On Monday night, my flatmates and I went on the Speight’s Brewery tour! Speight’s is a local New Zealand brewery and it is very popular amongst the student population here in Dunedin. The hour-long tour ended with a half hour tasting of their ten varieties of ale. The next day some friends and I went to the Botanic gardens for some Frisbee and to see the aviary. The birds were actually really cool to see and some of them were very loud and colorful.
On Thursday, there was a moment of silence at 1:15 PM for the victims of the Christchurch shooting. There was a beautiful vigil around the moment of silence, with many speakers from the university community. That night, the entire city of Dunedin flooded into the Forsythe Barr stadium for a more formal and widespread vigil.
The next day, I took a bus with two friends over to the Karetai track. This was on the coastline of Dunedin and overlooked the city and many beaches. We finished the trail and continued on to the high cliff track. This one led all the way to Boulder beach and was a bit more difficult in technicality but just as stunning.
This past weekend was amazing. I rented a car for me and four friends, which we picked up early Saturday morning and headed out to Wanaka. We hiked the Mount Iron Loop Track as a warm-up for the next day. It was an hour and a half return trip. It was an awesome view of the city and the surrounding mountain ranges. Afterward, we walked across the street to Puzzling world and took some pictures as well as hung out in the lobby attempting to solve some of the brain games. Then we headed to Bremner bay and hung out in the water. The bay was gorgeous and it was incredibly shallow for a very long distance. We stayed there for dinner and ate at a picnic table on the beach. We then drove over to that Wanaka tree for some sunset pictures. We ended Saturday by setting up camp at the Albert Town campground. We called it an early night because we were waking up at 3 AM the next day!
We woke up and packed up our campsite. We ate some breakfast and drove over to Roy’s Peak Track. We started tramping at 4 AM and the entire hike up was in the dark with our headlamps and the moon lighting our way. It was challenging at first because the hike consisted of nonstop uphill inclines and switchbacks the entire way, but the group I was with was super fun and we helped motivate each other. We passed a lot of sleeping sheep and took only a couple of breaks. We made it to the summit at 6:40 AM, way faster than expected. The sunrise was at 7:35 AM so we were at the summit for the entire process (which I would definitely recommend because this was one of the most stunning sunrises I have ever had the opportunity to experience!) After we summited and took our Instagram pictures, we headed back down to the famous Roy’s Peak lookout for yet another Instagram picture hotspot. The hike down was amazing. We passed so many people on our way down, and this further solidified our desire to hike for sunrise since there were fewer people at that hour than there were later in the morning. The view of the lake and surrounding mountains topped the Mount Iron Loop Track views by a hundred (so I would recommend doing the hikes in this order!) Some of us got back to the car at 10 AM and waited for half an hour for the rest of our group.
We then went into town for some lunch and ice cream. We took our ice cream to-go so that we could eat it at the Wanaka lakefront. Afterward, we went to the Wanaka Lavender Farm. It was a super cute place with a nice little shop and café at the front. We walked all throughout the gardens and took pictures. There was also a bee farm and some animals. We finally hit the road back to Dunedin. The road we took was well maintained and had some gorgeous views through the mountains and of the lakes. We filled up and returned the rental car, then headed our separate ways. I unpacked and crashed so hard. I was incredibly tired but so pleased with how the weekend turned out.
I keep being surprised by the beauty of New Zealand. I saw so many pictures before coming here, yet the views in person are indescribable. I continue to be busy and make plans every day. I love living in Dunedin and traveling over the weekends! It has been a blast and I really am conforming to life in New Zealand. God has been so, so good. I truly have been blessed with the opportunities I have been given and the sights that I have been able to see already in my time here. I am so thankful for all of the people I have met here and for my supportive friends and family back home (I really do love y’all.) The weeks are going by so quickly and it helps me to appreciate and to take advantage of every moment. I shall give another update at the beginning of next week!