The Land of the Kiwis

Marlowe Padilla
June 17, 2015
New Zealand. Wow… where do I begin? This past week I was able to utilize my “study” vacation from Sydney Uni to explore the incredible wonders of the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
My 4 friends and I embarked on a journey that would truthfully change our lives. We started in Auckland and made it all the way down to Queenstown, with additional stops in Matta Matta, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, and Wanaka. Each and everyday brought a new adventure, and a new view to be mesmerized by. I truly have never seen anything quite as beautiful as New Zealand – I hope to return one day to relive the memories and create more.
In the North Island, I was able to do Zorbing which was another story in itself. Basically, my friend and I were placed inside a giant plastic orb filled with hot water and rolled down a giant hill. Needless to say it was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. In Matta Matta my friends were able to see the famous Hobbiton village from the Lord of the Rings series, while my other friends got to witness the magnificent glow worms in the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. One of my favorite things we did in the North Island however, was finding a natural hotspring! The cold Winter air in combination with the warmth of the hotspring was one of the strangest yet most comforting feelings in the world. Coming out of the water to dry was a hassle, but my friends and I took full advantage of the warmth the water provided us. 
To get to the South Island, we had to take a ferry from Wellington to Picton. I was able to nap for the first half of the 3 ½ hour ride, which was much needed. All of my friends who had already visited New Zealand told me that the South Island was simply amazing, landscape wise. We were maybe an hour away from our destination, and already gorgeous mountains had surrounded us. The time we spent in the South Island was mostly gazing through our windows just in awe of mother nature. I felt truly lucky to be witnessing these sights, when so many people from around the world would love to see these views as well. Some of the activities in the South Island included hiking challenging hills, seeing the Franz Josef Glacier, luging in Queenstown, and even getting to play with seals near Kaikoura! With everything we had done and seen, sleeping in my own bed after 9 days of traveling had never felt better. 
Looking back on my trip, I am honestly amazed of how much of New Zealand I was able to see and conquer. Even though I have seen so much however, I believe that I could have spent way more than 9 days exploring more New Zealand wonders. If I had not studied abroad in Australia, New Zealand would have been a close second option. 
New Zealand, thank you so much for letting this wannabe OZ visit the Land of the Kiwis. This will not be the last time we meet. Below are some of the photos I took throughout my trip! Cheers!

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Marlowe Padilla

<p>Hi everyone! My name is Marlowe Padilla, and I am a Junior Cinema &amp; Photography Major with minors in Art, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Writing from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. When i&#39;m not in class, you can find me exploring nature through various hiking trails, editing numerous amounts of photographs, or enjoying my coffee after my daily runs. While in Sydney, I am hoping to build connections and find a home within the people and places that surround me. With the start of this new adventure in my life, I am excited to see all the incredible opportunities that Sydney will have to offer.&nbsp;</p>

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