I finally made it out of Palmy!! It was quite the ordeal, actually. My friend, Maria, and I had planned for days to meet up with her friend in Auckland and go camping in the Coromandel Peninsula. But, the day before we were supposed to leave, we learned that Cyclone Lusi was going to attack New Zealand that weekend and the eye of the storm would right in the Coromandel. Of course, that was just our luck. New Zealand doesn't even get cyclones! So after deeply considering driving directly into a tropical storm to go camping, we decided it may not be the smartest idea. So instead, we followed a few fellow Americans to Wellington and spent the weekend exploring the city.
Wellington is such a cute city! It's nicknamed the "Coolest little capital in the world" and the "Windy city". The weather was actually very nice while we were there - considering there was a CYCLONE somewhere in the country... All weekend Maria and I would joke about going up north to camp in the cyclone. At one point, we actually thought we were going and even bought groceries. Then we came to our senses again. We really wanted to go... Can you tell?
I got to see a Dr. Seuss exhibit and the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa. Te Papa was wicked! They had so many cool exhibits and it's completely free to get in. I got to see the Colossal Squid (which was actually kinda sad), an earthquake exhibit, and a beautiful Māori Marae ("Ma-Rye" ~ meeting house). We were able to go inside the Marae if we removed our shoes and did not take any pictures. Every part of the Marae is significant - the floor represents Papa, the Earth mother, and the ceiling is Rangi, the Sky father. It's interesting to learn about Māori beliefs - how they perceive the world and how they say everything came to be.
Here are some shots from the city:
My wonderful friend, Maria
View from the Mt. Victoria lookout
On the drive home
We stopped and enjoyed the view
The last picture is the scene of where I touched an ocean for the first time! This is also the day we all learned what amazing friends we had just all made. The people are what really enrich your experience. I am so happy for all of the kind-hearted, talented, adventurous friends that I've made in NZ so far.
"Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui."
Be brave, be strong, be patient.
be "big hearted"