Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trekking the Mighty Waikato

After a good sleep last night I'm up early and ready to go for my first full day in Hamilton. I've decided what better place to start my exploration of Hamilton than at is most dominant feature, the mighty Waikato River, New Zealand's longest at 425 kms. I opted against a guided river tour and instead since the weather was fine and I had energy to spare I set out to trek the banks of the river. I stroll along at my own pace enjoying the natural scenery, I even debate at one stage to take a dip in the river, but quickly change my mind after a rather cold toe test. After a couple of hours I arrive back at my starting point thoroughly exhausted and in need of a rest but content with my interaction with the natural environment and sense of accomplishment from the challenge, which I feel allows "true" cultural capital to be gained.

This is key among youth tourists in the search for authentic and "real" experiences, which represents a fundamental importance in their trip in order to truly gain valued cultural capital. In this sense the attractions and activities they interact with will be less structured and guided, being more representative of free and independent tourists (FIT). Authenticity also plays a role in dictating our travels as it is through this search for authenticity (and in a larger sense cultural capital) that can be seen to relate to larger issues of class and status differences based on the consumption of tourist experiences as positional goods (Moforth & Munt, 1998).

In light of my state of exhaustion, I felt I had earned a good lunch so I headed back from the river to the bustling cafe scene at the South End of Victoria St, where I sat in the warmth of the winter sun and watch the people hurry by.

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