Every once in awhile, we get the opportunity to lay aside the daily routine and do something fun, different and adventurous. Last week was one such time as I headed to New Zealand for a little vacation to visit my college friend, Colleen. Even though New Zealand is relatively close to PNG, it still took one and half days of travel before arriving in Christchurch on the southern island. Then Colleen, her husband Jesse, friend Blair, and I embarked on an epic 6-hour road trip to Queenstown in the south.
We drove past beautiful lakes, glimpsed views of the majestic snow-capped Mt. Cook, and passed innumerable pastures of cattle, deer, and the ubiquitous sheep.
|1860's gold-mining settlement|
We enjoyed a very relaxing weekend touring Queenstown and the surrounding areas, climbing to gorgeous vistas, soaking up the summer sunshine at a lakeside beach, exploring a quaint gold-mining town, wandering through shops, and eating delicious food.
|Colleen and her co-workers|
We also cheered on Colleen as she ran a half-marathon and achieved a personal best. In the evenings, we played games and at least one night I stayed up to see the stars, including the Southern Cross. My brain had trouble adjusting to the late sunset and twilight lasting past 10pm.
|tī kōuka (cabbage tree) used for|
food and fibre
|Christchurch Botanical Gardens|
Once back in Christchurch, I enjoyed exploring the botanical gardens, learning about native New Zealand plants and their many uses, and immersing myself in the Canterbury Museum’s exhibits on Maori history and culture, Antarctic exploration expeditions, and the fabulous birds of New Zealand. Afterwards, I enjoyed a shopping spree at the mall!
|Christchurch Arts Centre|
All in all, it was an extraordinary week of fun, visiting, relaxation and refreshment.