Adventures in the South Island

April 11, 2009

Don’t worry, this will be short and sweet. Well, shortER. So I’m sitting writing this blog in what I think will be my new home for the next six months. Wanaka is a small town in the South Island of New Zealand that thrives in winter time with skiers and boarders hitting the nearby slopes. I am sitting on a bench outside my hostel staring out at beautiful Lake Wanaka, which is guarded magnificently by towering mountains. How could I not want to make this place my home?IMG_1095

I finally left Paihia, as my job was only seasonal and the town had slowly been filtering out the past few weeks. I am so happy to be back on the road again, but it is weird to pick back up again, piling this life I created for myself in Paihia into a backpack to head off on another journey. I can’t believe I have been here for six months already, but then again I can’t believe I get to stay here for another six! From Paihia I made my way down to Wellington, crashing on couches of new friends I have made along the way. Travelers can be so generous with each other, offering up their homes, friends, and often times their food, knowing one day they will need the same favor in return. I visited Tessa and stayed at her parent’s farm in Paeroa and then stayed at her flat at Uni in Hamilton. That was the first time I really started to miss college (not that I havn’t been missing my friends like crazy). I just turned 23 on March 20, and I can’t believe how old I suddenly felt there. But I am still so very young! I must remind myself sometimes.

If anyone has seen Lord of the Rings, the South Island is where most of it was filmed. It is home to stunning landscape after stunning landscape. I first went to Abel Tasman National IMG_0419Park, where I did a 7 hour hike to take in all the beauty and get some great views. This was a much more comfortable hike than the Tongariro Crossing I did in November which basically beat the crap out of me. Then two days later I found myself at Franz Joseph Glacier, where I went on a guided 8 hour glacier hike. We walked for about 45 minutes through rainforest to reach the foot of the glacier (if you think about it it makes sense), where we attached crampons (metal spikes) to our hiking boots and began scaling the ice. It was one of the coolest things I have done in New Zealand so far. The pictures don’t do it justice, but none of my pictures here ever do. IMG_0509

Now I am in Wanaka, feeling out the town to see if this is where I want to spend the next six months. I met up with a friend from Paihia who I will try to WWOOF (work on an organic farm) with until my parents arrive May 8th in Christchurch. Not sure what our plans are, but my dad, believe it or not, is going to go bungee jumping with me. And not just any bungee jump, I am doing the 2nd highest bungee jump in the world, at 134 meters. I’ll write more about that after the event happens, which is sure to be worth a few lines on here. I can only imagine it now…


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