Monday, June 13, 2011

Cape Reinga

Two weekends ago my friends and I went on our last weekend trip to Cape Reinga, the northern most tip of the North Island. After traveling throughout most of the country I have to say this was my favorite location. In Cape Reinga we rented a house on the beach, which turned out to be much nicer than we expected. We went sand boarding, to 90 mile beach and to the light house. Sand boarding turned out to be a lot more fun then we all imagined it would be. We rented boogie boards from a gas station down the road from the dunes and slid down the sand piles for about four hours straight! However, my favorite part was the light house. The light house in Cape Reinga is located where the Tasmanian Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Sitting on the edged of the island looking out at the water that never seems to end was breath taking.
The past couple of weeks I have been concentrating heavily on studying for finals as they are worth 50-60% of my final grade. Although I have been studying excessively lately I did manage to go to my first rugby game last week. The blues, which is the Auckland team againstt he Cheifs. The Blues lost but it was still a fun experience. A few days ago we put the van up for sale. It’s hard to believe this trip is coming to an end. I’ve been trying not to think about saying goodbye to all the friends I’ve made here but the thought is constantly running through my mind. When I first got here I was so proud of myself for having the courage to leave my friends and family back home; I couldn’t imagine anything being more difficult. But as my time here is winding down I’m starting to believe that leaving this country which has taught me so much about my character and what life has to offer, will be even more of a challenge.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hey! Sorry haven’t posted in a while. Since the last post I’ve traveled: down the east coast of Australia from Brisbane to Sydney, throughout the south island of New Zealand, including, Christchurch, Mount Cook, Queenstown, Fox Glacier, Gray mouth, Wanaka and Abel Tasman. Since that trip I’ve been to Rangitoto, the Coromandel Peninsula, and Waiheke again. Rather than going into depth about each place I’ll post some of my facorite pictures.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Classic Bay of Islands

I know I said I wasn’t going to go on a trip this weekend but it gets hard to resist when all your friends are planning a trip to the Bay of Islands.

Friday afternoon we left for Paihia. This was probably the most fun and relaxing weekend we have had so far. When we first arrived in Paihia we dropped our bags off in the hostile and headed down to the beach. We spent all night switching between the beach, the hot tub and the pool. The next morning we woke up late and headed down to the beach where we rented kayaks and paddled around a few of the islands. The first island we arrived at we hiked up a mountain and saw a gorgeous view of the bay. When we arrived at the next island we all jumped out of our kayaks and went for a swim. I had never kayaked before so I was really excited that we had the opportunity to do this. After we went Kayaking we drove about a half hour away to where this big rock was on top of a mountain. We climbed all the way up to the top and watched the sun set. I love watching the stars and the sunsets here; they’re completely different then they are in New York. When we got back to the hostile that night my friends and I barbequed steaks (everyone else in the hostile was jealous). We spent the night hanging out on the beach again like we did the night before.

The next morning we all woke up early to go sailing. We headed down to the dock at about nine AM and spent the day on the boat. The boat took us to a spot where we could see dolphins swimming and playing in the water. At one point we stopped at an island where we hiked up a mountain and went snorkeling. After sailing we headed back to Auckland.

I’m glad I went to the Bay of Islands because it was so much fun. However, now I only have three days before I leave for Australia and I have a million things to do before going. I have to work on a paper, study for a test, register for classes, pack, and book hostiles and car rentals etc.. I have to just remind myself that I always accomplish what I set out to do and in the end and everything will get done and this trip coming up will be one I remember for the rest of my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Hi! I hope everyone is enjoying the posts! This weekend I had a trip planned to go to The Bay of Islands but it got canceled last minute due to rain in the forecast. Instead, I spend Friday at Devonport, Saturday at the Auckland museum, and Sunday canyoning. Devonport was kind of boring. We were planning on going to Rangatoto but we missed the ferry by two minutes. Instead of waiting two more hours for the next ferry we decided to go to Devonport a small island right outside of Auckland. When we first got to the town we climbed Mount Victoria, a small mountain where the city skyline is clearly visible. As soon as we got down the mountain it started pouring rain. We spent the next hour of so sitting in a pub with our guide book for the east coast of Australia (Where the girls and I will be going in only 12 days!!!!!!). When the rain finally let up we headed back to town. That night we had a quiet movie night and made “family dinner”. On Saturday I spent most of the day writing a paper and catching up on some studying. Around four o’clock I headed down to the Auckland museum which is free and only about a 10 minute walk from Huia. My favorite part of the museum was the volcano exhibit. Sunday I went canyoning. By far this was my favorite part of the weekend. Canyoning is climbing, sliding, and jumping down waterfalls. I feel like the best way to describe canyoning is by looking at the pictures! Next weekend I don’t think I’ll be going on any trips so I can work on studying and assignments before the mid-semester break begins. For the first week of the mid-semester break Haley, Keri, Rafiella, and I are spending the first week driving down the east coast of Australia from Brisbane to Sydney. From Sydney we are flying into Christchurch where the boys will pick us up to tour the south island of New Zealand for the second week. Hopefully the next time I post ill have some great stories and pictures!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hi everyone! To catch you all up on my weekend a bunch of my friends and I went on a trip to Rotarua and Lake Taupo. Rotarua is a town about five hours south of Auckland best known for their volcanic lakes, geysers, hot water springs, mud pools, and multicolored lakes. Near Rotarua is Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s biggest lake. There are a lot of fun activities to do near Rotarua so we decided to spend the weekend there.

