It’s been awhile since my last journal entry and I apologize for that. I had a lot to do with wrapping up classes. I only had nine assignments all semester and five of them were due in the last week of classes. They were not hard assignments at all, just a lot stacked up on top of each other.
We had a week’s “Study Break” between classes ended and the finals period the next two weeks. So four other girls and I went on a road trip of the southern half of the South Island.
We started out in Dunedin, a five hour’s drive from Christchurch. Dunedin was a Scottish settlement, so it has a different feel than other cities in New Zealand. It’s a good size town, about 120,000. The architecture is amazing. Even their train station! We went out to a beach where sea lions play and the yellow-eyed penguins come ashore at night to sleep. Penguins are not really designed to walk on land, but especially not to climb up steep, sandy hills! We got up the next morning and went to the Cadbury chocolate factory, not really my thing as I don’t like chocolate. Oh well. We also saw the world’s steepest street. The street is so steep that there are stairs instead of sidewalks! We walked up it (I ran part of the way because I’m a crazy runner) and then rolled an orange down the street.
Then we drove on to Te Anau, gateway to the Fjordlands National Park. The Fjordlands are gorgeous, but not easily accessible. They really don’t have roads that lead into the park, so we didn’t get to see very much. The Kepler Track is one of the Great Walks of the world and it starts out near Te Anau. We walked on the track along Lake Te Anau for a couple hours. I had my running shoes in my pack so I put those on and ran back.
I think the theme of this road trip, actually my whole time down here, is that New Zealand is gorgeous. You can drive for not even an hour and come up with a totally different scene. Queenstown is on a lake, framed by snowy mountains. Queenstown was quite touristy, but still fun. It was nice that it wasn’t peak tourist season. We went to an Ice Bar, a big tourist attraction, and kids can even go in. They give you parkas and gloves to wear. The entire room is made of ice. I had a juice off the kid’s menu.
The last full day of our trip we drove to Wanaka. Wanaka is also on a lake, and there are 360 degrees of mountains that take your breath away.
I have two weeks left down here. I really don’t want to leave--I’ve never found a place that fits me as well as New Zealand does--but at the same time I cannot wait until June 29th when I see my family and Chris in SeaTac.