I AM LIVID
I had my first and hopefully last sense of humour failure this morning. Those three words were sent in a text to Josh at about 9 in Rotorua after I had just sprinted after my Kiwi Bus which was pulling away from the hostel without me! I'm not generally prompt by nature (something I always wish I could correct) but I couldn't believe what had just happened.
Admittedly I was a little worse for wear after my shirtless performance the night before... but I had woken up with plenty of time before the bus was due to leave and had even put my backpack on the bus and gone to ask our driver if I had the chance to go and grab some water from the hostel kitchen. He nodded and said I had ten minutes: I returned barely 3 minutes later to find the bus 100 metres down the road and heading to what i assumed was the motorway. I pegged it after the bus for a good few minutes and then as it turned off the road I decided i would be better served going back to the hostel and messaging Josh & Shil who were safely on the bus. Little did i know that the bus had not turned onto a motorway but onto a little side road to pick up some breakfast pies (an NZ tradition we were quickly getting jnto) Cue the ridiculous message above and vague instructions from Steve (our idiot bus driver) to get on a bus towards the Agrodome.
My brilliant sense of direction and a map with no street names meant that I was pretty furious by the time I got to the bus stop and was ready to catch up with the Kiwi team. At this point i did not have a clue of anything more than that I was half an hour behind the bus. Getting pretty mad on my way to the Agrodome I was soon there within all of 15 minutes and felt that a well reasoned rant at the bus driver now had much less force. I'd been expecting to be reunited with the bus in maybe an hour or so, and finding myself back with the group in so little time was a major, but good, surprise! So that little episode was over but even writing this now, about a week later it still annoys that Steve was such a jerk.
It was an adrenalin filled start to an adrenalin filled day as we were to go black water rafting in the Waitomo caves later that day. Before that, however, so tired that we were all giddy, we sat on the sofas at the Agrodome - a stop which provided some cool, extreme activities such as a roller coaster you pedalled yourself - and sat in hysterics as we completed a genuinely un-funny survey commenting on he activities there. Being giddy we could just not stop laughing a our suggestions that they needed a better laundry service, and quote unquote of Josh: "more bigger sofas".
With the hilarity dealt with the next stop was the Waitomo glowworm caves and black water rafting which essentially is not rafting at all. Very similar to canyoning but situated in a cave not a river gorge, it was as much about the glowworms as it was swimming and wandering through the caves & climbing up waterfalls. It opened with a 37m abseil into a tin little hole, which was a pretty nervy start. I've done a lot of abseiling before but I found myself pretty edgy on this one- it just seemed to go on forever and it was just an incredible start to what would be an unreal 5 hour round trip. A zip wire soon after kept the adrenalin rushing before the "rafting " begun. After a little snack, we jumped off a ledge, with an inner tube from a tyre each as a floating device, into the water deep in the caves. This bit was actually, apart from the chilling moment when you hit the water of 7 degrees C, pretty calm as we floated along in the tyres, struggling only with the cold. It was also the most spectacular leg of our tour as we turned off our headlamps and took in the wonder of the glowworms lighting up the caves. Much less wondrous was our guides summary of the "worms" having been practically rebranded to make them more tourist friendly. In reality they are cannibalistic maggots and the glowing effect is actually caused by their excrement and is used to lure prey to their death. Apparently this summary wasn't snappy enough to lure in the masses of tourists they now attract!
The final challenge of the caves involved climbing up a few waterfalls which was really fun and really had your heart pumping. This had followed our walk down the alley of the drunken stumble which was exactly as suggested: the uneven floor made for plenty of funny falls and people generally looking like fools! Overall the activity was a class act even in spite of the cold (we must have spent half an hour in the showers once we had left the cave, in attempt to thaw out!)
We grabbed a steak dinner in Waitomo after we had got back to the hostel. This bar was the only one in little Waitomo which we were informed has a population of just 36: it nearly doubled with our arrival. Afterwards we drank some beers in the room until the early hours of the morning.
I had signed up for a skydive the next day because we'd been told that this was the best weather Taupo had seen for ages and the opportunity would be too good to miss! I was so excited!!
Dan / Burge