Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome to Beautiful Dunedin!

So where I left off was getting on the plane to New Zealand. Right now it is Sunday the 10th and 9:17 PM and I am officially moved into my flat! But before I get into today I will go over the last few days.

We go to New Zealand on Thursday morning at about 8:00 AM after flying for about 13 hours. When we arrived they were nice enough to take us straight to the hotel so that we could drop our gear and get a shower. Unfortunately we only had about an hour so it was not enough time for both of us girls in my room to shower so I offered to wait since I had a shorter journey then most of the other students. My room mate for the night was Francesca and after she got a shower we headed down to the lobby to go for a small basic safety meeting. After our little safety meeting we were taken on a walk around Auckland to see the sites and figure out where we were in the world. After the walk we were aloud to wander about and get food and cell phones. I purchased a $40 phone that only costs $20 a month on a monthly plan. It is a tiny thing that doesn't even have a key board so I am fighting with it every day to send out simple texts but I do get unlimited texting so I can't complain too much. We also grabbed some amazing sushi and ate it by the water. We met up after lunch and headed out for a walk and swim on the beach. The walk was up this small mountain I guess you could call it and the view from the top was across the harbor to Auckland. It was amazingly breath taking! Auckland is known as "The City of Sails" due to all the white sails of the sail boats in the harbor. After the little hike we went back down to the beach for a swim in the wonderful water. It was so nice and warm compared to the ocean in California. It was interesting because it went between warm spots to cool spots but it was so nice. THIS is a link to a cool photo of the beach and the little mountain that we climbed up. You can navigate around and get a feel for what it was like. Then we headed back to the hotel and I was finally able to get a shower before we headed into Auckland to grab pizza. After a lovely dinner we headed back to the hotel to crash long and hard for the next day.

Friday we got up around 7 for shower time and packing up luggage before breakfast and we headed out for Rotorua! On the way we stopped in a town called Matamata where some of the scenes from Lord of the Rings were shot and had lunch and some photo opportunities. Drew and I had our first meat pies which are like pot pies, Drew got a steak and mushroom and I got chicken and they were amazing! Then we hopped back on the bus to continue our journey. Our first stop in Rotorua was an amazing farm show where they showed us how they shear sheep and how they use their dogs to herd them. They actually have two different types of dogs, one to keep the sheep together and move them and another to run on top of the herd of sheep if they stop and get them moving again. After the show they took us outside and demonstrated how the herding dog works to get sheep through obstacles like fence gates and bridges and into a small pen. It was amazing to see the dog immediately react to the persons commands and focus so much on the sheep and what was being asked of it. The dog even knew the difference between left and right when it came to the sheep and could be directed to either side of the sheep. Also the dog never got too close to the sheep it moved them with just its body language and positioning. It was absolutely amazing. It made me think about THIS video that shows what skilled dogs and owners can get sheep to do. Next we headed out to Rainbow Springs to see rainbow trout and some kiwi bird babies! We spent our two nights in Rotorua in the Sudima Hotel right on the edge of a small lake that had many volcanic vents in it. After dinner we headed out to a Polynesian Spa for a lovely soak in some volcanic hot springs ranging from 39 to 42 degrees C!

Saturday we headed out to Wai-O-Tapu Geopthermal Wonderland and Lady Knox Geyser. We got to watch as the Geyser erupted and take a walk around an active geothermal field and see all of the amazing formations. Next we went ZORBING! This is when you jump in a ball with a little water in it at the top of a hill and you push yourself down and enjoy the water slide type ride down the hill. Its an amazing experience. Before we left they even let us lay on the track and rolled a zorb ball with one of our advisors over us. It was quite intimidating to look up the hill and see this ball rolling toward us but it barely felt like anything when it rolled over since it was going so fast and is mostly air. Finally for dinner we headed out to the Tamaki Maori Village for a night of cultural learning and experience! We started out with a traditional tribal greeting by the village and then they taught us some of their old games and customs. They even taught some of our boys (Drew) how to do the haka, yes I do have video proof he did do it and he did it so well! The night was completed with a traditional Hongi dinner where all of the food is cooked under ground.

Finally today Sunday we got up and had breakfast and had some time to pack up and relax until we left for the airport for our flight from Rotorua to Wellington and then on to Dunedin. The Rotorua airport was very tiny and ours was the only one getting ready to take off while we were there. Before we took off one of our students got the chance of a life time to spend the entire flight up in the cockpit with the piolets! We are still not sure how this happened but the flight attendent came up and asked if anyone would be interested in sitting up front and he went for it. Our next flight was from a slightly larger airport where they actually have a giant statue of Gollum from Lord of the Rings in the food court and the words "Middle of Middle-Earth" all to celebrate the release of the new Hobbit movie! We then hopped onto vans with our luggage and headed to our flats.

I am now moved into my 4 person flat. I am living with another American from Arcadia's group (Nikki), A Kiwi host (Charlotte), and another girl arriving tomorrow. I am right on the edge of campus in a tiny little quirky flat. We have a bike shed in the back that is infested with spiders and looks like it hasn't been used much, our washer and dryer are inside of our one bathroom and our dryer is upside down and seems to shut off for seemingly no reason while it is running. The door on the washer may just be loose since if you put enough pressure it starts up again. Well it is now 11:00 PM and my host is crashed already and I need to fold laundry before bed. I hope to put up pictures of my flat soon. If anyone needs my address for any reason let me know on Facebook and I will give it to you.


  1. It is wonderful to read your Blog. Sounds and looks like you have really had some fun. Seeing and reading about what you have done is great. Take care and continue to have fun. Love you.

  2. I'm really enjoying your blog & pics. I'm happy that you have this opportunity AND that you can share it with Drew. Take care! Looking forward to your next entry.