Shanna Law - “Train Rides and a Chocolate Factory in my Back Yard”


Shanna Law

Shanna has travelled from the USA to study for a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology at the University of Otago in New Zealand.  When she’s not studying she likes to hike, paint and read.

Dunedin is a diverse and wonderful city. I had never lived in a city before I came to New Zealand, so I was both excited and a bit apprehensive about living in such a setting for the first time. It didn’t take me long to realize that Dunedin has the best of both worlds, though. It has the convenience and resources of a city but is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. It also has some world famous places, like its train station and chocolate factory, both of which are just a short ten minute walk from the University that I attend here!

Recently, my study abroad group enjoyed an afternoon escape to nature by taking a scenic round-trip train ride from the local station. The Dunedin train station is the third most photographed building in the world and has the longest train runway in the world. It also runs a world renowned scenic train ride through the Taieri Gorge, which is where we went.



“The Dunedin train station …”

The train ride started by leaving Dunedin and going through some farmland, but the scenery just kept getting more and more dramatic as we entered the rocky gorge reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. There were cars that we could stay in with semi-fancy woodwork and cozy seats, but we all walked to the open viewing cars in the front of the train to feel the wind in our hair and get uninterrupted views of the landscapes.



“… uninterrupted views of the landscapes.”