For being one of the most stunning places I've ever travelled, New Zealand does not make itself easy to get to. I started my journey leaving Minneapolis at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, February 15th and found myself in Wellington at 8 pm Friday, February 17th. After numerous flight delays, a cancellation and a very long walk to a hostel. I was here. 

New Zealanders are known as "the nicest people on earth" and coming from a state that prides itself on its niceness, I was skeptical. I worked my way up the hills in Wellington to my hostel and immeadiately collapsed from exhaustion, thirty six hours of travelling will do that to you. The next day though, I hit the ground running. Wandering aimlessly around a town you've never been to is incredibly relaxing, therapeutic even. About six blocks from the harbor, the road instantly shoots upwards and suddenly you're walking on what feels like a ninty degree incline. However, the views are stunning. 

View of Wellington from the Carter Observatory in the Botanical Gardens.

View of Wellington from the Carter Observatory in the Botanical Gardens.

Fun fact about Wellington, the Cook Strait, which separates the north and south islands is the perfect habitat for giant squid. I know this, because during my wanderings, I came across the Te Papa museum, which is a natural history museum centered on New Zealand. There, they have on display a female giant squid caught off the coast of Antartica near the south island. A male has never been sited, and likely never will be as the depths they live at are literally bone crushing. 

Once my wanderings had ended, I retired back to my hostel and prepared to leave town the next morning. The bus ride to Palmerston North, which is located in the Manawatu region of the north island, is a beautiful coastal ride, and slightly frightening if you've never driven on the left side of the road before.

Manawatu borrows it's name from the Manawatu river that cuts through the plains here, and Massey University is located just outside of town. Massey actually doubles as a botanical garden because of the vast number of plants the campus houses. 

For now, it's orientation after orientation, complete with three different farm trips. While it is exhausting, adrenaline has been fueling me for the last few days, and hopefully soon I'll find some downtime to wander aimlessly here as well.