Waitomo Caves

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 31, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, October 20, 2012

We slept in today after being a little messed up with the time change between Queensland and New Zealand. We only really had part of the morning to see Auckland so we went to the Skytower to have a look at the city. A lot of main roads were closed due to the triathlon going on, the women's races was happening while we were walking around so we got to see them fly by on their bikes a few times. The Skytower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and from the top you could see all of Auckland. We didn't have long to spend there as we had to make the 3 hour drive to the Waitomo caves for our black water rafting trip which started at 2. The GPS took us down some back roads but we made it on time which was the most important thing. We met our guide and our group and we were off to get suited up for our afternoon adventure. We got into full wetsuits and harnesses then headed up to the caves. The did a small training demo with us before heading to the cave entrance. To get in you had to rappel vertically down 37m with a narrow opening in the middle, once at the bottom we walked a short bit to the next decent down a zip line. After getting you harnessed up the make everyone shut off their lights before sending you down. You can not see a thing and once you get to the bottom it suddenly stops you and jerks you back up the line completely unexpectedly. It was pretty sweet. Next we jumped into the underground river that flowed through the cave system on inner tubes and floated to a spot where we could have a good look at the glow worms for which the caves are famous for while the guide explained to us their life cycle. Apparently they are fly larvae who live the majority of their lives in that form eating each other and their excrement contains two chemicals that makes light when it contacts oxygen which they us to attract other pray. It was pretty neat to see, it was like someone splattered a glow stick against the roof and the walls. Sort of like looking at the stars. We then got rid of the tubes and waded/swam downstream a little including through some pretty small holes in the rock. The final part of the adventure was climbing out of the caves up three waterfalls which was pretty intense. Once we got back we had hot showers and soup. The group we had was fun and the guides were a blast which made it very enjoyable. The guides took pictures so I bought a copy on a USB stick since they highly recommend not bringing cameras into the caves. After caving we drove to our accommodation which is a bed and breakfast 20 minutes away from the caves up a very narrow and winding road. There was no one around when we got there so we headed back to town for some supper. I had the strangest burger I had ever seen. It not only had a hamburger patty but also a steak and bacon on it. My guts are killing me right now. We got back to our accommodation and still no one here. We waited around until finally someone showed up. We are in a little cabin on a farm, quite a unique place. The bathroom is in a separate building next door. The view is apparently quite spectacular so we will have to see in the morning.

We are both still doing well (other than currently having the meat sweats from that burger at supper. The weather in New Zealand has kind of brought us back to reality after being in tropical heat and humidity in Cairns for the past week the weather here has been sunny but only 14 degrees instead of 30+. Hope everything is well at home, hard to believe how fast time is going. Just over a week left.
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frostyrunner on

You sound like you are having a ton of fun. Squeezing as much as possible into every day. Can't wait to see the pictures.
About an inch of wet heavy snow here and still snowing. Supposed to snow all week. You'll be skiing soon!!!!
Miss you but love the blogs. Keep it up. Stay safe and have lots more fun.

frostyrunner on

Lots of heavy wet snow. Thanks for leaving your snow shovels out!! The skiiers will be awaiting your return to get the trails groomed as it looks like an early winter. Ace will be in his glory playing in the snow. Enjoy the sun and warmth that you have now! Eager for the next blog!

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