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04/30/18

I’m not in the mood for a sassy title so I’ll just call this New Zealand. Australia, Part 11 or something like that.

Posted by bostonki on April 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

The feeling about this time of the semester: I could use some coffee.

When I left off last, we were heading back to Mooloolaba for our last weekend on the coast (the 4-week summer program students, that is.  We were on the trip with twenty-something students who were staying and student teaching until September).  The night we left Longreach was pretty rough; we were taking an overnight bus trip back to the coast and sleeping was not easy considering that everybody else on the bus was in the mood to party.  We stopped in the middle of the night for a restroom break and a dance party on this dirt Outback road.  Even C danced.  I would sure like to see video, I’m sure it exists somewhere.

The last weekend in Mooloolaba was uneventful – more beach days, last minute tourist shopping, and a last trip to Taps.  The real party started at 2 AM on Monday when we got up to catch a flight to Auckland, New Zealand.  For some reason we booked one at like six or seven AM.  We had a shuttle pick us up and after making a couple more stops, headed into Brisbane for the airport.  The flight was totally uneventful.  There were some beautiful views heading into the North Island, though!

One word to describe NZ: GREEN!

Once we touched down, we got to our hotel which was definitely on the shady side.  It was right on Queen Street (the main thoroughfare) and really convenient, though.  Just a block away was every Asian cuisine you could possibly want – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, you name it.  Then the tacky tourist shops, then the chain shops, then the classier shops, and that culminated at the ferry dock at the waterfront.  We went for a walk around the city and it felt surprisingly like New York, of course on a much less grand scale.  Plus, there were some awesome shopping districts.  And of course, I found a bookstore.

Sunset shot of the Auckland Sky Tower in the distance.

How cute is this?

We made it an early night considering that we’d been up since 2 AM.  And Auckland is actually an hour or two AHEAD of Eastern Australia, so that was pretty dizzying.  New Zealanders are one of the first people to see the light of a new day, so cool.

The next day, we hiked Rangitoto.  This is a dormant (but active volcano), so it could’ve erupted at any time but scientists say it’s safe for now to hike.  Now, we hiked a LOT on the trip.  I had thighs of steel by the time I was done.  This one beat me up.  There was a main path, so that was fine, but it was so steep.  Once we made it to the top, it was totally worth it for the killer views.

TSA wanted to know if I had any foreign material on my shoes.. yeah right just the soil of a New Zealand volcano

Auckland from a distance! *heart eyes emoji*  Worth the hike!

On the way down, we saw a path for a cave and followed that.  Clearly this wasn’t a popular option because there was not even an attempt at a path, you were climbing over rocks and such to get there.  It was so cool (yet slightly claustrophobic) walking through the cave, except for when I hit my head on a stalactite and cried my head off for about ten minutes.

We spent a lot of time exploring Queen street and all of the shops there.  And in every tourist shops were stuffed kiwis.  Fun fact: the fruit “kiwi” is named after the native New Zealand bird because of it’s fuzzy exterior.  And the people eventually got to be called Kiwis.  Or “Antipodeans”, but it sounds kind of rude to me.

The next day, Sam and Mikaela went to a local island for some wine tasting.  I headed out to some of the museums I had read about to check them out.  My first stop was the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, with the largest collection of New Zealand art, past to contemporary.  It was pretty sleek inside, kind of reminded me of the Museum of Modern Art.

This was supposed to represent some sort of blend of Maori men’s menial jobs and toughness..

After that I walked all the way across the city (yikes) to the Auckland Museum, which has the largest collection of Maori and Pacific Islander artifacts.  It was part science, part art, part history museum, and it was AWESOME.  There was a whole exhibit about volcanoes because of their prevalence in New Zealand.  And a LOT of boats everywhere!  Those Pacific Islanders and their voyaging (we know the waaaaay!)

HOW COOL

Most of New Zealand besides the structured activities done here was honestly just walking around looking at everything.  We went over by the sky tower but at this point I refused to go do anything that would cost me an exorbitant amount of money.  I think at one point I just went to the public library and checked out their stuff.

For our last night in town, we went to a local restaurant/bar that was advertising the third and final State of Origin game between Queensland and New South Wales rugby teams.  I might have mentioned this earlier, but the two rugby teams play a series of three games each summer (kind of like an all-star game) and Queensland has come out on top the last several years.  We donned our Maroons gear (American girls watching an Australian rugby game in an New Zealand restaurant…) and we won!  A great conclusion to out trip to New Zealand.

By the way just a brief side note.. it was in the 40s and 30s when we went.  Keep in mind this was wintertime in NZ and it’s pretty far South.  Some girls went to Queenstown on the South Island and actually went skiing.

Next time, the final saga: Sydney.  The joys of flying unreliable budget airlines, and the blissful 24 hours in the city basically just hanging out by the Opera House.  But by far the most epic conclusion ever to a study abroad adventure..

Stay tuned 🙂

 

 

 

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