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Why i’m doing like everybody else

Not another travel blog? I’m sorry

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I’m sorry that this is another travel blog. I’m sorry for being another millennial who loves to travel all around the world.

…..

Wait. I’m not sorry at all. I won’t be sorry for doing what I like. I won’t be sorry for sharing my passion and my adventures.

I’m so inspired by all the stories I read, all the pictures I see. I dream that someday I will be the one inspiring others. I want to give advice, tell my story and encourage people to take the big step and travel.

I know I’m young, I know I haven’t travel that much, but I still hope I can bring a new perspective and bring you something. This is a new challenge for me, this blog is my new adventure. For me, life is a big adventure full of new challenges. That’s why I’m doing this: because I’m young and can do anything. So why not?

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I do,

MP

 

The exchange student life

When I was in High School, I had the chance to go live in British Columbia for 3 months. I didn’t know it back then, but it was that experience that made me want to go on more adventures. I left at the beginning of the September, excited but really stressed. When I got there, all of my doubts left. I was living with a great family, in a great town.

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Castlegar, BC

My time in BC was filled with trips to the lake, hikes and parties with my new friends where we swam in the river. It was nights sleeping outside on the trampoline and nights spent around the fire. It was filled with road trips and walks in the woods where we would see bears. I did stuff I never thought I would do in my life. I met new people I still talk to regularly and i made new memories I will keep forever.

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Hanging out at slippery rocks
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Skating on the lake

Yes it can be hard. You will probably miss your family and friends back home. It can also be frustrating because it’s hard to speak a new langage. You sometimes feel like a stranger in a new world. When i went to class, I was alone in a group of people I didn’t know. But you get over that, you make friends and I just loved going to class to hang out with them. We learn so much stuff, but being a stranger makes us interesting too. People I didn’t know knew me because I was the french girl and they just wanted to talk to me. But it gets easier. You have to get out of your comfort zone, you have to talk to others and it will be the best experience of your life.

But what’s the hardest is when it’s time to leave. After all this time, they became my family. I enjoyed so much cooking with them and talking about our day, playing with  »my little sister » or watching swim meets with  »my mom ». The best thing about that is that my twin exchange was coming to live with me for 3 months too. Which made our bond even stronger.

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One afternoon at the beach

You learn so much while travelling. I learned a new langage (i’m french), a new culture, new activities. But even more important than that, I learned how easy it is to make friends all around the world, I learned to believe in myself, I learned to take the opportunities that come to me or I might regret it.

1 month in New Zealand

All the infos of my adventure in the land of the Hobbits.

 

Right after my 18th birthday, I decided I wanted to go to New Zealand. Was it that simple? Yes it was! After a couple months of research, I was finally ready to leave. We arrived there on Christmas day. It’s important not to forget that it’s summer in New Zealand at that time of the year. We landed in Auckland and the city was empty.

We walked around town and went to Mount Eden, this extinct volcano in the middle of town. That was quite impressive for a first day. During our time in Auckland, we also took the ferry to Devenport. The beach was beautiful and we had a great time. It’s so easy to go around with the ferry. We also wanted to go to the Coromandel, but didn’t have the time. I strongly recommend it though, because everybody told us to go there. Since we didn’t have a car, we had to rely on public transport or go on a tour to get around. That’s why we took a tour to Karekare beach and Piha beach. Those beautiful black sand beaches are so worth it. We were alone at Karekare, walking on this huge beach! After a couple of days in Auckland, it was time to go to Rotorua. Again, with no car, we took the bus.  Intercity bus offers a lot of the popular routes, for little charge, with routes to the cost of 1$. We saw a lot of other backpackers using intercity. The bus usually stops in the central spot of every city, which is perfect to go to the youth hostel.

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Mount Eden

 

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Karekare Beach
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Karekare Beach

I was so excited for Rotorua, mainly because of the Hobbiton movie set. We took a tour that brought us to the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area and after to Hobbiton. Wai-O-Tapu was incredible, with the green pools, the geysers and the champagne pool. Hobbiton was my highlight of the day, as I am a fan of Lord of The Rings.  The site is well maintained and you really feel like you are part of the movie. Rotorua was one of my favorite towns, I enjoyed walking aorund, especially when you get to see beautiful buildings like the Rotorua Museum. We were in Rotorua right in time for the New Years celebration. It was an amazing feeling to celebrate the new year in the first country to actually welcome the new year. We spent our last day in Rotorua going to the spa and going Zorbing. For those of you who don’t know what Zorbing is, you have to try it. You roll down a hill inside a big plastic ball with water in it. It’s so incredible!

