The past two weekends I went on a couple trips, as well as spending some valuable time with my flat mates here in Dunedin. The first trip was up to Christchurch. Here I met up with my good friend and fellow Hope College student, Mary Kate, who is studying in Christchurch this semester. I arrived on a Friday night and we went out with her friends to a couple clubs, and returned back to the flat without causing too much raucous. The next day we explored the morning farmer’s market, before heading into the heart of the city. The city of Christchurch had a very damaging earthquake early in 2011, with many casualties as a result, as well as an extensive amount of damage. It was very surreal seeing the destroyed buildings that have yet to be rebuilt. The most interesting part of this experience was the abandoned buildings, such as a book store and a coffee shop, which have gone untouched since the earthquake, looking as if they were frozen in time.
Next, we headed to a hiking trail that led up into the hills above the city. The view was nice at first; although eventually the fog got so bad we couldn’t see 100 feet in front of us. To get down the mountain, we went to the other side into a town called Littleton, where we stopped to rest and grab a warm beverage and snack. We took the bus back to the flat and watched LOTR FOTR until the wee hours of the night. The next morning we explored the city a bit more, until it was time for me to head back. On the journey back to Dunedin, we stopped in the small town of Oamaru, where we tried to sneak a peak of some penguins, but there were none to be found.
The next weekend, another Hope student and friend, Jacob Bonnema, visited me during his spectacular solo vacation around New Zealand. We drove out to Queenstown, where we explored the city the first night. After feasting on our famous and extraordinarily delicious Ferg Burgers, we rested for the night. The next day, Jacob went on his trip out to Milford Sound, while I had the day to myself. My goal was to have the most fun for the least amount of money. I found a nice little 9-hole golf course nestled in the city, where I rented some clubs and did my best Tiger impression. Although my play wouldn’t have won me any majors, I had a great time teeing off while being surrounded by large mountains with snowy peaks. Later I squired myself about town before having a couple of delicious cold ones beside the lake.
On our last day, we took the short drive to the town of Glenorchy. This drive was a windy road through the mountains along the river, and is no doubt in the top 10 of the most gorgeous drives I have ever taken. After spending a short time walking through town, we made our way back to Dunedin.
The next week I spent some great time with my flat mates and other great friends. Dan, Tim, and myself have become somewhat infamous in our flat for playing card games to no end. I would easily guess we have amassed over 15 hours of cards in the past week alone. Also, we take time each Monday night to watch the newest episode of Breaking Bad. Since it is on cable television that is not streamed to New Zealand, we have to take special measure using the World Wide Web to be able to watch it a few hours past it’s original air time. It is a very fine bonding experience.
Later that week, a few of us went out to a nearby beach where there is often Sea Lions getting cozy in the warm sun. This was a spectacular event, as we were able to get within several feet of the marvelous creatures. Being the risk-taker that I am, I ventured a little too close to the beasts, receiving a bit of a warning when they began to hop towards me. Although I may have flown too close to the sun a couple times, it was surely a day to remember.
These journeys have been nothing short of spectacular, and I look forward the upcoming semester break, where I will be off to Australia for 10 days of adventure.
PB&J count: 62