Tuesday 8th May
Journal brought to you by Sophie
Today we had to get up fairly early as we were going BLACK water rafting in the Waitomo Caves.Â This is not to be confused with WHITE water rafting, which is an entirely different thing.Â Basically BLACK water rafting consists of underwater rapids and manoeuvring through a system of caves in the pitch black.Â So much fun!!!
We were kitted out by our guides, Louise and Andy, in fetching wet suits, boots, shoes (wellies), jackets, thermals, balaclavas and helmets.Â I was so scared that I was going to get cold because I find that when I get cold it always ruins an activity.Â I know that should be the least of my worries but it concerns me anyway.Â We drove off to the site of the caves and had to practice abseiling down a hill as we would be doing one to actually get underground.Â Our group consisted of me and Tamara, Alice, Kate, Catherine, a random kiwi guy (Brett??) and some other people.Â How my memory fails me?Â Anyway Tami and I decided to go last because someone else had told us the longer you are underground the colder it gets but we were waiting so long we both had to strip off and go to the toilet, in our wetsuits, in the middle of a field.Â Classy.Â I tell you getting in and out of a wet suit is no mean feat.Â
Eventually we were called up and abseiled down the 39 metre hole into the first cave.Â I was told by the guide that I must have down lots of abseiling before because I was a natural.Â What can I say?Â I am amazing.Â The second part of the course involved us zip wiring into the dark at which point the others tried to scare me and decided to keep deadly silent in the dark.Â It didn't work as I am totally fearless.Â Obviously.Â The whole cave was full of glow worms, which were so pretty.Â It was like looking at the night sky but underground.Â We had some tea and flapjacks in order to warm us up before jumping 3 metres off a cliff into rubber rings.Â The water was freezing.Â We soon warmed up though as we had to drag ourselves along the cave using a rope.Â This is hard work for weaklings like myself with no arm muscles.Â We then floated down the river staring at the glow worms.Â The worms actually glow due to the excretion they produce from their bottoms (to put it politely) so we were actually, in essence, openly admiring the poo produced from these creatures.Â It is lovely.Â
We then had a mile long walk through water that was sometimes so deep we had to swim in it.Â To keep warm I constantly bounced up and down so that everyone thought I was a complete psycho.Â It all paid off though because I did not get cold the whole time I was in there!Â Yey!Â We stopped for a hot orange squash and some chocolate before having to climb up three waterfalls to get out of the caves.Â We also saw two humongous eels swimming in the water beside us as we were journeying through the centre of the earth.Â (See what I did there????).Â It was so much fun and when we got back we enjoyed boiling hot showers and some bagels and soup.Â It turns out Buzz (our driver) nearly went without us though, which makes that the second time he has driven off without me on the bus.Â What makes it worse is that the first time Tami was on the bus and didn't even stop him.Â RUUUUUUDE.
During our next leg of the journey we visited Huka Falls, which was a beautiful raging waterfall and Tami took a photo of me looking like I am throwing up water.Â How artistic we are.Â We eventually made it into Taupo and we are staying in this really nice hostel called Tiki Lodge which has a spa pool (backpacking life is so traumatic), a lovely kitchen and lounge with a roaring fire.Â It is very cosy.Â We spent the evening conversing with some drunk people (!) and then went to bed.Â Today was a brilliant day although I have caught a really bad cold and I am snuffling all over the place.Â Plus I am really worried that I am going to put the inside of my nose all over my tandem partner in the sky dive?.