Dear diary last week…

Picton

26-04-2017 

It has been a wish of Mirte’s since the beginning to see dolphins, so when we arrived in Picton she decided to sign up for dolphin swimming! Although she wasn’t able to swim with them (all the big ones were out in the ocean), she was very lucky to sea several pods of Hector Dolphins! The rare, small and protected species of the dolphins. They are supposed to be very shy, however they were tumbling in and above the water, came really close to the boat and curiously tried to make eye contact with the passengers. A truly amazing experience. We enjoyed the amazing weather in Picton by reading alongside the Marlborough Sounds and friends.

     

Nelson

27-04-2017 

When we visited Hunter’s, we missed our colleague Helen. And of course we couldn’t leave New Zealand without seeing her, so she invited us to her home. Seeing her and her husband Clarry (worked at Hunter’s as an artist) was even nicer than we expected it to be and it was great catching up and hearing her enthusiastic exclamations while scrolling through the pictures. Afterwards we went back to Nelson, our final destination. The weather was still beautiful and we played some volleyball with Julian and Max from hostel Paradiso. For dinner we went to Masa’s. An Asian restaurant, where we could eat our long awaited sushi! It was super delicious and a lot of fun struggling with those stupid sticks (well… Mirte was struggling, Miriam had skills). We ended our last evening together with friends, chatting in the hostel.

    

28-04-2017

Yesterday we met the Dutch Lisa and of course we had to get a coffee together. While eating our cheesecake and chocolate quinoa cake, we completely lost track of time. All of a sudden it was 3 o’clock already. After quickly going to the city centre, we said goodbye and went to Aad and Hilde.

29-04-2017

Our last day… We had been working towards this moment for a while now and although it felt super weird, we were a little bit prepared. Firstly we visited our last Kiwi farmer’s market (ever?), then we put a banana cake in the oven and sorted out our stuff. We cleaned the car for 1.5h, because after 6 months and one quick wash she was quite disgusting. Of course we did a photoshoot with Koni (short for Konichiwa; the greeting we get every time we start the car). We packed our bags and after dinner and our Dutch-Kiwi desert (apple pie and hokey pokey ice-cream), we were completely ready for our last evening. As a surprise we took Aad and Hilde to the movies. They chose the feel-good movie ‘A street cat named Bob’, based on a true story. It was a great last night.

Auckland

30-04-2017 
A delay of 1 hour made sure we could stroll on the beach with the dogs one more time. Then it was time for our goodbye. Waving at Aad and Hilde, we stepped in the small aircraft of Air New Zealand which would bring us to Auckland. After a short flight of 1.5h, we arrived, stored our bags, got some information about the flight details and took the bus and train to the city centre. Over there we wandered through Queen Street and watched some free runners, while sitting in the sun. The moment we were heading back to the airport, it started raining. We joked about New Zealand weeping because we were leaving. The rain and the early dusk caused a gloomy atmosphere. Back everything went quite smoothly and soon we were folded up in our seats. Ready to go!

 

  

Shanghai

01-05-2017 *1.0* 

The flight was bearable due to the wide range of movies and our exhaustion making it able for us to sleep in the plane. At 5:30 AM, we set foot on Pudong Airport. This time we were determined to not get trapped in the gate again. After being sent to numerous desks, we got our temporary visa and we were able to stay out of the gate. We spent our time here having fun watching the weird Chinese products in shops and writing this. The flight with KLM was long but comfortable.

    

Amsterdam

01-05-2017 *2.0* 

When the pilot announced we were almost in Amsterdam, we felt a bit odd and peculiar. The thought of almost being home after 6 months was hard to grasp. We used our time at the baggage claim area to prepare ourself for the big reunion with our family and friends. We rushed through the gates after the alarm went off and at the sight of us, our sisters sprinted towards us. Then we got the chance to see the beautiful self made banners and of course hug our family and friends tight! We grabbed a drink together and had a really quick catch up before we separated and had dinner with both of our families later that evening. Then our ways separated after 6 months of amazingness! KA PAI GURL ❤

    

Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary week 6…

Porirua
13-12-2016
We started our day peacefully with a lovely breakfast. We made our way to the city centre of Wellington and wandered around Cuba Street. What we thought would take us a few hours, ended up taking the whole day. Cuba Street is supposed to be the home of vintage and hipsters and it definitely was! There were a lot of interesting, alternative shops. At a really cool second-handed shop Mirte bought some awesome clothes (Miriam bought body lotion at an awesome pharmacy). In the evening we went to Cin Cin (Italian for cheers), a picturesque Italian restaurant. We started with sharing a calamari dish, then we went on to wild rabbit ravioli and as a dessert we both had chocolatey goodness. After a beautiful ride up to the top of Victoria Mountain to see the city lights by dark, we ended our enjoyable day with apple cinnamon yoghurt flavoured ice cream.

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Wairarapa
14-12-2016
We packed our tent in the rain and moved towards the sun near Putangirua pinnacles. We quickly set up our tent to enjoy the sun at Cape Palliser. On our way we came across some sunbathing seals. They turned out to be the North Island’s largest fur seal colony. After watching them sunbathe, swim and even fight we continued our journey to the Cape Palliser light house. We walked up some steep stairs and had a look at the fantastic view. But what we didn’t know, the fun had yet to begin. We wanted to walk to the waterfall nearby. However, the moment we started our 3km walk, a pick-up truck with a lot of kids in the back passed us and asked us if we wanted a ride. Of course. So we hopped on and our bumpy ride began. The driver raced over the bumps and through puddles launching us up, down and to the sides. After a relaxing time, bathing in the cool water, we got a dinner invitation. At their camp house we tasted some traditional Māori delicacies (raw sea urchin and abalone snail prepared in different ways), learned a Māori dance game and we sang for each other. After an amazing dinner, we ended the day with a bang (literally) and fired some shots at a plastic bottle. This was one of our wildest New Zealand experiences at the most southern part of the North Island.

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15-12-2016
This day was our recharge day. We’ve experienced a lot of amazing and hectic days recently and since today was going to be cloudy and cold (17°C), we decided to stay in and watch some movies after our amazing omelette dinner!

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16-12-2016
One of the items on our “Must Zealand” list was the Putangirua Pinnacles. We had two trail options: the stream trail and the ridge trail. Miriam chose the ridge trail, which went through the woods. This was an excellent choice, because the sun was merciless! The walk was supposed to last for 4h. However, since we were a bit faster, we enjoyed the view of the pinnacles for a while at the viewing platform. It was a beautiful walk and to cool down we dived into the swimming pool at the campsite.

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17-12-2016
Because we’ve enjoyed the last two farmer’s markets so much, we were eager to go to the one in Masterton when we heard of it. However, when we arrived, it turned out to be a lot smaller than we expected. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun to speak to the farmers and the weather was amazing. Back at the campsite we went to the swimming pool again, because we need to get that tan going of course :D.
For dinner we were supposed to finish our shitty leftovers but then the campsite owner came to us with a bucket full of cooked abalone. We prepared them ourselves and jazzed up our dinner!

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18-12-2016
We were leaving on a perfect day. The wind was monstrous and our tent transformed into a kite! We fled to Wellington and had our lunch at the Capital Market, a cozy assembly of all kinds of cuisine nationalities. While the music pumped, we ate our vietnamese sandwiches and fried spring rolls. YUM! After that we came across an underground market. We spend most of our time aweing and even bought some souvenirs. We paid a visit to the Te Papa Museum once again and got back to the car to “cook” an amazing dinner in the park.
On the ferry we had to wait very long, so we played some new card games with two people we met. It was 1 A.M. when we arrived in Picton. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the hostel, our booked car spot (we were going to sleep in the car) was already taken… So a whole nightly adventure took place before we could end the day.

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19-12-2016
Luckily, we got a free breakfast this morning and we made use of that 🙂 Afterwards we headed to Mirte’s uncle and aunt in Nelson along a very beautiful scenic road. The moment we arrived we cleaned; laundry, coolbox, dishes, inside of the car, outside of the car, ourselves, everything.

