Robert Latta
February 20, 2013

I can’t believe that I’ve already been in this country for three weeks! It’s been so busy, and so much fun, that I nearly forgot about my blogging obligations!

There’s so much to tell that I won’t even try to fit it all into 500 words.  Here are some of the highlights from my first week here.

After getting over my jet lag while taking the ferry and train from Wellington, I met up with a fellow Purdue and IES student, Trevor.  We spent the night at a hostel in Christchurch. Wednesday morning we took the train out to Arthur’s Pass National Park. We did lots of hiking there. We visited a cascade called Devil’s Punchbowl Falls and also took a grueling day tramp up to Avalanche Peak. It was probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever had lunch. We even met a few Israeli Army veterans at the top, who deemed it fitting to boil up some tea to enjoy the summit.  The next day, Trevor and I took a short hike up the Bealey River. After lunch at the end of the trail, Trevor took a bunch of pictures with his fancy camera, while I climbed up on the rocks. Here are some of my pictures from the adventures we had.

Devil’s Punchbowl Falls

From the top of Avalanche Peak.

Ansel Adams shooting the Bealey River

After catching the train back to Christchurch, Trevor and I stayed a night in the Jailhouse Accommodation, which is an old prison that was converted into a huge hostel a few years ago. We met a ton of really cool people from around the world and enjoyed sleeping in a jail cell!

We escaped (get it?) on Saturday and took a bus out to a small seaside town on the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, which is about 85 km from Christchurch.  There we checked into our hostel, Chez La Mer Backpackers—where the exterior is painted pink and the manager has a pet sheep (but that’s a different story)—and headed out for an afternoon of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.  It happened to be pretty windy out in the harbor so balancing on the board was a challenge.  We’ll just say that I got a few more tastes of salt water than I intended to that day.

The next day, we took a day hike up to Stony Bay Peak.  We followed a very steep stock trail and quickly found ourselves with some fantastic views of Akaroa, the harbor, and the Pacific Ocean.  That night we had our very first experience with the Kiwi pastime of fish and chips.  Monday was our first rainy day.  We watched a bit of the Super Bowl while Trevor baked cookies for everyone staying at the hostel.  Here’s a few more pictures from Akaroa.

On Tuesday we said good bye to everyone at Chez La Mer and headed back to the city.  It was one heck of a weekend, but it was time to get to know our future home, Christchurch!

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Robert Latta

<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>

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Engineering - General
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