Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adventures in Rotorua

Rotorua, New Zealand is one of the craziest/coolest/weirdest places I have ever been in my entire life.

That being said, prepare yourselves for one picture-heavy post!

When I first came to New Zealand, my dad tagged along with me. (He may have been a tiny bit worried I may be living with a serial killer, but mostly I think he came along because NZ has always been on his bucket list...) Before I started my new job, we did a good ol' "tikki tour" as the Kiwis call it. We rented a campervan and headed south towards Rotorua. Originally, we had planned on making a big loop around the North Island, but actually Rotorua was just so cool we stayed there the entire time. Funny how that happens, huh?

The whole area around Rotorua is famous because of its geothermal activity. Unfortunately, that also means the entire area reeks of sulphur, yet I digress... The actual town of Rotorua really markets off the geothermal activity. It wouldn't surprise me if every hotel, hostel, campsite etc. had their own hot springs thermal pool. A fair share of families actually have their own hot spring pool in their backyard which happens to be pretty damn cool if ye ask me.

The place we started off at was actually situated on Lake Rotorua and was surrounded by all kinds of natural hot springs. We got there just as the sun was setting so we really didn't have a chance to explore. The next morning I awoke to one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. The sun was just beginning to climb over the horizon. The steam from the springs caught the light in the most magical way you can imagine as the sun rays shone through the mist.

While we were there, we did some pretty impressive things including: mountain biking, visiting Lake Taupo, canopy tour of the forest, Wai-o-Tapu (aka geothermal wonderland/different planet), and canoeing in a lake in the middle of no where with a stranger to find glow worms. (That last one really deserves its own post.)

None of these pictures really  do these places justice, but hey, I tried.

Cuz nothing says "AMERICAN" like baseball caps and North Face jackets.

Lake Taupo's waters were to blue I'm sure you could see the lake bottom from that boat. 


This place is pretty damn cool, huh?

I mean, damn.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be moving to New Zealand, I would have laughed. It still feels so magical to be here and I keep pinching myself to make sure that I'm not dreaming. Every day here is an adventure and I'm soaking as much up as I can. 

And I absolutely cannot wait to share them all with you.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Five Things I've Learned in New Zealand

In the short time I've been here, I've learned a lot about what it is like to live in The Land of the Long White Cloud.

1. The weather is completely unpredictable.

It doesn't matter what your weather app says. No chance of rain? Bring an umbrella. Raining on your side of town? It's probably sunny where you're going. And it will ALWAYS be windy somewhere you're going. 

Man, what I would give to sail on one of these babies. Can you say GAW-JUSS?! 

2. (Most) strangers are super kind.

When I first got here, I was completely blown away at how kind people are here. It's like they're drinking some kind of nice people juice or something. At first I found it kind of weird, but when you're surrounded by such beauty, it's HARD not to be happy and nice all the time! The second day I was here, my dad and I went mountain biking. I met this super nice woman who offered her house as a place for me to stay if I was ever down in the area. Later that day, I met a guy on a tour who gave me his information incase "shit hit the fan." The genuineness of the people here just astounds me. I haven't met a rude or mean New Zealander. Yet. (And hopefully it stays that way!)

3. Kumara chips are the best things in existence.

Oh, kumara. How I loveth you. I think kumara is the equivalent of a sweet potato? It's almost smoother? More sweet? Not sure. It's some kind of root vegetable grown in New Zealand... A lot of restaurants here have french fries made out of kumara and they are amazing. I'm already trying to figure out how I'm going to get them back in the States.

// via // 

4. Walk where you can because gas -- ahem, PETROL -- is bloody expensive.

I filled up my gas tank the other day and it was $95. NINETY FIVE F***ING DOLLARS. So 30 minute walk? No problem! Raining? No problem! Anything is better than spending almost $100 on gas.

Speaking of which, here you fill up your tank first, and THEN you pay for your gas. I mean, what. How crazy is that?? Frickin' New Zealanders. They're too nice for their own good.

The top of Mt. Eden is stunning. That is all.

5. EVERYTHING is expensive. 

I went to the shop yesterday and spent $16 on a little face wash. It wasn't anything special, just Nivea or something. And that was the cheapest one I saw!! Everything in the grocery is really pricy, too. Eggs? $6. Milk? $4 for a half litre. Clothes? Oh lawdy. Don't even get me started. It's kind of nice because the US dollar is a little stronger, but it doesn't really matter that much because I'm being paid in NZ dollars, but whatever. The thought is nice. 

But you know what? I absolutely love this place.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Week in Auckland

With all the craziness of this past month, it's hard to believe that a.) I'm actually in New Zealand and b.) that I've been here for a whole week already. My dad flew out with me (I think my mom was a bit hesitant about me moving across the world by myself) and we had a little adventure. He left the day before yesterday so I'm officially here by myself.

To be honest, it feels kind of weird. It's almost like this isn't real; almost as if I'm dreaming. But it's just so incredibly cool to actually be here. I can't even put the feeling into words for you. It's that great.

I'll write more later on my adventures, but here are some hilights from this beautiful city:

 I'm so busy that I barely get a chance to write. Hopefully this weekend I get a reprieve to catch you all up!

(After I watch the entire third season of Orange is the New Black, of course.)