Waitomo and the Cave of Wonders

21 12 2011

Item’s I have learned today:

  • Fit = extremely attractive.  For longest time I kept thinking that the people around me were OBSESSED with how in-shape someone was… then it finally clicked that they were talking about their actual looks.
  • Choice = awesome/cool – it is said A LOT here.

After waking up bright and early at hot water beach, we  stopped for a brief trek along an old mining trail called Karangahake Scenic Reserve.  Nancy (our driver) being the dare devil guide that he is (sarcasm) tried to talk us out of the walk as it was raining and not everyone had water proof jackets (gasp!) but we did it anyway.  It was my first venture across long swing bridges (that can only hold a maximum of 10 people and can really sway if people rock back and forth… evilly).  It was pretty neat to walk around the actual tunnels that had originally been used to mine for gold, the tracks and everything were still there.

me

me

We checked in that afternoon at Waitomo and signed up for the 3 hour “labyrinth” journey with the Black Water Rafting Company.   We some how then managed to get to hostel last  and get “the biggest room in place!” the staff told us excitedly. Yes, that’s DEFINITELY something to be happy about.. ahem what they neglected to mention was that it would sleep 7… and 3 of 7 were sleep talkers and snorers.. AHEM…  I woke up in the middle of the night to one of the dudes in are room literally SCREAMING out siren noises and then announcing that “delphi was on the floor”…but I digress 🙂

Bekah, Lucy and Luke (Bekah’s friend from home who joined us at the start of the bus tour whom I adore)  and I volunteered to go on the later version of the Labyrinth tour.  What we didn’t realize at the time was that it would be just the four of us, and that our Tour Guide Terry was really laid back and would give us our own personalized tour.

Lucy and Luke

Lucy and Luke

Bekah and I

Bekah and I

Now I should just say that being the adventuresome person that I am (not) we all opted to do the 3 hour float down a cave in an intertube to look at the glow worm tour rather than the 5 hour crazy person climb up a waterfall, abseil/zip line in the dark and practically kill yourself tour.  We got there at 5pm and suited up. I literally felt like a penguin! Not only was the wet suite FREEZING to put on.. it was miles too big, the part that was supposed to cover my backside went down to about my knees.. but not wanting to have to take it off to put another freezing cold one on.. I just went with it.  How much damage could I do floating down a cave in a tube? (sigh)…

Entrance to the Cave

Entrance to the Cave

What I was NOT prepared for was the fact that we not only had to jump off waterfalls not facing the water.. but we also had to do a waterfall simulation… meaning stand on the edge of the dock with you back towards the water, with your tube clutched and jump BACKWARDS (ahem.. its this adventuresome spirit that is coming up all over again) so we could get the ‘technique’ just right… hsdjadal.

We all had to jump into water that wasn’t exactly a comfortable temperature.. I believe Terry (our tour guide) made Luke jump first telling him to make sure he “told us how warm it was.”  Luke’s exact response after he hit the water was “F… IT”S COLD!!”

my reaction to the extremely WARM water .. fhasjkahdjkas

my reaction to the extremely WARM water .. fhasjkahdjkas

So we all jumped in grudgingly afterwords and then for some reason had to do a hike freezing wet with our tubes  on to go back down into the cave.. I was obviously INCREDIBLY HAPPY to be going on said hike.

Group picture - inside FINALLY

Group picture - inside FINALLY

Now we reach the actually entrance to the glow warm cave and learn a bit more about them.  They are apparently “glow maggots” but who would actually pay money to go see a bunch of maggots?? It was decided that renaming them worms would help to market them better.  Also, the part that is actually glowing is not the worm/maggot itself.. but its feces.  They glow to try and attract food to them. The louder the volume around them the louder the feces/snot/what have you glow… or atleast that’s what Terry said. I wasn’t aware that its possible to control the glowing of your poop but apparently for the maggots it is… either that or Terry wanted to have a laugh at us singing Disney songs down the cave to get the poop to glow brighter… Yes this did actually happen… “A whole new world” by Aladdin got a whole new interpretation by 3 Brits and 1 Yank caving along in Waitomo.

Photo courtesy of www.theplanetb.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.theplanetb.com

Now the tour itself was really cool. We did have to jump off an additional water fall and climb up some slippery rocks. I only freaked out a little and some how always got nominated to be the group leader even though I was the biggest wus out of the entire group! Who will go the slowest and trip the most? Oh that would be Maria.. let’s have her lead the way.. BRILLIANT idea!

But it was actually amazing  beautiful under there, after I got over/through the slippery slopes and random rocks we had to climb we all just floated along (insert modest mouse song here).  I really REALLY enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend it to anyone who makes there way to the North Island of New Zealand.

And we come to a close - the exit

And we come to a close - the exit


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2 responses

22 12 2011
Pam

Love this! I bet you hadn’t a clue at the begining of this journey that you’d actually blog about maggot shit!

29 12 2011
Sulfur City – Tamaki village and a Hangi « Maria's Blog

[…] our adventures in the caves it was time to head back to Rotorua.  As I discovered in my first visit there, Geo-thermal activity […]

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