It’s a big’un

OK. So I haven’t posted any updates in a while. I’ve been really busy with parents and exams and all. I have some time between studying to throw some of it down in short. Sorry for the brevity.

Two weekends ago some of the girls and I took a weekend road trip south to Taupo and Napier. In Taupo, we hiked around the natural hot pools and mud baths. Then we drove outside of town a bit and went swimming in a natural hot pool. It’s basically a natural thermal hot tub that flows into a river. It was really nice to go swimming in hot water while it was wintry cold outside. The next day we drove a few hours south and stayed in Napier for the night. Napier is supposedly the Art Deco capital of the world. I didn’t really notice anything spectacular with the architecture, but what do I know. The ridiculous pastel colours of Clearwater FL and Venice Beach CA are much more jarring (shout out to Dan and Zena thanks for reading!) We then took a small trip south to visit the longest place name in the world simply for ridiculousness sake and for pictures…tomfoolery ensued.

The following is the name of the hill:
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki
maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu

We arrived back in Auckland for me to greet my parent’s arrival. They were exhausted and went to sleep at 6pm. The next day, I only had a morning class, and spent the day with them. We took a ferry, to Rangitoto Island to hike the volcano and see the lava caves. We had a good time and I managed to tire my parents out. Then we came back into the city and I did a by foot tour of the city for them. Long story short I managed to tire them out through the day and they went to sleep early, to sleep like babies. The next morning, we rented a car and drove out to the Coromandel Peninsula. We did an hour hike out to Cathedral Cove. It’s a picture-esque…cove I guess. We spent the day driving around and stopped in Coromandel town to feed my parents some authentic NZ lamb (and by ‘some’ I mean portions for a small village). I don’t think they ate for a few days after that. The next day, I had class all day so I sent my parents off to Waiheke Island to go wine tasting for the day (aka parents day care).

The next morning we caught a flight to Christchurch for our 6 day road trip in the south island. We spent a rainy/snowy day in Christchurch, going to pubs and museums. The next day we rented a car and headed west across Arthurs Pass. There was a road block were everyone was required to put snow chains on the tires. My dad and I fiddled around with the ones that came with our rental car for a bit until we figured it out. Coming from New England, the road wasn’t all that bad. We hiked up to Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall, then continued on to Greymouth for the night.

In the morning, we drove down to Glacier Country. We got a scenic helicopter ride at Fox Glacier. He took us up the glacier, up close to Mt. Tasman, Mt. Cook and to Franz Josef Glacier. I’ve never been in a helicopter, it was pretty cool. After that, I met up with a friend who was also on a road trip in the South island and we went sky diving near Fox Glacier. It’s been a long time in the planning and a streak of bad luck that it hadn’t happened earlier, due to weather. Luckily, the weather cooperated and we had an exhilarating and scenic jump from 12,000 ft. That night we made it to Wanaka and spent the night.

The next day, we drove down to Queenstown. My dad and I did a Jetboating trip. It’s basically a high speed jet boat that flies down a river coming really close to rocks and such and pulling high speed 360s. Despite the rain gear, we still got pretty wet. It was cold. In retrospect it probably wasn’t the best winter time activity. From there, we headed East to Dunedin and spent the night in a dodgy condo/motel/place.

We walked around in Dunedin and stopped at the Cadbury factory for my mom to get her chocolate fix. We then hopped in the car and drove out to the Otago Peninsula once more (for me) in search of wild Royal Albatross and Yellow-Eyed Penguin rarest penguin in the world (listen to me, I sound like Morgan Freeman). Once again no luck. It turns out its the wrong time of year to see the Albatross and the penguins only come ashore at dusk, and we really needed to hit the road since its a long drive back to Christchurch. On the drive back, we had to make a pit-stop in a town called Oamaru. As we pulled into town, I noticed a small sign for penguin reserve. Off we went, and arrived at a penguin look out (high up in the hill along the beach so as not to scare them.) There were probably 15 people there waiting for the penguins to come ashore. After about 20 min of waiting, we finally saw one waddle up and down the beach. It’s pretty cool to see something like that in the wild and not in a zoo/aquarium. Back to Christchurch, that night. Nothing really to speak of, we walked around the botanical gardens the next day, and got our flight back to Auckland. Back in Auckland it was study study study, exam, exam, exam. My parents were on their own for their last two days in NZ while I was locked away in my room in seclusion. Peaking my head out for dinner and caffeine. Oh to be in college.

pictures up at some point soon.

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