Life on South Island

Submitted by Lauren Stagnitti on the 2024 Winter BUAD program in New Zealand and Australia…

After our week in Auckland, New Zealand, my group and I traveled to South Island, New Zealand on January 10th to spend our next few days in Christchurch. Upon arrival, we did a walking tour of the city and quickly learned that the culture of Christchurch differs greatly from Auckland. Christchurch felt more urban and it was characterised by lots of street art and sculptures. 

On top of the Tasman Glacier with my classmates

On Janurary 11th, we spent all day traveling to the Tasman Glacier. Since it was over four hours away, we left at 6:45 am and didn’t get back until 8:00 pm. We stopped at multiple lookout points along the way including a local market and Lake Tepako. We got fresh locally grown fruit and breakfast sandwiches. The hike to the top of the Tasman Glacier was the most beautiful I’ve ever done and sitting at the top felt so surreal. It is so grounding to sit at the top of a mountain and truly take in the beautiful views with my classmates. Although this day was a long travel day, it is one of my favourite memories from the trip and it brought my classmates and I together and helped us to bond. 

On Janurary 13th, we spent the day at Akaroa Harbor. We spent the afternoon wandering the island and shopping. I’ve been collecting postcards from all the places we have visited and we found so many fun souvenirs for our family and friends. Some of my friends kayaked on the water and it was beautiful. Then, as a group, we did a dolphin cruise on the water. We saw dolphins, mini penguins, and sea lions. There was a dog on the ship named “Albie” who helped the captain find the dolphins because of his ability to hear the dolphin’s high pitched noises that humans cannot hear. 

On Janurary 14th, (our last full day in Christchurch), we had a free day. I wandered the city by myself and did homework in a coffee shop. Later in the afternoon, I went on a gondola tour up a mountain with some of my classmates. We ended up at such a beautiful lookout place and spent time taking in the views. We ended the day wandering the city with our group and spending time in the botanical gardens. We went to the riverside market and got more souvenirs. We then had a group dinner and got ready for our flight to Sydney the following morning. It was so nice to spend down time in the city with my classmates and explore. Auckland and Christchurch differed greatly, but I enjoyed both of them so much! I can’t wait to see how Sydney compares! (Submitted on January 17, 2024)