To celebrate the completion of orientation week and one last hurrah before classes start, all 14 of us students set out for our student trip weekend.
I traveled with a group to the beautiful Hopewell Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds. It was a 4 1/2 hour drive through winding roads, most only wide enough for one car but still a two lane road. Oh, and I was driving on the left side of the road, so the driving was enough adventure for me. It was an absolutely magical drive, though! We couldn’t help but pull over every 20 minutes or so to admire the new and spectacular view of the Kenepuru Sound.
We spent our weekend relaxing on the porch, enjoying the sunshine and fresh NZed air, tramping through the bush (walking through the woods), kayaking, warming up in the hot tub, hammocking, and visiting the glow worms and star gazing at night. I truly believe there is no place on earth where the stars shine brighter. Oh, and I can’t forget about the polar plunge that took place! Mike, the lodge owner, came up to us afterwards and asked in his kiwi way, “Are you mad?! That water is freezing!” …We are. It was.
Later Saturday morning, Mike informed us there were dusky dolphins heading our way, so we made our way to the dock to watch them come across.
What a beautiful sight! Another group from the Old Convent were on kayaks at the time, and actually got to experience the dolphins swimming all around and underneath their kayaks! Not going to lie, I was a little jealous. We’ll be swimming with dolphins later in the semester for my Marine Ecology class, though, so I’m sure I’ll be writing all about it!
I kayaked later in the day throughout the sound for about 3 hours, seeing just a box jellyfish.
There’s something so wonderful yet so unsettling about kayaking on the ocean. Sitting in a little, not so stable, kayak in the middle of a sound, surrounded by mountains makes you realize just how small you are in this big, big world, and what a beautiful, humbling moment that is.
The drive home was slightly less terrifying as I adapted to the NZed way of driving, but just as magical.
I’m still waiting for New Zealand to cease amazing me, but I don’t think we’ll ever get there.