On the Other Side of the World

Currently I am residing in New Zealand, on the South Island, in Christchurch. That is 9293 miles away from home. It is without a doubt the farthest I’ve ever been from home and I am here traveling without my family. I am here at Lincoln University for 5 weeks as part of a study abroad program in animal science. And if you didn’t know, New Zealand is the perfect place for that because they have a lot of sheep and a lot of cows. Wherever you go, it seems there are always sheep up on the hill or cows in the fields.

Since arriving here I’ve been to numerous farms to hear straight from the famers about their farming practices, what they plant, how many stock units they have and what their daily routine includes. But in our down time when we don’t have class or farm tours we get a change to get out and explore this beautiful island.

Coming to New Zealand I had high expectations. I’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movies way to many times and love the panoramic scenery shots they do every five minutes. So coming here I expected to be impressed by beautiful grassy plains with towering snow capped mountains in the distance, and let me say New Zealand does not disappoint. One thing I’ve found Lord of the Rings never really shows is the glistening, turquoise blue of the ocean here, with its shingle rock beaches, that sit right at the base of huge mountains and cliffs.

In the city of Akaroa we drove up switch backs and slowly wound our way up the mountain side. When we got to the top there was a beautiful view of the bay below but you were standing up on a towering green hill top (that was of course covered with sheep). The view was spectacular with mountains in every direction and the water so clear and blue.

In Kaikoura the water was so blue and rough. There were so many rocks in the water that the waves would crash up before they got to shore like something out of a film. On an ATV tour a group of us rode up and down grassy hills, filled with sheep and cattle of course, with the wind whipping our hair and the sun shining. We climbed hill after hill until finally we ended up on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Down below us a colony of seals lounged on the rocks in the sunshine and out a sea you could just make out the dolphins jumping.

This truly is a spectacular island, filled with some of the nicest people you could ever meet. I am so grateful to be here and this beautiful place is the real driving reason I started a blog; so I could share my amazing experience with anyone who’d love to know anything about this magical country.

“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

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