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Reisverslag Mid semester break to New Zealand
5 mei 2015
Mid semester break to New Zealand
You know you are a real exchange student when you procrastinate writing essays by writing blogs instead.
A few weeks ago I went to New Zealand. During my trip I wanted to document at least a little bit, so I decided to write some stuff down on my phone and called it “NZ top moments”. Prepare for a long post!
First, Queenstown. I arrived in Queenstown in the afternoon and I was very cold and hungry – the security check at the airport took about two hours and resulted in me having to throw away two carrots I brought from Australia. Luckily no fine, though. Even though I was cold and hungry, I still wanted to see a bit of the city and decided to go for a walk in the sunset. While walking I found this amazing bakery and ate the best minced meat pie so far in my life! Very note-in-my-phone-worthy, I must say :)
The next day I had planned a trip to the legendary Milford Sound. Unfortunately, the weather gods weren’t on my side that day - there were warnings of 30 cm of snow – thus my tour was cancelled. I had to find a last-minute replacement and ended up going on this jetboat trip. This is a boat that races to the canyons at 80 km/h and does 360 degree turns. It was amazing. Not just because of the heart-throbbing speed and overall scary-ness, but also because of the amazing nature we raced through. Think Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones forests and mountains. Consequently, almost the best part of this trip was the ride towards the canyon. The driver of our van raced on tiny cliff-side dirt roads through an amazing landscape. Don’t try this at home.
The next day I already left Queenstown to go to Christchurch. I went by bus and I was so happy I did, because at night snow had fallen on the mountains. The views were breathtaking, even when we had to wait 2 hours in the cold because of a problem with the bus.
While we were waiting for another bus to arrive, I talked to an older lady who traveled with us. She was from Christchurch and told me about her experience with the earthquakes. It was a very powerful experience for me to hear how this lady’s life had completely turned on its head after these horrific events. In the news you always hear about these things, but it never really comes close. In Christchurch it did come close. It was really terrible and amazing at the same time to see all these buildings torn apart. The city felt like a ghost-city, the only people on the streets were construction workers and tourists like me. Adding to the haunting feeling, it was also very very cold. When I went back to the hostel though, I met this really nice French girl and did a little walk with her. At night, she shared the most amazing New Zealand lam with potatoes with me, which was very generous. Best lam ever!
The next day I went up to Picton to take the ferry to Wellington in the North Island. The bus had a rest stop at the most wonderful place: a black-pebble stormy light-blue beach with a view on snowy mountains. I took some pictures, but couldn’t really capture the moment. I will never eat peanut butter on old bread on a better spot.
After the bus trip I took the ferry to Wellington, which was quite the adventure on itself. The storm had increased in power and the waves were now on record heights, the captain at some point even said they were almost 10 meters high! As you can imagine, it was horror on board. Everywhere around me people were being sick, things were falling of shelves in the café and the waves made horrifying sounds. I was happy when we arrived to shore. A world-class kebab, good night sleep and a free pancake breakfast later, I was already on my way to Rotorua.
Rotorua was amazing. It started on the way there. From the bus, the landscape changed dramatically. From a bright blue foaming see, to beautiful snowy mountains and glaciers, to my first volcano sighting, to green rolling hills with sheep and a dry volcanic no-man’s-land with only low shrubs. Our lunch stop during this drive was at Lake Taupo, an enormous blue lake surrounded by mountains.
In Rotorua I met up with two friends from Macquarie Uni. It was very nice to see some familiar faces and hang out a bit. The next day I visited two national parks: Waimangu and Wai-o-tapu. Even though something initially went wrong with my tour booking, I had the most amazing day! The landscape was just bizarre and totally different in both parks, although the sulfur-smell (like rotten eggs) was the same everywhere. Wai-o-tapu was kind of a touristic volcanic wonderland with beautiful colors, boiling mud, hot water pools and geysers. The lady knox geyser was especially interesting here, because it showcased the nature’s true hidden power. It also showcased a lot of Chinese people with a lot of cameras.
Waimangu was a more natural, quiet place, but I liked it much more than Wai-o-tapu, because it felt like I was walking in Jurassic Park, with the smoking rocks, big old trees, surprising geysers and hills. I really expected to find a Tyrannosaurus Rex at every turn, haha! The fact that our little group included a geologist, who encouraged us to ignore ‘DANGER – DO NOT WALK HERE’-signs and discover great spots, made it extra special.
At night, I spontaneously booked a Maori Village Experience Tour. Very interesting to learn something about the Maori culture, although it did feel extremely touristic and fake. The great meal and haka with the protruding eyes and tongues made it still a cool experience.
After Rotorua, I went to Auckland. The city reminded me of Sydney, with its beautiful harbor sights. At the harbor, I spend some lovely time reading a book in the sun and looking at the stunning sunset. I also conquered One Tree Hill and made an epic city walk. A great ending to this amazing (and way too short!) trip.
Now I have to study a bit again, but don’t worry: in a week I will go on a surf weekend! After that I will have to study for my exams unfortunately, before I leave on an already epic trip along the east coast of Australia in a campervan! Can’t wait.
13 mei 2015 14:53 | Door: Fleur Jansen
Superleuk om te lezen, Mickey! Succes met studeren en veel plezier met de rest van je mooie reis! :)