Saturday, December 1, 2012


From Sydney we flew to Fiji. Right from the airplane, we took a bus to Sigatoka where we were staying for 2 nights. We got in late afternoon and took a walk on the beach.

We befriended the fijian guys that lived at our backpackers. We played some rugby on the beach, and they taught us how to chop open coconuts.

Before we went to the next place, we took a bus to the Sigatoka markets. It was insane how many people they could pack on the bus- I sat on the floor. We didn't stay too long there however, since we were bombarded by all of the sellers. We were warned this would happen since we were obviously foreigners, but I didn't think it would be that intense.

The next hostel we stayed at was a step up, but did not have the awesome family like the first place. We mostly just hung out on the beach, swimming and laying in hammocks.

Before leaving to catch our flight, we made coconut bracelets. A Fijian taught us how to scrape, sand, and cut the coconut. Pretty cool.

Although we had planned to leave that afternoon, the airlines had a different plan in mind. We were delayed 8 hours, so they put us all up in a nice hotel. Ready to go the next day, they were 100 seats overbooked, so we volunteered to get bumped for compensation. They put us up in an amazing resorts- probably the nicest place I have and will ever stay in. With each having our own rooms and free food and drinks, we were living the life. 

The next day, the plane once again got delayed so back to the resort we went. Literally stuck in paradise! After a total of 3 extra days free of cost in Fiji, they eventually managed to get us a flight out.

36 hours later, I am home! Although I miss New Zealand like crazy, I am SO happy to finally be home!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Made it to Australia!!
Courtney, Elise, and I took an 8am flight on Sunday morning to Melbourne. We walked around the city for the day and met up with the rest of the crew that night at the hostel. 
The next day we took the tram into the center of town. We went to the National Gallery of Victoria, walked around Federation Square, and took a tram that looped around the city. 
Tuesday morning we went to the Victoria markets and then started our trip to Sydney.

This shot is of us seeing our first kangaroos. Pretty comical how excited we were, seeing as how there were many, many more kangaroos to come.

Continuing on, it was a pretty calm trip. We were surrounded by gorgeous landscape- nothing compared to New Zealand though! We made it to a small town called Cooma and decided to stay there for the night. The narrow roads filled with kangaroo obstacles were too dangerous to navigate in the dark. 

Wednesday we stopped at Canberra, the capital. The Senate was in session, so we watched them for a bit then took in the view of the city from the top. 

Afterwards we drove the final stretch to Sydney and stayed in a hostel in the center of town.
Thursday we went to the Taronga Zoo. It's a cool zoo, but I was quite disappointed to find out that it's illegal to hold a koala in the state of New South Wales. After seeing all the animals and viewing the koalas from a distance, we drove to Hannah's friend's place in New Castle and stayed there for the night.
For out last day, we drove around the city and had lunch by the opera house and harbor bridge. I was put as navigator- probably not the best decision they have ever made, but we made do.

Between the 2 weeks in New Zealand and Australia, we drove a little over 4000kms!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Traveling the length of New Zealand

And the 2 weeks of traveling begins!
Sunday morning at 8am, Hannah, Courtney, and I took the 5 hour bus ride to Christchurch. From there, we picked up our rental car and drove to Abel Tasman. We got in around midnight, and slept in our tiny car.
Monday we drove to the Golden Bay. It was so pretty that we decided to do a scenic flight around the bay. Such a great decision, it was so much fun.

 Afterwards we went to the Pupu Springs, a beautiful fresh water spring with crystal clear water.

 Then did a small hike to Wainui Falls.

After driving around Abel for a bit, we drove to Nelson and stayed at a hostel for the night.
Tuesday we took the 3 hour ferry from Picton to Wellington. We walked around town for a bit, then grabbed some takeaway and ate up at Mount Victoria.

We stayed at Hannah's friend's place 45 minutes outside of the city, at Raumati Beach. 

Wednesday we spent the day walking around Wellington. We saw Parliament and the Treaty of Waitangi, went to the Te Papa museum, rollerbladed on the waterfront, and even ran into Prince Charles!! 

We stayed with the same family again, and woke up early to go hike the Tongariro Crossing. Unlucky for me, my camera battery broke- using my friend's pictures for the rest of the blog. It was poor weather, but still a lot of fun. I ran into a girl that goes to UNC on the trail- small world! 

We stayed with another friend in Tauranga that night. The next morning we headed to Auckland. Along the way we stopped at Mount Manganui.

Next we stopped in Coromandel for the hot water beach and Cathedral Cove. At the beach, we rented a shovel and dug a hole in the sand to get to the hot water. The name was no joke- the water was HOT!

