So now I have a base in Rotorua it's time to do some exploring...first up Waitomo. Waitomo means something in Maori about water, when they explained it I was standing in a cave 65m under the ground and I was very cold-cant quite remember it all!
I drove for around 3hrs through amazing scenery of rolling green hills, dotted with the occasional sheep, lamb or cow. My first stop was a limestone arch, called the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, apparently 17m high-very pretty is what I thought. I then sped onto the Marokopa Falls, 30m high-the most beautiful in the country?...they certainly do look impressive from the track.
Then I drove on to what I had really come to see-Waitomo itself. Not much there really-just a few cafes and info sites for us tourists, but what people come for is the caves...and the Shearing Shed!
Every day at 12.45pm the owner shears an angorra rabbit, brought over from germany, on a spit like contraption. It is the funniest thing I'd seen in a while-and the poor thing looked like it quite enjoyed the show! Apparently they have to be shawn every three months to stop thier fur drowning them-this starts from 3 months old!
I had my fill of fur and fluf, then drove down to the Legendary Black Water Rafting Company (only legendary because they were the first ones, now going 20 years). I had signed up to do teh Black Labyrinth...3hrs of wet caving fun, or so I was told. I arrived and was suited up in a wet suit, hard hat and welly boots-nice! Off we went to the site. We were all a bit nervous as none of us had ever done anything like this before-but it turned out to be a good laugh-if not very, very cold!
We were given a rubber ring (which we all had fun asking each other if it fit our behind correctly) so that we could float downstream in the cave when we couldn't walk due to the depth. The tour was great...a few scary jumps of little falls in our tube, floating downstream looking at the glow worms on the ceiling above-it was like being under the stars, and listening to our guides like the Lion King at -65m! All too soon it was over-the best bit was finding our way out of the cave in the dark-navigating through the passages by following the glow worms, who follow the light as well, clever little things...I had a really good day-go Waitomo!