There’s not a chance I’ll fit it all in 500 words, but here are the highlights from my parents’ visit over the first week of break.
Soon after they arrived in Sydney for a layover, I learned that my Dad was suffering the wrath of tainted spinach that was served on the long flight from L.A. As a result, we took their first day in New Zealand slowly, wandering through Christchurch. Right away, they were taken aback by the destruction that I had described over the phone. They were especially shocked by the sad condition of the Cathedral; long wrecked. Afterwards, Mom and I took a walk around the botanical gardens and ate dinner at one of the few operating restaurants downtown.
The next day, with Dad mostly recovered, we set off up the coast towards Kaikoura. Sadly, our 3:00 whale watching tour was cancelled due to bad conditions. Our alternative was to explore the shoreline where we ended up touring an old whaler’s house that was converted into a museum.
On Monday we headed further north to the wine region of Blenheim. There we ate lunch at a winery. Then Dad and I went visited an aviation museum. After departing from Blenheim—where I’ll be running a half-marathon in a few weeks—we decided to take the scenic route to Nelson. It may have been the prettiest ride I’ve taken here. The plan was simple: take a slightly longer back-road, with stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds region, through to Picton. The road, however, was unpaved and probably not intended for a Toyota sedan. It took almost two hours to drive what was maybe 30 km. Mom was nervous that Dad’s fascination with the scenery could (and did) distract him from driving. Due to the untimeliness of the detour, we backtracked down to Blenheim from Picton on a different road (it only took twenty minutes!).
We stayed two nights in Nelson, where we met up with Dad’s first cousin, Tom, who lives there for six months out of the year for fly fishing season (lucky guy). He took us on an expedition in Kahurangi National Park and showed us some of his favorite fishing spots.
Wednesday we departed Nelson and took off through the rain towards the west coast. We stopped in Hokitika where we crashed at a resort by the beach.
Thursday was a beautiful day as we moved down the West Coast towards the glaciers. We stopped at Fox Glacier to see its magnificence. Then, we had lunch at a salmon farm just off the highway. Dad “mmmh”ed at the natural beauty as we curved through the southern alps to Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. I can’t count the number of times he told me he was jealous that I picked to study abroad here.
On Friday we hustled back to Christchurch so they could catch a flight back home to the snow. It was a great week with the folks.
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<div><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 Robbie Latta and I am a junior studying civil engineering at Purdue University in lovely West Lafayette, Indiana. I am also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity on campus. I like to spend time outside, bike, play hockey when I am home in Minnesota, write, and spend time with my friends. I am coming to New Zealand to explore the Kiwi lifestyle and have some fun!</span></div>