Monthly Archives: August 2014

Mountains and Miracles

With one 10 page research paper done and one written submission to go, I am off to Australia for mid-semester break! In about an hour we are going to drive to Christchurch, stay the night, and then catch a flight out to Sydney early tomorrow morning. Unfortunately I’ll have a little bit of work to get done while I’m there, but I am looking forward to an exciting and relaxing week away from Dunedin.

In other news, I went on a ski trip to Mt. Hutt last weekend, about 4 and a half hours north of Dunedin. It was a trip through the University so we didn’t have to worry about accommodations, food, directions, which was really nice! The group on the trip ended up just being a group of my friends. I was kind of looking forward to meeting new people, but it was fun having a different travel group and already being comfortable with everyone. We stayed in a hostel in the town, which was about 45 minutes from the slopes.IMG_5154

Saturday morning we loaded up all our gear, bundled up and then made our way up the mountain. Since there is only snow at top of the range, you have to drive up the mountain far above the tree line to get to the slopes. We had great weather, great fun, and only a couple minor bumps and bruises. Plus some great views of the mountain ranges!IMG_5098


It is now 5am. I’m writing from the Christchurch airport after a dramatic night and about an hour of sleep. My travel companions are fast asleep on the couches next to me. We kept pushing back our departure time from Dunedin since we all had so much to get done before leaving so we ended up getting in the car to leave at 6:45pm. We got gas and then stopped at the library to print out a list of things Meg wanted to see and do while in Sydney. When we tried to leave the library, the car wouldn’t start. The engine wouldn’t even turn. We frantically researched buses and other car options to get us to Christchurch, but it soon became apparent that we were much too late and there was no possible way to make our flight. We called a tow-truck, all hope lost, and low and behold a miracle happened! He fixed something and we were back on track in total shock. We made it to the Christchurch airport at around midnight. Who knows what surprises will await us with our car when we get back, but by some miracle we made it to the airport in plenty of time for our flights.

We ran into a couple other international students who directed us to a $5 lounge we could hang out in for a couple hours until checking in. We sat/laid on the hard floor in the cold, bright, loud room for about 3 hours and now here we are. We’re about to board a flight we thought was impossible just a few hours ago. Australia, here we come!

First Trip to Queenstown

I went bungee jumping! It was the most terrifying, exhilarating, and incredible thing I have ever done.

We drove three and a half hours west in our little purple car from Dunedin to right outside Queenstown. We started seeing signs for the Kawarau Bungy and the nerves set in for all four of us. We drove up and saw the bridge reaching across a narrow canyon with the water far below. I was really excited, but couldn’t believe we were actually going to jump off that bridge with just a rope around our ankles.

Kawarau Bridge

Kawarau Bridge

It was really windy, but they said the only time they don’t jump is when there’s thunder. We were kind of hoping for an excuse to come back and do it later, but there was no chance of that! We paid, signed a waiver, got weighed, and we were out on the bridge. It was sprinkling a little, but they said we were still good to go. We decided it was best to go without hesitation right when they counted down so we wouldn’t psych ourselves out.

And that is exactly what all four of us did! I sat on the bridge and the worker wrapped a towel around my ankles and then tied a rope in a fancy knot around that and that was it. I scooted up to the edge, smiled for the cameras, and jumped. I still can’t believe I actually jumped. The fall was long enough for me to think “oh my god why did I do this I am falling to my death this was the dumbest thing I have ever done” and then before I knew it I was bouncing back up. They pulled me into a little yellow boat at the bottom, brought me back to shore and it was over!

It was incredible.

Just before the jump

Just before the jump


and just after!

and just after!


There I go!

There I go!

We had hoped to do a longer day hike on Saturday, but it was rainy and cold so we decided to stick around Queenstown instead. I love Queenstown. It is a cute little ski town surrounded by jagged mountains and incredibly blue water. We had a delicious breakfast at Joe’s Garage and then spent the rest of the morning shopping and wandering around town.  In the afternoon we went on our first wine tasting at Gibbston Valley Winery to escape the rain.

The crew enjoying some fancy wine

The crew enjoying some warmth and some fancy wine

We ate the biggest burgers of our lives at the famous Fergburger that night and got super lucky with the weather on Sunday. It was sunny and beautiful. We hiked up Queenstown Hill, and had the most amazing view looking out over the town, the bay, and the mountains.

A view from part way up the Queenstown Hill

A view of the mountains from part way up Queenstown Hill

Before we left to head back to Dunedin we hopped on the gondola for lunch and another great view of Queenstown.


Queenstown is my favorite place I have been in New Zealand so far. I hope to go back many times and take advantage of all of the hikes and ski slopes, but for now its back to Dunedin. Who knows what next week will bring!