TE PUNA, NEW ZEALAND

When I arrived in New Zealand it rained for a week straight. While there were enough cute cafes and art galleries in Auckland to keep me fairly occupied, the big city was gray and I was thoroughly unimpressed. My friend Amanda rescued me just in time and took me to Te Puna, a little country town on the east coast. We stayed with the family she used to nanny for back when she lived in New Zealand and after 3 months of backpacking it was a welcome break to stay at their gorgeous house (next to an avocado orchard!) with their two adorable little boys, Carlos and Archie.

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We started our stay at a holiday party at their families "bach" (summer home) and visited around Mount Manganui and Taraunga too, but mostly we ran around the yard (the boys can handle their mini tractors better than I can parallel park), enjoyed their garden where they grow their own fruits and vegetables (!) and had some epically meaty dinners. 

 A hearty lamb dinner. 

A hearty lamb dinner. 

 Mount Manganui

Mount Manganui

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We prepped for Christmas by wrapping presents and laying out cookies and coffee (Santa had a long night of deliveries ahead of him, it was a smart call on Carlos's part).  The following morning, the boys were thrilled to see Santa's footprints next to their outdoorsy presents that included mini wetsuits and little sleeping bag.  

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I missed my family over the holidays but I had a nice little Kiwi Christmas thanks to Amanda and the Kenny family.