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25.12.2019 Christmas with friends. Our plans for Christmas developed quite spontaneously, and were mostly influenced by the bigger master plan we are following right now: Travelling up north to attend a scout camp near Hamilton.  In our transfer car, we left Christchurch and first drove to Kaikoura, a peninsula on the east coast that is well worth visiting for its landscape, wildlife and vegetation. We went for a very windy walk around the tip and were impressed by the austere but beautiful rocky beach, parts of which only surfaced in a 2016 earthquake, and seal colonies in very close proximity to the footpath. The next day was mostly filled by the ferry journey back to the North Island, and after a night on its west coast we drove further north, as we had arranged a Christmas reunion: On a remote campsite just outside Tongariro National Park we met up with Nicole, a friend and fellow scout leader from our hometown, and her travel companion Nadja. Together they are touring around the country in their green campervan. They brought two more German girls, Jule and Katharina, so we were six people to do the spectacular Tongariro Crossing hike together on 23rd December. What a breathtaking and fun experience! On Christmas Eve, it was just Nici, Nadja and the two of us, and we went on a nice short walk along Lake Taupo before having a cosy and yummy evening meal with German Christmas cake and mulled wine. We loved it, although this was not exactly in line with the Kiwi way of celebrating Christmas, which is more about barbecues, trips to the beach and other kinds of summer fun on 25th. In the end, however, it all comes down to having a good time with family and friends, no matter which end of the world. #scoutbound #neuseeland #nz #newzealand #tongariro #tongarirocrossing #kaikoura #christmas #friends #wine #departmentofconservation #seals #camping #laketaupo #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg

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