Jocelyn Pietro - “Old Car, New Adventure”


Jocelyn Pietro

Jocelyn Pietro is on exchange at Otago University from her home school of Elon University in North Carolina, USA. Back home she studies Public Health and she also has specific interests in Human Services and Interreligious Studies. While at Otago, Jocelyn hopes to immerse herself in studies as well as adventure outside of her comfort zone. She is very excited to share her exchange experience with people near and far as she continues to travel around New Zealand.

A seven day road trip, in a 1997 Toyota Caldina with a Scot, a Dane, and an American was just about to begin. It was the Sunday after the All Blacks game (that we won!), we packed up some food, filled up the tank, and were on our way to road trip the South Island.

Road Trip Car

We got to Akaroa at dark and there were motor homes clearly in storage for the winter at the camp site we stayed at. It was a little eerie considering there seemed to be homes there, but no people. The bathroom facilities were quite nice and we pitched our tent right next to Pigeon's Bay. We made dinner on our portable gas stove even though it took hours (note to self: do not try and cook potatoes over a gas stove in the wind - it WILL take hours). We cuddled up the three of us in our 2-person tent and drifted off to sleep.

Map of Trip

The next morning we walked around Akaroa seeing the waterfall and finding there was not much for us to do in the winter months, so we began our venture up to Christchurch. We arrived in day light to a sketchy hostel (there were many different characters there, but hey it was cheap). We got upgraded to the "motel" rather than the hostel in order for the three of us to stay in the same room.

If that was the upgrade, I'm not sure I want to know what the hostel aspect of the facilities looked like. Upon arrival we walked around the city and discovered some of the aftermath of the earthquake. It was quite devastating, but reassuring to see all of the measures that are being taken to restore the city to what it once was. We explored what Christchurch had to offer from it's beautiful memorial, mesmerizing botanical gardens, educating museum, and delicious food (The Little High Eatery).

Christchurch Earthquake Aftermath

We again went to bed quite early as we would be waking up for a nice shower and booking it up to Kaikoura for our kayaking reservation. We began our drive to Kaikoura from Christchurch to find that the road we were supposed to take up to Kaikoura was being repaired following earthquake damages. This would divert us an extra half an hour.