S: Aotearoa July - November 2010
BC: Kia Ora
FC: Aotearoa | July - November 2010
1: Momo, I hope this book conveys how grateful I am to you for making this trip possible. You were with me spiritually throughout the journey across the world and back. I love you for your generosity, sincere kindness, and endless support. Happy Mother's Day 2011
2: Auckland | New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, is home to 1/4 of all the country’s citizens. The city is located near the top of the North Island on the coast with views of scattered islands off in the distance. It is home to an impressive harbor and many inactive volcanoes. During my first visit to Auckland, I took a ferry across the harbor to Davenport Island and climbed Mount Victoria to see a complete view of the city. In my next visit, during my spring break North Island trip, I took an elevator to the top of the famous Sky Tower with 360 views of the city and broke even during my first ever trip to a casino.
3: Rotorua | Rotorua is a small town on the North Island with strong roots in Maori traditions. We visited Rotorua during orientation and participated in a Maori “hangi,” a ritual feast following a dance performance. We also visited the Waitomo caves, belaying down into the cave and even zip lining through it into complete darkness.
4: Downtown Dunedin | Jaffa Race | Every year Dunedin hosts the Cadbury festival, a week-long celebration of all things chocolate. The highlight of the week is the Jaffa Race where Jaffas, small orange-coated chocolate candies, are hurled down Baldwin St., the steepest street in the world. The candies are each marked with a number and prizes are given out to those who find the lucky numbered Jaffas. | The University of Otago Clock Tower | Baldwin Street | Otago Harbor
5: Long Beach | Long Beach is just a short drive from downtown Dunedin, located along the beautiful Otago Harbor. The beach is home to a large cave carved out of the steep hillside along the beach. A group of us camped out inside the cave and woke up to clear skies and this magnificent view. | The view from the cave
7: Tunnel Beach | This secluded beach is only a 15 minute drive from downtown Dunedin. To get to the beach you hike down a hill along the beach and walk through a tunnel carved into the cliffside.
8: Boulder Beach | I visited Boulder Beach during a conservation biology field trip to view the Yellow-eyed penguins returning from a day at sea. The beach offers extraordinary views of the coastline and allows visitors to view the penguins from a close but safe distance.
9: Sandfly Bay | One of Dunedin’s nearby beaches, Sandfly Bay, is also home to the endangered Yellow-eyed penguins. The beach gets its name from the heavy winds which blow the sand in various dune formations. The penguins and Hooker Sealions are clearly visible around sunset when both animals return to the beach from a day of hunting at sea.
10: Morekai Boulders | Morekai beach is a famous destination because of its rounded boulders visible at low tide. The beach is only a short drive from Dunedin and a famous photography spot.
11: Oamaru | Visiting the historic town of Oamaru is just a day trip from Dunedin. It is located on the coast and the home to threatened New Zealand Little Penguins. We took a day trip here to walk through a bit of the South Island’s past and see the coastline.
14: Queenstown | Queenstown, considered the thrill capital of New Zealand, embraces adventure through skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, and bungee jumping with the largest bungee in the world. We spent a weekend in this stunning town, first skiing down the Remarkables mountains and then hiking to the top of another small mountain to see the full views of the landscape.
15: Wanaka | Wanaka is home to some of the best skiing in New Zealand’s southern alps. I spent two weekends in this extraordinary, small lake town, the first for a ski trip and the second to visit my friend, Claire’s, home.
16: Wellington | New Zealand’s capital of Wellington is located on a harbor across the Cook strait from the South Island. The hillside city is home to the Te Papa museum, Lord of the Rings views, and many shops and restaurants. | The view from the ferry from Picton to Wellington across the Cook Strait
17: Taupo | Huka Falls | While driving through the lakeside town of Taupo, I witnessed an incredible sunset across the water. The largest New Zealand lake of Taupo is a famous fishing and water recreation destination with stunning views, especially at sunset. | These falls, located outside of Taupo, are one of many powerful waterfalls on the North Island carved by the Waikato river.
18: Orakei Korako Geothermal Park | The Ruatapu Cave
19: The Orakei Korako park, located in the middle of the North Island close by to Rotorua, was once Maori land and contains geothermal activity underneath it’s surface. The heat has morphed the landscape, creating vibrant colored rocks and many geysers visible to the eye. The Ruatapu cave on the property, according to Maori legend, was home to an evil spirit. | The view from inside the cave
21: The Coromandal region hosts the clearest skies in New Zealand, perfect for hours of stargazing, which I found out quickly while camping during my spring break trip. The area is located just east of Auckland on the North Island and is home to the famous Hot Water Beach, where geothermal activity allows beach-goers to dig their own personal hot tub on the beach.
23: Hot Water Beach
24: Bay of Islands
25: In the northern most region of the North Island, the Bay of Islands provides some of the most spectacular coastal views in all of New Zealand. While in the town of Pahia, we kayaked around the bay, stopping at nearby islands to enjoy the fresh sea air. During one of these breaks, a double rainbow appeared, reminding me of how grateful I am to visit such a magnificent country.
27: Milford Sound | Located on the west coast of the South Island in the middle of the Fiordlands, Milford Sound is an undisturbed gem in the middle of New Zealand’s largest national forest. The landscape, carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age, is a remarkable sound surrounded by the largest remaining sea cliffs in the world. We spent the day kayaking around the sound, taking in the spring views of gushing waterfalls and overwhelming mountains. | We managed to fight off a feisty Kea.
28: Lake Te Anau
30: Te Anau | The town of Te Anau is settled along the Te Anau Lake in the middle of the Fiordlands. During our stay, we took a boat ride to the famous Aurora Cave, home to New Zealand’s famous glowworms which line the inside of the cave like stars on a dark night. We also took a walk along the lake and several walks into different parts of the forest where we saw the famous Mirror Lake, a crystal clear body of water with a perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains. | Mirror Lake
31: New Zealand | Bay of Islands | Auckland | Coromandel | Rotorua | Huka Falls | Taupo | Wellington | Christchurch | Oamaru | Morekai | Dunedin | The Catlins | Wanaka | Milford Sound | Te Anau | Queenstown | A Map of My Trip | A Tui Bird in a tree by Lake Te Anau