A message in a bottle thrown into a river in Germany has travelled more than 18,000km around the world and ended up in Auckland seven years later.
Julia Gogos, a resident of the German city of Bonn, told 1NEWS that she and a friend had taken their children to the Rhine seven years ago and thrown in the bottle, thinking it would probably only make it to the next town.
"Once in a while those stories about messages in a bottle come up in children stories and books, and so we thought OK, we can do this, we have the Rhine river," Ms Gogos said.
"It was a fun idea with our kids and I just thought it might be found at the next city, maybe in the Netherlands - but I never thought it would go that far."
But this week on Tuesday, the family received a response from a family in Auckland.
"I picked it out of the letterbox, and I thought ... huh? It was just the names of the four kids - and I opened and I read it and I thought wow, what's this?" Ms Gogos said.
The letter read:
"Dear Sila, Frida, Maja and Jon, we found this message in a bottle and are sending it back from Auckland, New Zealand.
"It has travelled a long way!"
The letter, dated February 7, was signed off by Scott, Julia, Lea and Alice Joy.
It contained the original letter sent by the German families, and the envelope carried a 2018 NZ Post $3.30 stamp.
Ms Gogos said she could hardly believe it.
"I entered the apartment and I said 'hey kids, look what happened! It was amazing!" she said.
"They looked at me, and my daughter couldn't even remember that we threw a bottle into the Rhine river, she was four or five years old."
The Rhine flows in a northerly direction from Switzerland, through Germany and on to the Netherlands before emptying into the North Sea.
The distance between Bonn and Auckland is about 18,000km in a straight line, but the bottle is likely to have travelled much further during its time at sea.