Hi Everyone! Guess what?? I made the 9 o'clock news here in Wellington! At the start of our group trip to Abel Tasman National Park, our ferry ride hit a massive storm on our way to the south island. For the duration of the 3-hour boat ride, plates were crashing, friends were flipping in chairs, tables were sliding, and over 300 people desperately sought refuge from the overwhelming sea sickness in the nearest bathrooms, sinks, and trash cans. I know this is probably TMI, and I apologize, but if you lived through that scene in Bridesmaids when they eat the bad Mexican food and then go dress shopping, you would be blogging about it too!
Here is a link to the full story, covered by Wellington's own TVNZ news network: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/screams-vomiting-passengers-thrown-horror-ferry-crossing-captured-cook-strait
Although I don't have many pictures from the apocalyptic ferry ride, I do have this amazing "before" shot of my friend, Sydney. 30 seconds after this was taken, the first of the big waves crashed up over the front of the boat and blew us towards the door. Poor Sydney, little did she know when this was taken!!
After getting onto solid ground in one piece and many Titanic references later, we finally drove to the backpackers hostel where we would be staying for the night. Sitting right at the start of the Abel Tasman hiking trail, the view was unbelievable!
This is where we slept:
Just kidding! Don't worry Mom, we had roofs over our heads and beds to sleep on and horses to befriend (see below).
After a good night's sleep (much needed), we started our 8 hour hike the next morning from Golden Bay to Tasman Bay. Along the way, we saw some of New Zealand's beautiful wildlife and geological wonders, like this beauty below. Fun fact: Called Split Apple Rock, this boulder is said to have traveled to New Zealand on the melting glaciers after the Ice Age.
We also saw a LOT of green!! This is a pic from my spot in the line up.
At one point, we crossed a swinging bridge over the Falls River. Right before I stepped onto it, the girl behind me mentioned that 2 Swiss tourists were flung from the bridge in a sudden gust of wind last year! (Talk about the worst time to hear that story...) Needless to say, I held on tight.
As I conquered my healthy fear of heights, I did get to enjoy this amazing view. I still can't believe how blue the water is!
After a long day of hiking, my embarrassingly sore muscles were happy to finally reach the place we were staying for the night. To my surprise, home for the night was floating on the Pacific Ocean a few yards away! The boat hotel (pictured below) was one of my favorite parts of this trip. The rooms were cozy, the food was delicious, and we got to see the stars from the deck! Fun fact: I cannonballed from the roof into the sea below. Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos of that, but it was amazing!
After a fun evening of boat shenanigans (which included teaching Down by the Banks to the kiwis on board), we slept well and woke up to a day packed with sea kayaking! It was a perfect day for being out on the water -- warm and not too windy. Here's a pic of our kayaks, pre-voyage.
Out on the sea, we saw dolphins, penguins, AND seals! Although I wasn't too skilled at taking pictures while balancing in my kayak, I did manage to snap this snoozing seal.
Here's a selfie I did manage to take out on the water. Shoutout to prime kayak buddy, Jenny, who carried the team on her back while simultaneously serenading me with Bohemian Rhapsody.
Here's another pic of the view from the water!
After 4 hours of paddling, we finally made it back to the ferry station and headed home. (Luckily, this time with much less vomiting. Still TMI?)
That same week, our dorm, Everton hall, had our annual formal. Fun fact: kiwis don't call school dances formals, but call them "cocktail parties" instead. Here are some pics from our night on the town!
For some reason, this was very hard for me to get used to and I spent most of the night pretending I was at my high school prom again. My flatmate, Madeline, and I even took prom-worthy pics to commemorate the evening! (Photo creds to Kristy, our honorary prom mom.)
We also took an embarrassing number of selfies...
And this beaut...
I also perfected my photo-bombing skills this night. Can you find me?
After a long night of dancing, french fries, and Rihanna, we woke up bright and early the next morning to go to the Cuba Dupa strees festival, where all of the restaurants on Cuba Street set up food stands along the sidewalks. Performers danced, music played over the loud speakers, and my friends and I consumed an impressive number of pork dumplings. Here's a pic of the festival from our post-feast walk.
We even made a new friend! Kristy even got a big (and somewhat static-y) hug.
That pretty much sums up my past few weeks here! We're currently heading into Easter Break, so expect to see a lengthy post coming soon. (Spoiler: we're roadtripping around the South Island!) I hope this blog post finds you well. To end on a fun fact: I have officially been in Wellington for one month!! Madeline and I ate Subway sandwiches on the waterfront to celebrate the anniversary and documented it with the picture below of the Wellington harbor at sunset. I'm so excited to be here -- can't believe how fast the time is flying. Until next time!