Today was Christmas, and I decided to take a break from my usual break routines of skiing, rewatching LOST for my fourth time, watching other Netflix shows, and eating a copious amount of very unhealthy food (this is actually a lie.. I definitely did not take a break from giving my future self a heart attack) to talk to a bunch of Colby friends and do some research. Not conventional research, but rather decided that I should get to know kiwi culture pretty well before I go abroad there in about a month. I know, I know, I totally should have done this ages ago.. before applying probably would have been a good idea. Although, I did know a little bit and from what I’d heard from pretty much everyone was that it was an awesome place so I wasn’t too concerned about just going in.
Today though, I sat by the fire for a few hours and just read some New Zealand Wikipedia pages and really got to know the place I’m going to. After having done that, I feel scores more excited than I did before, which is saying a lot. So, in a sort of an academic style, I thought I’d present you with the results of what I found.
General information about Wellington, New Zealand:
Located on the southern tip of North Island, Wellington has around 400,000 residents spread throughout the four cities that make it up (it’s like New York, except leagues smaller) and besides being the capital city also really connects the two islands – after a three hour ferry ride across some brutal water, you’re at South Island. On a clear day, you can see the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges across the straight, and to the north is the Kapiti Coast (I think it’s called the Gold Coast too).
Looks pretty gross. No idea why I want to go here
LOTR! It looks a little bit like the dead marshes, where Smeagol tries to take Frodo and Sam in order to hide from the Nazgul and their ringwraiths.. but cooler than that.
I kept thinking LOTR was only on the South Island, and I was bummed, but actually the Shire is in the north… I LIVE IN THE FRICKEN SHIRE. How cool is that?!
Kapiti Island, right to the north of me!
Wellington has one of the best qualities of living in the world, is the most remote capital in the world, and its harbor has three islands.
Massey University is also in Wellington, and since it’s also a place that Butler goes I’m guessing I’m going to get to know people who go there as well! They’ll probably be in my orientation in Auckland.
Auckland’s only pretty chill
Can’t wait to catch some wind
There’s a huge percentage of young people, and the majority of the population is women. Victoria University of Wellington is mostly women too, being around 60-40, which will be interesting and pretty sweet. People in Wellington are also some of the worlds most in shape. I’ll definitely be looking for people to go on runs with!
The climate is pretty temperate, and when I go there in February it’s the end of summer for them, and I leave as winter is beginning. The average temperature when I get there is the upper 60s, spiking into the high 70s. When I leave, it’ll be in the 50s during the day and getting into the 40s at night. That’s pretty brutal for winter, I know, but being from Maine I think I’ll be able to take it.
Cool facts about Wellington:
*Earthquakes are a huge problem!
*Did you know the Cook Straight has one of the most extreme weather conditions in the country? Not in the harbor, thank god – I’ll be on a beach – but once you get out into the straight, things get crazy. In 1968, winds coming up from Antartica (how cool is it than I’m right near Antartica..) merged with some warmer winds and created a Pacific storm where wind speeds hit 275 km/hr. That’s .. 10x? faster than I can serve a tennis ball. Not that that’s saying much. The TEV Wahine was coming back from South Island and capsized near the entrance to the harbor, sank, and killed 50 something odd people. Basically, it wasn’t fun
*There’s a huge cafe culture! I was so excited when I saw this, because cafes are one of the coolest things ever. That mixed with a ton of young people = a great time. Wellington, a city of 395,000 people, to be exact, has more cafes per capita than all of New York City. And NYC has a fair amount of cafes.
*Sport is huge there, and I spent ages today looking up all the New Zealand olympic teams and other teams. I ran into a little bit of a problem searching for womens soccer, though. It’s not soccer.
*Wellington has a great nightlife – it’s a big city, but not too big
I think this is more morning in Wellington, not night. But whatever
*I looked up recent Wellington news happenings: some fisherman had a run in with a great white, and JBiebs had just visited. According to that news article, “New Zealand’s ears are only just recovering.”
I looked up some other pictures of the North Island, which I’m sure I’ll be visiting! At first, I wasn’t sure if some of the stuff I read about North Island I would actually experience, since it would be pretty far away from Wellington. After doing some reasearch though, (it was Yahoo answers..) it doesn’t take more than 8 hours to go from Wellington to Auckland – and Auckland is wayy at the northernmost tip. So, I think I’ll be getting to know the whole island quite well! Here are some pictures that are never going to be more than 8, and probably less than 5 – hours away from me! Prepare to be mindblown.
Guys I’m going to live in Lord of the Rings for 5 months..
Fly fishing? Never done it before but if it means I get to go here, I’m so down
I could totally push that rock over
I don’t really know how, but somehow this is a “hot” bath.. on the beach? Sounds sick
Might go on a scuba trip! I’m certified so shouldn’t be too hard
I believe those are hot springs too
I’m guessing it costs a fair amount of money for the ferry ride to South Island, so I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending there. But, I bet I will a couple times so I looked into it a bit! The island is much less populated than the North Island, as is pretty nature-y. There’s a lot of mountains, nature, and not much human life. It’s where a lot of LOTR was filmed and there’s a bunch of hardcore skiing as well which is cool! Since it’s close to Antartica, it gets a lot colder than the North Island, but as you see from these pictures, it still looks pretty damn warm. In the mountains though, it can change pretty quickly and be true Antartica like weather, I think. Anyways, here are some pictures of Nelson.. pretty much right across the strait. So, a 3 hour ferry ride and then probably like an hour bus or car ride, I’d guess.
Next to Nelson, and I think right where my ferry goes to are Picton and Blenheim, which are much smaller towns than Nelson but are, like I said, right near me on South Island.
I think this is my ferry to Picton
Pretty busy port here.
I think this may be outside the town
Okay, so everything you saw above was the very northernmost tip of South Island! That’s the stuff I’ll be near. Here is what it looks like if you go further towards.. Antartica.. holy crap
The REAL South Island
Your fellow blogger Morgan Rublee ’14 has so kindly informed me that this is where Narnia was filmed! It’s near Dunedin, where a lot of Colby kids go to the University of Otago.
Totally could go for hittin some waves on the ole wakeboard
Whew, that was a long blog post. I’m sure I could do a ton more research in the future, and might be updating this page! And hopefully when I actually get to New Zealand, I’ll have even more amazing pictures to show to you guys (I’ll still be blogging and tweeting!)
ALSO watch some of these!
Especially, this one. I hardcore love Peter Jackson and the Hobbit cast for doing this. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBlRbrB_Gnc
SO GOOD ^
Some skiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA6EOYIoKK4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA6EOYIoKK4