Caves and Coves
Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
18Trip End Apr 02, 2014
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These limestone caves were first discovered some 125 years ago, and contain some incredibly high-roofed chambers, some narrow passageways, more stalagmites and stalactites than a mathematician could count, and these tiny little bio-luminescent organisms aptly called glowworms. In case you are like me and can't seem to remember the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, try this: stalagmites are on the ground, whereas stalactites hang on tight to the ceiling.
Anyways, our series of tours saw us explore the Aranui Cave, which offered incredible calcium carbonate formations (like those stalactites and stalagmites, as well as "curtains" and "cave corals") and a short walk through the rain forest
The glowworms themselves are the larvae stage of a mosquito-like insect. At only a few millimeters in length, the glowworms produce a blue-ish light that is used to attract their food - other insects. What the glowworms do is attach themselves to the damp ceiling of the caves and then produce a number of thin spider-web-like sticky strands beneath themselves. As they get hungry, the larvae produce the blue glow which serves to attract other insects, thereby trapping them in the feeding lines. Upon catching something to eat, the larvae reel in that particular line and feast on whatever it is that they've managed to catch.
After the caves, it was time to move on to the coast... the west coast of the North Island - the Taranaki region; specifically, New Plymouth. Having managed to find a nice, well-kept, affordable campground right along the black-sand Fitzroy Beach, it was time to explore the city itself.
I began by picking up the Coastal Walkway
After catching my breath and letting the wind dry my sweat-drenched brow, I returned to the boardwalk and began the return trip.
In Port Taranaki there are a number of seaside cafes, and restaurants, all of which offer tasty-sounding food and nice outside seating overlooking the port. After a couple of local pints to quench my thirst, I made my way to the midway point of the Coastal Walkway. Here I stopped in at the local i-Site and took some time to brows the incredible Puke Ariki museum devoted to the natural and cultural history of the Taranaki region.
But with tired feet, a decent sunburn, and a brain addled by too much information and just enough beer, it was time to make my way back to camp, watch the sunset behind Paritutu Rock in the distance and call it a day...