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Photo by Duncan Bond

Year 13 Geography Field Trip to Queenstown

Mr D Bond —

On Sunday morning 29th June thirty-five students, Mr Robertson, Ms Lee and Mr Bond set out on the annual field trip to Queenstown.

The purpose of this trip was to conduct research into tourism development in the Queenstown Lakes region and to see if the current growth is sustainable. To be sustainable it had to meet the three interdependent criteria of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Students learned how to gather quantitative data by approaching residents, tourists and then using a range of methods to measure this valuable information. They also added collected qualitative information  from various interviews with Skyline Gondola, the Police, Rees’s Hotel, Gibbston Valley Winery, Queenstown Lakes Museum and from a Regional Planner for the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Amongst all this hard work with speeches, traffic counts, surveying, environmental quality surveys etc, we also incorporated a range of tourist activities. We had a range of activities and experiences to show the depth of the tourist development in the region. One excursion was zip lining at the famous Kawarau bridge. Some students (and Mr Robertson) were feeling adventurous and completed a bungy jump - one student’s shriek of terror reverberated through the canyon causing a minor slip! Other tourists' experiences covered the traditional  (a trip on the Earnslaw and a visit to Walter Peak station) and the new  (a visit to the Fear Factory). Many students overcame their fears with tears. Ms Lee preferred to confront her fears vocally for all of Queenstown to hear. Mr Robertson and Mr Bond suffered tinnitus as a result.

Another activity included was the Skyline Gondola and Luge ride. Students got to hear about the sustainability efforts of the company and their plans for expansion. The students gained a valuable insight into how a tourist business operates and the effect it has on society and the environment. Of course, a luge ride was included where many students showed off their lack of cornering ability and demonstrated why third party insurance should be compulsory!

Of course, this trip was not all guest speakers, work and tourist activities. Students learned to work and cook together and it is fair to say everyone improved. Many fond memories were made such as; intense and painful rounds of cards, giant jenga tackling and table tennis Some cooking groups focusing on two food groups extensively; meat and carbohydrates while neglecting the rest of the food triangle.

This trip made many happy memories for staff and students. None of this could have been done without Ms Lee, her extensive organisation of students and staff made for an exemplary trip. We would also like to thank Ms Lee’s loyal band of followers Mr Bond and Mr Robertson for their efforts over the five days.

Ngā mihi