Ruby Woodruff: Make The Break

I’ve just returned from the most memorable break I’ve ever had. Unitec gives students two weeks off so I took full advantage of this time to travel New Zealand and see as much as I could.

To start, my roommate Kerrigan and I embarked on an incredible 3-day, 35km hike called the Tongariro Circuit. It is considered one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” and took us through active volcanoes, lava fields and alpine forests. We spent our first night sleeping in a hut and our second night nearly freezing to death in a tent.

After three days of hiking we arrived – tired, sore and sweaty – in Whakapapa Village. From there we caught a bus to Wellington where we spent the weekend exploring the city and treating ourselves for completing such an epic journey.

Once I got back to Auckland my friend from Canada came to visit so we rented a car and spent 3 days camping around the North Island. We covered about 1000km and managed to see the Bay of Islands, Te Paki Sand Dunes and Cape Reinga (the most northern part of New Zealand)!

Since we went as far north as possible, we had no other choice but to go south. So, we booked a flight to Christchurch, rented a van (fully equipped with a fridge, stove and bed) and road tripped around the South Island. I saw golden beaches in Abel Tasman National Park, Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki and secret natural Hot Springs in Hari Hari.

We drove along windy rugged coastlines in the west and through stormy mountain passes near Franz Joseph Glacier.  We watched the sun set over Lake Wanaka from the top of Mt. Iron, drank Belgium beer overlooking the infamous peaks of Queenstown, took a boat tour up the awe inspiring Milford Sound and even saw penguins near Bluff (the most southern part of New Zealand)!

Traveling this country has been such an unforgettable experience. The landscape is more immense, diverse and surreal than I could’ve ever imagined. I would’ve liked to see more but, inevitably, the trip had to come to an end. I’m still in a bit of a daze from my adventures but there are only a few more weeks left of classes and then I’ll be on the road again. J

Ruby Woodruff is a Capilano University Bachelor of Communications Studies student. Ruby is currently studying abroad at Unitec Institute of Technology in New Zealand.  


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