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Spring Break New Zealand

Term three has come to an end and unfortunately so has spring break.  Term four is now in full swing and I am back to attending classes and doing homework.  I realize it’s been a bit since my last check in and a lot of things have been happening here!

Firstly, spring break was an absolutely incredible time!  Here at Canterbury, we got two full weeks off for break which is twice as much as I get back in the states!  I spent my break road-tripping the South Island with two of my good friends from back home that are studying abroad with me here.  We traveled for 11 days, covered over 2700 kilometers, and had an amazing time!  We started in Christchurch and headed south along the eastern shore of the island.  We stopped at a few places along the way including the elephant rocks (really big limestone boulders), Dunedin were we had friends studying at University of Otago, and the Catlins.  The Catlins was an awesome area just south of Dunedin.  We drove along the southern scenic route which is a scenic drive along the coast with different pull offs along the way.  We stopped to see all sorts of beaches, caves, and waterfalls.  Every half hour or so while driving we came across another short 20 minute hike to something cool.  After a few days there we continued around the bottom of the island and up to Te Anau.

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Te Anau is a quaint little town situated on the shore of a lake Te Anau in the Fjordlands.  From there we headed up into the Fjordlands to get to Milford Sound.  Milford Sound is one of the most famous places on the island; the scenery here is stunning and completely different from the rest of the island.  The sound connects to the Tasman Sea and has huge mountains going straight up on all sides.  There are waterfalls everywhere you look which makes the sounds cool even on a rainy day.  After taking a boat rode through the sounds, we headed back toward Te Anau stopping along the way to do a number of short hikes off the highway.  We then continued on to Queenstown were we stayed the night in a hostile and took our first showers in a week (we had been tent camping every night prior to this).

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The next day we headed towards Wanaka and took a slight detour to see a place called Skippers Canyon.  This canyon is a bit off the beaten track but well worth the drive.  The road to Skippers Village, an old gold mining town, runs along the canyon with dramatic views down the canyon overlooking the turquoise waters of the Shotover River.  This part of the trip was definitely top of my list of favorite things we did!  From there we headed to Wanaka and stopped in at a Department of Conservation center to get some more information for the rest of our trip up the west coast of the island.  Unfortunately while we were there, we learned of a huge snow storm coming the next day that would likely strand us on the coast as it was predicted to shut down most of the roads in the area.  We decided to play it safe and cut our trip a little short and headed home to Christchurch through the middle of the island instead.  It was a little disappointing that we didn’t get to the west coast but we were already pretty tired from 11 days on the road and were ok with going home to rest a few days before classes started.

All in all it was an awesome trip that was relatively inexpensive as we cooked all of our own meals and stayed in a tent for most of the trip.  It was a really cool experience and a great way to see a ton of the island in a short period of time!  But now I’m back to the reality of classes and will just have to settle on planning the next big trip!

Also if you want to see more about my trip check out this awesome video on youtube that my friend Joel made.  It covers most everything we did; its a great video take the time to watch it!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYV6LyMngbQ

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