The Land of the Kiwi.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give the inexperienced traveler, it’s that sometimes the extra 30-50 for places to stay are well worth it. Last week a friend and I took a trip to New Zealand for our mid-semester break. Being college students, we were looking for any way possible to pinch pennies and fund the trip. We developed a great strategy that had us staying up all night in the Christchurch airport the day we arrived and the night before we departed to save a few dollars. Let me tell you, it was absolutely not worth it.

Thankfully, as we bussed our way into Queenstown the second morning, I was able to get some sleep on the floor of the bus before the driver so rudely woke me up. Something about a “liability” and that I could “break my neck”. On our way into Queenstown, we stopped at Lake Tekapo for lunch, which I quickly realized was the most beautiful place I had ever been to (before the rest of this trip). The water in the lake is bright blue (as you can see below), apparently caused by minerals from a nearby melted glacier. You don’t really find that in Texas.

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Queenstown was everything it was made out to be. The town boasts the title “Adventure Capital of the World”. Since extreme adrenaline isn’t really my style, my friend and I decided to take it pretty easy while we were there. By easy I mean going on three major hikes, one of which was an eight-hour summit return trip that we completed in five and a half hours. This was the Ben Lomond trail, which turned out to be one of the most grueling things I have done in my entire life. Essentially the trail requires you to walk up about a 40-degree angle for four hours before you reach the summit. At some points along the trail, you literally have to climb rocks on the edge of a fairly daunting cliff to find the next section of the path. After numerous hours of complaining (at least I’m somewhat used to hills, my friend was from Lubbock), we made it to the summit. I must say, the view was worth it.

The most incredible part about our trip to New Zealand was the day trip we took with the BBQ Bus to Milford Sound. If you haven’t heard about Milford Sound, don’t look it up. Honestly, it is almost frustrating talking about it and showing the pictures, because they absolutely do it no justice. It is hands down the most beautiful place I have ever been to, and I would venture to guess that anyone who has been there would say it is the most beautiful place in the world. Please take that into account, as you look at the next few pictures.

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