North Island (Hamilton to Wellington)

Trip Start Mar 18, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2008

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Monday, July 23, 2007

We stoped off in Hamilton for the night before heading off to the Waitomo caves the next day. The evening's activity was supporting the All Blacks vs Aussies in the final of the 6-Nations rugby equivalent.. thank goodness the All Blacks won!)

So, next day we went to Waitomo to see the Aranui Cave and the Glow Worm Cave (2 of the main caves). The Aranui cave is named after Ruruku Aranui, the local Maori man who first discovered it back in 1910. It was great to go so deep into the cave seeing a great collection of stalactites and stalagmites. Due to the cave having no running water through it and therefore being dry, no glow worms exist here. So, we went off to the Glow Worm caves where they were plentiful due to the underground rivers flowing through the caves. The glow worms need water as it transports all the insects into the cave to be eaten by the worms. Also, the reason they glow is to attract the insects to the top of the cave (and into their sticky traps) thinking that the glowing dots are stars in the night and hence fooling the insects into thinking they are flying into the night skies. The Glow Worm cave was impressive to see the thousands of glowing dots on the ceiling!

However, as we are bleeding money all over the place (not used to the expensive NZ compared to south america!!) we decided to go to as many free attractions as possible. One of the most memorable was the rabbit shearing in Waitomo... called the shearing shed! As the photos will show it was quite spectacular to see these hugely fluffy rabbits being strapped into the table and being sheared! Very amusing! Gina (the rabbit having her 3 monthly shave) behaved very well considering all the attention she was receiving!

After the rabbits and a bit of lunch we drove to Rotorua where there is lots of thermal activity. Around here and onto Taupo we saw bubbling and boiling mud pools, geysers and breathed in plenty of sulfur fumes!! most memorable was the Orakei Korako thermal park ( and the craters of the moon walk.

Arriving in Taupo we visited by ferry (which I had a good time driving myself... the captain was a patient man!!) the Maori rock carvings on lake Taupo and then drove around the mountain ranges including Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in LOTR).

After this we headed on to Napier which was having some great weather. Napier is one of the best places to see Art Nouveau and we did the recommended "arty walk", together with going to the marine centre and, most importantly, playing the final game in the mini golf series... Phill won and became Mini Golf champion!

With 2 days in Napier we embarked on the final leg to Wellington to stay with Phill in Lower Hutt (nr Wellington) for a few final days.

We had now done the North Island with "Phill Tours" and thoroughly enjoyed it (apart from losing the mini golf)!
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