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Published: February 25th 2012
The first day I left on my 'Kiwi Experience' I woke up at 7am in order to be ready to catch the bus at 8:20. As if I needed a reminder that traveling in a group can be tedious by the time we had collected everyone and they had gotten their tickets sorted out we didn't leave Auckland till 10:00am.
But in the spirit of fairness the first place we stopped in the Coromandel peninsula is called Cathedral Cove and it is the place they filled Narnia. I had no idea it existed until I got there, so I definitely would have missed out if I had been traveling on my own. The hike down to Cathedral Cove took about an hour and then an hour back. Basically it is straight down and back up a cliff. I can tell that this trip is going to take a lot of fitness. The air was very humid, and though it wasn't very warm I was sweating buckets because I am not accustomed to hiking up cliffs. I can say that the effort was worth it, Narnia is a beautiful place.
Afterward, the bus took us to a place called Hot
water beach. At low tide you can dig into the sand and hot water bubbles up from the geothermal pools and you can mix it with the cold ocean water to make your own sandy beach hot tub.
I think there is an art to this, because the hot water is burning hot and the cold water is very cold. It is hard to be comfortable.
The next day we stopped at an old gold mining site that is also a scenic river valley. Our guide is not the most forthcoming with details, but the sign said the park was called Karangahake.
In the early afternoon we arrived in Waitomo. Waitomo is named for the famous caves. 'Wai' means water and 'tomo' means cave. There is a company here called "Black Water Rafting." They run tours into the caves. They give you a wet suit, a caving helmet, and an inner tube and you climb and float through the underground caves. It was a great experience and I wish I could do it again because I spent most of the time trying not to slip and break my neck (or leg, or arm, etc). I think I could
take in more details if I did it again. The caves are full of glow worms that shine like tiny stars on the cave ceiling. If you shine your light on them you can see they leave a sticky string hanging down to catch insects, this is kind of gross. They are very pretty in the dark though. One part of the trip involved our guide leading a sing along in the dark of the theme from Titanic.
So this has been the first two days of my New Zealand trip and I am very impressed so far.
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