Glow worms and hot water beach

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, May 7, 2012

We arrived into Auckland at midday and even though we had only 2 hours sleep during the flight and our night in Melbourne Airport we were straight out to explore.  Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with a population of 1.4 million (the whole country only has about 4.5 million people!).  We treated ourselves to burger and wandered around the skyscrapers and harbour.  The main tourist attraction in Auckland is the Sky Tower, so we paid up and went up to the observation deck. As you'll see from the photos, the Sky Tower, being the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere, offered fantastic views across Auckland and beyond. After spending a good hour walking around the sky deck (including walking on see through glass floors!), we grabbed a couple of hot drinks in the restaurant before heading back to ground level.

The next day we were up early and started our trip on the Kiwi Experience big green bus.  We met our driver Steve and headed out of the city to head to Cathedral Cove.  Cathedral Cove is a beautiful beach with a natural huge archway made famous as it was used in the Chronicles of Narina film Prince of Caspian.  From here we drove on to a campsite with dorm rooms for BBQ at hot water beach.  At the BBQ we got the chance to meet the others on the bus - all mostly around the 18-20 age range - and at 11.30pm we headed down to the beach.

As you can probably guess from the name, Hot Water Beach sits on a very thin part of the eath's crust (roughly 2km deep), meaning water underground becomes heated by the earth's core. At low tide, you can then dig down approximately 10cm, and after a few seconds, boiling hot water starts seeping through the sand...awesome! So at 11.30, we all headed down, dug away, and paddled in the searing hot water!

The following day we headed to Waitomo - where the vast majority of the bus took part in various activities such as black water rafting, underground tubing and potholing. To save on money, however, we decided against doing any activities and chilled for most of the evening. We got chatting to an American, who's lived in New Zealand for 6 years, and since gaining New Zealand citizenship, works at a school in Auckland. For the best part of two hours, Soph and I chatted with him about everything from the weather, to politics, to New Zealand (and more) over several glasses of goon!
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