Sunday, December 3, 2017

An Extraordinary Week

          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. 

Mt. Cook

Highland Sheep

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. 

 Lake Wanaka
1860's gold-mining settlement
in Arrowtown

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. 

Lake Wakatipu

Colleen and her co-workers
Mountain Lupin

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
Maori carvings

All in all, it was an extraordinary week of fun, visiting, relaxation and refreshment.

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