– old friends, glow-worms and tourist burn out Hamilton
|View down the Northern Explorer from the Viewing Car.|
|Train crossing viaduct - oddly, not vertigo inducing|
|Mount Ruapehu and friends, a lively trio|
|It may look like La La Land but it's far from freindly|
|Mount Ruapehu and friends again|
We arrived in
late afternoon and were met, unexpectedly, by Jenny, one of Fo's old school
friends. We collected our hire car and followed Jenny back to her house for a
chat and a most-welcome cuppa. We could have chatted for hours but we had to
push on south to Otorohanga for our next overnight stop. Our motel for the
night was well past its best and its only real virtue was its proximity to the Hamilton . This is a large network of
passages and caverns that time and water have carved into a limestone
escarpment. Their main claim to fame, however, is glow worms and lots of
them. Waitomo Caves
We set off for the caves early the following day but, by the time we arrived, I had lost all appetite for another tourist experience. I think I had finally reached saturation point; simply unable or unwilling to play the tourist any longer. I dumped myself in a sunny spot, unearthed my iPod and left Fo to amuse herself in the cold, damp and dark caves. She enjoyed every moment of it but certainly got chilled by the 45 minute tour in 12c temperatures. What follows, excluding the final paragraph, is her commentary on the caves.
|My boat ride into the glow-worm caves|
We were taken into the Cathedral – a vast cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites (tites hold on tight to the ceiling and mites might reach it one day!). They resembled huge organ pipes and the chamber had fantastic acoustics. Indeed, Dame Kiri te Kanawa once did a concert down there and events are held regularly. It was all impressive but what fascinated me more was the fact that our guide’s parents AND grandparents had been married in there!
|It's all photographic trickery, but amusing nonetheless.|
From here we boarded a boat and drifted into the glow-worm caverns. All other light was extinguished, which revealed millions and millions of tiny pinpricks of light that could have stars. The effect was stunning. Even the grumbling Russian shut up. Once out into the daylight my official photo was waiting for me. I had been superimposed onto a glow-worm background. It was cleverly done but if I ever do get around to doing something brave and daring, will anyone believe me?
After the caves hot coffee was demanded before we set off for Rotorua, NZs premier tourist attraction. As we fired up the Sat Nav I realised that, for the first time in 4.5 months, I wasn't really looking forward to a new destination.