Day 161 – 167 | All over the place

Day 161
We went to the Waitomo Caves. Mauro joined us, which was great! We had lunch with the four of us and then went onto the Glowworm Cave, followed by the Aranui Cave. It was very pretty, especially the Glowworm Cave with the pretty lights, created by nature.

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Day 162
My mom and I went to Orakei Korako, a geothermal wonderland. We had a lovely time walking around. We picked up Bas at GNS and I said goodbye to Mauro and Lucek. They are great and I will miss them so much! My mom took Bas and I out for lovely dinner and we had a great time, my last night in Taupo (for a while at least). Then, in the evening, Bas & I watched the last Game of Thrones episode and I cried because I did not want to leave.

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And here a picture of me with the lovely Lucek and Mauro

Day 163
With pain in my heart, Bas and I said goodbye. Now we won’t see each other for 40 days (and yes, we’re counting). After spending 24/7 together for over two months, it takes a lot of getting used to not see him. My mom and I drove to Phyl, Paul’s mother, in Whanganui. As she is a lovely woman, I really enjoyed being able to see her again. She cooked us a lovely meal and we had a great evening.

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Day 164 – 165
We walked around Whanganui and then went on our way to Wellington. We stayed at a lovely hotel in the middle of town, sadly with awful internet. We enjoyed the shopping in Wellington. It was quite a relief to finally find some pretty clothes. Europeans love their shopping and their fashion, in contrast to New Zealand where no one really bothers. Okay, if you go to restaurants, you are expected to wear shoes. (This has to be mentioned, as its a daily occurence of seeing people barefeet). Wellington is different from the rest of New Zealand in that aspect, there are people seen in high heels or even fancy dresses. My mom finally met Paul, Bridgette, Anna and Pepsi. We spent the last few days slowly saying goodbye. They are the most lovely people and I am so greatful to have such a great family living here. Family made my stay in New Zealand more lovely and more difficult to leave.

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Out for lunch with Anna

Day 166
After a great lunch with Paul, Bridgette and Anna; and a sad goodbye, we left for the ferry to Picton. We are now located in the North of the South Island and will begin our trip exploring here tomorrow. First we’ll be off to Nelson. Love from here to the lovely people reading my blog.

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Day 158 – 160 | Taupo & Wai-o-Tapu

The last few days we’ve been staying at a hotel with crappy internet, thus the slight delay in blog-posting. I have been showing my mum around Taupo. Showing her GNS, Huka Falls and we even went to Napier. As I took loads of pictures last time in Napier, I did not bother this time, however, it was a really nice atmosphere this time around. The Art Deco winter festival was on and a lot of people were dressed to the occasion. We tried to do some shopping in Napier as well, but as I’ve learnt by now, New Zealand is not a country known for its fashion and we did not find anything that was our ‘thing’. It was a good day with lovely weather. Today Bas, my mom and I went to Wai-o-Tapu, a geothermal beauty. Some of these pools, including Champagne Pool, are elaboratly researched by GNS, because even though the temperatures rise high, life thrives.

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Champagne Pool

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Sulphur crystal
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Devil’s Bath

Day 150 | Time flies

Five months flew by like it was a short week. Having an internship at GNS here in New Zealand has been the best thing that could have happened. Not only have I done proper research (which will get published), I’ve made friends for life. My lovely mum is now on her way to Auckland, and I’m staying with my lovely family. Bas has been here for the last two months, which made life fly by even faster. Now I’m off to explore with the two people I love and I will update you all on how the travels go!
PS. It’s been so busy, but I’ll update the pictures of the last few weeks soon! Continue reading

Day 116 – 123 | Waimangu & Tongariro National Park

After another productive week at work, where I finished and started many experiments with interesting results, we ended the workweek on Friday with a lovely gamesnight with Mathias and Lucek. We played Dominion, a great boardgame, and enjoyed gingerbeer. On Saturday morning Bas and I went to Waimangu, one of the most stunning geothermal areas of New Zealand, where GNS does a lot of sampling. Having been there before in the car, it was quite a different experience walking around. It was funny because I hadn’t realized it was a 3 hour walk. It was absolutely stunning (yes, I use those words a lot here). Be prepared for an overload of pictures.

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Green Lake

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Weird mushrooms

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Waimangu

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Rainbow Mountain in the background

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Spiderweb, spiderweb
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Fantail in a tree. It took about a hundred pictures to shoot this one (and the next) 

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Another bird, this time a Chaffinch, an introduced species
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Huge waterlevel change since when I was there with GNS
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More birds, this time a ‘Little Shag’, a native bird

Today we walked around Tongariro National Park, where we did the walk to Taranaki Falls (7 km). It was a lovely day, reasonably cold, but while walking it was fine. Here are the pictures!

