I’m spending 114 days in New Zealand from August 31 to December 22, 2011 as part of a study abroad program. This will serve as the central page featuring blog posts from the experience, in a similar style to the page dedicated to my 1300 mile bike tour.
Background: I’m studying here as part of UNH’s Ecoquest program, which bills itself as offering “intensive, applied field studies in ecology, resource management and environmental policy.” The program fits neatly into my environmental conservation studies coursework, one of my two majors.
Here’s a Google map of the places in New Zealand I’ve visited.
(Vol. 1) Getting there, or how I made my 21st birthday disappear: I leave the east coast in the wake of Hurricane Irene and turn 21 while on my way to a country where the drinking age is 18
(Vol. 2) Welcome to Ecoquest, welcome to paradise: We arrive at the Ecoquest Field Centre, our home base for the next three months, and its rather eclectic campus
(Vol. 3) Our neighbors are ordinary people: We are welcomed onto the nearby Marae to meet with the Maori, New Zealand’s native people
(Vol. 4) A tale of two settings: My first weekend off is split between going to Auckland for the start of the Rugby World Cup and a hike in the backcountry of Cormandel Forest Park
(Vol. 5) If you don’t like the weather, it’s already changed: Our first week of extensive field work in the east coast beach town of Opoutere provides further evidence that New Zealand’s weather has ADD
(Vol. 6) Waitomo, via the left side of the road: We rent cars in Thames and drive to the North Island tourist destination of Waitomo, renowned for its glowworm caves
(Vol. 7) Over the pass at St. James Recreation Area: We go for a hike in the central North Island and sleep like sea turtles.
(Vol. 8) It’s hard to dry stuff in the mountains: The sun never really comes out during our time at Arthur’s Pass, and our clothes never really dry out. On the bright side, no one gets attacked be a kea.
(Vol. 9) Fifty miles at Abel Tasman: It turns out that you don’t have to choose between the beach and the mountains as we pound at miles at one of NZ’s most famous national parks.
(Vol. 10) In the shadow of Doom, or why I love Mordor: “Frodo had it easy. All he had to carry into Mordor was a ring.” Tongariro National Park becomes my new favorite place on earth.
(Vol. 11) I watched New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup at a bar in Ohakune: It’s a fitting end to the first half of my time in New Zealand, which coincided with the cup. And I do it in a town known for its skiing … and its carrots.
(Vol. 12) “How much money does New Zealand really save by building one-lane bridges?” and other thoughts from driving around New Zealand: These are the things I’ve thought about while driving hundreds of miles around this country.
(Vol. 13) That time we went snorkeling at one of the top ten dive sites in the world: We spend a week north of Auckland exploring marine reserves.
(Vol. 14) Tracking the elusive Hochstetter’s: My directed research project revolves around a vulnerable native frog, which means I get to wander in streams all day.
View an album of my photos from New Zealand here.
More content to come…