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Published: October 21st 2010
Tuesday 19th October (pm): After leaving Tim and Sheena, we drove 3 and a half hours to Waitomo. We stayed at Waitomo Caves Guest House, which was essentially a group of garden sheds in the back garden. The owners were really nice and had gone to great lengths to think of everything. We got the last cabin available - single beds again (good job we're old and past it).The American guests here love this place as it is so twee - it had underbed heated blankets, magazines on how to do needlework, lace curtains and a pot of Colin's home made biscuits. Felt like I was staying in my Granny's potting shed, but I have to admit that the beds were soooo comfy so I had a good night's sleep.
Wednesday 20th October: We got up for some breakfast and some of Colin's home made marmalade. Next, we headed out on a scenic reserve walk at Ruakuri. You can tell the scenery in New Zealand is amazing if it prompts me to do some exercise!!
We then went on a trip to the glow worm caves. They are the actual caves where David Attenborough filmed the Planet Earth series.
We had a really great guide called Ross who was well up for the banter and has given us his personal details so that Dave can stay with him if he comes back for the Rugby World Cup next year.
The first cave contained stalagmites, stalagtites and mirror pools. It also housed a skeleton of the extinct Moa bird, as well as a goat skeleton which Ross tried to convince us was a sabre-toothed rat!! Next, we had a walk through the hills and an open air coffee and biscuit break. There was also a toilet stop but the toilets were just a hole with a 100 foot sheer drop and I was slightly concerned that the water which had been dripping on our heads in the caves below could have come from the loos. For the final part of the trip, we donned miners' helmets, went into another cave and headed on an underground boat tour through the cave system. There were literally millions of glow worms which looked like Christmas fairy lights all over the roof of the cave. Apparently, the glowing chemicals are in their backsides, so we were essentially oohing and aahing over a load of
maggot bums! I don't think the pictures of the glow worms have come out properly, so Ross is going to email some and we will add them later. In the water surrounding the boat were loads of eels, so when we emerged from the cave, Ross showed us where they live in the creek outside. One, named Spot actually liked to be stroked on the head, but a couple of young pretenders leapt out of the water to try and bite Ross' hand.
After the tour, we got back in the car and headed to Rotorua (except we didn't realise we were heading in the opposite direction to Rotorua, so took a very picturesque detour). Once back on track, we arrived in Rotorua at about 6pm. We smelt it before we saw it! It is the primary area in New Zealand for Geo-thermal activity so there's a lot of eggy sulphur odours. I insisted on staying in a hotel which had it's own hot spa pool. Unfortunately, it was so smelly that we couldn't even get in it and as a result, stayed in the ultimate smelly hotel for no real reason. Worst of all, we decided to do
our laundry here and now all our clothes have a nice eggy aroma (not a flavour Lenor or Daz should be adding to their range).
We headed out for a bite to eat (Han equipped with loads of discount vouchers found in a local brochure). We ate at a restaurant called 1115 where the food is served on a hot stone and you cook your own meal as you go along (Good way to save complaints that the chef has over or under cooked a meal). Also had a really good bottle of wine which contains chocolate flavours (best combination possible, eh - one for Sheena to try!). Saved a total of $40 through cunning use of aforementioned vouchers!
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