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Bas with the first snow of the season!
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Start of the Northern Circuit (3-4 days), was also the start of the Taranaki Falls walk
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Bas was very disappointed that we weren’t doing the Northern Circuit (which was this way)
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The Taranaki Falls (me for scale)
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The way to the top
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Bas & Mt Ngauruhoe
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Me & Mt Ngauhuroe
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Almost at the end of the walk!

 

Day 106 – 111

It has been busy, as you might have been able to tell by my lack of blogs. We played Monopoly, went to the movies, ate out for dinner and soaked in warm water at Wairakei Springs. On Monday the Girl Scouts, Karen and I went to the Pippins (the super cute 5-year-old girl scouts) to talk about ‘Pink Shirt Day’; how to not bully each other and be kind. The girls were absolutely adorable. On Tuesday there was a lecture at the Waikato University in Hamilton about antibiotic resistance and that we must quit our studies into microbiology now, because we will all be taken over by machines. Though gloomy, it was a very good lecture where I’ve learnt a lot. Today one of our lovely Girl Scouts performed in High School Musical 2. All the students there are so talented and they put down a great show. Bas enjoyed it, even though he does not like musicals at all.  Earlier this week we booked a trip to the South Island! Arriving on my birthday and staying for a couple of days. Although I’ve been told it’s bloody cold there, I’m very excited. This weekend we might go to either Taranaki or Napier, providing it’s semi-good weather. It’s mostly been raining and raining and raining.

Day 101 – 105 | Maungakakaramea

On Sunday we climbed Maungakakaramea, meaning ‘mountain of coloured earth’ in Maori, also known as Rainbow Mountain. Although it said ‘advanced track’; with a few stops to catch breath, we were at the top 1 hour and 20 minutes later. Stunning views and we were very lucky with the weather.

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Crater lake 10 minutes from the carpark
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Halfway there!
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Fairyland
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At the top of the mountain!
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The windy roads of New Zealand

I spotted a weird mushroom while descending, and the biologist in me was angry for not bringing any appropriate sampling stuff.

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Special  mushroom

After we descended Rainbow Mountain, we drove to Rotorua where we walked around and enjoyed the sulphur air (cough, cough). The lake was stunning.

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Lake Rotorua
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The lake had loads of Black Swans  (Cygnus atratus)
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There were loads of red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae), which are considered ‘nationally vulnerable’

The rest of the week consisted of a night with the Girl Scouts and going to the gym the other days. I actually ran my first 5 km yesterday. Work has been fine and the weather has been incredibly cold. Luckily Kelly bought a heater because it was very, very cold! This weekend we are going shopping for -proper- winter clothes, needed for the New Zealand weather.

Day 100 | A milestone

It’s fascinating how much your life can change in a hundred days. My whole future and my whole life has been turned upside down (literally, as I am on the other side of the planet). It’s been amazing and every day I’ve woken up ready to start a new day with new challenges ahead, either science-wise or explorer-wise. This has been the best opportunity I have ever had, made possible by my mum and granddad whom I both love so deeply. Today Bas and I were with Paul, Bridgette and Anna after they drove all the way up to Taupo to come and visit us. We spent a lovely day going to Huka Falls and Craters of the Moon. We showed the house we’re living in and the place we work at. I teared up a little when Paul said: “So, you’re mum is arriving in 6 weeks, isn’t she?”. The reason being that; this adventure, working with my amazing, incredibly smart, coworkers and researching (to me) important things, is finite. Time flies by so so SO quickly. Don’t get me wrong however: I am so so SO excited to show my mum everything here and to travel around with her. And I know I still got plenty of adventures ahead and I will travel back here.

I find it funny that I don’t feel far away from home. I’ve got all these lovely people surrounding me all over the world. I miss my best friends; but being able to talk to them regularly make them, even now, feel so close.

It is a milestone, Day 100, and plenty of days (and blogs) are to come. I admire all of the people reading this and I cannot wait to tell you more about my lovely adventures yet to come. Now; the pictures of this lovely day.

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Mother and daughter at Huka Falls
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Craters of the Moon
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Craters of the Moon
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The view at the look-out point; Mount Tauhara on the left
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View of the lake from the apartment my family was staying at
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The lake with special filter (my sunglasses)