Kiwi Experience Day 2 – Waitomo Wandering
11th September 2012
Feeling warmed up from the pools of Hot Water Beach, we were back on the road at the ungodly hour of 7.30am so that meant a 6.30am wake up call? Why? Because there’s so many stuff to do on the road!
Heading towards the east coast away from the Coromandel Peninsula, everyone kipped while Dave, the driver, gave us regaling stories of previous kiwi experience. Pretty soon, we arrived at one of the many walks we would be having today, Waihi – Karangahake Scenic Reserve. One the many gold mining sites, Dave took us on a long and spindly tour of a walk that follows the river gorging through the valley. And guess what. You get to cross not only one but TWO swing bridges that precariously swing a maximum of only 10 people at a time. I loved it especially jumping up and down and scaring the bejesus out of the gaggle of girls that clung to dear life as the rope bridge swung from side to side threatening to snap.
Also, you get to go through a one kilometre long railway tunnel so guys, you definitely need your torch to light your way to the other side. Follow the light! But remember to turn it off sometimes and look up in the enveloping darkness…what do you see. Pinpricks of beauty called glow-worms.
So what are glow worms? Well interestingly enough, a glow worm uses its glow to attract food (thankfully not humans) and to bum off its waste. Its tail glows because of bioluminescence due to the chemical reaction given off from its bum therefore producing light! So the flies get stuck into the sticky lines that the glow worm hangs down to catch the nutty creatures. Okay, science lesson over!
Check out the sweet as pics that I took on the walk.
Jumping back on the bus, we grooved and danced to the music set on shuffle and arrived in Paeroa for a late breakfast. But I was pretty interested in why the town is famous. L&P drinks. The soft drink made here from the spring water that has a bitter taste is brewed with lemon to form Lemon & Paeroa. It’s so refreshing so remember to buy a bottle and take a swig.
Shortly after, we drive past the mountain of love – Te Aroha as Dave pointed it out to us. I stared lovingly to take in the view and atmosphere and looked around the bus to lock eyes to have that special moment. I looked next to me, a guy was sleeping with drool coming out of his mouth and gave a soft snore. Moment gone.
Stopping off to get supplies (don’t worry, you get to do this everyday), we arrived in Waitomo (wai meaning water and tomo meaning cave). So there’s plenty of caving activities that you can get to do. Checking into the Black Water Rafting Company, many people got off to undertake one of 3 activities on offer.
Black Abyss – a 5 hour ultimate caving experience includes a 35m cave abseil, tubing, flying fox, waterfall jumps and climbs. Black Labyrinth – a 3 hour caving experience that’s for the slower paced people. Mostly tubing.Glide through silently through the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and be amazed by the thousands of glowworms sparkling above.
Many people took the first two and they said they had the best time ever! I didn’t do it as I wanted to save up for activities later on in the trip but I didn’t sit idle. There’s an amazing bush walk that looks exactly like Rivendell of Lord of the Rings Fame. Check out the pics. There was even a cave that we could explore as well for free!
Staying at Kiwi Paka Waitomo backpackers, we had some free time to ourselves to grab some dinner, chill out and for me? Get my ass whipped at pool by a very annoying German, Christian. All of us met him as he jumped off here from a previous bus to stay here longer and therefore he’s jumping back on our bus woo! Although I wasn’t too sure as he beat me 3 games of….3 games. I hang my head in shame.
Playing pool at Curly’s Bar, the famous pub in Waitomo, we watched some kiwi experiencers undertake the 12 pint challenge.
All 12 pints are on display and you get a free t-shirt if you do complete it AND you get to pour your twelfth pint behind the bar like these guys!
There were pretty messed up afterwards!
I wanted to take part in the challenge but as a respectable 27 year old, I could only manage 6 after a long day. I ain’t as young as I used to be!
Bed time called as we had to get up to to the smelly town of Rotutura the next day bright and early and ready to do some challenges!