Bennett Family Diary

India

The journey was very long but we managed to get there. The journey included one car journey, one train, two underground trains and two aeroplanes. The first aeroplane went from London Heathrow to Mumbai India which took 8 hours and 23 minutes then another aeroplane from Mumbai to Goa which took 45 minutes. To pass the time on the aeroplane we watched films and played video games and the cabin crew brought us food and drink. Once we finally arrived in Goa Airport the taxi driver was waiting outside with a board with my mums name on in big letters. We jumped in the taxi and travelled to South Goa to our first destination The Dwarka Eco Beach Resort. Goa is amazing, we have been spending lots of time at the beach. I have really enjoyed catching the big waves on a boogie board and kyaking in the fresh water lagoon. Tomorrow we are leaving at 7.30am to go on a boat ride to see dolphins and I cant wait ! Below is a view from my balcony.

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During our stay in Goa we saw lots of animals and insects including monkies, dolphins, elphants, jelly fish, cows (even strolling along the beach), dogs, cats and even a praying mantis on the end of my bed !

We went on a tour to a spice plantation and learnt about all the spices that are grown in India and their medicinal purposes and then we got to wash an elephant and ride on its back whilst it sprayed us with water it was really fun. 

We stayed in Goa for 18 days and we were sad to go but we are ready to see more of India. We caught a bus with beds on and travelled overnight to Mumbai which took 15 hours but we slept for most of it. Tommorow we are going on a sight seeing tour of Mumbai.

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Today we went on a guided tour of Mumbai. A driver picked us up from our apartment at 8am and we travelled to south mumbai the first place we stopped was the Dhobi Ghat which is the worlds largest open air laundry. It has 700 washing pens built of concrete and stones where dhobis with their families wash the dirty clothes dipping the clothes in soapy water and then thrashing them on stones. Our guide told us that there are about 7000 men work here. Even the hospitals use this facilities. 

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We also visited the Gateway of India, Flora Fountain, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (a train station) , Ghandi's house,the richest man in India's house and lots more if you do not know any of these then you can look them up on the internet. One of the most interesting things the guide told us was about the Indian lunchbox. This is where the wives at home make a hot dinner that is put on a train and delivered to Mumbai station where men in white hats called Dabbawalas collect the luchboxes and deliver them to all the men who work in banks and other important jobs. Each Dabbawala collects 40 lunchboxes that have marks on telling them where they need to go. All the husbands have their lunches by 1pm. They carry the lunches by carts or by putting them on the handles of their bikes. I asked why do they not carry their lunch to work in the morning and the lady told me that in India men are highly respected and it is the wifes job to look after their husbands the best they can also most importantly that this creates jobs for lots of people.

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We had our lunch at a restaurant called 'Leopold Cafe' a restaurant from a book my mum is reading called 'Shantaram'.

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We travelled from Mumbai on a night bus to Udaipur that took 16 hours !!!!!!! Once we arrived we jumped on a tuk tuk (rickshaw) to our hostel that my mum had booked. Udaipur reminded me of Italy as there was lots of tiny roads and all on water.

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After Udaipur we went on a train to Jaipur that took 7 hours. We stayed with a really nice man called Alif and he taught us how to fly a simple Indian kite. Whilst we were in Jaipur they were celebrating Makar Sankranti. This is a festival to celebrate the end of the long winter months and the start of the spring. Everyone flew kites on the roofs of their houses, we ate lots of sweet treats and they ended the night with fireworks and lanterns.

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After a lovely stay in Jaipur we travelled on another train to Agra where we visited one of the seven wonders of the world the Taj Mahal. It was trluly breath taking and I will never forget it. 

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Tilly had her photo taken like Princess Diana who visited the Taj Mahal in 1992.

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We travelled to Delhi by taxi and stayed in a nice house just outside of Delhi. Delhi is crazy its so loud everyone beeps their horn and there is traffic everywhere ! The air pollution is really bad. India makes me appreciate how clean England is. We visitited The National Zooalogical Park in Delhi, whilst we was there a monkey that was roaming free tried to take my ice cream so i had to throw it on the ground so he could have it so that he would leave me alone.

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These are our colourful shoes from when we went bowling !

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Our time in India was coming to an end so we moved to a hotel close to the airport. After 6 weeks in India we were already to leave. I loved India and hated it at the same time and I dont think you will understand that unless you visit it. This is the sweet section of the lovely hotel we stayed at on our last night.

