Monday, January 14, 2019

NZ - Part III (Christchurch, Routeburn, Milford, Doubtful, Queenstown)

When an earthquake hit Christchurch in 2011, most of the historic buildings in the center of town were destroyed. This church is in a political limbo, as some people argue it should be torn down and others argue it should be repaired.
The city has construction walls everywhere, all of which are painted in hopeful murals.
This sculpture is called "Spires" and represents all the church spires that fell in the earthquake.
185 empty chairs to represent the 185 people who died when the building across the street from this lot collapsed during the earthquake
Christchurch still has many empty lots throughout the city. Some public-private partnerships have transformed them into temporary community gathering spaces, like this basketball court with rock climbing walls and graffiti spaces in the background.
I flew from Christchurch to Queenstown, where I immediately hopped a bus to Routeburn Track. This photo is from a stop during the bus ride. 
the Route Burn! 

My peaceful stream-side campsite the first night on Routeburn (thanks Alban for sponsoring!!!)
Most of my hike the first day was cold and misty.

and then I came over a ridge and saw this!!!

My favorite view from the whole trip


the incredibly gorgeous McKenzie Lake

At the end of Routeburn, a shuttle bus picked me up and drove me straight to Milford Sound—which is actually a fjord.
This waterfall is 50 stories high! 

The next day, I paddled Doubtful Sound (which required taking a bus to a boat to another bus to get to)

Doubtful Sound! 

Then I returned to Queenstown. This was my last dinner in New Zealand: a veggie burger with a lager on a boat bar in the harbor.

Bye, New Zealand </3

Sunday, January 13, 2019

NZ - Part II (interisland ferry, Abel Tasman, Heaphy, Pancake Rocks)

On my fifth day in New Zealand, I took a ferry from the North Island to the South Island
The views through Marlborough Sound were gorgeous! 

Then I drove a few hours west to get to my campsite for the next two nights. Most of the way I was driving along the coast, but I also drove through some mountains that took me into this wall of clouds.
one of many gorgeous views on my drive

one of many funny flightless birds I saw on my trip

Either the sunset or the sunrise (I watched both) at my campsite at Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park

one of many incredible coastline views at Abel Tasman

some beach debris

panorama of the beach I camped next to

This sign on the Heaphy Track means: Watch out for the giant carnivorous snails!

Self-timer selfie! (in the tussock downs of the Heaphy Track)

endangered takahē that was released near one of my campsites on the Heaphy Track

self-timer selfie on the gorgeous Heaphy Track!

The Heaphy starts in the mountainous jungle, crosses dry tussock downs, and ends by the ocean.

Heaphy Track

Following the Heaphy, I drove about five hours to Christchurch (which will be in the next blog post). Along the way, I stopped at various tourist attractions, including these "Pancake Rocks" made of limestone layers that have stumped scientists.
Then I ate some deliciously fluffy (real) pancakes at the touristy cafe across the street. #worthit.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

NZ - Part I (Auckland, Waitomo, Taupo, Tongariro, Wellington)

On Dec. 7, I flew to New Zealand. I arrived on Dec. 9.


Muriwai gannet colony

before rafting through glowworm caves at Waitomo! 

At the kiwi house and bird park in Otorohanga 
The platform I bungee-jumped off!!
Tongariro National Park! 

Tongariro, the next day 
I was obsessed with the tiny alpine plants

A volcanic crater!

adorable plants

sulphuric lakes!

This is a bird refuge just outside Wellington

Pizza and beer with two fellow Robertson Scholars in Wellington!