Mount Cook, New Zealand










Can you believe this scenery? I think I'm still in awe. The last leg of my trip to New Zealand was in Twizel, where my uncle and his family live. They are about half an hour away from Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand at about 12,000 feet. Mount Cook is one peak in the Southern Alps. It sits in a national park that also includes valleys and glaciers. 

We walked up to the Tasman Glacier (pictured right before the first helicopter photo!), which was supposed to be a "20 minute walk." This walk is completely uphill and includes a lot of stairs. I'd say it actually took us 30 minutes to hike to the top and 10 minutes to come back down. If you're looking for more information about the Aoraki/Mount Cook national park, click here. My uncle works for The Helicopter Line at Mount Cook. He was able to be our pilot when we flew up near the Zodiac Glacier for the photo op of a lifetime. It was -6 degrees Celcius, or about 21 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the snow was up to my knees.  All the flight information can be found here!

After New Zealand, we spent a few short days in Australia. Check out my instagram for a few photos, but there won't be a blog post since I spent as much time as possible with family and friends. ALSO, by the time you're reading this, I'll be back in Missouri and moving into my first off-campus house. I can't wait to show you how I decorate my room, so be on the lookout for that blog post!

Instagram // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook
Don't forget to follow Caiti Nicole on Bloglovin' so you never miss a post!

Queenstown, New Zealand

 

The next stop on our New Zealand adventure was Queenstown. You might recognize some of the scenery from such films as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which New Zealand is well known for. All my life, when people learn that I'm from New Zealand, they ask about how pretty it is. Since I was only six years old when I moved to the United States, I hadn't seen all that much of the country to remember it until this trip. So now at least I know what people are talking about. Queenstown is an extremely popular tourist destination and is home to plenty of activities. On our first day, right after we flew in, we took the gondola up to the luge and checked out the view.

The second day, rain was in the forecast, but that didn't stop us from a little thrill-seeking. The plan was to drive out to Kawarau Bridge for the zip ride, similar to a zip line. When we reserved our time and paid online, we paid for five individuals. However, when we arrived, we found out there was a 5-pack deal that saved some money. This left us with a $100 credit for more rides or the store. After some deliberation, I decided to take this opportunity to bungee jump. What better place to bungee jump than the first place to commercialize bungee jumping? I tried not to think about it too much as I got strapped in and ready to jump. Standing on the edge was just a little terrifying and before I knew it, the instructor was counting down. I said "oh shit, no" and didn't jump the first time. He asked why I was still there and told me not to look down. The second time he counted down, I looked straight out and leaned forward. Before I knew it, the free fall was over and I was bouncing around above the river. Two guys come out in a raft tied to the dock and lower you down. Honestly, the climb back up the hill was the worst part of the whole ordeal.

We spent only two short days in Queenstown before it was time to head on to our next adventure. My uncle and his family live in Twizel, which is near the base of Mount Cook. We're spending a few days there before it's off to Australia! If you missed any of my other blog posts about New Zealand, check them out here.

Instagram // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook
Don't forget to follow Caiti Nicole on Bloglovin' so you never miss a post!

Waiterere, New Zealand


My trip around New Zealand is progressing quickly! As I'm writing this, we are about halfway through our 3 weeks here. I've spent a good chunk of time with family at Waiterere Beach, where my grandparents moved to when they retired. They're only a couple blocks from the beach. On their property, they also have a small cottage that they rent out on weekends and holidays, which is where we've been staying. Since it's winter in New Zealand, it's not exactly peak season for beach goers.

Waiterere is little community with just a Four Square (corner store), gift shop, and a few restaurants and cafes. My grandparents know most of the locals because of the small population. In our time there, we visited the fairy garden, which was pretty interesting. People started leaving garden decorations, like gnomes, and someone started placing them in the garden. There's a whole bunch of different things, so I guess the saying that "ones man's trash is another man's treasure" is true after all.

If you missed my first blog post from New Zealand, you can read it here. When this goes live, I'll be headed to the South Island to visit Queenstown and Twizel, where I've got more family. The South is more touristy than the North Island and a lot colder so that should be interesting. Look out for more travel blog posts about New Zealand and Australia!

Let's be friends:
Instagram // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook
Don't forget to follow Caiti Nicole on Bloglovin' so you never miss a post!

Palmerston North, New Zealand
















I've shared several blog posts about my travels around the United States, from Chicago to Omaha to Dallas, but this trip took me a just a little bit further around the world. I spent a total of about 18 hours on four different airplanes and 11 hours sitting in four airports to get to our final destination (that's 29 total hours of travel for those of you playing along at home). This was a trip I hadn't taken in six years, since my family moved from Wollongong, Australia back to the United States. I was 13 the last time I was in this part of the world and I've already seen that I've changed a lot more than the landscape has.

New Zealand is interesting because so much of the country is very green and not as industrialized as the United States. You can also drive for an hour and go through three different towns, whereas I drive the same time length to get downtown from where I live in Saint Louis. The country itself has about the same amount of land as the United Kingdom but 1/4 of the people. There's quite a few cultural differences as well, but they are lots of little things and lots of food-related things.

One of the first stops on my trip to New Zealand this summer was my hometown of Palmerston North. With a population of about 84,000 people, it's actually one of the bigger cities on the North Island. It's is also known for the windmills that overlook the town.We drove past the house my parents lived in when I was born, the one I grew up in and other places, which I have a very selective memory of, that were part of my childhood. The biggest and most modern part of the city is The Square, which is surrounded by cafes and shops. We also drove up to the wind farm and checked out the Manawatu River.

Let's be friends:
Instagram // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook
Don't forget to follow Caiti Nicole on Bloglovin' so you never miss a post!