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mmmmmmm doughnuts 

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From Delhi airport we went on aeroplane from Delhi to Phuket Thailand but we stopped in Kuala Lumpa on the way. The flight took 9 hours and 10 minutes. Once we arrived in Thailand the first thing that I noticed was the weather. It had got quite cold in Delhi so it was nice to be back in the sunshine. We stayed 2 nights in Phuket and visited a magic eye museum. It was great fun making up poses for the different murals. We also went to a night market and I tried my first Phad Thai. The night market was really busy and had lots of different food and drink. 

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From phuket we travelled by minibus to Khao Lak, It took an 1 hour and 40 minutes.

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Whilst staying in Khao Lak we went on a boat trip and snorkelled around the Similan Islands. The water was very clear and the sand was smooth and white. I saw lots of fish including  Unicorn fish, parrot fish and rainbow fish.

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We stayed in Khoa Lak for 7 days and then travelled by mini bus to Karon Beach it took 2 hours to get there. 

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We stayed in Karon Beach for 10 days and whilst we were there we went to the beach, had a go at surfing on a surf simulator, swam in the pool and went on lots of long walks to explore the surrounding area. We even had our feet cleaned by little fish !

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Our next stop was Hong Kong and I was very excitied to go. It was my mums birthday and Chinese New year ! We went on an aeroplane from Phuket airport to Hong Kong and it took 3 hours and 40 minutes. When we arrived straight away we got to watch a Chinese Lion show. Everywhere was decorated because of it being Chinese New Year. The year of the dog. 

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That night we watched the New Year Parade. Everyone was really happy and there was lots of colourful lights and loud music. The next day we went on the cable cars to Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. We saw a Buddah called Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, it is a large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, completed in 1993. The Buddah is 34 meters high !!

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After 3 very busy days in Hong Kong we went to the airport and flew from Hong Kong to Brisbane, Australia. It took 8 hours and 45 minutes. We are all getting really good at flying now.  We arrived at Brisbane airport and picked up our hire car we then travelled north to the Sunshine coast. I loved the sunshine coast there is so much to do. There is so much wild life in Australia. Whilst walking on the beach we saw a Portugese man of war jellyfish washed up (It's not as bad as it sounds) 

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We visited Australia Zoo the home of the crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin. We had a fantastic day we got to see so many animals. We even got to feed red kangaroos and hold a koala !

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For my school work I had to write a paragraph about someone I thought was a hero. I chose Steve Irwin, below is a paragraph I wrote.

My hero steve Irwin

I also had surf lessons, jumped off a rock into a waterfall, explored a rainforest, tackled a wipeout course and climbed Mount Coolum.

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Below is a Haiku I wrote about surfing.

Rocco's Haiku

Our next stop was The Gold Coast. We stayed about 20 minutes from Surfers Paradise. The Commonwealth Games is being held here in April. The Gold Coast is theme park heaven. We visited Sea world, Wet n Wild and WB Movie World. Check out our You Tube Channel to see all the fun. We stayed at The Gold Coast for 7 days then travelled further south to Brisbane we stayed in Brisbane for 2 nights and explored the city. We also went on the wheel of Brisbane and learnt about the local area. We then travelled further south to Byron Bay. In Byron Bay we visited the famous Byron Bay lighthouse, Crystal Castle where we got to see Tibetan Prayer Wheels, a tree of gratitude and the biggest crystals in the world.  

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Cape Byron Light is an active lighthouse located at Cape Byron, New South Wales, Australia. It is Australia's most powerful lighthouse, with a light intensity of 2,200,000. Cape Byron, the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia, is about 3 kilometres northeast of the town of Byron Bay.

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According to the lineage texts on prayer wheels, prayer wheels are used to accumulate wisdom and merit (good karma) and to purify negativities (bad karma).

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A gratitude tree is about expressing your gratitude towards someone or some things you are really thankful to in your life.

