The sun was up and so was I as I headed to Wellington Botanic Gardens on foot. I hiked up urban hills and crossed over busy highways, but dark clouds quickly developed and approached the city. I should’ve known better. The weather in New Zealand is always so unpredictable and ever-changing.
Could I make it to the gardens and back to the hostel before the downpour? Judging by the thick, black clouds looming just behind me I didn’t think so. My goal was to make it to the gardens where I could find some shelter should I need it. It didn’t look too far away on the map, but with all the hills in Wellington the short jaunt became a journey.
When I finally arrived at the gardens, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was. I definitely didn’t come through the front entrance so I must’ve wandered in through the side. I meandered down cemented paths and up dirt trails. I followed the road as it wound through the green trees and plants. There must have been so much more to see, but the air was getting quite chilly at this point. The clouds had finally caught up with me and were directly overhead, which made midday turn into an artificial night.
Uh oh, I thought. This is not good. And sure enough, within a few minutes as I passed the rose gardens, snow began to fall. Can you believe that? At first I didn’t recognize it and thought it just might be rain. But I looked down at my jacket and saw the white flurries begin to build up. Unbelievable.
After waiting for a few minutes with hopes that the snow would dissipate, I decided to brave the weather and head back to the city. The air was definitely too cold for me to hang around longer. The path to the city took me through a cemetery, and it was really magical to see the white stuff falling to the ground or landing atop the tombstones. I felt like I was walking through a movie set, but the cold wind woke me from my reverie and got me on my way again.
Upon reaching the city, I took refuge in the library and ended up reading an entire book. When I was done, it was getting late and I was hungry so I headed back to the hostel. During my short walk back, I was surprised to find myself walking through hail. Again, I wasn’t familiar with it and thought it might just be large raindrops hitting the pavement. But, as the sound became louder, I realized that it was small pea-sized hailstones.
Did I mention that you can experience all seasons in one day here?