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Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary week 5…

Wanganui
06-12-2016
Today we left to go from the east-coast to the west-coast across the widest part of the Northern Island. Because this is quite a distance, we stopped over at W(h)anganui. It was a hot day and after the visit to the Durie Hill elevator we decided to treat ourselves today and make double fudge chocolate brownies. While binge watching Sherlock and having fun with the other dorm mates, we stuffed ourselves with a plate full of calories and sugars. Loved it!

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New Plymouth
07-12-2016
We continued our journey to Taranaki, New Plymouth. When we arrived we had to wait for a while to check in, so we started a 1000 piece puzzle. We got really into it and decided to finish it before dinner. People started to help and after dinner we chatted and played Kabu till 1 o’clock. It was a lot of fun!

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08-12-2016
We wanted to go hiking today, however the weather f*cked up the plan. Nevertheless, we made the most of it chatting, playing guitar and making a great Masterchef like dinner! While buying groceries, we even experienced Christmas madness at the Pak ’n Save. First we had an encounter with dressed-up angels who handed out huge strawberries with melted chocolate. When we went on there were all different kinds of meat and sweets. We were stuffed before we even cooked dinner.

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09-12-2016
Since the weather was better today, we climbed Mt. Taranaki together with Jakob and Johannes. It was a 4 hour walk and we even tried to go to the top. It was because of the clouds that we decided to go back halfway. We fought our way through a fairylike jungle and when we came back we were knocked out. We took some rest and ended the day with playing Kabu.

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Wanganui
10-12-2016
After saying goodbye to Jakob and Johannes we made our way back to Wanganui. In the same hostel as the last time, we watched Pinocchio (Miriam hadn’t seen it yet😱) and had a lot of fun with Jonas (the German boy we’d met earlier).

Porirua
11-12-2016
This morning we had to leave the comfort of the hostel again to go to Wellington, where we’ll spend our last days on the Northern Island. On the way, we came across a mill with a Dutch shop and cafe. We ran into the place and Oh’d and Ah’d our way out again (imported stuff is expensive…). After resisting the temptation of chocolate sprinkles and Sinterklaas sweets, we went to the campsite in Elsdon. After making our tent waterproof (putting ducttape on the weak spots), we installed ourselves and watched ‘The Rise of the Guardians’ in the kitchen.

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12-12-2016
It was supposed to be bad weather today, but this morning our tent had turned into a sauna. Luckily we were still able to continue our plan, because the moment we arrived at the Te Papa Museum it began to rain. So we enjoyed our afternoon learning about the ever changing world and the impact of World War I on New Zealand. It was kind of bizarre to read, see and experience so much about/of earthquakes. Especially after recent activities in Christchurch. Furthermore there were enormous (2.4 times the size of a human) lifelike sculptures of soldiers (made by the same artists that made props for LOTR). Very impressive to see and we were there till closing time.

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Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary week 4…

Taupo
29-11-2016
Since we wanted to do the Tongariro crossing on Thursday, we decided it would be good to practice a little. Therefore we did the Great Lake walk along Lake Taupo today. It was about 22 kilometres, so we hiked for 6 hours. When we arrived to the car we were sore, but at least now we know we can probably (hopefully) walk for 8 hours as well. We also booked the ferry in advance, because almost every day was fully booked during Christmas time and after! Something to keep in mind for the future: plan ahead 🙂

 

30-11-2016
In the morning we took it slow and stayed in the hostel to enjoy the good WiFi a little longer. Around 13.30 we took off (we were supposed to be gone at 10.00. Oops…). We went to a free campsite close to Huka Falls. Of course we walked to the Huka Falls as well. In 5 seconds we saw a million litres of ice blue water gushing past us, it was impressive to see. In the evening we prepared ourselves for the big hike.

  

01-12-2016
The alarm went off at 06.15 and we jumped out of bed. We ate a nutritious breakfast (porridge à la Mirte), prepared food, checked the bags and drove off as fast as we could (since we were late (as usual)). Luckily the 08.30 shuttle bus was willing to hold on a little longer and we made it (running) :). Before and during the hike they made us believe it would be hell. E.g. 8 hour walk, super exhausting/hard and you would need a bulk load of food and water. Simply said: just for experts. Expecting the worst we began our journey into Mordor. It was gorgeous from the start and became even prettier along the way. The landscapes differed, from black volcanic mountains with blinding white snow to emerald lakes and from blood red craters to panoramic valley views. After 6 hours and 20 minutes we were already at the end. Let’s be honest though, of course we were tired, but they exaggerated the level of this hike. In conclusion: two fit girls have enough expertise for this amazing top 10 world walk.

