Month One

(Note: will be long and detailed and contain way too many pictures)

I arrived in New Zealand about a month ago — land of summer rain (this exists?), nicer people, and absurd amounts of US political news coverage. My transition to my year abroad has been very easy, thanks to my wonderful friend Stefan (who I used to call Kiwi but now it’s weird because everyone is a kiwi here/that would be like calling an American “American”) and his family who live in Auckland. I stayed with them for a few weeks, and they have been incredible hosts by showing me the sights, feeding and housing me, and introducing me to their friends and family who live in Wellington, where I’ll be living for the majority of my time here.

This is what I’ve been up to since I arrived…

January 16–21: North Island road trip
Soon after I arrived Stefan and I went on a road trip around the North Island since he had a long summer holiday — still getting used to summer and Christmas being all at once. Even though we didn’t cover a huge geographic area, it was nice to see part of the North Island. We Americans, used to our 5 lane freeways, assume it should take no time at all getting from place to place but on one lane, winding highways it takes much longer to travel an equivalent distance. As a “wrong side of the road” driver, I was happy to be a passenger and look at the countryside we passed through.

Left to right, top to bottom: Lonely Bay, Coromandel; Cathedral Cove, Coromandel; Redwood forest, Rotorua; Mount Maunganui; Omanawa Falls

January 22–26: Auckland

Auckland Art Gallery and Albert Park

January 27–29: New Plymouth/Taranaki

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and Mount Egmont (Taranaki); the Wind Wand by Len Lye

January 29–31: Auckland 
The parents arrived! My parents came out for about 2 weeks to travel before I embarked on my own. We watched a cricket game (much explaining had to be done by Stefan) and climbed Rangitoto, an island volcano a quick ferry ride from the city.

Left to right, top to bottom: Rangitoto; view of Auckland skyline from the ferry; cricket game (Black Caps vs. Australia); checking out the local craft beer scene

February 1–6: Queenstown
Queenstown and the surrounding area is all absolutely beautiful. Incredible mountain ranges, forests, river gorges, and fjords are all within walking or driving distance of Queenstown. We did some amazing hikes and took a tour of Milford Sound — I LOVE fjords so this was kind of a dream come true for me! (get ready for photo barf)

Hike up to Roy’s Peak with views over Lake Wanaka; the Wanaka tree (willow tree growing in the middle of the lake, aka the most photographed tree in New Zealand)
Milford Sound!!
Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks

February 6-today: Wellington
My parents came to Wellington, but left after a few days. Since then I’ve been searching for apartments (I found one and moved in!) and jobs! Wish me luck :)

Left to right, top of bottom: Parliament Building (the Beehive); view of the bay from the waterfront; sunset view from my apartment window; view of the city from Mount Victoria

Thanks for reading! I’m hoping to post more frequently so you won’t be overloaded with a post this long or filled with so many pictures again!