Wiggling stars

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, September 17, 2010

Today was our first full day in Waitomo. As I said before, Waitomo is know for three things: caves, glow-worms and adventure sports. We had armfuls of leaflets from local companies delivering trips into the caves, some of them combined with glow-worm caves, some with underground adventure activites. We decided that rather than do one really big cave trip which did everything in one day, we would split our time up and do a glow-worm trip today and an adventure trip tomorrow. So we sat down to decide which adventure trip we would do. There are dozens of companies that offer everything from gliding down an underground river in a rubber ring to abseiling 100 meters into a huge cave, there was even one that did a 7 hour trip into the 'Lost World' system of caves which we really wanted to do but it would have broken our bank accounts! So after a while we decided to do a trip into a cave called St Benedict's Cavern. The cavern was only discovered in 1962 and because it is very difficult to enter and explore it, the cavern was only opened to the public in 2003. Compared to some of the other caves in the area, this one is really special as so much is still being learnt about it and it has also been called the prettiest cave in the region. Our trip consisted of two abseils down into the entry cave system, caving through the surrounding area and then (because the actual cavern is so delicate) a zip-wire through the cavern. Now I know what my sisters will be thinking... "Hayley can't do all that!" But I decided to give it a go and we went to sign up to it, with shaking knees and everything.
The hosts at our campsite had given us a map with some free things to do in the area, and considering how much we love anything free, we headed off. On the way we saw a sign for a local tourist attraction that said "Come to our farm and you can shear a rabbit". Yes, you read me right. Shear a rabbit! Not shear a sheep... shear a rabbit! I could not believe my eyes! Later on we picked up a leaflet for this farm and I have to admit the picture of the rabbit on the front is so funny, bless its little fluffy tail! The first place to go on our map was a huge limestone bridge called Mangapohue, which has formed out of the rock and is hidden up in the forest. Because it had been raining all night the forest was really muddy and water was consistantly dripping on our heads. We made it to the bridge, which joined two sides of a cliff over a stream and it was amazing! Next we headed off to Piripiri Cave, which is one of the only caves in the area which doesn't belong to a company and can be accessed by anyone without a charge. We walked off into the forest again following the path up and down the hills until the path suddenly ended and we came across a big black hole in the side of the rock. There was not a speck of light in the cave and it looked like something out of Indiana Jones. I was too scared to go in because I thought it might be full of flesh-eating leeches or killer vampire bats, so I waited outside while Tom went in. He followed the steps down into the cave until all I could see of him was a tiny dot of light from his torch. A few minutes later her came out (looking a little bit dazed) and said he could see some glow-worms inside. Lastly we headed off to Marokopa Waterfall. Once again we ended up trekking through the wet forest to get there, but it was definately worth it. I know I say it everytime but these falls were the best so far. They were very very high and we were getting drenched by the spray coming off them.
After our trip to all the free places in the area it was time to actually pay for something, as we headed off to our glow-worm trip. The trip we went on lasted 45 minutes and went underground into a huge long cave and then onto a little boat so we could see the glow-worms. The walk through the cave was lovely, but we felt a bit sorry for the girl doing the trip as there were 4 guys on our trip who were making her life difficult. As she said to us later "They must have been on heat!" About half way through our trip we went into a cave with great accoustics and the guide turned all the lights off and sang us a beautiful old Maori song in the darkness. It was so incredibly emotional and she was a great singer. After this we headed down to the boat and we went down the underground river to see the glow-worms. The water in the caves was very high because of the rainfall, but as we turned into the main waterway the sight was just amazing. In the pitch darkness there were thousands of glow-worms above your head. They looked like tiny little wiggling stars. We all sat in silence rafting down the water and taking it all in. It felt like you could just reach out and touch the stars with your own fingers... it was an experience I'll never forget.    
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rach on

think you,ve watched the goonies once to many hayley ! flesh eating vampire bats!!!!

rach on

ohh did u shear a rabbit ? hahaha

Niels on

I Loved Waitomo too.... Ahh Memories :)

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