Hi law school, last semester, I did my overseas exchange in New Zealand, aka Aotearoa: The Land of the Long White Cloud. Here is a write-up on my experience in the beautiful country we now call Middle Earth.
I began the semester at Victoria University of Wellington, in early July right up to November. For those who don’t know, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. Before my exchange, I always thought Auckland was the capital and I’m sure many of you don’t know this fact too! Anyways Auckland is more like the “commercial capital” i.e. what Sydney is to Canberra in Australia.When I arrived, it was winter and I was freezing my ass off. It was not so much the cold per se but the wind was crazy. I guess they don’t call it Windy Welly for nothing. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the photo below.
When I was in Wellington, I experienced not 1 but 3 Earthquakes all around 6.8 on the richter scale.! It was positively terrifying as you can’t be certain if the building’s gonna fall in the next second and collapse down on you. On one occasion, I was in the supermarket when the earthquake hit and everything started falling.
The Faculty of Law Campus is actually the old parliament building. It has been restored for the university’s use. It’s a really old building, and the main structure is made of wood.
I did way too many things to actually share with you here so I narrowed it down to the Top 10 must do things in NZ (akin to those you see on Animal Planet).
Number 10: Enjoying the Picturesque Landscape
Let me say this at the from the start, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. An island shaped by volcanic and seismic activities over thousands of years, it is a land of lush green forest, turquoise blue glacier lakes and majestic snowcapped mountains, I shall let the photos speak for themselves but in all honesty, the photos do not do justice at all.
Number 9: Lord of the Rings site visits!
Visiting Lord of the Rings sites is a must when you’re in NZ. After all, you are in Middle earth!
Number 8: Star gazing
NZ offers one of the few best places in the world to see the gazillion stars and our galaxy, The Milky Way because it has minimal light pollution, especially in the countryside.
Number 7: Glacier walks
You have to experience walking on Glaciers if you ever get the chance to visit NZ. But you’ve got to be quick! The glaciers are retreating.
The Frank Josef glacier and the Fox Glacier on the west coast of the South Island are simply breathtaking!
Number 6: Waiotapu Geothermal Park, Rotorua
There are still many active volcanoes dotted across the North Island. This has resulted in many hot springs and natural volcanic mineral lakes surfacing around NZ. One of the more popular geothermal areas is the Waiotapu geothermal park in Rotorua. The mineralization of sulphur and iron has resulted in the lovely color reflected in the hot pool.
Number 5: Caving into the Lost World
The Waitomo region in the North Island has many spectacular caves for you to check out. These limestone caves were created over several thousand years by water erosion and the result in massive underground caverns that are now filled with luminescence Glowworms.
Fun Fact: The Maori word Wai means “river”, while tomo means “cave”. Hence Waitomo means “cave created by water”.
Number 4: Cayonning
If you are an sports and outdoor junkie like moi, you should definitely check out the Abel Tasman Cayonning adventure! Small groups are guided out for a day’s fun in the numerous canyons in the Abel Tasman National Park. Jumping off cliffs, riding waterfalls as if they are playground slides and doing the zip line through various obstacles. Nature is our playground!
Number 3: White Water Rafting
There are many rivers in both the north and south island where you can experience white water rafting. The reason why its called “white” water rafting is not because the water is white in colour, but the milky white foam that forms on the water’s surface. There are many grades of rapids that you can take, Grade 1 being the easiest and Grade 5 the most difficult. Of course all the white water rafting I did was grade 5. Why waste your time with the lower grades? Grade 5 is the way to go.
Number 2: Bungee Jumping in Queenstown
The world’s first operator to start commercialized Bungee Jumping. The Nervis 134m bungee is no easy feat but this is definitely one crazy thing you should do and get off your bucket list. Come and take the leap of faith!
Number 1: Skydiving at 15000 ft
THIS IS A MUST DO BEFORE YOU DIE. ABSOLUTELY POSTIVIELY EXHILARATING!!!!. When you are free falling, you will know the true meaning of being “free”. The moment is amazing, the view is breath taking, and the satisfaction is guaranteed! Beat your fear, Come take the leap, After all you only live once! YOLO.
Article by: Eddee Peh (Year 3)