Let me start off by saying that last time, I spent way too much time talking about the school aspect of study abroad and not enough time talking about the traveling aspect. If traveling is the aspect you were looking for in my blogs, this is the read for you! This post will cover the entirety of my travels over the mid-semester break along with some tips and tricks for making your breaks count!
To begin, let me walk you through the trip itinerary and some highlights from my adventures! To kick off the break I took a two-day ski trip down to Mount Ruapehu with the University’s Snowsports Club. Even though this was my first time skiing, traveling with the club was awesome because there were so many experienced skiers to help teach me! I would definitely recommend joining as many fun clubs as you can because they are a great way to meet new people and get you out of your comfort zone! After returning to Auckland, I packed my bags and headed down to Christchurch for an incredible South Island adventure.
After flying into Christchurch, we headed out to Castle Hill and then Arthur’s Pass for some hiking and climbing. The roads all throughout the South Island were stunning as walls of mountains line the horizon and fields of sheep sit next to the roads. We then drove down to Lake Tekapo for some hiking, star gazing, and even swimming! Lake Tekapo is a must stop if you are traveling through the South Island. The lake is bright turquoise and the snow-capped mountains behind it make the whole scene look like a painting. Next up, we traveled down to the mountain town Wanaka stopping at the Clay Cliffs in Omarama, Lake Pukaki, and Lindis Pass. A must do for any road trip is to take the time to research stops along the way between your destinations. Google maps offers a great way to add stops between destinations and allows you to see the whole trip and the full drive time. This was super useful because it allowed us to find so many great stops to explore and make a whole day out of the drive. If you know you won’t be in a rush on your South Island road trip, definitely make time to find some amazing landmarks!
The town of Wanaka was incredible and may just end up being my favorite place in New Zealand. It was beautiful, vibrant, and just glowing with the friendliness of everyone. I would absolutely recommend stopping in Wanaka as there was so much to do it was almost too hard to choose! From stopping by to see the famous Wanaka tree to a plethora of amazing hikes, Wanaka is a must do! After hiking the Roys Peak track, one of the best day hikes in all of New Zealand, we headed down to our final destination: Queenstown.
Queenstown had a similar feel to Wanaka with it being right on the edge of a lake surrounded by snow capped mountains. The town was electric with the energy from Snow Machine, a massive ski festival that we were lucky enough to catch the end of. Snow Machine brought almost 20,000 skiers and snowboarders to Queenstown and turned the town into a festive party scene. The energy was incredible and I even got the chance to catch one of the concerts before heading back to Auckland! After the energy from Snow Machine and some unimaginable views from the Summit of the Ben Lommond track through the alps, I was exhausted and ready to return home. In order to make the most out of the break, there was no time for resting! While the mid-semester break may have offered some rest from school, it certainly did not offer any rest from life!