Intrepid traveller Pippi Hendl of Kerikeri has completed the ninth gruelling 2012 Mongol Car Rally.
She travelled 18,000 kilometres across 18 countries and describes the journey as the most amazing adventure she has ever done.
Pippi, 26, had just finished a stint on a superyacht and was looking for another challenge.
She joined the Trekking in Tweed team, with three Aussies - James Lawless, Eric Radford and Michael Newman.
Michael and Eric left the rally in Turkey and Russia because of prior commitments and left Pippi and James to soldier on to the finish line.
The remaining pair endured bad weather, an accident - resulting in no rear end - an engine running on two cylinders, a dead radiator fan, lost exhaust, multiple flat tyres and painful border crossings.
Pippi and James arrived in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, on August 24 after setting off from London on July 14 with 278 other teams.
It wasn't a race, there were no prizes, just great camaraderie among participants raising money for a worthy cause.
Pippi and the team raised more than $20,000 and the overall rally more than $450,000 for the Mongolian Lotus Children's Charity.
Pippi had time to reflect after the rally.
"It was so surreal when the rally finished, it consumed me 24 hours a day for six weeks," she says.
"You were always aware that something could - and will most likely - go wrong to either delay or put you out of the rally entirely.
"The sense of achievement was overwhelming but also sad that it had come to an end.
"Handing the car over, knowing that it has made it all the way from London and that it was going to be sold for a charitable cause, was a pretty amazing feeling."
Pippi is now in Beijing. She travels to Shanghai, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia before returning home in November.
- Bay Chronicle