New Zealand: Modes of Transportation

Submitted by Ilana Shmukler on the 2020 winter session program in New Zealand sponsored by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering…

This blog post is dedicated to all the modes of transportation I have taken since arriving to New Zealand.

In CIEG 351, transportation engineering, we were given the assignment of visiting sites in each major city we visited and using multiple modes of transportation to get there, tracking our progress as we went. Here are some of the modes of transportation I have taken.

  1. Walking. Oh, the joys of walking. Here in the city of Auckland, walking is a primary mode of transportation. From my accommodations at the University of Auckland I have walked to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Rangitoto Island Ferry, Silo Park, the French Market, and everywhere in between.
  2. Ferries. Taking the ferry is one of my favorite modes of transportation. There’s just something about standing at the front of a ferry, feeling the wind and the spray of salt and watching the land where you came from get smaller and smaller. My favorite ferry memory is the ferry we took to see the fjords of Milford Sound.
  3. Gondola. I took a ride up a mountain in Queenstown in a gondola. It was a very steep mountain, and without the gondola there was little chance of getting up the mountain. The view on the way up was nice, with sheep dotting the mountainside and small islands off the coast that could only be seen from such a height. While I did enjoy the ride up the mountain, the main reason I took the gondola up was to ride the…
  4. Luge. A luge is a small cart, a bit like a go-cart, with steering and brakes, that you can sit in and ride down the mountainside on a designated course. There were two courses, one fast and one slow for the beginner, and with our ticket we each got 7 rides down with the luge. This is definitely the most fun mode of transportation I have taken.
  5. Ski lift. Once we finished the luge course, we had the option of going back up to the top through a ski lift. It was quite unexpected, as I had previously associated ski lifts with skiing, but this one took us up the mountain with a luge attached to the back of the lift for every person taking it up. We had great fun posing for the picture in a different fashion each time we went up.
  6. Lime. A lime is a type of electric scooter that is most popular on the streets of Christchurch. It was an especially popular mode of transportation at night when the buses stopped running as often.
  7. Canoe. Canoeing on the river in the botanic gardens in Christchurch at the start of my program set the tone for the rest of the time. There were so many things I was anxious about when coming to New Zealand, and it was there on the canoe surrounded by people I now call my friends that I started to see how I could call this beautiful island home for the next 5 weeks.

Bonus: Today in transportation engineering we learned about slugging, a unique system of carpooling among strangers where no form of payment is exchanged. It’s common in metropolitan areas like Washington D.C., and relies heavily on person to person cooperation and trust.

Cruising on a luge in Queenstown
Canoeing in the botanic gardens of Christchurch
Seeing the fjords of Milford Sound