Our first stop was Waitomo where the next day we were all (bar Nan) booked onto a black water caving trip thanks to Darren's research! We made our way out of Auckland and got onto the country roads pretty quickly. We stopped off at Hamilton for a spot of lunch and obviously, with Mum and Nan, a bit of shopping. As we had the whole day to get to Waitamo so took the coastal scenic route. Unfortunately the coastal road was not scenic for us at all. There were so many clouds we could barely see a few metres in front of the car. To top it off the roads were bumpy and windy beyond belief! It probably took us an extra few hours and towards the end of the pot-hole road the clouds began to clear. It was a disappointing journey especially as it is supposed to be one of the most scenic routes in NZ. When we got to Waitomo we found our lovely motel and went to a nearby restaurant that from the décor looked a bit like an old WI hall. The food was delicious and pretty sophisticated, given the surroundings.
It was a sunny morning, finally when we got up ready and raring for some extreme action in the caves. Nan got settled with her book and some crossword puzzles, pretty extreme stuff! The rest of us got prepared by dressing in the most ridiculous cold, smelly and damp wetsuits. We all looked pretty sexy and with our extremely keano guide we were off to the mouth of the cave. We did some abseiling training outside of the cave with some jumping poses where Dad and Darren really shone! When we all passed the training section we headed to the cave where Mel and Mum started to get a bit nervous. They went first and did such a great job Dad, Darren and I had an easy ride down. The next stage was a zip wire into the pitch black which made everyone feel a bit unnerved. Our guide chose Mel to go first as she was feeling very scared. She got hoisted up and then sent down the wire. We couldn't see a thing and all we heard was the zipppp of the wire a blood curdling scream and then a BANG, the sound of body against the wall. I thought that Mel would be seriously hurt but they flicked on the lights and we saw that it was our guide being silly and she was perfectly fine. The zip wire was really fun and I was beginning to relax. This feeling didn't last for long. The next thing on the agenda was to jump from a considerable height into the ice cold water. When you first hit the water the cold makes it tricky to breathe so everyone was ohhing and arring when they entered but after a few seconds everyone was back to normal. Everyone expect Mum. I am not exaggerating when I say that she continued to 'oh, oh, oh, oh' for around 10 minutes more! It was so funny and I think her making such a fuss made me feel warmer, mainly due to laughing so much. At any point during the rest of the 'expedition' we went into deeper water we all knew it before we got there as we heard the 'oh, oh, oh's' from Mum! We clambered through small holes, waded into deep water, avoided a scary looking eel, admired the gorgeous glow worm poo and climbed up the side of a waterfall. It was so much fun and although I was cold for the majority of the time I would do it all over again. The photos taken along the way were not attractive but they were funny to watch back with Nan whilst warming up with some soup.