First I’d like to apologize for my lack of posting lately! I had one eventful weekend on the 27-29 of March (there was a festival in town called Cuba Dupa), and then I up and left on my three week travels around New Zealand with Kiwi Experience! I got to experience so much of what New Zealand has to offer over this break, it was easily the best three weeks of my entire life (so far). On the 29th of March I took an overnight bus up to Auckland, then at 8am I caught the Kiwi Experience bus from Auckland. I was nervous because I had no clue who anybody was on the bus and I didn’t know how the whole thing was going to play out. I went towards the back of the bus because it was empty and picked a seat. Looking back, I’m very happy with my seat choice because that’s the moment I met some of the people I would be spending the next three weeks getting to know! We formed a really great group of people from all around the world. There was only one other American, which I was super pumped about because I’m sick of being surrounded by all Americans in New Zealand. I met people from all over the UK and Europe!
Here is what my three weeks looked like: Auckland–Cathedral Cove–Hot Water Beach–Waitomo–Hobbiton–Rotorua–Taupo–Tongariro National Park–River Valley–Wellington–Picton–Kaiteriteri–Nelson Lakes–Westport–Lake Mahinapua–Franz Josef–Fox Glacier–Wanaka–Queenstown–Milford Sound–Lake Tekapo–Christchurch–Kaikoura–Wellington!
As you can imagine, it was quite an eventful few weeks! I was lucky enough to go blackwater rafting through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, skydive from 15,000ft above the largest lake in New Zealand (Lake Taupo), tramp up an active volcano (also known as Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings), take a pitstop at home and sleep in my own bed, swim in the ocean while watching the sunset in Kaiteriteri, swim in eel infested waters at the Nelson Lakes, dress up like my favorite animal (a pig) for the night in Lake Mahinapua, get up close (and even touch) the famous Wanaka tree that I wrote about in one of my scholarship essays (this was an extremely exciting moment for me), bungy jump off of the first ever commercial bungy bridge (Kawarau bridge–I even got dunked into the water which was awesome), eat a famous Fergburger in Queenstown, bungy jump off of the ledge overlooking Queenstown (it was snowing on the mountain, so the views weren’t great, but I got to bungy into the snow which was sweet as), do the AJ Hackett swing at the ledge (they say it’s the scariest because you have to actually pull the string yourself and let yourself go.. it was my favorite out of all my bungies), do the scary Nevis bungy (they take you to a secret place and you bungy into two large mountains), go to my first ice bar in Queenstown, take a cruise through Milford Sound (the weather was absolutely amazing, too), watch the sunset at Lake Tekapo, see some of the damage from the Christchurch earthquake (this was pretty sad), touch and play with some baby seals in Kaikoura, and get lost in a field full of sheep after playing with seals, and hitchhike unintentionally twice in Kaikoura!
Needless to say, it was the adventure of a lifetime. I owe my parents big time for helping me so much financially and making this trip possible!! It definitely helped me to realize that I enjoy being independent. Even though I made friends, I didn’t really have any one person to lean on in times of need or just when I got into a little funk, that was hard but really beneficial because it forced me to get into my own head a lot. I wouldn’t change the way this trip turned out even if I was offered money to do so! It was absolutely perfect.