Forecasts of heavy snow and possible road closures were proven to be wrong and the Year 13 Geographers with Ms Lee, Mrs Brouwer and Mr Bond made it through to Queenstown for our five day excursion.
The purpose of this field trip was to assess the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the Queenstown region through primary research. Students learned how to gather quantitative data by approaching locals, tourists and using a range of methods to gather this valuable measurable information. They could not rely on one source of primary data, and so they also collected qualitative information as well from various interviews from Skyline Gondola, Queenstown Airport, Gibbston Valley Winery, Queenstown Lakes Museum and from a Regional Planner for the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Among all of these speeches, traffic counts, surveying, and environmental quality surveys, we also incorporated a range of tourist activities. The gondola and luge were highly enjoyable - students dodged not only each other but snow flurries on the track. They then followed this up with primary research where they evaluated the Council's impact on managing the tourist footprint in the city centre and the lakefront. We also enjoyed more sedate tourist activities with a glorious trip on the Earnslaw and enjoyed classic southern hospitality with a farm tour and copious amounts of scones. Many students decided scones would count as lunch, snack and dinner.
Another highlight was hearing from Chris Read an international airport consultant who flies around the world helping airports manage their growth. He gave a valuable insight on the operation of the Queenstown airport. He explained how its growth underpins the region economically and how it interacts with the residents. Students also learned about the phases of growth through the excellent educator at the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown. The students also found the talk from the police around crime in the area interesting and topical.
Another excursion was with zip lining at the famous Kawarau bridge. Some students were feeling adventurous and completed a bungy jump. Many regretted asking to be dunked into the river and should have brought a spare set of clothes. Meanwhile a music student demonstrated her abilities in the gorge for all the world to hear. On the last night many students decided on a visit to the Fear Factory. Many students overcome their fears with tears. While, Mrs Brouwer confronted her ghost physically.
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; games of spotlight, marshmallow roasting and table tennis (some cooking groups focusing on two food groups extensively; meat and carbohydrates while neglecting the rest of the food pyramid. Scurvy was only just avoided!)
This trip made many happy memories for staff and students. None of this could have been done without extensive organisation from the staff and the positivity and helpfulness of the students.
Mr Duncan Bond