We stayed with my friend in Auckland for the night and just hung out for our last day in New Zealand.
Leaving tomorrow for Australia!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bye Dunedin

I never thought I'd get so attached to New Zealand and the people I've met here.
I already miss my dysfunctional family.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Final Week

I've been trying to make the most out of my last week in Dunedin. On Monday (Guy Fawkes Day) I went with my friend to Tomahawk Beach, went to a spot near Tunnel Beach and hit golf balls into the ocean (well for me, attempted to), and went up to Signal Hill to watch fireworks. I didn't bring my camera, so we went back again Thursday night so I could take pictures.

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup Day, so I went out to the Wingatui races. It's a big social event for the students here, and people get all dressed up. I won a few of my bets, but came out a few bucks in the negative. The biggest race, the Melbourne Cup, was a huge upset- a dollar bet could've made me a millionaire. Insane!

Wednesday I hung out around town with a couple friends. In the afternoon we went to Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world.

Today I finished my last final! And what better way to celebrate than go to Cadbury World! I went with Hannah and some kids she babysits for. With no more studying to do and a new chocolate stash, I could not be happier.

I cannot believe it's time to leave Dunedin. Time just flew by.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Last Weekend in Dunedin

Saturday I went surfing with my program. The day before was 26 degrees and sunny, but, typical Dunedin, it was 7 degrees when we went out to St. Claire and it hailed on our way back. Although we had wetsuits to bear the cold water, my hands and feet were still numb. Despite the cold, attempting to surf was so much fun. I was able to stand up a few times, but it's safe to say surfing is not my sport.

Sunday I went with Hannah and my friend Lucy to Lover's Leap and the Chasm out on the peninsula. Such a beautiful day to spend outside.
(Lover's Leap)
 (The Chasm)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It has been a week straight of studying. They take finals much more seriously here, as they are at least 50% of the overall grade.
It's finally getting to summer, so I've been able to enjoy the weather in-between studying. We went to Jamie's cricket game on the weekend and had a bbq during the week.
After my 3rd exam (I don't have another for a week), I convinced Lisen and my friend Courtney to drive up to Wanaka with me. I've been wanting to do a hike there, and it was the last chance to squeeze it in. We slept at our friend's parents house in Arrowtown and got in one last trip to Fergburger- SO good! We woke up early, drove over to Wanaka, and did the Isthmus Peak Track. The track goes up a mountain between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, with a view of Mt. Aspiring. It was probably the hardest hike I've done yet- 3 hours incline the whole way, then about 1.5 hours down. The views were incredible and completely worth the effort.

Tunnel Beach

I had the first week of the exam month period off. While others were studying, I went with my friend to Tunnel Beach. I went with my flat at the beginning of the year, but the weather was not all that great and the tides were too high. This time, it was sunny and we were able to walk down to the beach.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This week I've been having fun exploring more of Dunedin. Tuesday my Kiwi friend took me, Hannah, and Lisen cockle hunting at Purakanui Beach. To get the clams you have to dig an inch into the sand. We had a ton of success (got about 2 buckets full) and headed over to Long Beach to have a picnic on the sand. It was such a nice day- we even took a dip in the ocean. I only lasted a few minutes as it was absolutely freezing.

Friday I went to the organ pipes with the same Kiwi friend. It's a bunch of cool rocks to climb on near Mt. Cargill. A storm was coming in so we couldn't stay too long or we would've gotten blown over.

Saturday Lisen and I rented bikes. We biked over to the peninsula and had a picnic at the bay. Again a storm came in and cut our trip short. We got caught in a hail storm - not ideal. We had the bikes again Sunday so we went to St. Clair beach and hung out there for the afternoon.

Now I'm in the last week of classes. I had my farewell dinner with my program on Monday- can't believe it's coming to an end. I have one more month in Dunedin then will have 2 weeks to travel to the North Island, Australia, and Fiji before coming home. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Milford Sound

My flat plus another friend drove up to Milford Sound on Friday morning. Once again, we got incredibly lucky with the weather. It rains about 200 days of the year there, but we had clear, sunny skies for both days we were there.

Driving into Fiordland we stopped at Mirror Lake, and then had a picnic along the banks of Lake Gun.

We hiked part of the Routeburn track to Key Summit (on the opposite side of the mountain from my previous trip). It was only about a 2 hour hike to get to a stunning view of the area.

That night we saw our first glimpse of the Milford Sound, about a 10 minute walk from our hostel.

 The next day we went kayaking on the Milford Sound. Never been to a more beautiful spot.

Our group had an odd number so I kayaked with another American. He was an avid kayaker- I'd say I got pretty lucky.

 We got to see a fur seal and 3 penguins. So cute!

The wind was strong on the way back causing massive waves. Felt like we were in the ocean. Our guide put our kayaks together (there were 4 in the group) and hooked up a sail. Never even heard of sailing from a kayak so that was such a cool experience.

FYI: Daylight savings time here- now 17 hours ahead