by Brittany Holt
High: Most of the month of April consisted of a three week, mid-term Easter break, which basically meant it was time for a speed round of “See as Much of New Zealand as Possible.” My friend Marley, who is studying in Auckland, flew down and met up with another Smithie friend (Jane) and me for a South Island roadtrip. We spent a few days in Milford Sound, and then hopped down to Stewart Island in the hopes of seeing the shy, nocturnal brown kiwi. After that we did some sightseeing in the Catlins and Queenstown, and then made our way back up to Christchurch. The next morning we flew to the North Island, where Jane and I parted ways with Marley to go see the Hobbiton movie set and Rotorua, which is full of stinky geothermal mud pools and other cool geology. Not long after arriving on the North Island, I left it to meet up with some other friends in Queenstown. From there, we took our time meandering up the west coast and marveling at mountains, glaciers, beaches, and all other forms of nature. Jane met up with us on the west coast and then we shot up to Abel Tasman, which is one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.” The walk is about 60km that alternate between jungle and coast, and usually takes about three to four days to complete (we did it in about two nights and two days). After that we headed over to Nelson to chill out for a couple days before moseying over to the Marlborough region to visit wineries and relax before returning to Christchurch for the start of the second term. Those three weeks were definitely a whirlwind, but a whirlwind of the best kind, full of beautiful scenery, laughter, and friends.
Low: The one low of the three week break was the car troubles we had with our rental car on the west coast – first we lost the gas cap, then we got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, and then the headlights stopped working on our drive up to Abel Tasman! But in the end everything worked out fine, and we sure had some good stories to tell after the break ended. Oh yeah, that was probably the other low – trying to transition back into focusing on school work after such a long vacation in the middle of the semester!
Glitter: Easter is usually a pretty big deal in my family – we get together with all of my mom’s siblings and their children in upstate New York for a big Easter dinner, and this event is something I normally something I find a way to get to even when I’m at college. I was pretty bummed to be missing this time with family, but my friends Jane and Marley sure helped make up for it! We had a mini Easter candy hunt in the cottage we were staying at, and then we spent the rest of the day in Milford Sound National Park where we hiked up to Lake Marian, an alpine lake nestled between the mountains of the Fiordlands.
Brittany Holt is a senior at Smith College majoring in geoscience. She is spending her last undergraduate spring abroad in New Zealand, where she first attended a 6-week geology field camp through Frontiers Abroad before starting a semester at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Brittany loves being outdoors hiking, climbing, and exploring, and can’t wait to see what other adventures New Zealand has in store for her!