Never being out of the country before, I was very nervous for my experience to adventure out into the unknown. While preparing to take this adventure, I was also planning on where to go in New Zealand. I was down there from middle of May to middle of July in 2018 then again from middle of December to middle of January 2018 going into 2019. On the first time going there, I did a tour of both islands, including the most northern part of the north island called Cape Reinga to the most southern part of the south island called Bluff.
When I flew into Auckland, I was surrounded by interesting slang and people driving on the left side of the rode. Before I went, I took a test to get my international driver's permit that allowed me to drive on the opposite side of the road. It was an interesting experience. Some of the slang that I heard included "togs" meaning swim trunks; "jandals" meaning flip-flops; and "chilly bin" meaning cooler. After I landed, I drove to Helensville to stay with a family and to get accustomed to the culture. I was shown around, eating the food (my favorite was the meat pie), and getting used to the accent. After leaving Helensville after a week or so, I drove through Auckland to a place called Paeroa, or most specifically Karangahake Gorge. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country that I saw. I stayed in a house that had two waterfalls in the backyard and I must say, that is the best sleep I have ever gotten. After staying here and getting to know the family, I learned a lot abut the history of that area and the culture. Paeroa, Karangahake Gorge, and Waikino were gold mining areas. In the 1860, just four years after the British founding of the country, there was a huge rush of immigrants for many different Asian countries came to New Zealand for the money. There was a giant hole in the middle of Waikino that people can hike around. Since this area can be prone to earthquakes, many people do not come to that area because of landslides. After spending a week exploring this area and swimming in various beaches even though it was winter there in May and June, I traveled to Waitomo to visit the Glow Worm Caves. To go here, I drove through Hamilton, which despite their sketchy reputation, was not as bad as people said it would be. Hamilton holds a very significant part of New Zealand history to it. In Waitomo, it was raining heavily, but the trip to the caves was hectic because it was so busy at that time of the year for some reason. We got to travel through parts of the caves on foot and that was incredible, but hopping into the canoe to row into the depths of the cave was the most astounding part of the caves. I would look up and the top of the cave looked liked the night sky when there is no light pollution outside. After I had the pleasure of viewing the glow worms, I traveled to Upper Hutt which is just north of the capital of Wellington. I spent a couple of days relaxing and walking around Wellington; I got to see the beehive which is the executive wing of the New Zealand parliament. It is called that because it looks exactly like a beehive, believe it or not. Then I took the ferry ride of a life time. This story will come soon.