Auckland to Waitomo Caves to Rotorua

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
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Trip End Oct 01, 2008


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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I wake up with a lot of energy and decide to hike Auckland's Mt. Eden before driving south to the Waitomo caves.  Apparently, I hiked too fast as I arrived 2 hours early for my black water rafting excursion.  I go on a brief hike to the Ruekuri Natural Tunnel and Aranui Cave to pass the time and even check out the less than stellar Museum of Caves.  It is still early on day 1 in NZ and I'm already enjoying the outdoors!

The excursion includes abseiling (repelling) down into a cave called the black abyss over 100 feet deep, taking a "flying fox" through the dark, tubing and rafting in the river that flows through caves that are lit up by glowworms, climbing/scaling walls underground, hiking above and below ground, doing a nice "cliff" jump in the caves and being extremely cold despite the wet suits.

I decide to drive on to Rotorua as I realized that there wasn't much going on in Waitomo other than the caves.  I go about an hour before getting a flat tire and subsequently veering off the road.  The first car that goes by stops and an amazingly nice Kiwi offers me his phone, taxi service and even a place to stay if I need it.  I decide to man up and replace the flat in no more than 15 minutes which was crucial as it got dark about 12.5 minutes into the job.  Mind you that the car weighed less than I did so jacking it took all of about 10 seconds.  I made it the rest of the way going a mere 40 mph on a spare and checked into my room in Rotorua with just enough time to have a drink before passing out.
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