End of Semester Trip to Wellington and the Top of the North Island

Katelyn Steike
June 23, 2014

I can’t believe the end of semester is approaching.  It’s so weird to think that I’ve been here for 4 months now.  I’ve gotten so used to living here and am really going to miss it when I go home.

I only have one final exam, on June 28th, but UC gives us a full week of study break followed by two weeks of finals.  Since I didn’t need 3 weeks to study, some friends and I went up to the North Island for some traveling.  We went to the capital, Wellington, for 3 days and explored around there, but my favorite part was road tripping from Auckland to Cape Reigna at the tip of the North Island.  The no driving policy IES has is annoying, but since I have friends who aren’t on IES, we were able to make the trip possible.  We spent two days in Paihia, at the Bay of Islands and it was beautiful.  We met a guy named T there who is a native who loves meeting backpackers.  He has a bunch of flags from around the world in his living room and  had us sign his American flag.  After Paihia, we headed up to Cape Reigna, where we walked out to the lighthouse at the very tip of the island and watched the sunset over the ocean.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We camped there that night and then went sand surfing the next day at the sand dunes.  We spent the night in Kaitia and then our last night in Auckland before flying back to Christchurch.


The view of wellington from the hike we took


Leonie, Rachel, Anna, Me, and Emma


Swinging on a rope swing with the view of Wellington


Emma and Rachel in the hostel we stayed at


A waterfall in Paihia we walked to. It was right after a huge rainstorm, so the water was really muddy and there was some flooding.


Us with T and the American flag


Emma and T with the Chinese flag


View from the top of a hike we did on our way up to the Cape


Me at the top of the hike


We stopped at Doubtless Bay to walk on the beach


All the Rochester girls on the beach


We climbed some trees at Doubtless Bay too


And lounged in some trees


We made it to Cape Reigna for sunset. This is the lighthouse we walked to.


These signs pointed in the directions of major cities around the world and said how far away they were from that point


We watched the sunset at the edge of the world (or at least the country)


And it was beautiful


The lighthouse from a distance was beautiful


Sunset was breathtaking


And so was the moonrise


We spent the night camping and watched the stars.  My camera just barely picked up the stars with the light of  the full moon.  It was a magical day.



The next day we went sand surfing… and Rachel got stuck in some quick sand


It was really fun, but exhausting walking up the sand dunes


We all had a blast


That afternoon we went to 90 Mile Beach and decided to go for a freezing cold swim… until we saw a giant sting ray and quickly got out


It was nice to hang out on the beach in the warmer weather, since the South Island is starting to get pretty chilly


Rachel and I juggled on the beach as the sun went down


And we watched another beautiful sunset


Our last night was in Auckland, which was nice to see, but wasn’t my favorite city. It made me really glad I picked Christchurch instead of the Auckland IES option.



This trip was absolutely amazing.  It was my favorite trip I’ve taken in all my time here.  We had a really laid back attitude about the whole vacation and just kind of winged it, which turned out perfectly.  We had a few solid plans, and all our hostels booked, but most of the things we did, we just decided on the spur of the moment.  I’m so glad I went on this trip, with an amazing group of friends.  I’m really going to miss New Zealand when it’s time to go home.

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Katelyn Steike

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Katie Steike and I&#39;m a junior at the University of Rochester, studying molecular genetics and music. I love reading, playing soccer, and going on hikes and adventures! I&#39;m going to be studying in Christchurch New Zealand for spring 2014 and I&#39;m excited to become immersed in the Kiwi culture and explore the beautiful country!</span></p>

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