Otorohanga Kiwi House to Taupo

Trip Start Nov 01, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, June 27, 2010


Creamy oats for breakfast! We decided to go and see what all the noise was about and visit the kiwi house and bird park next door. With two days of looking at birds, we were becoming quite the bird watchers! The star attraction, and the reason why we decided to go to another bird park, was of course to see a kiwi. We saw two of the flightless birds in their enclosed area where it felt like night in the day. We watched as the kiwi shoved its long beak into rotting leaves and soil, poked around and looked for grubs. It had a huge bum, and from behind it looked like it was permanently bending over, using the beak as a sort of third leg to balance when leaning forward. You got the impression that it could be a scrawny bird if it wasn’t for the mass of feathers bulking it out which also hid a pair of pathetic stumps called wings. It was the strangest bird I’ve ever seen and has to be my favourite.

After looking at some other birds, which included some very frisky ducks (doing things I’ve never seen ducks do before) and having another look at the kiwi, we got in our camper and drove to the local tourist information in Otorohanga. This is one of only two tourist information offices in New Zealand where you can buy half price ferry tickets to the South Island from Wellington. So we were quick to snap them up.

Our next stop were the Waitomo Caves where it is possible to do black water rafting, which involves going through caves on underground rivers on rubber rings. It was a little too expensive for this trip though, but something to think about in the future. Instead we opted for a 45 minute tour of a glow-worm cave at a much more reasonable price.

As the name suggests, the ceiling of the cave was covered in blue coloured glow-worms which made silk lines hanging from the ceiling to catch flies which had found their way into the caves on rivers. The life of a silkworm was not one to envy, firstly I couldn’t see a single fly and secondly we learnt that once they turned into flies themselves, they didn’t have mouths.

The tour involved us walking through large caverns and taking a boat ride in the pitch black with a constellation of blue dots above us, it was really magical. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos in the caves but we did manage a few sneaky ones on our way out (but not of the glow worms themselves).

We had discovered that our camper van wasn’t the best at going uphill, but after a small run up, we managed to climb up the hill out of the car park at the caves and started our drive to Taupo.

In Taupo, at the All Seasons Holiday Park we met the most anti-World Cup man ever, and unfortunately he owned the caravan site. This was the night that England were playing Germany, and we had chosen this site because we had seen it had a TV room. When I asked if it had any sports channels an answer quickly came back; ‘yes, but not to watch any World cup games tonight.’ We asked if there would be anywhere in the town showing the game and he gave us a few leads while making it clear that the Holiday Park shut its gates at 10pm and we wouldn’t be able to drive there. Despite his wife saying we could have a key to the gate, he was quick to overrule, giving his experiences the night before with a noisy South Korean group as the reason for his strict stance. It was then explained to us that Asians like to slam doors and we were reminded that we would have to shut our van door quietly when we came back from the game.

Before establishing ourselves in the camp site, Gem and I first drove into town, to find out what options we had to watch the game later. We found a pub called Finns showing the game and after being reassured by a guy that worked there that it would be open, we drove back to the site. We decided that the distance from the caravan park to the pub would be much to far to walk at 1.30 am in freezing temperatures and although we begged the park owner for a key to the gate, we had to settle for him ordering us a taxi instead. This was done after we promised once again that we wouldn’t slam our doors.

When we drove to our spot on the campsite we found some fairly unresponsive Australians parked in it who were clearly annoyed by the inconvenience of us trying to move them from our spot. Eventually we found out someone was in their spot, and so they had parked in ours. After further investigation it was established that at the root of this domino effect were two English people. We camped in the spot they were supposed to have and arranged to share a taxi with them at 1.40 am to watch the game.

After eating, we decided to have a few hours sleep before the game...come on England!
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