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Journals from University of Otago

2009-12-20 Trains, Planes and Automobiles

A couple of days ago, I was sitting in a ferry and I realized just how many different types of transportation I have used since I have been here. Airplane " So far, my journey has consisted of six planes rides that got me to New Zealand and Australia. Bus " The bus system in Dunedin is really good and makes getting to the beach really easy. I have also taken charter buses to get me to different cities in the South Island. The best charter bus I took from city to city was the Naked Bus. I was able to get from Dunedin to Christchurch and back for $18 each way. This price was very affordable and it was easy to use because the pick up and drop off were very close to campus. Kayak " As I wrote about in a previous post, I went on a kayaking trip through Unipol for an extremely good price. Unipol provides students with a great variety of similar activities at cheap rates. Train " As part of the International Student Orientation, we went on a train trip through the Taieri Gorge. This was the perfect way to meet new people and enjoy the amazing NZ scenery while staying warm during the cold winter. Shuttle " Traveling to the airport by taxi would be very expensive because campus is many kilometers away. There are many different shuttle services (such as a Southern Shuttles) that transport students to and from the airport for great prices. I paid $10 one time and $15 another. Taxis " Taxis are very easy to catch in Dunedin. Not only are they everywhere on the streets but they are easy to get on call as well. Dunedin is pretty small so the price of using a taxi from town to your flat is not too expensive. There were days that the sun would be shining bright and a few minutes later it would be pouring. Taxis were very handy during times like these. Car " Cars drive on the left side of the road in NZ and the wheel is on the right side of the car. I drove once while here and I have not been that alert while driving since I had my permit. Even though I was driving primarily on country roads I felt completely disoriented. What helped me was that the other passengers in the car were constantly reminding me of which lane to go to while turning and of other rules of the road. Bike " My accommodation (Toroa International House) provided bikes for its residents to hire (rent) for one day at a time for free. One day six of my friends and I used these bikes to get to the beach the only tricky thing was remembering to pedal on the left side of the road! Boat " One day I went kayaking at Abel Tasman. We had to take a boat ride to get to our starting point and a boat ride took us back to our cars. The funny thing about this boat ride was that once we docked, a tractor pulled us out of the water and then proceeded to drive us down the road to the car park. Skis " The UniFlats hosted different events for its residents. Even though I wasnt living in the UniFlats, my friends were able to get me on trips like this one to Queenstown. Snowboard " Another Unipol trip! Zipline " Zipline rides are available all over the place in NZ. I rode my zipline supaman style meaning that my back was strapped to the line and I rode down parallel to the ground. Zorb " Zorbing is one of the strangest adrenaline rush activities that NZ offers. A zorb consists of a smaller plastic ball lodged into a bigger plastic ball with the two balls connected by bungees. The smaller ball has water in the bottom and this is where the rider rides. You are then pushed down a large hill in the ball contraption. The best description I have heard of this experience is that it is like being a large washing machine. Ferry " Some of the best places I have been in NZ are via ferry. To see Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound properly, a ferry ride is crucial. The ferries allow riders to get up close and personal with the majestic beauty NZ has to offer. I also rode the ferry between the North and South Islands. This ferry allows you to drive across or people can be walk on passengers. Ice skates " 80s Ice Skating with Uniflats! Jetboat " I have been on two Jetboat rides and each was a different experience. I went on the Shotover Jetboat in Queenstown which goes down the Kawarau River. This ride was full of thrills as it goes down a relatively shallow river with huge rocky cliffs. While this ride was fun because of the thrill factor, since it was the middle of winter I felt as if it lasted forever. I went on the other Jetboat ride during the summer to Huka Falls. This ride was less thrilling as the river was lined by trees and was much wider making the 360 degree turns less nerve wracking. Since it was in the summer, I didnt mind getting wet and the ride didnt seem so long since I wasnt freezing. Bungee " There are many opportunities to bungee jump in NZ, AJ Hackett is the most popular and famous. This activity was definitely thrilling and was fun to do with friends. Gondola " I rode a gondola in Queenstown and the views at the top were amazing. Luge " In Queenstown there is a luge ride at the top of the gondola ride that is fun to race friends down. Feet " I walked everywhere in Dunedin. While it was easy to get taxis and buses were everywhere, as students (especially traveling International Students), walking was a great way to save money while seeing the city and getting exercise. To get to the center of town (The Octagon) from my residence was about 1.5km. I went this far at least 3-4 times a week. What I love about NZ is there are many different ways to see the country. There is a definitely a thrill seeking atmosphere that is easy to take part in. I made friends who werent as into thrilling activities but I was able to find leisurely activities to do with them while enjoying the scenery. New Zealand is a really cool country with lots of opportunities for everyone. I love it here.

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