Recent Blog Posts

Post written by Glenn, Meg and David:

The New Zealand Study Abroad team has been in the South Island for the last 10 days. Our first port of call was Picton after we crossed the Cook Strait by way of a Bluebridge ferry. The four hour crossing from Wellington was flat calm, fine, refreshingly breezy on deck, with wonderful views of the Marlborough Sounds in all directions.

Our first night was spent at Punakaiki on the edge of the Paparoa National Park where we visited the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and walked the Pororari River trail beautifully situated in a limestone river gorge. From Punakaiki we drove to the seaside town of Hokitika to view Pounamu (greenstone), and some of the students took the opportunity to view Kiwi at a nocturnal house. Our Franz Josef Glacier stay was crammed as we took advantage of fine weather to walk to the snout of the glacier, climb the Okarito Trig trail for a view of the Southern Alps and take an evening stroll on the trail around Lake Matheson which is situated near the Fox Glacier. We achieved all this in one day; all in all about 16 kilometres of hiking on three different trails. When it is fine and not raining on the west coast of NZ, “you go for it,” and that we did.

From the glaciers we made the long drive to the small town of Te Anau on the doorstep of the Fiordland National Park. From here we hiked the shoreline of Lake Manapouri to the Moturau Hut on the Kepler Track, and the next day drove through the Humboldt and Darran Mountains of Fiordland to Milford Sound where we were blessed  with magnificently fine weather and a two hour cruise on the fiord. Sam Stone '18 shares his impressions of Milford Sound:

"The violent thunder of the waterfall grows louder as our ship drifts forward. Perched by the window, I view the bottom of the falls, safe from the sea of spray. A wall of white hammers into the flat waters with such force that an endless array of semi-circle shockwaves and rays of spray radiate out from the center. The deep blue waters look like they have been shattered into a million pieces from the power of the falls. Trying to get a better picture, I move from the window and step out the doorway. Spray coats my face instantly, cold beads dripping down as I look to the top of the falls. My eyes climb up and up to the top of the falls towering 400 feet above us, but the falls are absolutely dwarfed by the colossal mountains behind it, rising 5000 feet straight out the water. The scale of this place is unimaginable. Then the falls begins to shrink, the thundering dies down to a dull roar, and we’re back on calmer waters, surrounded by the ancient giants high above us." 

Most recently we have spent two nights at Takutai o te Titi Marae at Colac Bay, and last night at Te Rau Aroha Marae at Bluff. This morning students Grace Dublin, Katie Sprankle and Adrian Eastmond made a very early morning start to accompany marae elder and kaumatua Bubba Thompson on  a tuna (native eel) release at the Mararoa River near Lake Manapouri. Tuna are sacred to Maori and they are unable to swim to traditional waters because of dams built on the southern lakes waterways for the production of hydro electric power. To mitigate this the power companies are required to provide resources to Maori to portage tuna around the dam structures to enable the eel to continue on the traditional water routes. Kia ora.

Geology class at Taramea, near Colac Bay on the Southern Coast of the South Island. Our students sketch basalt pillow lava from the Mesozoic era. Te Ara a Kiwa, the Foveaux Straights, provided a beautiful backdrop for their work

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