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Wai-O-Tapu
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Hobbiton
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Zorbing

After that, we left Rotorua to go to Gisborne. My goal was to surf over there and also go to the Rere rockslide, where you slide down some slippery rocks. Unfortunately, we didn’t do any of those because of the bad weather. Even though it is summer, and normally really nice, we had some bad weather. The rest of the trip was fine, we did everything we wanted to, but it was a bit cold. Even the local people told us it wasn’t a nice summer. What we did do though, is wake up early to be the first one to see the sun rise in the whole World. Which again is a magical feeling. We sat at the beach, only hearing the waves crashing on the sand. I strongly recommend it.

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The first sunrise

After our time in Gisborne, we went to Taupo. We only stayed there for 2 nights, as our goal was to do the Tongariro crossing and get moving South. We were really lucky to get a sunny day to do the hike.  It took us 8 hours to cross the volcano and see the Emerald lakes. I really understand now why this is the most popular hike in the country. It is worth it, if you are physically fit to hike for 7-8 hours. There is plenty of stuff to do in the Taupo Area, but we had only one month in New Zealand so we had to get going.

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Tongariro Alpine Crossing
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Tongariro Alpine Crossing

We, again, took the intercity bus to go to Wellington. I loved Wellington so much; First of all, the national museum is amazing. You don’t have enough of one day to visit all of it. I enjoy learning about the history of the countries I visit so the museum was a must. Also, another mandatory stop in Wellington is the cable car. The view up the cable car is amazing. We also had time to go to the beach and walk up Cuba Street, which had so many food truck and good music that it can only make you happy.

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The Cable Car

Then, our adventure continued to the South Island. We took the Bluebridge ferry. There is also the Interislander, both are around the same price and go to the same place. The ferry ride is amazing in itself. When you get closer to Picton, the view is incredible, with all the mountains surrounding us. We stayed only one night in Picton to rest, but also because there wasn’t a bus that day at a good hour for us so we had to wait. There is normally one bus leaving everyday but always at the same hour, which is good sometimes but can also be tricky when planning a trip.  Picton is worth to stay a couple days. There were a lot of activities we could have done. But we had other plans.

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Picton

The next day, we left for Nelson. We also stayed there for a night, because we were  leaving for the Abel Tasman National Park. I wish we would have stayed longer in Nelson. Our hostel, the Paradiso Backpacker, was simply amazing! Although a bit far from downtown Nelson. We then went to the Park. We stayed at the camping there in Marahau, while the rest of our luggage stayed in Nelson. It was way easier that way. We stayed there 1 night. On day one, we arrived early with our shuttle and went kayaking. There is plenty of company and plenty of routes to do. The majority of the Abel Tasman activity start in Marahau. You can go kayaking by yourself or with a guide. We went in a group with a guide, because we don’t do much sea kayak in Canada and we don’t know the park, so it was better to go with a guide. We went by water taxi and got dropped of at a beach. We then started kayaking towards the seal island. We stopped at another beach for lunch, paddled some more and then got picked up by the water taxi at another beach at the end of the day. There is shorter trip(or longer trip) depending if you are physically fit or not. That tour was perfect for us because we stopped a lot, and didn’t have to paddle really fast. It was incredible. The water was so clear, the sea was calm so it was actually fun and we could see the seals on the island or swimming around. The sand is golden, everything was so beautiful. On the next day, I wanted to walk a part of the Abel Tasman Track. Since we didn’t have the time to do it all (it takes a couple of days), we only did the part between Torrent Bay and Anchorage. It’s a nice path to walk, you are close to the ocean almost all the time. We also stopped at Cleopatra’s pool, where you can go swimming in the river and slide down the rocks. It was cool but I hurt myself on the rocks so be careful! When we got to Anchorage, it was raining so we quickly got in a water taxi back to Marahau. We enjoyed the ride as we went to see Split Apple Rock. When we got the Marahau, it was sunny again so we enjoyed our time at the beach before going back to Nelson for one night. We had to get some sleep before our bus ride.