We left Friday afternoon and arrived in Rotarua at about 6:30 at night, just in time for the Hangi we had scheduled prior to leaving. A Hangi is a Maori tradition of singing and dancing along with cooking an entire meal in a six foot hole in the ground. In my residence, all of my kiwi friends have been telling me I have to go to a hangi while in here. I’m glad they suggested it because it was a lot of fun AND delicious. When we first got to the Hangi we watched the Maori people do an intimidating dance. Then we took a tour of their village and got to learn about their culture and how they live their lives in the community. When the educational part was over we went and watched the Maori people sing, dance and play instruments a little more until it was time to eat. We watched the food being taken out of the six foot hole in the ground and they explained how cooking the food in the ground conserves energy and is the healthiest way to cook. That night when we all decided that we haven’t been that full since we arrived in New Zealand.

When we left the Hangi we went to check into our hostile. This was my first time staying in a hostile and it turned out to be a lot of fun! My friends from Huia rented a car and left earlier Friday morning so seeing them at the hostile was the first time we had met up on the trip. The first thing we did when we opened the door to our room was claim our beds by running up to one dropping our bags and jumping on them. Soon after claiming our beds we decided to push all the beds together and have a sleepover party.

The next morning our plan was to wake up early and go see a geyser erupt followed by going to lay in mud pools, see hot springs, multicolored lakes and hot water springs. However our plan didn’t go accordingly. The shock protector fell off our van and a part was scraping against the ground. We had to bring the van to a mechanic and wait around for over two hours for it to be fixed. When the van was finally fixed we had just enough time to go see the hot water springs at the thermal village. We saw how a community uses the natural hot springs to their advantage in their everyday lives. We also learned a lot about how natural hot springs are formed. When we left the thermal village we stopped by Huka Falls a huge water fall near Lake Taupo. On our way to the campsite where we were planning on camping that night we stopped at Lake Taupo for a swim in New Zealand’s largest Lake. It was a little cold but it was a really hot day and we had a lot of fun.

After leaving Lake Taupo the trip exponentially picked up in excitement. WE WERE NOW ON OUR WAY TO MOUNT DOOM!!!! We drove about two hours from Lake Taupo to Tangariro National Park. As we drove into the park the sun was setting and we were driving though gigantic mountains listening the Lord of the Rings soundtrack (obviously). We arrived at our campsite and we were all anxiously waiting for morning to come so we could start the Tangariro Crossing. The Tangariro Crossing also known as “The Lord of the Rings Walk” (which is not a “walk” at all) is considered the best one day hike in all of New Zealand. The Crossing is 19 kilometers or about 13 miles long, with constant changing of landscape; in many areas of the crossing it looks very similar to the path Frodo takes, as it’s the exact location where the film took place. As a huge Lord of the Rings fan I was EXTREMLY excited about the walk although it was very strenuous. Most of the time we were climbing up hill and shuffling down rough terrain, at one point we walked up stars for an hour straight. Although the hike was intense it was worth every second of it and we all felt accomplished when it was over.

Hands down the Tangariro crossing was the best part of the weekend. That night driving home we all fell asleep in the car until we arrived back in Auckland. Every week I say the same thing, “Nothing can top this”. But every single weekend my expectations are exceeded. When I start to think things can’t get any better, they always do, and that for certain is my favorite part about New Zealand.