One of my favorite spots: Zealandia. An unobtrusive place perfect for introducing yourself to New Zealand's birds & wildlife.

Before I touched down in New Zealand, I had a plan of what I was going to do for the year.  When I actually landed, I changed completely to a let’s-see-how-it-pans-out-organically approach.  I’ll never know if I’ve completely screwed up with my decision-making until I leave the country, look back and think, “How the hell did it work out like that?”  

Forget the whole “hindsight is 20/20” concept; I’m having a lot of fun as things have gone “wrong” or strayed from the "plan."  

It’s turning out to be far more interesting.

New Zealand has an incredible circuit of tracks, trails, and natural hideaways, something I discovered is a main facet to its personality.

New Zealand has an incredible circuit of tracks, trails, and natural hideaways, something I discovered is a main facet to its personality.

I spent my first two weeks in New Zealand exploring the nooks & crannies of Wellington to decide if it was going to be my first landing spot of the year.  With it’s irresistible charm, creative flare, kick ass coffee, killer craft beers, and unique street performers, it’s close to impossible for Wellington not to lure in everyone who encounters it.

Forget Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, every chain coffee place anywhere.  Wellington's mom & pop cafés will make any coffee virgin or even coffee hater fall in love with a cheeky cap or flattie, leaving them wanting more.

Forget Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, every chain coffee place anywhere.  Wellington's mom & pop cafés will make any coffee virgin or even coffee hater fall in love with a cheeky cap or flattie, leaving them wanting more.

I'm a real critic when it comes to good Mexican food & quality margaritas;  Wellington knocks it out of the park.

I'm a real critic when it comes to good Mexican food & quality margaritas;  Wellington knocks it out of the park.

To be honest, I was never a real coffee drinker until Wellington got me to love the java bean.

To be honest, I was never a real coffee drinker until Wellington got me to love the java bean.

Color.  Everywhere.

Color.  Everywhere.

There’s something spectacular about the city that I find parallel to the quirkiness of Melbourne, Australia, but with an obvious kiwi overlay and slightly more intrigue. 

Signs are displayed both in English and in Māori, the Te Papa museum is stuffed with incredible exhibits about New Zealand’s history (so packed to the point that it would take you at least a week to walk through all the displays), and the local beers include names of some of the country’s famous birds & reptiles.  

Needless to say, my two weeks packed with delicious brews, great music, and fascinating factoids was completely unbearable. 

I decided to leave.

Rainy days were best spent chillin' at a local Wellington brewery sipping on a craft beer while giving my blog a much needed facelift.

Rainy days were best spent chillin' at a local Wellington brewery sipping on a craft beer while giving my blog a much needed facelift.

Jussssst kidding.  The truth is, I wanted something different.  A place that felt wilder.  Somewhere that would allow me to explore nature and really get some space from the high energy of cities.

Wellington is my favorite metropolis in New Zealand, hands down, but leaving turned out to be one of the most satisfying things for this New Yorker's inner jungle woman, wilderness quota that was overdue to be filled.

Before I divulge details about my hippie chick chapter, I want to share some of my favorite things about Wellington…

Wandering any quirky city, especially one like Wellington, helped me recognize that one of the ways in which the local population expresses itself is through distinct architectural manifestations.

Wandering any quirky city, especially one like Wellington, helped me recognize that one of the ways in which the local population expresses itself is through distinct architectural manifestations.

A city that makes the effort to provide free, good-quality events for its population is definitely a winner in my book, especially if it involves local bands at the botanical gardens.  A show like this one would cost a fortune in some other places around the world.  Every summer, Wellington does it right.

A city that makes the effort to provide free, good-quality events for its population is definitely a winner in my book, especially if it involves local bands at the botanical gardens.  A show like this one would cost a fortune in some other places around the world.  Every summer, Wellington does it right.

When I was in Wellington 11 years ago, the street art was one of the most predominant features I remembered about the city.  After my most recent visit, I'm even more impressed by the talent and creativity that influences the city's charm.

When I was in Wellington 11 years ago, the street art was one of the most predominant features I remembered about the city.  After my most recent visit, I'm even more impressed by the talent and creativity that influences the city's charm.

Walking or sitting by the waterfront is a great way to enjoy a sunny Wellington afternoon.

Walking or sitting by the waterfront is a great way to enjoy a sunny Wellington afternoon.

Meandering through the circuit of Welly's quirky shops makes for a great pastime and discovering offbeat trinkets.

Meandering through the circuit of Welly's quirky shops makes for a great pastime and discovering offbeat trinkets.

There are some easy yet rewarding day hikes around Wellington.  Bust your ass for a bit and get an epic view like this.

There are some easy yet rewarding day hikes around Wellington.  Bust your ass for a bit and get an epic view like this.

Oh, Wellington, I love you.

Till we meet again...

Xoxo

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