Two types of cave and an Angoran shave

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Tongariro Base Camp Holiday Park

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Andrew woke me up at 6.15am convinced that the park ranger was on site and gunning for us – it turned out that shockingly he wasn't (Andrews paranoia knows no bounds). Wide awake at this stage we set off towards Waitomo which wasn’t too far away.  We pulled in to the car park and got sausages and beans on to cook while we waited for the caves to open.  After tidying up the van it was around 9am so we went to pay our entrance fee.  Thankfully we had got a 20% discount from Wicked, or so we thought.  Apparently the discount voucher that was stapled to the front of the 'Discover Waitomo’ was for a different company entirely so we were a bit confused so had to go to the i-sight in the town to book online to get 10% off – it all helps.

We started the tour at 10am and our guide seemed a bit flighty.  We walked down in to the cave in the pitch black I could barely see where I was going and stumbled a few times I don’t know how the disabled women went on who was walking on crutches but the guide didn’t seem too bothered as he told us to wait on the jetty for the boat, don’t fall in I just have to make a phone call.  One of the Japanese tourists in another group behind us then turned off the small amount of lighting that there was – he did get in to a bit of trouble for that though.  The cave was great and the display of thousands of glow worms was spell binding from the boat it was just like staring in to the night’s sky tiny little lights everywhere in the darkness simply beautiful.  The guide explained the glow worms life cycle to us and how when they emerge from the cocoon as insects they have no mouths (our worst nightmare) so they just procreate and then die of starvation within a few days – poor sods.  We also got to see the cocoons lace-like sticky webs that hang down from the cave ceiling to catch their prey that gets attracted by their light (they can feed in the 9 month cocoon stage).

I checked back in at the i-sight as earlier on we had forgotten to check the weather forecast for the next few days as we hoped to be able to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing back in Taupo if the weather had improved.  The lady gave us the thumbs up so we got back in the van to travel the 130km back to Taupo.  On the way, not 5 minutes in to our drive we just had to stop at the free admission to the Angoran Rabbit Shearing demonstration.  We walked in to find in the centre of a deep crowd of people a huge white rabbit strapped to a table with its paws tied up being sheared, apparently it doesn’t hurt them at all and if they weren’t sheared that often they would die from being too hot – bless. (Andrew Edit – I just had to see this for my own sanity as it wasn’t too long ago Sharks was asking to lend some money off me to buy some Angoran Rabbits, or was that just a way to buy a farm in New Zealand?)  Anyway, that one is for you Mike.  We had our pictures taken with the little cute things, they were so soft it was incredible. 

As we neared Taupo for what seemed like the zillionth time I decided that I really wanted to see Orakei Korako, the thermal hidden valley before we left.  Andrew showed absolutely no interest whatsoever but agreed to drive me there so I could go in on my own while he would stay in the car park and watch a film.  The only stipulation was that I used my free coffee voucher on the way out so we could share it – done deal.  I took a boat over Lake Ohakuri and started to explore the area, it was so hot I was sweating almost immediately, big tip, wear a t-shirt not a big fleecy hoodie.  Anyway I saw the Emerald Terrace cascading in to the lake and the Golden Fleece Terrace (known as Te Kapua or the cloud by the Maori people) which was stunning and looked like snow, the view from the Artist’s Palette lookout lived up to its moniker displaying a myriad of colours. Finally I saw Ruatapu Cave, one of only two geothermal caves in the world (the other is in Southern Italy) the water in the bottom of the cave is able to clean jewellery – seeing as I left all mine at home I couldn’t give it a try.  Another interesting fact is that 20 million litres of hot water runs over the silica terraces here – A DAY!  It was a beautiful area and so different to the others that we have seen in Rotorua and far more beautiful.

I grabbed my free coffee and went to meet Andrew back at the van.  We called at the i-site in town to book our tickets for transport to and from the track start.  It was 30 Dollars each which was a bit steep but it was something that we really wanted to do so didn’t really have a choice – and this time we didn’t even have a discount voucher for it, bugger! We found out that there was camping in Tongariro so we headed South when it occurred to Andrew that there may be a family parks site there, low and behold there was and it was only the base camp for collections for transport to the mountain.  So we could use our 2-4-1 vouchers which expire on the 15th and would be able to get a hot shower after our walk, plus we wouldn’t have to get up really early to get to the pickup point on time.

We checked in and made tea in the camp kitchen – lots of pasta in preparation for tomorrows tramp and made lunch for the next day, again pasta satay.  We had a very early night as it was going to be an early start but packed up our day pack with the thermals and rain coats before watching ‘The Book of Eli’ with Denzel Washington in the van.  It’s great now that we have the in-van charger, we are saving a fortune on McDonalds soft serve cones and are able to watch films to our hearts content.
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Comments

Emer on

Hey guys, we timed it perfectly aswell and arrived when they were doing a shearing demonstration, it was kind of weird cos they looked very uncomfortable with their legs (er paws or whatever) all tied up but were still so cute.

farknash
farknash on

Sharkles Angorran Emporium

it will happen. oh yes. oh yes it will. definitley. almost postively definitely will happen. definitivelely.

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