From 12000m above the ground to 100m below...

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 12, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The REAL first day of our holiday :D

After breakfast at the hotel we headed out for possibly the scariest event of the holiday, at least for Trude....... *drumroll*...... PICKING UP THE RENTAL CAR!!!

The picking up of the car was actually quite ok... But within 2 meters of starting to drive out the garage of the pick-up place Trude turned on the windshield-wipers instead of the indicator for turning left ;)
This was just the first of many indications that this country has the completely wrong idea about which side of the road to drive on...
For instance: The steeringwheel is on the right side of the car, and the levers for windshield-wipers and indicator-lights are mirrored, but the pedals for gas and breaking and clutch (no clutch for us, automatic all the way baby!) are NOT mirrored. Our reason for picking an automatic transmission might be obvious by now, as shifting with the left hand is VERY weird for someone who has never done that before.

Oh, and who came up with the idea that when you drive on the LEFT side of the road that you still yield to people coming from the RIGHT?!

The drive down to Waitomo actually went rather well, the only real difficulty turned out to be our lane-placement... We did NOT go off-roading ;) (close, but no cigar)

We eventually made it to Waitomo where we went on 2 different cave tours.

While we were waiting for the first cave tour to start, we wandered through the local bush. Which was somewhat jungle-like with all the big ferns and a wonderfully picturesque stream running between it all. Truly a region left alone by mankind. (Except for the hardened pathway we walked across of course :P)

The first tour was into the Aranui Cave, which is a cave FILLED with stalagmites and stalagtites (een druipsteen-grot voor de Nederlanders). This is a gorgeous cave to wander in and we can highly recommend it if you are ever in the neighbourhood ;). The interior of the cave is a nice cool 12.9 degrees celcius... VERY pleasing if you wandered the area around the cave beforehand (like we did) where it can be closer to 30 degrees :P

The second cave is the one Waitomo is most known for, the Glowworm Cave. No photography is allowed in there as the flash would upset the glowworms and make the next tour poinless as they would stop glowing for quite a while. (They glow when it is dark, so if you confuse them with lights they assume it is daytime and just sit there being dark.)
It is a very nice cool cave again, this time around 16 degrees celcius and through the first section there are again more stalagmites and stalagtites. Further in there is a river and that is where the glowworms live. They inhabit the ceilings close to rivers as their glowing is meant to attract their prey, which consists mostly of mosquitoes and other bugs that enter the cave via the river. Their method of catching their preys is not too different from spiders, as they lower down a sticky thin strand from the ceiling that can snag their food, at which point they respond to the vibration and gobble it up.

Our tour ended with a little boat-trip inside the cave back to the entrance of it and it was during this stretch that we saw the most glowworms. It really is an amazing sight and you can almost imagine yourself under a starry night sky.

After this exhausting day (we are couch-potatoes!!!) we crashed into bed at about 7pm and slept all the way until the next morning. (Trude however blames Martijn for having woken her up at 5am when there was still plenty of darkness left to sleep through!)
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josastridandco. on

Goodmorninggggg Australiaaaaa
The kangaroos, do they drive at the left side too?
Greetings from all of us.

bluejeans on

Re: Driving skills
I think Martijn feels nice and safe with Trude's driving after spending some time in a car with me dodging potholes on a road with no tarseal and loose pebbles on top :P (he was all 'whoah !! would you mind telling me WHY you just did that ??').

wolftrails on

Re: Re: Driving skills
Yes! I was wondering that!!! ;)

I look away from the road ahead of us for a few seconds and suddenly you SWERVE to the right into the lane of ONCOMING traffic... (thank god that there was none :P)
I LIKE my trousers dry thankyouverymuch! ;)

bluejeans on

Re: Re: Re: Driving skills
Its all part of the 'Chrissy's tours to Hell' service :D

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