Dunedin to Queenstown: The final stretch!
Monday was a huge travel day that started at 11am. We rode on a ferry, bus, two planes, and another bus. After a long day we reached our hostel, Ontop Backpackers, in Dunedin at 10:30pm. Every head hit the pillow with no more energy to utilize.
Tuesday was our first official day in Dunedin and it started off with a lecture from Mark Falcous at the University of the Otago. Falcous lectured about his article entitled, White is the New Black: Football, media and the New Zealand imagination, which articulated the hierarchy that exists between natives and whites surrounding the promotions of national identity. This brought about questions of societal construction here in New Zealand which we thought was very similar to that of the United States currently. The difference between these groups mirrors that of the Blacks and the supremacy of the whites in America creating this indifference which is engrained in all culture ideas and ways of life. Following the lecture by Falcous, we headed to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame currently celebrates 150 years of organized settlement and 75 of the greatest sports athletes. One of the coolest parts of the exhibit was the spotlight on Yvette Williams, a New Zealand track and field athlete, who long jumped for a world record of 6.28 metres (20.6 feet) in 1954.
On Wednesday, we toured the Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand’s largest, most versatile indoor stadium in the world. This stadium has real grass incorporated into the field and rainwater from the roof is recycled into the irrigation of the pitch. We visited the VIP boxes and even saw where William and Kate sat when they visited the stadium. This visit was paired with an article, Public Consultation and Stadium Developments: Coercion and the Polarization of Debate, which looked at the controversy surrounding the stadium's build five years ago. The problem was monetary. The original cost of the new play house was a cool 188 million New Zealand dollars which quickly turned into 210 million after service fees and prive increases. This debate is not as heated to the day as it was when the plans and building process was underway, but it is at the forefront of the stadium staff to prove each year to the community that the stadium's build does give back to the culture and community of Dunedin. After the tour, some of us toured the Cadbury World Chocolate Factory! Along this tour, we made our own chocolate creations and received a bag full of free chocolate. We also saw the highest chocolate drop in one of the Cadbury silos. After the tour, we added to our free bags of chocolate with a few more pounds of chocolate from their store. We all went into a chocolate coma that we still have not recovered from.
Thursday was our last day in Dunedin and our free day to roam the city. Many of us went to tunnel beach. Tunnel beach has sea-carved cliffs, arches, caves. It was one of the most beautiful sights we have ever seen. While standing on the cliffs, all you can see is a mix of green blue water and amazing tunnel carvings in the sandstone. Many of us also met up at St. Clair beach for some relaxation and ate lunch near the water. We ended the day with a class pool tournament in the downstairs of our hostel. Ryan Pribyl and Tyler Hovey were our champions, congrats to them. It was fun to see all the competitive sides of our group in a chill environment.
After a five hour bus ride, we have arrived in Queenstown, the adventure capitol of the world! There are many of us going skydiving or bungee jumping tomorrow! Have no fear, we’ll keep you updated on their status.
Five days left in this great nation with snow and cold temps to look forward to!