Hahei, Raglan, Waitomo Caves and Uncle Boy's

Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wow, it's been a really time since I've blogged! I'm sorry, I just never get a spare minute these days. I have so much to write about, I'm going to have a hard time remembering it all! OK, where to start?! I was picked up in Auckland, and climbed on to the busiest bus I've ever seen, with 'Horse' as our driver. There were only 2 spare seats, and about 45 people on the bus. We first made our way to Hahei, in Coromandal. Unfortunately, there was a storm on the way, so the weather wasn't good, lots of wind and rain. After unpacking our stuff, our group walked down to Cathedral Cove. After a lot of walking in the rain, we eventually got to the Cove, but it was high tide with the waves almost coming to the back of the beach. Luckily for me I'd already seen the Cove in better weather, but it was a shame for everyone else because they couldn't even see the cave. The waves were absolutely huge, and were crashing over the giant rocks that are in the cove. It was still beautiful, just the total opposite of the last time I'd seen it, but it was cool to see a contrasting version to the one on the postcards. Another downer for everyone else was that Hot Water Beach was also closed, as it was so dangerous there. We made up for the day's disappointment with a BBQ in the evening, and started getting to know each other better. 

 The next morning we left rainy Hahei behind us and headed to the surf town of Raglan. Thankfully the weather there was gorgeous, and we were all keen to get out on the beach. Some of our group went off to have surfing lessons, and the rest of us just chilled on the beach and had a few beers. It was so relaxing, just watching the surfers and sunbathing. Then we went back to our hostel in time to see the sun set at 'Inspiration Point'. Another beautiful sight. Finally, we had a superhero party, with everybody dressing up in whatever they could find in their backpacks! I went as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, with my green rucksack as my shell! It was sweet as!

 The next day with everyone nursing hangovers, we went cross country, stopping at Waitomo Caves. Waitomo Caves are these famous underground caves filled with glow worms! I did the toobing activity, along with lots of my group. We were driven to caves, and had to get in these horrible wetsuits, which were super tight, and didn't really fit. Then on top of that we had wetsuit jackets, helmets, wetsuit socks and white wellies! With everyone looking super sexy in our outfits, we went to the cave entrance, and had to climb down this hole on a ladder, which was a really tight squeeze. We then spent 2 hours walking, swimming and climbing through the caves. It was absolutely amazing, the glow worms were so cool. It was quite hard at time clambering through the dark caves, but so much fun. We had to belly crawl through this tunnel, aptly named the 'Rebirth Canal'. Then there was one section were we got on these rubber rings, and floated in the pitch black through the caves, looking up at the glow worms. It was so surreal, and felt like some weird out of body experience! We stopped half way through for a hot orange drink and a Freddo to warm everybody up! It was so awesome, I loved it! 
Afterwards, we made our wat to Maketu, and a place called "Uncle Boy's". This was our Maori cultural experience. We turned up and were given a warm welcome by Uncle Boy himself, before having a stern talk about the rules and the respect that had to be shown there. Our chief for the evening was also chosen, and it was Eugene, the oldest member of our group. We were given a traditional 'hangi' meal, which was abosolutely delicious! There was so much food, and it was the first proper home-cooked meal I'd had since leaving home! Then we were taken into the meeting house, and our chief was challenged by the tribe, before we were welcomed in. We were then seperated in men and women, and the men went off to learn the haka, and us girls learned the poi dance. The poi is like a ball on a rope, and you have to swing and catch it in time to the music. Sounds easy, but it was actually really hard! However, the girl teaching us said we were the fastest group to learn it. Then the men came back, and we performed our poi dance, before they showed off their haka. It was so funny watching them all, but they were really good. After we had all performed, we laid our beds in the meeting house for everyone to sleep on. And we had had time for a bonfire on the beach, with an acoustic guitar and group sing-a-long to 'Wonderwall', before heading to bed. 

 That's it for the first part of my North Island tour, already lots of cool experiences!

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