There is so much to do in and around Sydney, but during our mid-semester break, a few of my friends and I decided to leave Sydney and Australia altogether in search of new adventures on this side of the globe. Some of our fellow CAPA students went to Bali in Indonesia, others went to Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef. But I was able to visit a country which I have always wanted to visit; New Zealand.
Working for a travel company really came in handy when planning for this trip. My colleagues were able to help me to find a trip which would maximize our short amount of time in the country. We ultimately decided to sign up for a bus tour of the South Island of New Zealand with a tour company called Kiwi Experience. This group caters specifically for young adults backpacking through the country, which meant organized excursions and staying at hostels along the way.
We flew into Wellington, the capital city of the country on the Friday at the beginning of break week and stayed there for a night before boarding a ferry from the North Island to the South Island and finally hopping on our bus with Chris, our driver for the week. To be honest, I was not totally convinced that a bus tour would be the best way to see the country, but I could not have been more wrong. For only having a little over a week to see as much as possible, bussing down the west coast of the South Island was by far the best way to do so. The scenery out the window was incredible for the whole trip, and we were able to explore each stop along the way for a day or two before hopping back on the bus.
My favorite location we stopped at was a town called Franz Josef, nestled against what remains of a glacier that once flowed for miles and is now melting at an alarming rate. The glacier carved out a canyon in the mountains creating scenery that looks other-worldly. Luckily, we had two nights at this incredible place and used our full free day to hike near the glacier. Besides Franz Josef, we spent time at other scenic locations along the way too, ultimately ending in Queenstown where we spent our final weekend as kiwis.
New Zealand is an incredible country with a landscape that is second to none. 10 days is not enough to experience everything, but if you are on a budget and want to see as many different places as possible, I highly recommend doing a backpacker bus tour. While it was definitely not the most luxurious way to travel, it worth every penny.