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A pair of the world’s tallest geodes are displayed at the Crystal Castle in the Shambhala Gardens. Standing at a breathtaking 5.5 metres, the Crystal Guardians are an exquisite smoky quartz geode with delicate sprinklings of amethyst and calcite crystal flowers and stand as sentinels watching over the property. The impressive geodes have travelled from a remote location in Uruguay and required skilful engineering to withstand the elements and be stable in their new home. After a week in Byron Bay we travelled further south to Coffs Harbour. Coffs Harbour was a quiet coastal village. During our stay we walked along the beach near our house which was 10k long. We visited The Big Banana and played put put, went on the racer slide and went toboganning.  

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This is the racer slide it was fun zooming down but not so much fun climbing back up.

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After a 7 day stay we travelled further south to South West Rocks. We are staying here for Easter and my parents have given us 4 days off school work, hooray ! We are staying at a place called Big 4 and its like an Australian Center parcs. As soon as we arrived we saw wild kangaroos. It is amazing to see them up close. 

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Here are some interesting facts about kangaroos.

Kangaroos are marsupial animals that are found in Australia as well as New Guinea.

There are four different kangaroo species, the red kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo, western grey kangaroo and antilopine kangaroo.

Kangaroos can hop around quickly on two legs or walk around slowly on all four.

Kangaroos can’t walk backwards.

Kangaroos have very powerful legs and can be dangerous at times.

Kangaroos can jump very high, sometimes three times their own height.

Kangaroos can swim.

Most kangaroos eat grass.

Baby kangaroos are known as ‘joeys’.

A group of kangaroos is called a ‘mob’, ‘troop’ or ‘court’.

The red kangaroo is the largest marsupial in the world.

Kangaroos usually live to around six years old in the wild.

 

Yes there are Kookaburra's everywhere. Every time I see one I think of the song that Miss Matthews prepared in our leaving assembly, and they really do sound like they're laughing.

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We went to the local beach and tried paddle boarding. The water was a bit rough so it was really hard to stand but we got to ride some great waves. 

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We weaved some Easter baskets and made some Easter masks. We also did an Easter egg hunt I was a bit worried all the eggs might have melted because it's so hot here. Not something we have to worry about in England.

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I had a fun long weekend, go karting, put put, bouncy pillow, swimming, water slides and of course eating lots of chocolate ! After here we went in the car to Crescent Head we stayed in a house in the hinterland. We had a family of magpies that visited us everyday. The magpies seem bigger here and are very noisy.

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We visited an Aboriginal Art gallery and then went home and created some of our own artwork. We drew a pattern and then used a cotton bud to do lots of dots.

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Aboriginal culture dates back as far as between 60,000 to 80,000 years.  This is when Aborigine’s first settled in Australia.  The first evidence of Aboriginal ethos or philosophy is evident in the still visible rock art which dates back more than 20,000 years. There is no written language for Australian Aboriginal People so in order to convey their important cultural stories through the generations it is portrayed by symbols/icons through their artwork. Our next stop was Smiths Lake. I really liked it here and it felt a bit different to some of the other places we have visited. Below is a photo of Smiths Lake it was just down the road from our house.

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Right by our house lived loads of Flying Foxes. Flying foxes are bats or, more accurately, mega-bats (big bats). They are commonly known as fruit bats, but their diet is predominately nectar, pollen, and fruit — in that order. They don't use sonar like smaller, insect-eating bats; only their eyes and ears like us. They see as well as a cat at night and are just about as smart.

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We visited a really beautiful spot called Seal Rocks. It had a lovely beach with clearest bluest water. We strolled along the beach and climbed the steepest steps to the lighthouse. Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse stands on a dramatic headland east of Seal Rocks village. Completed in 1875, it is the first lighthouse designed by colonial architect James Barnet and one of only two towers in Australia with an external stairway. It was originally built to guide ships along the rocky coastline, after a number of incidents, including the shipwrecking of the SS Catterthun and the Rainbow. Despite the coast being illuminated by the lighthouse, 20 wrecks have occurred since the lighthouse was built.

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During our stay at Smiths Lake my Dad taught us how to fish. I thought I would find it quite boring but I actually really enjoyed it. We caught lots of fish but made sure we put them all straight back. 

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The lake was so clean and inviting we swam in there for ages.

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After the lovely water at Smith's lake we stayed in Port Stephene. One night there was a massive hail storm and there was thunder and lightning too, it was cool but loud.

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Nearby there was a little town called Nelson Bay, which had lots of fun little things to go on we went on these trampolines.

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we also went sand boarding which was amazing but it was so hard to climb back up to the top.

