So I've made it. I'm in New Zealand, and things are going swimmingly thus far (which is appropriate, since it's rained every single day).
The flight was better than I expected; I was in the very back row so I had lots of room to recline, and I ended up being seated next to a creative writing professor from Brisbine. I slept pretty solidly, helped along by a little bottle of wine and a couple of sleeping pills.
I met up with a group of AustraLearn students headed to three Universities; we've been staying at a hostel in Rotoroua, a town big with tourists due to adventure tourism and the town's hot springs. We saw sheep shearing, went zorbing (rolling down a hill in a giant inflateable ball), saw a Maori cultural evening (a bit eerie, like a living natural history museum), went caving (in a wet cave, wearing wetsuits, crawing through little tunnels, rapelling down waterfalls), had some great meals, and chilled out in our naturally heated pool. It's been a lot of fun.
Today we all head off to Uni; I think 8 or 9 of us are on a bus to Palmerston North. I'll try to get another update out when I get settled in.