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Abel Tasman Park

We woke up early to catch the intercity bus to go to Franz Josef. It is about 8 hours but it is worth it. The view of the west coast is amazing and the bus stopped at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, which is this amazing rock formation. When we got to Franz Josef, again our hostel was amazing, we had a spa pool. The next day, we took a shuttle to go the Glacier. It is only 12$ both ways, which is cheap and perfect for us because we didn’t have a car. We then walked to the final face of the Glacier and it was really impressive. It’s crazy to think we only had to walk about 30 minutes to get to a glacier. We wanted to do another longer walk on the side on the glacier, but it was starting to get really cloudy so we decided to go back to the hostel. It is possible to go on an helicopter flight and walk on the Glacier, although it is very expensive. At first, I wanted to do it, not really wondering about the money. My mentality is, do what you want to do, you won’t come back here. But I talked to a lot of people who told me it wasn’t worth it, so I ended up not doing it, but the walk was so impressive I was really happy with what I saw. Even though Franz Josef is a small town, there is a lot to do. We went to the West Coast Wildlife center where you can see real Kiwis! It is expensive to get in, but it’s interesting. We also went to the Glacier hot pools. Again, expensive and not mandatory in a backpacking trip, but it was still really nice. What I liked most is that everything is in a walking distance. But it was already time to leave.

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Franz Josef Glacier

The next morning, we left for Queenstown. Again, about 8 hours of bus, but the view was incredible. We were staying in a hostel at the top of a hill so we had to walk down to get to town. That was fine but the walk up was sometimes long, with our backpack on. I really regretted not staying in Wanaka, a town really close to Queenstown, so we took a shuttle to go there the next day. The shuttle stopped at Mrs Jones Fruit Orchard which has the best ice cream I have ever eaten, made with fresh berries. So worth it! When we got in Town, we took a taxi($$) to get the Rob Roy’s Peak parking lot. We then hiked up. It was quite a challenging hike, comparing to the Tongariro Crossing because Rob Roy’s is only going up. We didn’t have time to go to the real summit, we stopped where everybody takes the pictures looking like your at the end of the world(see photo below). It was still amazing and we liked it a lot. When we got to the parking lot, we asked for a ride to get to the Wanaka lonely tree. I felt really safe to ask for a ride in New Zealand. When we got to the tree, we took some pictures and walked back to Wanaka where our shuttle was waiting for us to go back to Queenstown. It’s in moments like that that I wish we had rent a car because we would have been free to do whatever and would have taken our time to visit, instead of rushing to get back in time. But driving in New Zealand is on the other side so that complicated a bit for us from Canada (also taking the bus is cheaper than renting a car).

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Rob Roy’s Peak
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The Wanaka Tree

We got back to Queenstown ready for the next adventure. The next day, we took a small plane for a scenic flight to the Milford Sound and then a cruise. The view from the plane and the feeling was amazing. The cruise was also so amazing, I felt so small in that boat. It was a little cloudy (it always is in Milford Sound) but it was still magical. On the flight back, I was the co-pilot( not actually doing anything but still, I had the best spot). It’s a once in a life time opportunity. We got back to the Hostel, ready to get some rest for the next adventure.

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Milford Sound
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Milford Sound

Waking up the next day, I was a little stressed but mostly excited for the activity: Bungy! There is so many activities to do in Queenstown for the adrenaline junkie, I just couldn’t go in Queenstown and not do any of it. I did the Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the first Bungy in the World. It is not one of the highest but I wanted to start small and not be too scared. There are other bunjy jumps in Queenstown. It was an amazing experience, the feeling was incredible, I can’t even describe it. I’m so happy I finished my trip with such a nice activity. When we got back, we had the afternoon to relax. On the last day, we went up the gondola to get a nice view of the town and the mountains The Remarkables . We went shopping a bit in the afternoon before packing our stuff for our flight.

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Kawarau Bridge Bungy

The next day, we took our flight to Auckland. Since we had one full day left, we cancelled our hostel near the airport and booked something downtown to finish our trip. We spent our last day shopping, walking in the waterfront and eating good food before heading to the airport. The shuttle for the airport is so easy to use and has pick-up points perfectly located downtown. We then had a long flight back to Vancouver and then from Vancouver to Montreal. As I’m writing about this trip, I still feel like I’m back there again. This trip really changed me, because it was the first one that I fully planned, and I’m so proud to have done all the activities I wanted, in the short time I had in New Zealand. I am so grateful for all the people I met and all the opportunities I had.