  


 

Napier
02-12-2016
Today we exchanged the primitive life for a little more luxury. We went from the free campsite in Taupo to a family holiday park in Napier. We’ve never been so happy to be able to do the dishes and have drinkable water before. To use the river water at the free campsite we had to boil it first. The rest of the day we didn’t do much but just relaxed, took a looong shower and enjoyed our ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY!!!!!

03-12-2016
This morning we went to a farmers market in Napier. We tasted some lovely fig products, honey and olive oil and wandered around for a bit. Then we shopped for a while and strolled through the city some more while admiring the Art Deco Architecture. We had lunch on the beach and celebrated our one month annniversary by going to a little bakery. We chose a lovely passionfruit pastry and a chocolate fudge brownie, yummmmm. After that, we enjoyed the sunny day during a short beach walk.

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04-12-2016
Because we enjoyed the farmers market in Napier so much, we decided to go to a bigger one in Hastings this morning. Our pre-lunch consisted of all the amazing tastings you have at a market: lemon curd, chutney, jam, honey, olive oil, dressings, tapenade, cherries, apricots, cheese, fudge, chocolate, macarons, Christmas pudding, muesli, nuts, seeds, vegan pizza, broccoli tea, bread and wine. We also saw the same fig stand again and emptied their tasting plate. Furthermore our charms got us an early Christmas present; a reusable lunch wrap. Afterwards we burned all the calories by doing a 2,5 hour loop track to Te Maka peak.

 

05-12-2016
The 5th of December is Sinterklaas in The Netherlands. Because of the contact with our home, we got to experience it as well. Normally we eat ginger nuts, now we replaced it with Ginger nuts (some sort of cookie). Not the same at all, but still we felt connected to our family :). We took our mind of home, lived in the moment and enjoyed the day at Hastings, Havelock North and at Oceans Beach.

Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary week 3…

Coromandel peninsula
21-11-2016
After some recharge days in Auckland we resumed our journey to Coromandel. We thought it would be fun to take a detour and drive alongside the west coast of the peninsula. We were right to do so! The beautiful, blue, glittery sea contrasted by the black boulders where the beach was made off was amazing to see. The yellow/orange sand walls overgrown with the 50 shades of green made the picture complete. After our lunch in Coromandel we went on to Whitianga. We arrived at Cat’s Pyjamas; a homey old cat lady hostel with a lot of young travellers.

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22-11-2016
We got the tip to go the New Chums Beach. A beach you can’t reach by car. Instead you have to make your way through the stoney beaches and jungle paths to get there. The tropical beach made us feel like we were on a deserted island. The water was a bit rough and cold but the sun was shining intensely. Later that day we went to Cathedral Cove, famous from the movie Narnia and therefore a bit more touristic. Despite of the tourists, we enjoyed the beautiful view.

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23-11-2016
We had to get up early today to catch the low tide at Hot Water Beach. At 9 A.M. we were equipped with our shovels and were ready to start digging. Luckily we got a hot pool some other guys made at the very front. This meant we could enjoy the free spa without working and an amazing view. In the afternoon we made our way to Hamilton via Karangahake Gorge (another scenic ride).

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Hamilton
24-11-2016
We compensated the early morning from yesterday by sleeping in this morning. It was a hot day and perfect weather to stroll around the botanical Hamilton Gardens. The diversity was enormous and we loved spending our day in these fairylike gardens.

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25-11-2016
This rainy afternoon we took shelter in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The guide told us a lot about how the cave used to be and how the tour changed over time. The last part of the tour was seeing the actual glowworms while slowly making our way out on a boat. Sadly we could not make any pictures as it would shorten the life span of the glowworms. However, believe us when we say it was breathtaking. It looked just like a starry night.

