Raglan to Wellington

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April 26th 2015
Published: April 26th 2015
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Wow, we are on day six and I am already exhausted. Here is what we have accomplished in the past four days. I will also include a few of the photos that I said were in the other blog but ran out of time via wifi internet to load them.

Currently I am writing you from a Wellington Ferry as we just embarked on a 4 hour ferry ride to Pickin. Free wifi for the whole trip so I hope that for this blog I am able to share all the information and photos before we land. Wifi is a bit slow, but hey it's free and unlimited. #firstworldproblems

We picked up our van in Raglan, stayed the night in camp called soulscape, and the next morning woke up and decided to try an take a surfing lesson on Whale Beach. (pictured). Michael on his FIRST try was able to stand up for a few seconds. Then after an hour of practice was consistent on getting up and moving further out into the surf to try some larger waves. I however, in all my gracefulness fell time after time. With the instructors help (ie laying on the back of my board to balance me) I was able to get a feel for standing up on the board. YAY! Will a few more practice attempts I was able to stand up on my own and "ride the wave". We both had a lot of fun, but the plentiful of falls ended up twisting my left knee. Thank goodness Michael brought his knee brace as it was my saving grace for the next 48 hours.

We stayed in a small petrol station that night not but 50km from Raglan and learned from the owners (Bill and Brenda {said Breenda}), that there was a local secrete hot water beach near-by. It wasn't very big, but it was private and it was "not on the map" so to speak.

We woke up at 7 am the next day, borrowed a spade (shovel) from Bill and drove to the beach. When you approach the beach you enter at noon and right between noon and 1 close to the low tide surf you can dig down a few inches and discover hot water. The beach itself was just beautiful, it is dark black sand, that looks like a bottle of silver glitter exploded. Soft, shinny and warm I was explicitly entertained.

The mildly sulfuric hot water, surf and the smell of the beach melted two and half hours of our time. It was relaxing and very helpful for my very swollen knee.

We left the beach and headed towards Waitomo. This is one of the reasons I really wanted to come to NZ. The glow worm caves!

Michael has been booking everything and instead of walking into one of the main caves, he found a local shop which offered the worms and some adventure.

The NZ farmers found out about the caving system due to the random sheep that would disappear. They would fall into these small holes, ranging from 1 meter to 3 meters. They asked the government to help with the problem, but the government didn't want to spend the money. So they created a clause that allowed farmers to own not only the land, but the caves underneath so therefore it was the farmers problem.

Fast forward years, when someone got the bright idea of making it a tourist spot, the government wanted a piece of the pie. Too baaaaaahad! The farmers owned the land and because the government didn't want to do something before, that little clause has now created a new source of income.

To which companies lease the area around the caves, fence it off and then do tours.

We were booked on a four hour tour in the caves. I had no idea what was ahead of us! We were in a small group of 7. 8 plus the guide. We climbed down a 12 foot ladder through a 2.5 ft diameter hole and into the cave. Armed with full body wet suits, rubber boots, helmet and head lamp we headed out on our 4 hour adventure.

First test, to see if you lied on your form about claustrophobia. We all had to crawl on our hands and knees through a small hole in the rock. We all passed. So our guide knew he could have a bit of fun with us.

We walked through the mud, ducked under and avoided the stalagmites and stalactites and walked into an deepening stream. We walked into a cavern water waist high and shut off our lamps. To our amazement we all looked up and as our eyes adjusted, the cavern lite up with bright green dots, hundreds upon thousands of them. To which our playful guide Josh, decided this was the perfect moment to ruin the moment.

We learned what the worms and their magical glowing really was:

The worm is a maggot and the glow is the maggot processing it's food. That's the short version.

From there we warmed up the lower half of out wet suit and had to then duck chin deep into the 6 degree Celsius water to fill up our wet suits to warm them for the rest of the trip.

The rest of the venture consisted of caverns, tubing, small spaces, swimming and then learning we were doing all of that with blind eels in the water. That freaked me out. After 4 hours of the cave we broke out on the other side of the cave, tired, wet, muddy and knowing more than when we went in. It was really fun, mentally challenging at point and worn out.

We drove to the Forgotten World Highway, parked on the side of the road, ate dinner and fell fast asleep. We had a long drive ahead of us the the next morning.

Leaving at 8 am we sought off from Ragarakau to Wellington. It is a 9 to 10 hour drive, but we took a scenic way driving through Tongariro National park. The road was narrow and very windy. Seeing lot of NZ farms, bee's, cows, sheep and nature. We stopped in a quaint town called Whanganui to stretch our legs and wander a local farmers market to stock up on some food for our journeys.

We arrived in Wellington just about 7 pm and parked in a parking lot of a marina for the night. Micheal caught a cold the day before and we went to be about 8 pm.

Our original plan was to explore Wellington for a day or two, but due to Michael not feeling the best we chose to take it easy. So we are now taking the ferry across to the South Island to begin our adventures there.

Write when I can!


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