Sunday, 19 May 2013

The North Island! Glow Worms, Waterfalls, and Biking the coastline. Part 1 of our NZ Adventure.

New Zealand...

On April 13, 2013 we flew out to Auckland, got out rental car and checked into our hostel. It had already been a really long day and we just wanted a good meal and a cold beer! We wandered around downtown Auckland and found this awesome pub chain ~The Belgian Beer Cafe. We went to The Occidental and had the best night! They had german beers on tap in 500ml glasses and an amazing menu. We ordered Blue Mussels in Chili Lime Sauce, and Fish and Chips and shared the lot. The mussels were HUGE and so delicious and we both agreed the Fish and Chips was the best we had ever had. We have some family back home who would have really appreciated this place ;) 

The next morning we headed towards Waitomo to do some Caving and see the glow worms. After a big OOPSIE in the the directions... and a whole lot of fast driving and amazing skills (by Adam) we made it to our Caving excursion center and headed out! We went with a company called Waitomo Adventures and did their Tumu Tumu Toobing trip! We drove up a moutainside to some very scenic farmland and stopped in at a shed to change into wetsuits, jackets, booties and rainboots. We put on helmets and headlamps and were ready to go:) 

We climbed down a ladder into the cave and began our journey. We learned about stalagmites and stalactites and learned that for them to grow overhead it takes about 1000 yrs for them to grow 1cm. There were some so wide I wouldn't be able to wrap my arms around. These caves were found when farmers would lose cows or sheep and would go looking for them. They would find them in holes/caves and since then 1000s of caves have been discovered.

Once we got deep into the caves, we turned off out headlamps and saw millions of glow worms. They were unbelievable. We walked around in the dark looking at them. And later we tubed through the cave with them above us, and the silence of the water around us (until I started singing Sweet Child of Mine). 

The glow worms live a pretty simple life. For the first months of their life they dangle strings to catch food. They eat the food, and then their bums start to glow (from the waste of the food). I know this definitely takes all the romance out of them... glowing poo... Anyhow, when they become adults they only live for 2-3 days and that's the end. Regardless, they are still pretty amazing and cool to see. After three hours of caving, tubing, jumping off rocks into the water, and a short (and very cold swim) we emerged just over a km away from our drop in point. We loved it!

After grabbing some food, we drove to Rotorua and checked into our hostel. That's when I started to get nervous for the next day! 

In the morning, we woke up and wondered around Rotorua, ate breakfast in a French Cafe and got ready to hit the Kaituna River with River Rats. Once we got there, we got all geared up in wetsuits, fleeces, helmets and lifejackets. Armed with our paddles we got on the bus to the drop in site. On the ride they gave us a few safety tips...
      1. Hold On
      2. Get in the fetal position if you can't swim back to the raft and ride down the river looking for a place to get out. 
      3. If you fall out and have to ride a waterfall, curl into a ball and think happy thoughts. 


Before the trip :) 

The first two waterfalls we rafted. 

The succession of photographs from the 7m waterfall :)

Good thing I didn't waste more than 8 hours being scared for my life... 

After riding the big waterfall, we got to jump out of the raft and ride down some rapids on our own. It was really fun and the water was great!

Us paddling in for some surfing...

We finished off our great day by hitting the Polynesian Spas in Rotorua. We splurged and chose the Lake View spas.. which were amazing. There was four spa pools that overlooked Lake Rotorua and were varying temperatures of 36,38,40, and 42 degrees. We spent 2 hours relaxing and trying them all out. 

After Rotorua, we drove off to Napier. The scenery in New Zealand is so beautiful. We had to pull over and take pictures along the way :) 

Our lovely Ruby Ruby Ruby RUBY. A good lil rental car that ended up seeing approx 3000km. 

Napier is a beautiful town on the east coast of the North Island. They have a lovely coastline, lots of seafood and many wineries. We did a cycling tour of the coastline that ended with 2 wineries. The trip was 35km and a great ride; the weather wasn't the greatest but the rain held out until we were happily drinking wine which was great! The two wineries we visited were Elephant Hill and Clearview Estates. Elephant Hill was a large german owned winery with some good wines. But Clearview Estates was the real gem! We loved it there. It was older, rustic and fabulous. The wine cellar manager, Cushla, was fantastic! She helped us find some wine they were practically out of, and she did a great job with the tasting and was incredibly friendly and helpful. We are pretty excited to take those bottles back to Canada :)

This massive orchard we biked by. It was incredible.

Napier ended our quick tour of the North Island... the next day we took the ferry to the South Island :)

1 comment:

  1. GREAT POST!!! I did the underground rafting, it brings back memories. You have some amazing pictures of you guys rafting!!!! Wow, looks like you guys are having a great time, enjoy!
    Lv Mel