Cosmin’s “Bucket List” Trip to New Zealand
International Warehouse Supervisor Cosmin Plavita recently returned from an incredible Trip of a Lifetime to celebrate his five years and counting as part of Team Arthrex. Read how Cosmin and his loved ones celebrated this milestone with Arthrex’s company-funded benefit.
“I would first like to extend my deepest gratitude to Arthrex for this amazing opportunity. This was truly a one-of-a-kind experience that checked numerous things off our bucket list and it wouldn’t have happened without its generosity.
We decided to do an epic road trip of both the north and south islands of New Zealand. My girlfriend [Service Parts Coordinator] Taryn Hernandez, one of our best friends, [3D Medical Animator] Ryan Grieff, and a group of other close friends started planning this trip well over a year ago. If we wanted to see everything on our itinerary, it would require driving 1,740 miles, roughly 38 hours, on what felt like the wrong side of the road. However, thanks to our meticulous planning combined with our go-getter attitudes, we were determined to see and do everything on our list.
We started in Auckland, the northernmost city in New Zealand. The trip started off with a bang, as the first thing on our itinerary was bungee jumping off the Auckland Sky Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. It stands 630 feet tall (53 stories) and, although it was terrifying, I can honestly say I would do it again in a heartbeat. We also got to visit the world famous Giapo ice cream shop, which is known for its ability to blur the line between art and food. I got a Hokey Pokey ice cream cone, which looked just as good as it tasted, if not even better!
Our next obligatory stop was Hobbiton, which was the filming location for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This was a must-do for us and every single detail was spot on. It’s located in the rolling hills of a private farm surrounded by sheep. The tour was capped off with a meat pie and an ale at the famous Green Dragon Inn. The next day, we drove to Waitomo and took a glow worm cave tour. This required us to navigate and swim through black water caves. We were rewarded with multiple views of the glow worms which emitted the most beautiful blue, bioluminescent light. After a long day of spelunking, we needed to recharge and took a trip to the Lake Taupo natural hot springs. The pools are built on top of natural geysers, so the water contains lots of minerals that are good for the skin.
We spent our last day on the northern island in Wellington, where we did a little shopping, a lot of eating and hiked to Victoria Point Lookout. The next day, we drove our van onto a massive ferry that took us three hours across the Cook Straight to the southern island of New Zealand. The next few days were spent traveling through Franz Josef Glacier and Lake Wanaka, where we saw the long Wanaka tree growing in the middle of the lake. After two full days of driving, we finally made it to Queenstown, which is known as an outdoor thrill-seekers’ paradise.
One of the highlights of Queenstown was the Nevis Catapult bungee jump. It’s a superman-style bungee that slingshots you 492 feet above the canyon floor at 62 miles per hour, while reaching 3G force. It was worth every second! Another fun activity was canyoning through the New Zealand wilderness. We rappelled down rock walls, jumped off waterfalls and into natural pools and floated down narrow chutes. Some of the other fun things we did included taking a cruise through Milford Sound, a 10-mile E-bike winery tour and a jet boat ride that reached 50 mph through Shotover Canyon.
One of the best parts of road tripping in New Zealand is the natural scenery that’s around every corner. You can’t help but pull over every couple of miles to take a picture. Lupines are a weird looking, colorful wildflower that grows in abundance all over New Zealand; however, peak bloom season is only one month out of the year. Luckily, our trip took place smack dab in the middle of peak season, which made for some real Instagram-worthy shots.
We discovered that New Zealand residents take an incredible amount of pride in their food and drink. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big city restaurant or a small café in the middle of nowhere, the food was always incredibly fresh, well prepared and finely presented. In addition, every single establishment that serves coffee has a state-of-the-art espresso machine, even the gas stations! It’s pretty much impossible to get tasteless, watered down coffee anywhere. What’s really funny is that every Starbucks we walked past was always oddly empty.
All in all, this was probably the best vacation I have ever taken in my life. Not only were we able to cross off multiple items off our bucket lists, but we were also pushed to our limits and out of our comfort zone to get the most out of these amazing experiences. I could not imagine experiencing this with anyone else but Taryn and our best friends. Thank you, Arthrex, for the amazing opportunity. This is something that will truly stay with us for the rest of our lives.”
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