Hi! My name is Maria del Mar and I wrote about a trip I did to New Zealand while studying abroad in Sydney.
I come from a city of chaos, one that’s famous for its population density and its noise, and is infamous for it's pollution. The idea, then, of a vacation in New Zealand wasn’t just attractive for me as a tourist, but as a girl from Mexico City looking for something that vitally opposed what she knew. And thus the adventure started.
I began my trip with three friends by arriving in Christchurch, where we boarded a bus that would shape our trip. We became part of the Kiwi Experience, a hop-on hop-off bus service that conveniently took us to the places that were worth seeing. More importantly, it took us in a group which was filled with interesting, lovely people from all over the world that were ready to share a little bit of themselves with us in order to add worth to our experience.
We stopped in some incredible places that I will soon describe, but the kilometres that separated them were my favourite part of the trip. Breathtaking, diverse landscapes could be seen from the windows of our bus: from deep blue lakes, to grass green mountains. We’d then drive for a couple of hours and end up in a place with low hanging clouds, and bright patches of yellow. We saw pink and purple skies, and leaves that were so red and orange; they looked like the ones we coloured as children. I was beginning to make sense of the term natural beauty.
Every place marks you for a different reason, and though these places might seem similar on paper, each one has it’s own special vibe. The beautiful Kaiteriteri, took us on a hike in the Abel Tasman National Park. The walk was a perfect mixture of trees and plants that peeked into golden beaches. On our way to Westport, we saw the pancake rocks, which get their name from looking like layered pancakes set in limestone. The sea cuts through them making it an amazing sight. After, we went to Lake Mahinapua, which was dark and cloudy, but magical in its distinct, gloomy way.
What came next was something that I never thought I’d get the chance to do. We did a guided walk on the Franz Josef Glacier. It was an adventure, from the helicopter ride, to walking on turquoise ice that makes you feel diminutive. The next stop was Lake Wanaka, which I wish I could’ve stayed longer at, but it charmed me either way.
After an afternoon there, we headed to Christchurch, the city that would house us for a week and eventually steal our hearts. They don’t call it the adrenaline capital of the world for nothing. I fell 134m on a chord, proving to my friends and myself, that I’m much braver than I look. The eight and a half second freefall, paired with an incredible view and the most nervous I’ve ever been, will be impossible to forget.
The view in Milford Sounds contrasted that excitement, with its beautiful fiords and peaceful ambience.
Our trip ended in Lake Tekapo, where I saw an astounding sunset and a sky that was completely lit by stars. We were able to lie on our backs and count the shooting stars above us, along with our blessings.
My father always told me to not lose my sense of wonder, and every corner of New Zealand was like his voice whispering in my ear, that one cannot become accustomed to such beauty. More than that, one shouldn’t.
What do you think of Mar's experience! Would you like to do a trip like that?