Waitomo and Rotorua

Today was another early start as those of us doing activities had the first slots of the day. I and 6 others from our group did the Black Labyrinth Tour with the Black Water Rafting Company. We started off at their base, changing into 3 piece wetsuits which were made up of an overall style all in one; a jacket and booties. These were damp before we got into them so they were quite difficult to get on which prompted much hilarity. 

After this we were driven down to the practice site, where it was explained that there were 2 waterfalls which we would have to jump down. Our guide showed us the technique which was to go backwards with our inner tubes over our bums so hopefully we would land sitting in them. 

Once in the caves we started off walking through and the guide explained that the stalactites were very fragile and if we touched them they would stop growing, so to be very careful. The first waterfall came up pretty quickly and was an easy little jump. After that it was a bit of floating  before a chocolate break. The second waterfall was soon upon us; this one was a bit higher and required a bit more distance as there was a protruding rock at the bottom. I managed to let go of my inner tube as I jumped so had to be helped back in it by one of the other guides. This next bit was one of the coolest parts as we all had to float in a line and hold each other’s feet with our torches off. Gloworms were hanging all over the cave ceiling and it was pretty amazing. It felt like we were floating under a starry sky.  The last part of the trip was the most fun as we had to switch off our torches again and find our way out in the dark! Luckily there was no room for error and we all made it back for a hot shower and soup and bagels. 

I don’t have any photos at the moment because we weren’t allowed to take any cameras down into the caves. However we did all club together to buy a USB of all the pictures the guides took. The girl who is going to be home first has taken it and will upload and email them then. 

Next we drove down to Rotorua, on the way we stopped at a huge suspension bridge which was built for employees of the power plant to get to work. Then we drove into a farm where Burto explained that there were options for those not going to Hobbiton tomorrow including a sheep shearing show and bungy jumping. They had Ostriches in with the sheep! 


Rotorua is know for its geothermal activity and has a strong smell of suphur because of it. There are also natural hot springs all over the place. 


This evening’s activity was a Maori Cultural Experience. This was so much fun! We started off in a big tent, before being shown a war canoe.


And then what how our dinner was doing!


This is a Hangi – it’s food cooked for hours underground. Like a natural slow cooker I guess. We were then led into the forest where the Maori warriors rowed down the river in their canoe. 


Before being led into a heated pavilion for the show. This was so good – the Maori performers showed us lots of different songs, training techniques and fight moves. It was so well done and interesting to watch. A man from the audience was chosen to be our chief and represent us – he was a bit reluctant but rose to the challenge. He was challenged by one of the warriors and had to accept a peace offering and make a speech. 


After this it was dinner time! This was the hangi meat and potatoes as well as a buffet of rice, garlic bread and vegetables. Desert was a choice of pavlova, chocolate roll or steamed pudding. 


We ended the evening with a short bush walk to see some more glow worms. 

Tomorrow we are going to Hobbiton and then the Wai – o – tapo thermal park for some hot springs. There is a cyclone heading for New Zealand so the next couple of days are a bit up in the air but we’ve been told it’ll blow over by the end of the weekend. It has been very rainy this afternoon. Anyway, goodnight! 

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