The Views from New Zealand; or ‘the Land of the Long White Cloud’

Jenna Sharp is a student at University of Southern Indiana and an ISA Photo Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Wellington, New Zealand.

On our second day in New Zealand, we drove to Matamata to see the Hobbiton movie set. This is the home to the very famous Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies directed by Peter Jackson.

Matamata is known for its beautiful farm lands and rolling hills that are filled with hundreds of  sheep.

We visited one of the well known hobbit holes. The hobbit holes around Hobbiton range in size so that Peter Jackson could make his actors/actresses  appear smaller or larger without using special effects.

About an hour away from Matamata is a town called Rotorua. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity. The town is covered in bubbling, steamy mud pools.

Right outside of Rotorua is another town called Wai-O-Tapu. Here we explored the volcanic zone and saw everything from craters, mud pools, and lakes filled with unique minerals and elements. Because of the different elements in these lakes, the water was a variety of neon colors.

Although it was pouring rain the day we visited, it was still incredible to see all of the colors and active areas of land.

The lakes and pools were brightly colored and like nothing else I’ve ever seen. One lake was even neon green.

After spending a week traveling for orientation, I finally arrived in Wellington. Wellington is New Zealand’s “creative capital”. The city is absolutely covered in amazing street art. No matter where you are, almost every wall, building, and door is covered in amazing modern art.

Thanks to the amazing weather we had the first few days in Welly, I was able to venture out to Wellington’s little beach called Oriental Bay. Wellington has no actual beaches so all of the sand seen here is imported.

The pros and cons of New Zealand beaches: Cons: New Zealand is fairly close to Antarctica, making the water very cold. Pros: the water is crystal clear enough that you can spot starfish :)

 I had heard rumors that there were black sand beaches close to where I was living. Lucky enough, a 15 minute bus ride and 20 minute walk was all it took to get to Owhiro Bay in order to see the phenomenon. Owhiro Bay is a beautiful coastal beach where the ocean meets the mountains.  No matter how hard I tried, no picture could capture how beautiful it was there. The water was so blue and the mountains were filled with green and yellow plants.

I actually came to New Zealand to see a kiwi bird. It’s been on my bucket list since I was about 8 years old. With the help of the Wellington Zoo, I was finally able to cross it off my list. They have three little kiwis– one only has one leg– and tons of other exotic animals. The thing I found the most interesting, however, is that some of their animals aren’t even in cages. So here I am posing next to George the emu.

The world awaits…discover it.

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