New Zealand Trip - Waitomo
It was a pretty drive from Lake Taupo to our final stop, Waitomo. Lots of green hills, green mountains, green everywhere.
It was raining in Waitomo, but the forecast had been for rain on this day when I started planning the trip so it was no surprise. That's why I saved Waitomo for that day, who cares if it's raining when you're in a cave. Phil and I had been here before to see the caves and the glow worms that live in them. That time we went black water rafting, where we donned wet suits and floating through the caves on inner tubes. This time we took a slightly tamer approach and sat in a boat as we floated through the caves.
We walked through the caves first and got to see some interesting formations. Then we silently boarded the boat and looked up in amazement. The glow worms were light blue, and it looked like the night sky inside. It's such a unique experience that can't really be described. What I really enjoyed about this boat trip though was watching our guide navigate. There were a series of ropes up above, and she pulled us along this ropes course using her arms. It was sort of like a dance, and between that and the "stars" it was quite magical.
I'm not really one for down time on vacations, so I decided to squeeze in a couple last sights before we headed back to Auckland. The rain didn't let up, but we drove down a twisting crazy road (New Zealand has a lot of these!) to check out Marokopa Falls. Just before the falls we came to Mangapohue Natural Bridge and took a short walk to check it out. The path took us along a stream until we got to a giant opening that forms the natural bridge. It was interesting to see, and a welcome reprieve from the rain.
Just down the road from this was the Marokopa Falls. Once again it was a rainy, damp walk, and I think by that time everyone was wondering what was wrong with me. But when we got down to the falls, they all agreed it was worth the wet trek. My parents had a laugh thinking about the Three Sisters Falls in San Diego (which is hardly ever running, really hot, and a tough hike) and thought this must be what people imaged that to be.
The drive back to Auckland was a lot like the rest of our drives on this trip - green! We had a bit more rain on Sunday, so headed indoors to explore the Auckland War Memorial. I'm not really sure why it's called that - I spent three hours wandering around and never even made it to the war section. Then it was time to head back to Melbourne and back to work so we could pay for it all!