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It was my dads birthday on the 15th of april.

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While at Port Stephens we went out on seethrough kayaks on the lake near our house.

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After a week in Port stephens we travelled to Sydney were it was Willo's birthday on the 22nd of April.

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Sydney was incredible it had so many places to go and see, we watched a performance called 'Kleidoscope' in the sydney Opera House and walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We went to Toronga zoo too it was amazing and as a special treat for Willo's birthday we went on a jet boat in the harbour which is actually called Port Jackson.

From Sydney we travelled further inland and visited the Blue Mountains. We went on a great day trip to Scenic World. There are four different ways to explore the Blue Mountains including the steepest incline railway in the world !

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From here we headed back towards the sea and continued to drive down the East Coast, we made stops at Bawley Point, Eden and Eagle Point. At Eagle point we took a short ferry ride to Raymond Island and saw loads of koalas in the wild. It was fantastic. We even saw one walking which was so exciting.

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From Eagle Point we travelled to Melbourne where we stayed with my mums cousin his wife and their daughter Grace. My mum also has an aunt and uncle in Melbourne and another cousin. They took us to see lots of great things in Melbourne and some of their favourite spots. We went into Melbourne city on the train and parts of it reminded me of London one section looked like Covent Garden. Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the second largest city in Australia. It is known internationally for its diverse range of street art. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of the city's  youth were influenced by the graffiti of New York, which then became popular in Melbourne's inner suburbs, and along suburban railway and tram lines. Melbourne was a major city in which stencil art was embraced at an early stage, leading to the naming of Melbourne as "stencil capital of the world" The love of stencil art also increased public awareness of the concept of street art. The first stencil festival in the world was held in Melbourne in 2004 and featured the work of many major international artists.

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We had lots of fun in the city. We played in the Botanical Gardens, checked out the shops, visited the war memorial and loads of other things. We also had the most delicious almond croissant mmmmmmm. We visited a winery called Montalto and checked out some great sculptures. We then had a delcious lunch and my Mum said it was the best glass of red wine she has ever had. 

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We visited a delicious food truck festival where all had our favorite food. My mum and dad had mexican, willo and tilly had a hot dog and I had a burger.

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After lunch me willo and dad went with my mums uncle and cousin to an Australian Football match we supported a team called The Saints

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From Melbourne we then got on a 3 hour flight to Aukland, New Zealand. This is where we picked up our campervan, which we stayed in for 6 weeks.

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We went all over New Zealand travelling every day. We drove south all the way to Queenstown on the south island and back, visiting many places on the way.

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The first place we stopped was Hamilton. Here we visited Hamilton gardens which had garden designs from all around he world.

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Next we stayed at a small town called Raglan which was a famous surfing place. It was recommended by my mums good friend.

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We visited a place called Waitomo. It has a special cave system that has thousands of glow worms which light up in the dark. It was amazing.

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In order to travel to the south island we had to go to Wellington which is the capital of New Zealand. Wellington was brilliant and beautiful. It has a huge harbour and lots of interesting things to see. While we were visiting, there was a big light festival on all over the city, there was lots of nice food and fun things to do.

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We then got the inter islander ferry to the south island arriving in a small village called Picton. From here we drove to the city of Christchurch.

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While here we visited a really cool park, it is the biggest park in all of New Zealand. In 2011 Christchurch was struck by a massive earthquake which caused a lot of damage. We could still see lots of the building work being done to repair the city.

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We then drove five and a half hours to Wanaka. The lake and the mountains here are amazing i think it is the most beautiful place i have seen. while we was here we went skiing at a resort called Cardrona.

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Skiing was so much fun! After our first day of learning the basics we were able to go up on the lifts and ski down the main slope.

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Next we visited Queenstown, which was also really pretty. It is known as the adrenaline capital of the world as there are lots of places to go bungee jumping, sky diving and lots of other extreme activities. This was the furthest south that we went.

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Heading back up north the next place we stopped was Fox Glacier. It is the steepest glacier in New Zealand but it has been slowly melting over the last 30 years.

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Before crossing back over to the north island we spent a few days in Abel Tasman. The beaches here are stunning. although it was to cold to go in the sea.

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We crossed back over to the north island and spent a few days trevelling up the east coast. We arrived at a place called Rotorua. It is famous here for it volcanic activity and hot water pools which are constantly steaming, they also smell a bit pongy because of the sulphur.