Rotorua
26-11-2016
The plan was to go to Raglan today, which is meant to be a surfing paradise. However because of the bad weather (there is a reason they say it’s four seasons in one day) we decided to skip Raglan and go on to Rotorua instead. When we entered the city, we immediately saw, but mostly smelled the notorious sulphur steam leaking from every hole.

27-11-2016
As we’re also here to experience the Maori culture, we decided to go to Tewhakarewarewawatangaoteopetauaawahiao (or Whaka for short 😉 ). We got an interesting tour that was all about the way they adjust to and use the geothermal heat in their lives. We also experienced some Maori songs and dances, including the famous Haka. Afterwards we went to The Red Forest for a hike.

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28-11-2016
On our way to the next place we stopped by Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Among other things we saw some neon green water, a colourful bubbling lake with a fitting name; The Champagne Pool, violently boiling mud pools and The Inferno Crater. All of this with the sulphuric smell tingling our noses. The whole experience was surreal because of the unnatural colours and the steam rising from the ground.

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Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary week 2…

Oakura
12-11-2016
Today was the day we started off our own journey. While playing tennis, Mirte got invited by Robyn to her bach (Kiwi word for cottage). So on our way to Oakura, we stopped to have lunch at Langs Beach with Robyn and her friend Gillian. It was a lot of fun to meet them and we got a lot of tips for the rest of our journey. With a full belly we continued our journey. We slept on a campingsite in Whangaruru Harbour along the beach with a beautiful view! The next morning we did some real life Tetris and packed our car

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Russell
13-11-2016
During the night we were freezing, however it was really hot in the morning. We left the campingsite early and headed on to Russell. On the way there we stopped alongside the road at a beautiful place! Once we arrived in Russell we went to Orongo Bay Holiday Park to stay there for two nights. We hiked to the village to get groceries and the rest of the day we just relaxed a little.

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14-11-2016
Today we had a nice relaxation day on the beach. It was a bit chilly because of the wind, but looking and listening to the waves was wonderful.

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Paihia
15-11-2016
We wanted to go from Okiato to Paihia today, but before we left we were strongly adviced to visit the museum in Russell and so we did. It was an interesting museum which showed the history of Russell (formerly Kororareka which is Maori for sweet pinguin). There were a lot of stories and myths of the Maori tribes. When we arrived in Paihia, we decided to stay in a hostel. We went to the YHA hostel in a dorm room with six other people. In the evening we met two German guys, Max and Mario, and decided to go on a Cape Reinga tour together the next morning.

16-11-2016
We woke up at 6 am this morning and drove to Awenui to catch the tour bus. During the trip we sang along to songs because that’s our number one car rule :p. The trip was amazing because we had a very funny Maori guide, who even sang some Maori songs for us.

First stop: A lake
A quick stopover by a beautiful lake to stretch our legs and do some fotoshoots with the 4 cameras we brought alltogether.

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Second stop: Tapotupotu Bay
We stopped for a barbecue lunch this time. We got meat and salades and after that we enjoyed the view. But only for a while because the bus was already leaving to go to Cape Reinga.

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Third stop: Cape Reinga
The most northern point of New Zealand, where according to Maori tribes the spirits leave the world to begin their journey to the afterworld. The view was amazing again and if you looked closely you could see the Pacific Ocean and the Tasmanian Sea come together.

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Fourth stop: Te Paki sand dunes
This was a part we were all really excited about, because you can slide down the enormous sand hills with a bodyboard. It was a lot of fun, a bit dangerous and really dirty. However, because of the combination of sand and water, we got a great afterwards picture.

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Fifth stop: 90 Miles Beach
Our last stop was at the 90 Miles Beach. We got so enthusiastic we ran into the water immediately and we didn’t see a big wave coming. With wet shorts as a result, but worst of all Mario caught it on camera. The horror on Miriam’s face is hilarious. Then the tour bus left again and as we went on, the tour guide burst out in to a song again. There were also a lot of great people on the bus, we talked with some Israeli travellers which made the tour even more interesting.

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Back at the car, we wanted to have even more adventures so Max drove us to the Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri. Of course we had to take a lot of pictures again as it was really pretty. The rest of the evening we had a lot of fun together cooking and chatting away.

