So, off we went anyway to a place called Raglan. It is very much a surfer town by the indications we got. We got there and went for a swim almost straight away (another hot day in the car). The beach is just down the road, and the waves were fun, but with lots of surf boards heading our way we decided to head back up to the hostel to get dinner on... it was dinner time too which helped. The hostel itself is made up of a series of old train carriages, some of which have been cut in two for private rooms and some of which have been left as a full carriage for dorms..... quite cool looking!!! The people there were all surfer heads too, long hair and groovy groovyness about them all. We took a drive into town to watch the sun set over the harbour, but we couldnt find it so we went back to the hostel.... thats more or less it for ragland!!!
The next day, we had the short trip to Waitomo, which in mauri means Water Hole. This place is famous for its caves, so we booked ourself into a tour of one of the best caves (because it has the most glow worms), and off we headed. We took a mini van with our guide (the lovely Norm), and he told us all about the place and how the caves were formed (dont worry this isnt going to be a geography lesson). The town itself has 41 permenant residents, a pub, a cafe, a hotel, a restaurant a pizzeria and a rugby pitch (41 people is enought for a rubgy team at least)
We got to the caves and donned our safety helmets and in we went. Once we got around two corners we all turned off the lights and it was pitch black. You could just about make out a few glow worms on the ceiling but that was it. We contined on a bit til we got to the boat (a stream runs through their cave), and we all climbed in and turned out the lights again. After a while the night vision kicked in, and you could see hundreds of thousands of glow worms all over the roof of the cave. It was honestly magical looking. At times it looked like stars and other times it looked (to me) like dense tree cover with moonlight seeping through, a full mooon I would think!! We went down the stream to the top of a waterfall and back up again. By the time we got back to the top, you could see quite a bit around you, even the people sitting next to you (and wasnt she pretty in the worm light ;)). This cave is actually the cave that David Attenborough filmed two of his series in, Life in the Undergrowth and the newer Planet Earth.... swit swoo!!!! After that cave, we went through another cave, which was more of your standard stalictite and stalicmite cave formations, with a massive cathedral (large cavern).. and more glow worms. The guys who run the tour had spent four months in the cave building all the paths. It was pretty cool, and pretty cold too. After the tour of the cave we headed back to the hostel for dinner. I was pretty shattered after the day, I went for my second hill sprint and it was a toughy again... plus I hadnt drank much water it would seem!!!! Anyway, we chilled out and off to bed. The next morning we were heading to Rotorua (here now), but on the way we had been advised we should go on a trail. We headed off looking for it, and found it, our way!!! The path runs along the river and has some lovely tunnels and caves to explore. It was raining again, but that only made it look nicer I think. Everything was glistening and shiney, and the greens and browns really stood out (Norm fed us that line before we ended the tour).
Definately enjoyed this leg of the trip, the hostel was very cosy and even though the rain was quite annoying, its rained since and is still raining, it was worth it for the caves. Apart from the fact that glow worms..... are actually glow maggots!!!
We are in Rotorua at the moment (the 17th of December), home of the smelly sulfur pits..... I wonder will we get into a mud bath and thermal spring.......