Touring New Zealand was a very exciting time, though it did involve huge amounts of driving! I have split my diary of our six day tour into 3 segments, this being number 1. I hope you enjoy reading my posts, thank-you!
Vvrrrrooom!!! Our two hour drive down to Waitomo had started, we were already practically out of Auckland because our lovely motel was right on the edge already. There wasn’t much to see on the road for quite a long way, just rolling hills on the massive Waikato plain, stretching out as far as the eye can see, and only farms, trees and houses dotted around. The Waikato plain covers hundreds of square miles, so we wouldn’t get out of the plains until we reached our final destination for today, which was not Waitomo, we only went out of our way to Waitomo to see glow-worms in a cave system there, and then we were going to head back north to Pirongia – where we are staying with friends. After finally arriving in Waitomo we went to see the glow-worms – they were amazing! In the cave we were taught all about stalagmites and stalactites, about limestone in the caves, about the Maori history of the cave and finally, glow-worms. The glow-worms were amazing – the cave was filled with tens of thousands of them – we were on a small boat in the undergrounds water, it was beautiful having no other lights and only the sound of dripping water in the background, it was so peaceful. After a long day we whizzed back north to Pirongia – where we then had fun with the friends we were staying with.
Yesterday had been a long day, so we got up relatively late (for us!), but we were all excited because today was going to be a fun day as we were planning to go swimming in the river. After playing until lunch, we headed off – seeing some of the neighbourhood’s stranger sights along the road including:
- A microwave on a pole for a postbox
- A fence covered in literally Hundreds of Toothbrushes!?! (Click to view on Google Maps)
- A car parked on the side of a 60 or so degree slope,
- A Tardis postbox!
Before our swim we decided to go to see the Kaniwhaniwha Caves, which took a fair bit of walking to get to, but were definitely worth it – though not the sort of caves you’d expect. It was really just a narrow crack in the rock – 30m from one end to the other, between 40cm at the narrowest point to about a metre wide; but what was particularly interesting was that at one point it was 7.5m high, big enough for some curtain-like stalactites and a cave wetta. Now it was swimming time, sadly it was a mountain run-off river (aka freezing!) – but we had some fun boogie-boarding, both for and against the current, Megan also tried the rope swing, and overall it was a great time!
Today was sort of bitter-sweet, holding a goodbye to friends we don’t see much at all, long drives and then saying hello to other friends who we are going to be staying with for the next few days. After finally escaping the steep gravel driveway, we began our drive – which wasn’t particularly interesting, except: the giant 2500m Mountain Ruapehu which my mum still doesn’t believe exists! (it’s been in the clouds every time she’s passed it); a bridge over a massive gorge in which our great, great grandfather had some involvement in; and, a 18km detour to see… a giant carrot! After the 3-4 hour drive we finally arrived to see our friends, we had a great afternoon/evening with them before we (the children) went out to the tent where we were sleeping.