Friday, 29 May 2015

Crunch Time

In the past weeks I have only really been reporting on all the fun adventures we have taken, but have not really talked about life in New Zealand. So I am dedicating this post to getting real with you all...

I'll start out by saying my body is the most confused at the moment. It is May, days from June and I am freezing cold. Bundled up and snuggled up on frosty nights. The leaves are turning and falling, the air is brisk, and no more sweaty hiking days. This is fall (autumn as they correct me) in the Southern Hemisphere folks! I am seeing fewer and fewer kids walking barefoot to class. The shorts are still being worn but they are slowly turning to jeans and scarves. I am ready for summer, I feel like I didn't get a long enough one at the beginning of this semester. Looking forward to heading back to the Northern Hemisphere summer!

Friday, 1 May 2015

South Island Road Trip

We recently had a two week break in our semester that we took as a chance to see the entire South Island of New Zealand. I was accompanied by two other girls and we hiked and camped nearly every day by ourselves (just had to brag a little bit :)). We started our journey by flying down to Queenstown and heading south with only a rental car, our cheap tent, and a weeks worth of clothing and food. We made a stop at a hidden cave in Clifden. We had to use insider info to follow a gravel road to a tiny sign on the side of the road and a little hole in the wall. It was all self-serve so we got to see some cave formations and glow worms up close and personal! We continued south to Slope Point (the southern most point of the South Island), and stayed in Catlins Forest Park. It was a beautiful spot with clear skies and a lurking sea lion at our campsite on the beach. We then continued up to Dunedin and Moeraki Boulders, then headed inland to the west. We continued up to Mount Cook and hiked the Hooker Valley track on a very foggy day. We were hiking in belief that the mountain-tops ended where the low clouds began, but luckily found out that we were very wrong! We got a surprise visit from Mount Cook, which was one of the coolest events of the entire trip. After our short stay in Mount Cook National Park, we made our way up to Christchurch where we were urged to stay in a hostel due to the dropping temperatures. We hiked the Godley Head Taylor's Mistake track under blue skies and headed down to explore Christchurch, but were quickly drenched from the autumn storm that snuck up on us. We headed north after that rainy day to Kaikoura where we got to see a seal colony and strained our eyes to see whales in the bay. We continued north still and got to see Marlborough Sound before heading west to Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park where we got to see Split Apple Rock and a great lookout from a mystical forest hike. We headed south from there and started seeing our first glimpses of snow on the mountaintops. We were soon along the west coast at Westport and Greymouth. We stopped to see the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes and then headed southward to Franz Josef  and Fox Glaciers which have receded dramatically over recent years. We continued along the west coast to Mount Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka before being reunited with Queenstown. Our last leg of the journey was spent in Fiordland National Park at Milford Sound and Marion Lake. After quite a few freezing nights, sandfly bites, sore feet, and too many peanut butter sandwiches we concluded our journey back in Queenstown before flying back to our New Zealand home. Here are just some of the things we did during the two weeks....
I will post more details at a later date. :)