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Published: April 19th 2018
Seeing as most people had only recently arrived in New Zealand, we formed a pretty close group very soon after arriving to our first stop: Hahei. Part of the reason for this was also that we had our own little Stray bus village in the holiday park: it was build especially for Stray! A nice game of cards against humanity on the first night added to that as well, revealing everyone's dark humour.
After waking up at 6:15, I was told that my trip was cancelled. I was surprisingly okay with this turn of events. Back at home, I would have hated waking up this early for nothing, but now I just appreciated the extra time it gave me. I had a chill morning and booked some things for later until we left for another activity at 10. We went to see Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hot tub. It was a very high low tide due to the storm a while back, so most good digging spots had been taken. However, if we dug our feet deep enough in the sand, we could feel the heat. It was about 60 degrees, so when I dug
my feet in too deep I actually burned my feet! After a nice swim in the sea (hey, it was like 19 degrees so perfect beach weather), we went kayaking (which was cancelled in the morning). Although the wind had calmed down enough for us to get out there, it was still quite windy so the kayaking was definitely a good workout. We saw some really pretty beaches, including the famous cathedral cove where the crew made us some really good hot chocolate (or coffee, depending on preference, but they could actually make cappuccinos and flat whites).
In Raglan, our next stop, the hostel was located in the middle of a forest. It was very peaceful, apart from the fact that there was dried grass on the beds and a spiderweb right above my pillow. It was basically a camping experience in a dorm room. The hot tub totally made up for that though, we spend like an hour in there, looking at the stars.
It was probably good that this was mostly a resting spot though (unless you went surfing), since about 5 or 6 people on the bus fell sick; including the bus driver. Turned out
that a virus had been going around on an earlier bus, infecting 19 out of 24 people: they all had to stay an extra day in Raglan to recover. Luckily, most of us did not get sick and the rest recovered within a day, so we didn't have to leave anyone behind (and we still had a busdriver).
On our way to Rotorua, we made a stop at the Waitomo Glowworm caves. I had booked an abseiling and rockclimbing trip through the caves and I thought it would be comparable to the canyoning I had done earlier. I was wrong. Instead of abseiling down about 10 metres, we started out with a 25-30 metre abseil into complete darkness (it was a cave, after all). I'll admit, I was a bit scared and I hated not knowing when I'd reach the bottom. After that, though, I loved the experience. We abseiled, crawled though very tiny holes and climbed up pretty high and very steep rockwalls. At the deepest point, we were 85 metres under the ground. It was great, and hey, I hadn't done any adrenaline inducing activities in a while, right?
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