Johnny H travelled with a group of 11 adventurers to New Zealand’s South Island in February 2019.
The South Island is famous for its natural beauty and adventure activities.
The Johnny H tour ticked off many of the must-do sites and stops on a 12-day journey from Christchurch to Queenstown. An unscheduled landslip added to the adventure, adding a short diversion and some surprise stops to the itinerary.
There’s no doubt this group was up for the both the fun and the challenge!
For many this was a trip of ‘firsts’. For some it was the first time they had experienced activities like gondolas, jet boat and luge rides. For others it was their first time overseas or first time away from their family or carers. Some even did their own shopping, cooking and washing for the first time!
Whatever New Zealand had to offer, the Johnny H crew soaked it up — building some strong bonds, new skills and special memories along the way.
Top 5 highlights (as voted by the Johnny H group)
Shotover Jet boat ride was a huge highlight for thethrillseekers in the group. High speeds, narrow canyons, spectacular scenery, crystal clear water… it was all just WOW.
Spotting Kiwis at the Kiwi Birdlife Park, Queenstown proved popular for those super keen to see the famous flightless bird.
Ko Mane Maori Experience in Christchurch was a special experience for many in the group. The cultural evening included a traditional hangi dinner and performances. Mitchell and Jeremy were invited up on stage by the Chief to perform the haka, while Melissa and Ella joined the women for some traditional poi dancing.
Nature turned on a spectacular display as we cruised the Kaikoura coastline on our whale watching tour. We were fortunate to see two large sperm whales, lots of dolphins, some fur seals and albatross.
DIY dinners were a popular experience for our New Zealand group, with everyone pitching in to help out with everything from the shopping, setting the table, cooking and cleaning up. Go Team JH!
Landslips, detours and snow
Johnny H Adventures are never dull and New Zealand didn’t disappoint. Localised heavy rainfall caused a landslip which blocked the Southern Highway, preventing us from travelling from Greymouth to Frans Josef and Fox Glacier as planned.
A quick phone call back to Johnny H’s Gold Coast headquarters and a new plan was quickly hatched. The group returned south to Hokitika before continuing through Arthur’s Pass to Methven, and onto Wanaka and back to the planned itinerary.
The drop in temperature as we moved away from the coast and into the mountain was noticeable, as was the snow in the distance!
Thankfully the hotel owner in Methven had the fire going when we arrived which made for a warm welcome.
No fun was lost as new plans saw us check into Puzzling World, Wanaka where we made our way through the maize, tested our problem-solving skills at the games tables and experienced some weird and whacky illusions.
Kiwi Birdlife Park was also added to the itinerary in Queenstown, giving the group the chance to see a Kiwi along with other native birds and a enjoy a pleasant walk in nature.
Making a meal of it
A huge highlight of the New Zealand trip were the evening meals, planned and prepared by the whole group.
Many of the places we stayed were well set up for BBQ and self-catering, so the Johnny H group took advantage with a few DIY dinners.
We all worked together to do everything from grocery shopping, to food preparation, setting the table, cooking and cleaning up.
It was impressive to see the group searching the supermarket for items on the list, comparing prices, and making sure everyone’s tastes were catered for (no easy task!).
Everyone at more fresh fruit and vegetables than they probably wanted to and always had a ready supply of water.
Catering for a group of 14 with limited kitchen tools wasn’t without its challenges, though.
When spaghetti bolognaise got a run on the JH menu we had to find a way to cook enough pasta for everyone. By boiling a saucepan of water in each apartment, the spaghetti was cooked in batches and we got the job done – bellissimo!
The final word!
We really appreciate the support of parents and carers who entrust your children into our care to make these trips possible. Here’s what a few of you had to say about the New Zealand Adventure over in the Johnny H Central Facebook group:
Connie Fowler Well done Johny H what an achievement you have created for these lovely young people holidays that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Kerry Ley-Smith Ian talked all the way home and had an absolutely wonderful time. He was talking about wanting to save up for the Canada trip !!! Yay
Ella Callaghan I love my holiday with you guys. Hope you have rest today.
Bookings are now open for Johnny H Theme Park Express tour of Japan. Departing on November 2, this 10-day adventure includes 2 full days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. To register your interest and find out more, call 1300 053 001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Japan’ in the subject line. Our friendly team will be happy to help.