I have finally adjusted to life here at Otago and have been enjoying every moment of it! The last couple of weeks before mid-semester break was the most stressed I’ve been here because of mid-terms. However, it still did not compare to the stress I feel at Linfield. This was mostly because my mid-terms here were spread out and the beaches here are just a short 10-minute drive from campus which makes for the perfect study break.
Luckily, the mid-semester break occurred right after my mid-terms. Most people took advantage of this break and went on trips to Australia or some of the other Pacific islands such as Fiji or Tonga. Instead of doing this, I decided to do a trip with the tramping club. Tramping is a term they use here in New Zealand to describe backpacking. This mid-semester break, the tramping club planned a five-day trip to the Copland Hot Springs. The trip included transportation, breakfast for all mornings, dinner for most nights, and accommodation at two hostels. All of this only cost about NZ$180. In total, there were about fifty of us. I would highly suggest going on a trip with the tramping club here since it is a mix of both kiwis and international students and you definitely get your money’s worth.
Because the Copland Hot Springs is located on the west coast of the South Island, the drive there made us cross over Haast Pass, one of the most beautiful areas in New Zealand. While driving over the Pass, we stopped at the Blue Pools where some of the braver people jumped in the water and various scenic points.
The first night we camped at Lake Paringa where we were separated into groups for group dinners. My team leader, Kevin, made us Pasta Carbonara. Though we tried not to be biased, everyone in my group believed that we had the best dinner out of everyone at the campsite and from then on, we referred to our group as “Team Carbonara”. The morning after, we awoke under the fly nets to dew on the grass and a wonderful view of the lake. I think one of my most favorite things about camping has been arriving at the campsite when it’s too dark to see anything and then waking up to the morning light and seeing just how beautiful it is.
From Lake Paringa, we then set off to the start of the Copland Track. The Copland Track is about 11 miles one way. This was my first tramping experience and within the first five minutes, my shoulders were already sore from my backpack. We started the track singing to popular tunes until we realized that we were all out breath by the end of “Bohemian Rapsody”. Despite the pain and the 5 hours of walking, the views we saw were worth all of it. What’s more, at the end of the hike we were greeted by the steaming hot pools and a sunset over the mountains.
After the hot springs, we were lucky to stay in a hostel near Mahinapua Beach and lake!!
The tramping trip also included a stop at Franz Josef Glacier and Arthur’s Pass :))
The first part of my mid-semester break was simply breathtaking (literally) and the people on my trip made it worthwhile 🙂