One of the things we really wanted to do on this trip was see glow worms, so after a quick cold shower at the Hot Water Beach car park (yes we showered in a car park, in the open), we headed west to the other coast. Waitkomo is famous for its glow worm caves, but it also claims to have the worlds first Hobbit Motel, and in a town nearby there is a Kiwi House. We started at the Kiwi House which was a trifle disappointing. Kiwis are great to see - they are such an odd looking bird which looks as if it is too top heavy to walk; but they can and they can cut around at a fair lick. It is a pity that one was displaying all the symptoms of a mad creature (pacing up and down in the same area repeatedly) and the other had its beak in the mud and did not move. I am not convinced that they where happy creatures.
The Caves/glow worms can be seen in many different ways. We chose the hardest, which is to dress up in very thick wetsuits, hard hats, ridiculous shorts and plastic boots, grab a car inner tube and go black water rafting. This is like white water rafting, but in a very dark cave. When we booked the trip I wasn't convinced that Jodie understood what we were signing up to. When I saw her face after she had changed into her wet and very unflattering gear, I knew I was right, but she kept a brave face and went well……… for a while. It was when we where practicing linking legs to form one long line it went wrong. The young year outer who was our guide explained 'this is called the eel, because it's long and black and has lots of teeth, just like the ones we'll see in the caves' and Jodie was off. For a person trying to get used to the idea of having fish around, this was not what was needed! Anyway, we went our separate ways at that point; me into the caves on a rubber ring and Jodie on a nice dry walking tour of the same complex. Which ever way the caves are done, it is well worth it and being in a pitch black cave looking up at what looks like thousands of stars is wonderful. The edge is slightly taken off the experience when we were told that the worms were actually maggots that ate their brothers and sisters, became flies whose body weight comprised of 50% gonads and 50% everything else, which then spent 3 days 'on the job' then died. The females live a day longer in order to lay eggs and start the process again. The glowing stuff is a kind of poo. Nice.
The day also saw us experiencing our first really miserable day of rain since leaving UK. It rained solidly for 14 hours but luckily we spent most of that time underground or driving to our next destination; Rotorua.