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17-11-2016
This day was our ‘resting day’. Which meant a tough workout in the morning with our personal trainer Max and tennis in the afternoon with the 4 M’s (we felt it for 2 days). After that we packed and prepared for the leave the next day. Then we ate dinner and ice cream afterwards with some chocolate sauce and a banana we got from another German guy we met. So a meal with a German touch you could say.

Kai Iwi Lake
18-11-2016
Today we had to leave the hostel :(. We went off to Waipoua forest and watched the Tane Mahuta, which is the largest Kauri tree with its 51.2 metres. Afterwards we did a two hour hike on the lookout track where we had to disinfect our shoes for four times to stop the spreading of the Kauri dieback disease. It was a really nice track, but because of the rain it was really muddy. We changed our shoes and then went on to the Kai Iwi lakes where we also set up our tent on the camping site. We were really tired after all the adventures so we decided to get into the tent early.

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Auckland
19-11-2016
In the morning we took it really slow and went for a wake up swim in the lake. It was a bit chilly, mainly because of the wind, but it was really nice! The rest of the day we drove to Auckland to Mirte’s uncle and aunt again to stay for two nights. On Monday we’re travelling onwards to Coromandel :).

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Love Miriam & Mirte

Dear diary…

During this blog post we will summarise what we did the last couple of days. You can see it as a public diary or a guide for doing fun things during a stay in Auckland. We’ve done many things our aunt has recommended us, so we’re no experts but you can enjoy our experiences!

06-11-2016
We started our day with visiting a big market in Coatesville. The weather was really nice and sunny, our first real experience with the sun. New Zealand has a big hole in the ozone layer, this means that the UV radiation is much stronger and you really have to be careful exposing yourself to the sun. Even during cloudy days you have to apply sunscreen or wear a hat (Mirte has learned that the hard way). Then we drove into town and had a look at the Skytower. Later that evening Mirte played a short game of tennis with her uncle.

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07-11-2016
The morning started with taking care of a responsibility: opening a bank account. Then we went on to do something fun. We walked to the top of Mt Eden, which is one of the many volcanoes in Auckland.

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08-11-2016
While staying at Mirte’s uncle and aunt, Mirte is getting ‘driving in New Zealand 101’ from her aunt. Today the lesson was learning to deal with narrow roads with sharp turns. So we went hiking in Waitekere, since the road to get there has all of these features. It was stunning, the diversity of nature was mind blowing and the views were even better. We also had our own tourist guide (aunt) with us who gave us some fun facts about the plants and birds. It really was an amazing experience!

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09-11-2016
Today was full of activities. We started the morning at the tennis club where Mirte and her aunt played some games, meanwhile Miriam enjoyed herself at the beach nearby. Afterwards we took a dive at Pt England to cool of a bit. We got hungry from swimming, so for dinner we went to a cute Malaysian restaurant.

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10-11-2016
This time we had to plan something ourselves. Our choice was to go to Rangitoto, a volcano you have to visit by ferry. When we arrived, we hiked to the top and were dazzled by the view. We could see the Skytower, but the best thing was the overgrown crater which has lots of types of different plants and trees. Just yet we cooked and tried our borrowed tent, because on Saturday we’re going to have to use it for real!

Love Miriam & Mirte

Our first experiences

We’re hereee! After a long long long flight (approximately 35 hours) with some difficulties and a lot of stress, we arrived in Auckland. Fortunately Mirte’s uncle and aunt picked us up at the airport. They stuffed us with some food, which was a big improvement compared to the plane food. Afterwards we fought our jet lag for a while, until it was time to go to bed.

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This morning we woke up early and went for a walk with the dogs at Point England Reserve. The beach part looked just like a deserted island, it was beautiful! In the afternoon we went to a big shopping mall to get a SIM card and to pick up some other things. We went out with the dogs again, this time to Waiatarua Reserve where Mirte drove to. It was a weird experience because they drive left over here, but we didn’t crash. Which is nice. The rest of the day we took it slow and enjoyed the Guy Fawkes fireworks

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Love Miriam & Mirte