Kia Ora, Aotearoa

For my undergraduate studies in geology, I needed to fulfill a field camp class. Luckily, the field camp happened to be in New Zealand–a place I’ve always wanted to visit. So, December 17th I met up with two of my good friends, who were in the same class, at the airport and kicked off our long trip.

We scheduled our own flights and basically had to be in New Zealand by December 20th. So, me and my friends figured we should take the opportunity to schedule a long layover in Australia (another place on my bucket list). We had a stop in Texas, and then it was a long 17 hour flight to Sydney. We lucked out though, and the plane was half-empty. I was able to sit next to my friends with plenty of room to spread out, and ended up sleeping most of the flight. We crossed the international date line, and it was December 19th at 6 am by the time we got to Sydney. We had 12 hours there before our short flight to Christchurch, NZ. The first thing on our minds was to see the opera house. After that, and a cheap meal at McDonald’s, we chilled at a park for the rest of the layover. I really enjoyed Sydney–it felt clean, safe, and had a lot of things to do.

We were exhausted by the time we got back to the airport. We got to Christchurch around 1 am the next day. Because we got there a day earlier than the rest of the class, we had to find our own place to stay, so we went with an airbnb close to the airport. We took an uber, got dropped off on a street that we soon realized wasn’t correct, started getting rained on, and were laughing and somewhat delirious as we attempted to figure out the correct address. We ended up calling a second uber to go to the right airbnb (we stayed here with four other students who also arrived early). The place was nice and clean and it felt so good to get a shower. We finally got to sleep around 2:30 am.

We had the next day to explore Christchurch on our own before we had to meet at our hostel around 5pm. Christchurch was my favorite city we were at. It was very modern and new (they had a devastating earthquake a few years ago and a lot of the city needed rebuilt) and I could definitely see myself living there. We ate at Robert Harris, which was something like a New Zealand Starbucks, and it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten (poached eggs, tomatoes, hash browns, spinach, sauce), and got some pretty good lattes as well.

Next we walked to the Christchurch Botanic Garden, a short walk from the cafe. We spent a couple hours wandering around and had a few mini photo shoots. It was such a beautiful place. We also came back here with the rest of my class the following day.

We visited a museum that discussed the major earthquake also. Soon, it was time to leave for our first real stop, and time to start diving into the geology.