Last year I took part in quite a special social media campaign. #Blog4NZ, as the project was called, was a grass-roots effort to promote travel to New Zealand after the Christchurch earthquakes. Travel writers and bloggers across the globe came together and produced articles, photo posts and videos on all things kiwi travel, to help the country’s tourism sector recover. As a fan of New Zealand I took part and wrote about my favourite experiences in New Zealand. As the campaign grew with support from travel media around the world, tourism operators reacted and put together prize packages, so that the winners could continue writing about the O for Awesomeness that is visiting New Zealand.
I was beside myself when I heard I had won, and I am equally happy now to announce that the day has finally arrived: I will be sitting on a plane to New Zealand next Wednesday, taking advantage of this fantastic package and touring the country with my friend Meagaan. We will embark on a 15-day epic adventure of cultural immersion and adrenaline-fuelled challenges.
Why this trip is special
But first things first. The aim of the Blog4NZ competition was to give a proper push to promoting tourism to New Zealand right after the terrible earthquakes on the South Island, to let everyone know that New Zealand – and Christchurch – are open for business. It also just so happened that my prize package consisted of some adrenaline-fuelled and frankly quite scary adventure activities. And so, in an effort to do justice to the adventure travel sector and help Christchurch at the same time, I thought this would be a good time to ask you for your support – my Blog4NZ tour will be a fundraiser for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. I may just need that extra bit of support to convince me to take part in all those crazy activities, and the organisers made sure I had a few sizeable personal challenges in there (more on that later). If you help me help Christchurch get back on their feet, I promise to do all the crazy stuff and tell you all about it right here on my blog.
Travel with me: support the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
The United Kingdom Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust was set up following the earthquake on 22 February 2011 by interested expat New Zealanders and the New Zealand High Commission in London to help the people of Christchurch following the major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Since its establishment, the UK Appeal has raised approximately five million dollars to assist Canterbury, both directly and through other charities. This funding has been used to support a variety of charitable projects in the Canterbury region, including community projects, sporting projects and educational projects. Your support of my Blog4NZ trip in form of a donation to the UK Appeal will allow them to continue to support the people of Christchurch as they rebuild their lives and communities.
It’s easy to show your support: donating to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal is quick and straightforward with MyDonate. You can give any amount you wish, by credit or debit card, and you can donate from wherever you are in the world. Just click on the button below:
So what might I get up to in Aotearoa?
I shall keep you posted on my travel companion, our sponsors and our itinerary, so be sure to check back here in a few days. But to give you a quick taster, the activities put together include:
- climbing an active volcano (Tongariro just erupted a couple of months ago, just to up the adrenaline factor a wee bit)
- diving with the sharks (no need to re-watch Jaws beforehand…)
- visiting the bubbling mud pits in Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland
- Lord of the Rings tours
- Maori cultural experiences, history and art
- bungy jumping
- walking around Auckland’s Sky Tower in 192m height (on the outside of the building, of course)
- rafting on grade 5 rapids (that’s badass)
and that’s just to mention a few.
I hope you’ll follow along as I embark on this trip and get a taste of the amazing things New Zealand has to offer!