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My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 9 April 2012 | Views [136] | Scholarship Entry

Backpacking is a dream to many travelers and New Zealand is where my dream comes true. Being a petite Asian girl with only 152cm, backpacking is a tough challenge for the body and mind. Taking up the courage to get out of my comfort zone for a new adventure, I embark on a 10 hours journey to the land of the long white cloud.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The word “hitchhiking” is a stranger before New Zealand. For a city dweller whose life evolves around buses and trains, thumbing is a rare scene. In NZ, it is a backpackers’ culture where one gets to know more about the country from local and travelers alike. However, thumbing poses certain danger from picking up by random driver especially for individual backpacker. It gets lonely at times too when there’s nobody around to share your feeling at that particular moment. I’m fortunate to have found Carol while traveling around the South Island.

On a sunny day while we were hitchhiking from Omarama to Oamaru, we manage to get a ride from Jeremy, a true blue kiwi. Our little adventure with Jeremy starts when he offered to show us around his favourite place!

Benmore dam, NZ largest hydro dam indeed live up to its name. In less than 15minutes drive, the view changes. Turquoise river running down from the dam, together with the changing colour of the leaves as spring approaches is simply breathtaking. Above the dam, there are tracks around the peninsula where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic view of the turquoise lake. On a good weather, Mt cook can be seen from far. The walk starts out level and required some climb after awhile. The trail is a mixture of dirt, gravel, rocks and steps. Hence, the difficulty level is suitable for even family outing. After the walk, stop by Kurow for a cuppa milkshake recommended by the local!
Although it took us 5hours to reach Oamaru for a supposedly 1.5hours drive, this is one of my most memorable rides. Thumbing is not just about culture exchange, it’s an addiction!
Lake Benmore

Lake Benmore

Tags: travel writing scholarship 2012

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