and I had never traveled on my own. To do both in one trip was a crazy and amazing experience for me. After 21 hours on five different planes, I finally arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand. I then had to catch a 3 hour long bus ride to Greymouth! But along the ride I got my first views of the beauty of New Zealand. Our bus traveled through some beautiful mountain ranges and we arrived on the incredible West Coast. After meeting the volunteer leader in Greymouth, I met the rest of the volunteers and settled into the volunteer house. Being in the temperate rainforests of the West Coast truly felt like walking through a scene in Jurassic Park, with the tall cliff faces covered in giant ferns overlooking the rolling ocean below. But the most rewarding part of my trip was meeting the rest of the volunteers, and spending two weeks in a new country while working and traveling around the West Coast! 

Hokitika Gorge - Volunteer in New Zealand

I was glad that volunteers had the entire weekend to go off and explore what New Zealand had to offer, because there was so much to see! Unfortunately, the weather limited the activities we could do during my time there, but we all still had a blast! If it wasn’t raining too hard, then we threw on our rain gear and hiked a trail.  Or if it was pouring than we stayed inside and played pool, or watched movies. But the location of the volunteer house was perfect, because we were a short walk from amazing trails such as the Truman Track and the Bullock Creek trail. I went for a walk every single day and had total freedom to explore after work. And since it was summer, the sun began to set at 9:30 pm, and there was plenty of time from getting off work at 4 to go do anything I wanted!

Pororai River - Volunteer in New Zealand

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone that loves the environment and traveling, and wants to make a difference! To anyone considering this trip, I would highly recommend a comfortable set of waterproof boots, a reliable rain jacket and rain pants, and a nice camera. Also it would be a great idea to find a backpack that is water resistant and can hold everything you need to travel.

Volunteers in New Zealand