Monday, 5 October 2015

To Taupo and Waitomo Caves

Waikane Beach

We had a smooth exit from Wellington, and apart from a short detour at Waikane beach and a food and coffee stop at Bull, it was a scenic drive past the snow covered mountain to our Bach at Kurutau, which was everything I hoped for. Look at that!!

Wind in the Willows much?!
Callum, Matt & I enjoyed a stroll along the lake until we turned a corner and nearly had our heads blown off - time to head back! We also spent some time honing our pumice-stone
skimming skills.
Close to home we saw the duck posse again, and lured them closer by 'feeding' them small pumice stones, which they soon wised up to. We enjoyed some more time on our idyllic deck until the sun went down - definitely time to go in, where Matt had a lovely fire going.
Tuesday we set off after a quick brekkie to Whakapapa village, where we caught the bus up to the slopes of Mt Ruapehu and proceeded to bash each other with snowballs! The scenery as we approached on a sparkling sunny day was just amazing - I've never seen anything like it. There was a dusting of fresh snow, which felt amazing! The boys were even sliding down the hills over acqua-blue ice on their bums - soon to be wet bums! We got surprisingly hot running around, then I was grounded with a massive shoe fail as my platform boot snapped almost clean off! Matt came to the rescue with a roll of tape from the ski shop. From there we drove to Taupo, with most of us having a kip along the way. The weather and the scenery were just fantastic, with the view going right across the lake. We found noms at the main corner, next to
the restaurant where Mum and I ate many years
ago. Lindauer Fraise and a fish burger for me, with a beautifully light beer-battered piece of fish most enjoyed! We left the boys with some wi-fi, and went in search of black electrical tape to more subtly repair my boot, and I enjoyed a couple of nice galleries. Next stop - Huka Falls, wherethe power and the colour of the water was truly impressive. I could watch the patterns that form and the sheer energy of it all for hours. Of course, the boys had to scamper up a very steep hill, with us thinking of insurance issues and telling them to come down! We stopped again in Taupo to re-stock the noms, and were very happy to return to base. The afternoon was beautifully still and warm, and we really enjoyed relaxing out there. Liam even jumped in the freezing water, shouting 'Holy Jesus' on resurfacing and quickly removing himself!

We also enjoyed watching the ducks in the water, and feeding them bread, and feeding ourselves cheese, paté and dip. Truly awful. A crackling fire in the burrow and an early night for these bunnehs. Except Callum and I stayed up watching some crazy film and I was sketching WOW ideas. I know.
Wednesday - gumboot water by the very still river, then off for a walk along the lake. The ground
islittered with lichen that the trees have discarded - and they are dripping in it! Pumice is everywhere along the sparkling black shoreline - sometimes between the black sand and the water there is a strip of delightfully crunchy gravel! Matt cooked us breakfast which we ate on the back deck, before setting off for Waitomo Gloworm Caves!! We stopped in Taemarunui for a coffee for me, which also turned into a smoked fish savoury and cheesecake! The proprietor was lovely, and I just knew that the food was going to be delish - it looked real! If you stopped at cafe like that in Australia
Entrance to the caves
 you would get absolute rubbish! It was a long and winding road (hahahaha) on to Waitomo past many sheep and hilarious lambies. We arrived just in time for the 12 o'clock tour, and were taken down to the caves by an extraordinarily chilled out, or perhaps just terminally bored with gloworms, Maori woman. It was absolutely spectacular - and that was just the rock formations before we saw the gloworms! There were amazing formations looking like bizarre creatures from the Dark Crystal, some of them glistening eerily with water. We also saw the threads hanging down from the
The Cathedral

gloworms with which they catch their prey - 15cm long tendrils - all very Avatar!! The tour finished with a silent boat ride through the cave, with Callum getting a whole bench to himself so he could lie down and look at the glowing roof! However, it was also nice sitting up to see the tunnels ahead, especially when we came out into the light at the end. We all really enjoyed it! The damned warm car sent me to sleep again on the way home, but I was very happy to wake up when Matt finally stopped at the side of the road for me to talk to some sheep! They weren't too keen, and ran orff somewhat, but I got to have a bit of a giggle!On the way home we stopped at Te Kuiti, but the 'galleries' and 'craft shops' were imported tatt, so we continued on to Taemaranui to get more supplies for the evening so we could bunk in, especially after we realised how much driving we had ahead of us on Thursday! Unfortunately, Matt seemed to be coming down with something, so went to rest, but the boys and I enjoyed hanging out on our idyllic deck, with them making mini-rafts, skimming stones, and generally messing about. Liam cooked our BBQ, with leftovers for our road trip tomorrow!
Shaun Jr and I attempt conversation with the sheep

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