After four weeks at Rongo Backpackers, it was sadly time to say goodbye to all the lovely people living and working there and to head north for exploring the North Island! My host family from Wellington asked me whether I wanted to celebrate their Christmas in Auckland with them which made me really happy. I visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Russell, the first capital of New Zealand – everytime with people I’ve just met shortly before! That is what I love about travelling: You learn and experience to be really spontaneous and flexible and become friends with people from all over the world.
After the Bay of Islands, the next stop was Taupo, where I went to the Huka Falls and did “donutting” (see picture) on Lake Taupo. In Napier, I’ve had my hottest days in New Zealand so far, which I quite enjoyed by relaxing at the beach and walking through the Art Déco-city. Before going back to Auckland for the Christmas-celebrations, I stopped in Rotorua, where one of my dreams finally came true: I visited Hobbiton and had an amazing day – finishing with a Cider at “The Green Dragon”! I also walked around Lake Rotorua, which not only has a unique colour but a unique smell as well.
It was then finally time to go back to Auckland where I got to know a lot of new people and traditions: Christmas is not only celebrated in completely different temperatured, but also unlike in Germany on Christmas Day (December 25th).
After unwrapping presents, we had a huge Christmas-lunch with han, turkey wrapped in filo pastry, roasted vegetables, potatoes and salad with almond dukkah, followed by fruit mince, persimmon pudding and strawberries – simply delicious! The whole day was a completely new af great experience for me and I will never forget my Christmas in summer that was marked by cool drinks, spending time outside and going for a swim in the pool.
After the holidays, I headed south again, celebrated New Year’s in Wellington and took the ferry to Picton on Sunday, January 5th, to start my second project in the Queen Charlotte Wilderness Park, located in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.