Saturday, July 28, 2012

Victory Beach and Mt. Cargill

Another active weekend. On Friday my flat spent the day at Victory Beach in the Otago Peninsula. We had the entire stretch of the beach to ourselves.


Saturday I played in a pickup soccer game and then went with some friends to Mt. Cargill- about a 3 hour hike in Dunedin.


Sunday I played soccer again, this time with the Otago 1sts team. They had lost a lot of people to injuries and illness so they needed some extra players. I'll be playing with them again next weekend for their playoff game.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Queenstown

And it keeps getting better. Most incredible weekend ever.
Friday- 4 hour bus ride to Queenstown. As soon as we got there we went jet boating. Super fast boat on shallow water doing spins inches away from cliffs. Who knew it would be so terrifying? Afterwards we went to Fergberger, the most famous restaurant in New Zealand. We thought we were early enough to avoid the dinner rush, but we still had to wait 50 minutes for a to-go burger. Definitely worth the wait.

Saturday- Woke up at 6:30 to go to the Routeburn Track, one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand. The sunrise made up for the early wake up call. They wouldn't stop the bus to take pictures, but I managed to get a few good shots.

We hiked the 7 hour trail to Falls Hut. It was much more challenging than I thought it would be- better start getting in shape to keep up with the Kiwis. We trekked up the mountain, passed rivers and waterfalls, climbed on boulders, and played in snow.


Sunday- Another early start and action packed day. First we took a gondola up a mountain and did luge rides. So much fun and we got to see a beautiful view of the city.

Last thing on the list, and this was for you Mom, the Nevis Bungy!!! It is the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, third highest in the world. Most exciting and terrifying moment of my life. 134m high, 8.5 seconds of free fall.


video



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Signal Hill

Best day so far! I dropped my math class (way too difficult) and replaced it with a required business class. I got really lucky since the class only meets at one time, and it just barely fit into my schedule. It was past the drop date so I had to go through some trouble, but it was definitely worth the effort. Now I have no 9ams or any Friday classes. Looks like it's going to be a great semester.
After class a bunch of us went up to Signal Hill, which I've been wanting to do since I arrived. After about an hour walk, we got there at sunset. Such a pretty view of Dunedin.







Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sandfly Bay

This afternoon we went to Sandfly Bay in the Otago Peninsula. It's a beautiful beach that has sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins, both of which we were lucky enough to see.









Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jaffa Race

Today was the Cadbury jaffa race. 25,000 jaffa chocolates were released down Baldwin street, the steepest street in the world.
(the orange dots in the middle are the chocolates)

I met up with Julie and her kids right after the race and went out for lunch. We went back to her sister's place and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon. I plan to meet them again in Invercargill when it gets warmer and take a ferry to Stewart Island.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Classes and Botanic Gardens

Classes started Monday. They seem to be ok, definitely different from Elon. My lectures have anywhere from 50 to 200 people in them. There's also a tutorial for each class once a week, but they all start next week. I knew I wouldn't like most of the classes going into them because I'm taking history and literature, both of which I don't like. But I'm hoping they'll be alright. Finals are a month long and are at least 50% of the total grade, so I won't be able to judge how I'm doing until the end.
Other than classes, we've just been staying close by. I've been to the botanic gardens a bunch. They're less than a five minute walk away, and they have trails everywhere. Very easy to get lost though, so I make sure I have plenty of time.


The Water of Leith runs through the center of campus and alongside part of the gardens.
My favorite spot I've found so far in Dunedin, in the botanic gardens













I've also been fattening everyone up with my baking- chocolate chip cookies and chocolate oatmeal cookies- delish! It's hard to get used to the different measurements. Butter is in grams and the oven is in celsius. Somehow I've gotten away with not cooking until today. Besides not remembering to thaw the chicken (oops), I'm on my way to becoming master chef...not.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Train Ride and Tunnel Beach

This week I've been busy walking around the city of Dunedin. I've been to George St. a few times which is the main street in town with lots of shops and cafes. We went on a train ride to the Taieri Gorge Railway with all the international kids. Beautiful scenery, but my camera died after only taking a few pictures from inside the train.
The next day my flat took a trip over to Tunnel Beach, about a 15 minute drive. It's a very steep walk down (which made it difficult to get back up), and went down a tunnel to get to the rocks. It was high tide so we couldn't walk the beach, but we plan to go back.




Home Sweet Home


2 flights later, with no security or id check, I've arrived at my home away from home. No heat, no dishwasher, and a tiny kitchen, but I love it. It's a 5 minute walk to campus, 10 to town. I live with a New Zealand guy, California guy, Swedish girl, and a Czech guy who is leaving soon to be replaced by a California girl- all great people.






Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 3: Rotorua

Day 3: Rotorua

The last full day of Aracadia orientation we stayed in Rotorua. Although the entire city smells like rotten eggs from all of the sulfur, Rotorua has some really cool spots to see. We went to Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland which had a ton of geothermal hot spots, including Lady Knox Geyser.


After touring the park, we went zorbing- so much fun!



The last thing planned was going to the Tamaki Maori Village, where we got to see what the Maori culture is like. It is neat to see how much the Kiwis take pride in their heritage, definitely a unique aspect to New Zealand.


Day 2: Bus to Rotorua


Day 2: Bus to Rotorua

Today we bused to Rotorura, famous for it's geothermal activity. On the way we stopped for lunch at Matamata, which is now known as Hobbiton since it is where the Hobbit was filmed. People were excited to see the "shire" and took pictures at the hobbit hole... I have no idea what people were talking about or what the hobbit hole is.
Back on the bus, we went to the Argrodome farm show. We learned about all the different types of sheep, saw a sheep get sheared, and petted the crazy adorable little lambs.
The last stop we made was to Rainbow Springs, where we got to see the national bird of New Zealand, the kiwi.


Day 1: Auckland



After 28 hours straight of being in airports and airplanes, I have finally arrived in New Zealand. YAYY!

Day 1: Auckland

My group of about 30 students started our orientation by touring the city of Auckland. We walked around downtown near Auckland University and the Sky Tower. 



After stopping for a pie at a cafĂ© – not the greatest, I think I might have to find some other New Zealand signatures- we bused over to Cheltenham Beach. Here we were able to see an amazing view of the city. 


To see yet another side of Auckland, we went to Mt. Eden, a giant crater overlooking the city.