After a long week of registration, dorm food, and adjusting to life at Uni, we decided to take a weekend trip to Greymouth, NZ, which is on the west coast. Thursday night we booked tickets for the TransAlpine train and reserved rooms for 2 nights at a hostel in Greymouth. Friday morning 11 of us headed to the bus stop on campus in the rain at 6:30am in order to get to the train station in Christchurch by 8:15am. We were right next to the food cart, so 5 of us ordered a good ol' New Zealand Meat Pie. It rained for most of the ride, but it was beautiful as we traveled through Arthur's Pass. We got to get off of the train for about 5 minutes while we were in Arthur's Pass.
There was an outlook car that you could go to to get some fresh air and have a better view than through the rain-streaked windows.
When we got to Greymouth, we walked to our hostel, which was on the edge of town, dropped our packs, and went on a search for some fish and chips! We met 3 other people from Lincoln Uni who had arrived the day before, so they led us to a local pizzeria for fish and chips!
We went into a store to buy our bust tickets for the way back (the bus is much cheaper than the train) and came across this sign! Lake Brunner is probably 20 km out of Greymouth, so we didn't manage to go, but there was a lot of publicity for it!
Since we were already soaked from head to toe from walking around town, we decided to go on an afternoon hike.
We stopped by our hostel, dropped off some of our wet clothes, and headed to go on another hike before dark. We got to walk through a nice residential area where everyone's yards are perfectly manicured and the houses are small and cute.
After the hike, we found ourselves at the beach! It was all pebbles and the waves and wind were really strong. This was the Tasman Sea.
Once we got back to the hostel, we took showers, changed into some warm, dry clothes, and had a feast of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
On Saturday, we took a short morning hike and then Sarah, Hannah, and I walked around Greymouth, bought jade necklaces (Greymouth is the jade capital of New Zealand!) and stopped into a little coffee shop for some delicious hot chocolate! We walked along this street on our way back to the hostel! It's "Brunner Street!"
Around 1pm, we all met back at the hostel and biked 7km to our next trailhead. (Our hostel provided free bikes and kayaks, but the river was too high since it was raining...it's always raining.) As we biked in the rain, we saw the pebble beach and crashing waves to our left and the lush mountains spotted with sheep, cows, and horses on our right.
We hiked through the mountainous rainforest...
and a field of huge yucca-looking plants and 2 hours later found ourselves on the other side of the mountain in a little beach town! We got some refreshments at a local pub and watched the beach for a while before we decided to make our way back over the mountain and to our bikes.
That evening, we made a large dinner of rice, steamed broccoli, stir-fried vegetables, and different flavors of tuna from a box. While half of our group cleaned up the dishes, Jen, Sarah, and I ran to the grocery to get some ice cream and we all watched Ocean's 11 in the little movie room at the hostel with cups of chocolate ice cream, popcorn, and kiwi-filled chocolate bars.
We woke up sunday and hopped on the West Coast Shuttle at 7:30am. The scenery was just as beautiful as it was on the train, however, since the rain was letting up, we got to see rainbows and double rainbows embracing the mountain side!
When we got back into Lincoln, the sun had finally broken through the clouds (this was the first time since we had arrived in New Zealand that it was a little bit sunny!) so we grabbed our swimsuits and got back on the bus to spend a calm afternoon at Sumner Beach (on the edge of Christchurch) before classes started the next morning.