Once in beautiful Auckland, we had the great fortune to stay at the most wonderful couch surfers of the city. The lovely couple Denise and John were like parents to us. They helped us with the Van-purchase, which claimed some time and nerves. We also did some geocaching, had a drink in a pub and in the evenings we watched videos together.
With our new, mobile home, we went north. Not far from Auckland, we spent a few days with Graham, a friend of Denise and John. He showed us around and took us to the local Bowls tournament one evening. Graham also had a super-organized workshop that we could use for the van’s upgrade. Thus, we installed a cabinet and a large bed, which can be converted into a table with benches, in our little home.
As proud carpenters we then enjoyed a few relaxing days in which we explored the beautiful coastal scenery, collected mussels and oysters from the beaches and fished. However, when we just started to recover from all the stress of the first two weeks, our van was broken into and some electronic equipment stolen. This not only ended our journey to the North, since now a police report was needed and new electronic equipment to be bought, but left us with a very tense feeling, which unfortunately lasted for the next few weeks. We knew that in New Zealand break-ins, especially in vans, were normal, but to experience this by oneself, however, is something entirely different. And so we will live in fear for our car the rest of the time in New Zealand, and every time we return to the parking lot, we are both still nervous until we see our “Elvis” (yes, he has a name) again.
A lot of positive energy, however, was given to us by a super sweet family with three young children near Whangarei. We visited Shlomo and his family on the recommendation of Denise and John, and we helped them with the building of their incredibly huge house. So we had the feeling of being part of a family just before Christmas. As the five are of Jewish descent, we saw even the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, first hand.
Before we left the family again, we undertook a very exciting cave tour. After about 100 meters into the cave, there was no more daylight and after turning off our headlights, a bluish starry sky presented itself to our eyes, which was produced by hundreds of glowworms (not to be confused with the European beetle variant). The “bright” madness!
Now, however, we had to go back to Auckland, as we had some trade-me-appointments to rebuy some of the stolen property (not the same). Our mood was quite depressed so shortly before Christmas, but we used the return to Auckland for a visit of a former classmate from Görlitz, which has now settled in Auckland. His girlfriend cooked a delicious dinner for us and we spent two nights at their place before it went South.