Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spring Break!

The best part about having two winters is having two spring breaks! We had the full week off, so my flat decided to do a west coast trip. We left on Sunday on the warmest day since I've been here- can't wait for the warmer weather to stay! We drove to Queenstown (about a 4 hour drive) and crashed at a friend's house for the night.

Monday- To kick off our spring break we decided to go skydiving! It was the most incredible experience of my life. It was a gorgeous day, and we got to see an amazing view of the mountains and lake, with a rainbow off in the distance. Don't worry, as of now this is my last extreme sport planned.




After that adrenaline rush, we had to sit in the car for another 4 hours to get to the west coast. We made one stop in Wanaka, a pretty ski resort town. We're planning on going back there for our next weekend trip to ski/snowboard.

We found a campsite in Fox and decided to rough it for the night. We had a two person tent so Joe and Lisen slept there and me and Hannah took the car. It was another gorgeous view with mountains in the distance and a minute's walk to the rocky shore. Definitely not one of the most comfortable nights in the world as it was a tad freezing, but I'd do it again.

Tuesday- We woke up at sunrise to go hike the Copland Track. Once again we got incredibly lucky with weather and it was clear skies the whole way up. This track is much less steep than the other hike I did, but the paths were more rocky and less clear which made it quite challenging. It took us about 15 minutes to even get to the start of the trail since there was a wide river that was very difficult to cross. 

There were a lot more river crossings throughout the track but on a smaller scale. When the river was too wide to cross there were swing bridges which were quite terrifying since they were so high up. But we all made it to the top safely even though we were so exhausted. We claimed our spots in the hut then went to the natural hot pools that were a few minutes away- probably one of the most relaxing experiences ever.  After we couldn't take the heat anymore we ate dinner, played some cards, and were asleep by 8.





Wednesday- The last ones to get up of about 20 other hikers staying in the hut, we started the tiring trek back. Although we were all sore from the day before, the estimated 7 hour return only took us 5. Right after getting into our car, it started drizzling- did I say lucky? We went straight to a hostel and had some much needed rest. It was a super nice hostel, complete with a movie room that had a huge TV. We watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies since apparently it is a must see because it's filmed here, and people are always in shock that I haven't seen them.

Thursday- We started our last full day of our trip by going to Fox Glacier. It's melting at a rapid rate, so it was both shocking and unimpressive to see. 

We took a different route to get back home by going through Arthur's Pass. It's a scenic road that connects the West Coast to Christchurch. Along the way we stopped at Castle Hill, which is popular for bouldering. It was a lot of fun climbing on the rocks even though we couldn't do anything too intense since we didn't have any climbing gear.

That night we met up with some friends in Christchurch and decided to live the luxury life by staying in a hotel.

Friday- We were all tired so we made the 4 hour trip straight back to Dunedin.

It's been an amazing week, and I still can't believe how incredibly lucky I am to have all of these opportunities.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Christchurch

This weekend we went to Christchurch. The guy from the Czech Republic who lived in my flat the first few weeks was flying out of there back to Prague. So Hannah, Jamie and I went up to say goodbye. There isn't a whole lot to do in Christchurch since it's still in the construction phase after the big earthquake that happened over a year ago. But it was nice to see the town and get a little break from Dunedin.
On the way we stopped at the Moeraki Boulders, a pretty cool attraction right along the route we were taking. It should've looked like this:
But the high tides and foggy day made it look like this instead:
We also went to towns nearby called Littleton and Sumner.
 

All in all, a very relaxing weekend.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catlins


It's been raining for the past week, so I've just been taking it easy. Hannah taught me how to drive stick, on the left side of the road. I've been here long enough that the wrong side of the road actually felt normal, but driving manual was definitely tricky.
We took a chance with the weather on Friday and drove to the Catlins. There is so much to do there, so we left the house at 7am and tried to pack it all in just one day. Running on a full 3 hours of sleep, we went to McLean Falls, Curio Bay, Slope Point (the southernmost point of NZ), Matai Falls, Purakaunui Falls, and Nugget Point. It was a gorgeous day, and I got to see everything I wanted to except for the Cathedral Caves which were closed due to rough tides.