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Published: February 21st 2014
Maori language lesson for the day
Wai = water
Tomo = hole
Waitomo = water passing through a hole
On Monday (17th), Heidi and I traveled to Waitomo to explore the glow worm caves. On the way down we stopped in a small village called Pirongia for a pub lunch where we are dubbed 'Cathy and Kim' by the Maori bartender and chatted up by a friendly local. We headed out and found our hotel for a good night's sleep.
We needed it because on Tuesday (18th) we survived the most commercially challenging cave adventure I could find - the Black Abyss tour offered by the Black Water Rafting Company. Basically, the tour takes you through an underwater river system using a combination of abseiling (rappelling) down a 150' hole followed by a flying fox (zip line) to where you jump into a dark river with an inner tube and float and hike your way to the end where you climb up a waterfall to get back to the surface! All the while you are surrounded by 'glow worms' which I found out later really are not worms at all but the
Bridge over a little stream along the walkway. I was a little concerned there might be orcs hiding under the bridge.
sh*t produced by cannibalistic maggots used to attract insects that they consume before turning into flies. The process takes eight months and when they finally hatch as flies, they shag for 48 hours, lay their eggs and die. They have some weird insects here in New Zealand! It was a fun (and educational) five hours. I would give the tour five stars but the water was frickin cold, even with the thick wetsuits they provided! Once they get the water heated, I'll upgrade them to five stars! Check out this link for a cool video that gives you an idea of the experience in the comfort of your own, cozy, warm home: http://www.waitomo.com/black-water-rafting-video.aspx
After a quick lunch, Heidi dropped me off at a holiday park where I've booked a seven bed private room (everything else in this small village was booked!). I checked in and do a quick, 30 minute tramp to the top of an overlook for a beautiful 360 degree view of the valley!
It is hot so I hit the general store for a cold drink and snack and start reading the local paper where I came across some interesting articles of a
View from the overlook - a short hike from the Waitomo Walkway
Kiwi's perspective on the US. The first article is on best places to visit which include places in California I've never heard of - El Capitan Canyon which is a place to go 'glamping' outside of Santa Barbara and Calico Ghost Town outside of San Bernidino. I find this very funny. I was expecting - you know - some really good places like Gatorland. Or Weeki Wachee the home of live mermaids. I've never heard of Calico or El Capitan Canyon - maybe I need to spend some time touring my own country!
Then I come across some more serious articles. A commentary on the Zimmerman case in Florida titled "There's a feeling of being able to shoot black people". And another one titled "Craigslist suspect says she took lives as part of involvement with satanic cult" about a 19 year old Pennsylvania woman who has allegedly killed over 20 people across America. It is strange to read these disturbing articles about the US as it is perceived by another country.
I finished up my snack and return to my room to get some sleep. My next leg of the trip is solo travel
to Wellingon and then to Christchurch and who knows where else in the South Island. I'll meet back up with Heidi, Janice and Ryka in a week or so at Abel Tasman National Park (they want to have a honeymoon or something, go figure!) and catch a ride back to Auckland. At least, that is the plan ....
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