Saturday, 31 August 2013

Update After a Long Break!

Sorry it has been forever since I've blogged! It came from a combination of being swamped with work before the break, not having internet in my flat for around ten days, being generally busy with things and work before the break as well as most recently being on vacation in the South Island!

A lot has happened since the last time I've blogged, including taking my first exam and handing in my first papers of the semester, as well as a 6.2 magnitude earthquake a few weeks ago! However, the most exciting event is that I just got back from a week with 7 of my friends on the South Island for our first week of break! I'd been looking forward to this trip since we planned it near the beginning of the semester and it for sure did not disappoint. On Monday, we began our journey by flying to Christchurch, where we briefly spent some time in the city before hopping into our awesome purple and green van, which we used to get to all of our other destinations.

There is still significant damage and construction in Christchurch due to major earthquakes in February of 2012, as you can see in a lot of the pictures below. It was really shocking to see how much the city is still strongly affected, and how much is still being rebuilt. 

After eating in Christchurch, we went on to drive to Lake Tekapo, where we hiked to the Mount John lookout for the first of many beautiful views.

 The next morning, we did a shorter walk with views of Lake Alexandrina and then headed off to Mt Cook! We were admittedly unprepared to be entering a town with no grocery store or bank, but it provided a great two days of isolation, especially after coming from the city. Our hostel was also very homey and comfortable, which really added to the experience. Once there, we did a hike to see the Tasman Glacier.
View from our walk in the morning

Remaining parts of the glacier in the water, it has melted significantly due to climate change
The next day we had planned our longest hike, which was the Hooker Valley walk. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favor and we ended up spending our four hours braving the cold, sleet, and the strongest winds I've ever felt. Despite the facts that the visibility wasn't great, I was able to get a few pictures.
One of three bridges we crossed


 On Thursday we headed to Queenstown, but not until we did a hike to Kea Point, which gave us the ability to finally clearly see Mt Cook! Snow had fallen the night before, and the skies were incredibly clear which provided some breathtaking views.
Mt Cook

I don't know what these are, but they were everywhere and are painful
Once we got to Queenstown, it was time for a classic Queenstown dinner: Fergburger! I had been hearing about Fergburger ever since orientation, so it was an obvious choice for dinner for our first night. Its known for its delicious and HUGE burgers, and having a huge selection of them.
SO good
I was able to get a veggie burger made with falafel, which was great! That night, we explored the town and got some sleep in preparation for our activity on Friday which was...
Bungy jumping!! (Sorry Parents...)
Going into New Zealand, I was convinced that I would never bungy jump, however as the saying goes, "if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

5 of us did the Kawarau Bridge bungy, also known as the world's first ever commercial bungy. The drop is 43 meters (141 feet), which compared to other jumps is pretty tame (although still very, very scary). I've never had a more terrifying or more thrilling experience.

A little nervous...

 After the adrenaline rush, we spent the next day exploring Queenstown more before heading back to Wellington this afternoon.


 On Monday, I head off to Australia, and I will be sure to put up pictures from that trip as well! Thanks for reading :)

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