Hello Rotarians,
In January 2020, my family flew into Auckland Airport to see me for about a week during my time here in New Zealand. We spent a few days in Auckland and then flew to the South Island to experience the beauty that everybody talks about. As soon as I stepped off the plane in Queenstown, I was in awe of the terrain that was in stark contrast to that of the North Island. There were mountains and rivers and lakes surrounding the Queenstown airport, with some people taking photos on the runway (which you aren’t supposed to do). A short plane ride transported us to what seemed like a completely different world and a part of New Zealand that I had not experienced yet.
We stayed in Queenstown for a day and then departed to Te Anau. There, we took a tour of the glow worm caves. We weren’t allowed pictures, as to keep from disturbing the sensitive worms. The caves themselves were quite beautiful and it was an amazing and quite surreal experience. It was in Te Anau that we earned a new family member.
It was in New Zealand that my sister Kelci said yes to her long time boyfriend John. An amazing experience which New Zealand only amplified.
From Te Anau, we left to Milford Sound. About a 2.5 hour drive, the scenery the entire way deserves its own mention. We reach Milford Sound and the sky is partly cloudy, which is quite unusual for the park which is usually rainy. We boarded a boat and took off down the fjord.
Milford Sound is by far the most beautiful and magical place I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. For anybody that wishes to do something unforgettable, I will always recommend this gem. The boat ride itself was around an hour and a half, with pit stops at waterfalls, coves, beaches, and even to watch some curious seals off the bow of the boat. When the boat was returning back, it dropped my family and I off at an underwater observatory where we suited up and hopped in some kayaks.
In our kayaks, we got up close and personal with the nature of Milford Sound. We paddled up glacial-fed rivers, shorelines, and through crystal clear water. One of our party members (my sister) even had the opportunity to experience the water by taking a bit of a swim, though not purposefully.
On our way out of Milford Sound, we stopped at one last landmark: The Chasm. It is a glacially fed river that cut out a large crack in the stone. You can hear the roaring of the water echoing through the entire height of The Chasm. Some people have even been known to dive into the deep blue water, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Finally, to finish off our days of adventure, we settled back in Queenstown for another few nights. We took the opportunity to dine at the tallest restaurant in town, the Stratosfare Restaurant.
After our time in Queenstown, we flew back to Auckland. The last day was full of goodbyes and promises to come back. We all rested and my family prepared for their long flight back home.
I would like to thank the people of Rotary once again for allowing me to reside here in New Zealand. Without you and this club, none of this would have happened. The grant I have been given is for my education, yes, but it also allows for experiences and possibilities such as this. It means so much to me and my family that I have your support.
Thanks again,
Connor Lind