So here's a day by day itinerary:
- Got lost, (got laughed at! lol) got told wrong place to go in searching for a waterfall hike
- Ended up finding a great hike to Mt. Kaukau
- I think it would be considered a normal hike to any local, but to us it was phenomenal!
- It was so green! Soo many shades of green-- I loved it!
- The view was full of yellow, tan, green, with blue sky and puffy, fast moving clouds (and unfortunately lots of fog while we were there all week--which is why the sky looks white^)
- Cameras don’t do it justice, so picturesque
- Not the view I’d imagined, but was just as good because we worked to get there
- I will never forget just running up the side of a steep cliff to the highest part we found at first, it was so windy we were tripping and falling and that made it all the more memorable and worth it :p!
- We hiked and got lost and wandered all day, and it was exhausting but I just kept walking and was not bothered because everywhere I looked was interesting and new and gorgeous (we even walked all the way back to Wellington, got lost for over 3 hrs)
- “Just 30 more minutes…” (that's what everyone kept telling us as we wandered trying to find Wellington after our hike, haha)
- After first day, nice to relax and not have a plan all the time, stressful but freeing, my mind kept racing with all that I wanted to do there, but it’s a group and it’s limited time and money and I had to learn to go with it and adjust and appreciate what we did do, which ended up being awesome!
- Learned that I need to go with the flow more, trust God more, not let frustration and expectations overwhelm me so much! (Below pic is the beautiful harbor, Wellington was just gorgeous, esp when the skies cleared up!)
- Learned to THANK GOD more: creation, means, opportunity, safety, etc.
- Found that the time and the views gave me opportunity to reflect and feel overwhelmed with emotion and thankfulness for God’s grace and love for me and his creation that he allows me to enjoy and experience
- Random realization: BEING IN NEW ZEALAND MADE ME MISS MY FAMILY EVEN MORE!
- Wanted them to be there to experience it-- Dad would love it (seclusion, peace, silence, wildlife, never-ending hikes and trails), Jami and Jase would love the adventure sports and such, and Caleb would love the LOTR references everywhere!
- Overall, the visit was like a “TEASER” for me, I didn’t see all I wanted to, and I’d love to go back, especially to South Island!
- But I still loved it because I did stuff that stretched me (literally sometimes :p ie. ropes course, haha!), challenged me, and was completely new to me.
- Fun fact: budget was $800 and I made it! (With six girls it was awesome because we split and shared and packed meals each day and cooked huge, awesome meals each night at the hostel! I learned to make pancakes :D) Food overall: $25 (score!)
- Zip-line (“Flying Fox”) and high ropes course! Super high in the trees, hard to reach stuff cause I was too short :p, but still awesome to complete it and feel proud that I could
- Physically hard but rewarding and beautiful and scary and exhilarating!
- Indiana Jones rope swing! Aw yeah.
- There was a literal skateboard on a rope across a wire and you just glide across on it--sweet!
- Body- slammed a few times after ziplining to fast without breaking (fun! and woops! haha) and almost fell off twice from the rotating logs on ropes which were super slippy and hard to figure out, and there was a zipline hanger thing where my hands slipped at the end--eesh!
- Mountain biking!
- Hard, fell off twice! (cut & bruised...) haven't fallen off a bike since I was like 5 (not cool & embarrassing lol)
- It was scary at times because it was a tiny trail right by the edge of the cliff..
- Pushed my bike up 50% of the time (not gonna lie ;p)
- REFUSED to give up! Although I was not physically completely able to do it, I still wanted to make it to the top, there was no way I wouldn’t after being halfway up lol
- Minimal view at top (FOG and clouds...but still cool views on way up-- see below pic with windmills!)
- But still felt proud and accomplished since it's something i'd not normally do
- Going back down was fun, fast, and bumpy :D best part.
- Same day: Wharf Jumping! (2 diff locations)
- First one was this staircase thing ^, it was so fun and i'd never done something like it before! So cool, plus it's a tourist spot that locals tell you about but don't warn you :p (unknowing tourists get splashed/soaked because we stand too close to the edge when ppl jump off, hehe)
- The other wharf jump we did was on a wooden “plank” over the actual harbor, supposed non-stinging jellyfish in it that locals told us about, but I didn't feel/see them :(
- So COLD but exhilarating and cool feeling of adrenaline (esp of the high staircase one)!
- Random: sweet, friendly woman asked to take our photos while on the plank lol, she told us how to pose haha
o Friendly, warm Kiwi people
o Stumbling upon Mount Kaukau and loving it
o Mountain biking to the top!
o Wharf jumping!
o Time for growth, prayer, reflection, and appreciation for my family & friends back home!