|New Zealand is absolutely beautiful. It was years ago when I was watching some of the scenes in Lord of the Rings and the camera moved across the landscape that I promised myself I would go to New Zealand and here we are. It is even more beautiful in person. Melissa and I agree that my sister and Brad would absolutely love this place. They have every sport from bike riding, mountain climbing, canoeing, kayaking, etc. that they love in a beautiful surrounding. We luckily rented a car in both the south and north island to see as much as possible. The pictures will speak for themselves.
In the north island, Melissa and I stayed with some friends we met on our South African trip. Norm and Marnie actually live the majority of the time in Canada, but have a home in Mt. Maunganui. We spent two nights with them eating, drinking and enjoying their company. Then we were off to visit the Maori Arts and Culture Centre in Rotorua and ended in Waitomo.
The next day was one of our biggest adventures yet, caving. Melissa had scheduled a trip in the Waitomo caves. What I pictured us doing and what we actually did was completely different. When they dressed us in very heavy wetsuits, jackets, rubber boots and helmets with a headlamp, I knew we were in for a ride. We walked out into a cow pasture and climbed down a long ladder into a very small hole and ended up in a dark cave. During our trip we crawled on hands and knees, slid thru the mud on our bellies, walked thru water up to our necks and swam part of the way. It was actually a lot of hard work and scary at times when you got stuck between two rock or couldn't see where you were going, but it was a blast!!! We arrived in a large cavern and turned off our lights and you could see thousands of tiny glowworms. What is glowing is actually their shit, but we tried not to think of it that way. We weren't allowed to take our cameras so unfortunately there are no photos.
We spent the day making our way to Auckland to fly home on Feb. 9th. We will be back in California until Feb. 20th when we head off to Thailand. So until then, take care!! Kathy and Melissa