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While we were here we went to velocity valley adventure park and we went on a thing called a Shweeb racer. It was like riding a bike in the air attached to a mono rail.

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We also went on a giant swing which was 40 meters high. It was very scary but so much fun. 

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From There we travelled to Matamata, and we went on a tour of the Hobbiton set, this is where they filmed the Hobbit and the Lord of the rings movies. It was really interesting to see how they built all the little hobbit houses, and they keep it running like a real village.

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Next we travelled to Mount Maunganui where we hiked to the top of the mountain, it had an amazing view from the top. here we also went to the mount hot pools which are outside swimming pools, heated by the volcanic springs deep underground.

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Further north we stopped at a place called hot water beach. It is famous for having hot water pools on the sand which you can sit in even in the winter. Within two hours either side of low tide, it is possible to dig into the sand allowing hot water to escape to the surface forming a hot water pool. The water, with a temperature as hot as 64 °C (147 °F), filters up from two underground fissures located close to each other.

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We then went to a small town called Hahei, where we walked to an amazing beach that had what they call cathedral cave which you can walk all the way through. it also had a small waterfall.

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After this it was time to give our camper van back. We had so much fun in it but I was looking forward to sleeping in a real bed again. In Auckland we bought a cheap car and we have rented a house in little village called Tairua on the east coast. It is really pretty, it has a lake and beaches a couple of parks and some shops. We will be staying here for a few months.

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For Tilly’s birthday treat we spent a day in Aukland. First we went to a place called rocket ropes, its like an outdoor high climbing centre.

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After that we went to Aukland city centre and had pizza. Then we had a massive ice-cream that was delicious.

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On Tilly’s actual birthday we stayed at home and had a party with a big lunch, we played lots of games and had the best day ever!!!

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This is the cake that we made for Tilly’s birthday.

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On the 1st of september we went to Aukland Zoo it was great there. We saw a lot of fascinating animals. I love the meerkats they are amazing. Here are some facts about them:

 

Meerkats are small in size. They can reach 12 inches in height and weigh up to 2 pounds.

 

Meerkats live in groups called "mobs" which consist of 2-3 families of meerkats. One mob shares a single burrow.

 

They are highly social animals and they like to play or groom each other. Besides fun time, each member of the mob has its own duty which benefits the whole group.

 

When they hunt, some members look out for the predators, while others work on the hunting strategy.

In the case of danger, meerkats alert other members of the mob using specific sounds.

Meerkats are territorial animals. Average size of their territory is 4 square miles. They dig holes throughout the whole territory and use them as shelters in the case of danger.

Meerkats hunt and eat insects, scorpions, small lizards, snakes, eggs. They also eat roots and bulbs.

They are immune to the venom of scorpions and snakes.

Since they live in arid areas, they get all the water they need from the food they eat.

 

They stand on their hind legs while they survey their environment. Female can even nurse their babies in the standing position.

 

Adult meerkats take care of their pups in shifts.

Adult meerkats teach young what they should eat. Young meerkats are afraid of predators and they will hide in the barrow even if they see an airplane. 

Meerkats live up to 10 years in the wild and up to 13 years in the captivity.

 

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We also saw lots of beautiful birds and played at a really cool park that had a dragon! we had a great day!!!

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When we was at k-mart (The best shop ever) we saw some tie-dye ink and decided to give it a go this is how it turned out.

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We went to a place called karangahake gorge, it used to be a gold mine and they have turned it into a walkway with lots of tunnels to walk through it was very dark.

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In Tairua the water is starting to warm up, so we decided to jump off the bridge.

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Then we walked to the beach to do some snorkelling.

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On the 24 october we travelled to Hawaii, It was the longest flight we had done, eight hours and forty five minutes.

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Hawaii is very hot and tropical, and very beautiful. 

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We went to Hanauma bay to snorkle and we saw a sea lion on the beach, we also saw a sea turtle in the sea.

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We then travelled to LA it was very busy we saw lots of stars including Micheal Jackson. The flight was about 4-5 hours not to long.

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We also went up to the Hollywood Sign it was awsome.

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Then we travelled to Mexico it was very hot the journey was 7:15. We also stopped at San Francisco for 4 hrs it was a long time but we made it there in the end.

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We also jumped off of this pier it was so fun.