Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Zealand: Blackwater Rafting and Volcano Climbing

One of the highlights of the trip for us was our trip to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves.  We had arranged to go Black Water Rafting in the morning.  But first we had to get checked into our hotel.  This was probably the nicest hotel we stayed at, however, upon arrival the receptionist let us know that it was one of the most haunted hotels in New Zealand....great.  Just great, now wonder it was such a good deal.  I of course had images of blood dripping down the walls in the middle of the night, creatures lurking beneath my bed, and decapitated ghosts in the bath tub.  Yep, that's where my mind goes.  

This was a picture on the wall that was depicting people in the caves, but it looked rather ominous.

I found the fire!  I'm super good at that.  If there is a nice hot fire any around and you don't know where I am, odds are I'm snuggled up right next to it.

The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn (no ghosts during the night, whew!) and headed for the caves.  Black Water Rafting Co.  is a company that takes groups on caving tours through the glow worm caves.  Porter and I signed up to do the Black Abyss tour which consists of repelling into a cave 40 meters, zip lining through the dark, jumping off a ledge into freezing cold water on an inner tube, and then riding that tube on an underground river while looking at the glow worms.  There is also a fair bit of spelunking as well. 

We wore lots of gear that was extremely flattering for our figures.

Our Group before we left.

Practicing our repelling technique 

I made Porter go first, he was so excited!

 I look happy, but inside I was a wee bit nervous to lower myself into a little dark, black hole.

There we go!

 Jumping into the freezing water.  It was not a graceful landing.

While floating in the caves they had me sing a song that went really loud and high.  When the glow worms feel vibrations they turn their lights out momentarily.  It definitely gave them vibrations, and the acoustics were super cool as well.

 We did this with the lamps on our helmets and our plastic water cups.

Cecil the eel that was swimming along with us in the cave.

To leave the cave we had to climb up 2 waterfalls.  It's true, we may be a little bada$$.  Haha!  The truth is we had awesome guides who were fantastic.

After our 6 hour caving adventure, we relaxed!

After this day, you would think that we had the adventure bug out of our system.  Which would be true, unless your travel buddy decided he wanted to climb a volcano before we flew home.  We found a mountain sanctuary that had an old volcano we could hike.  Porter told me there were 2 paths, the old path which was medium/hard and then the new path which was easy. 

We started hiking.  The two paths sort of came together a few times, so we tried the harder path.  It seemed steep, and really damp, but nothing too hard.  So when we had the chance to jump back on the new path, we said 'no thank you.' Remember we had just come off our crazy cave adventure the day before and were feeling super hard core. 

As we kept going, the trail started getting steeper to the point where we had to help each other and hang on to rocks and roots.  Then the path disappeared and all that was left were these little orange triangles nailed to trees that were growing out of rocks that went straight up.  We thought, "oh, we just have to climb up a rock, then the path will reappear."  By the 5th time this happened and the path disappeared completely with only orange triangles remaining we were a little freaked out, at least I was.  The awful thing was we couldn't turn back because the rocks and roots were so wet and slippery we were afraid to fall.  We spent a good few hours working our way up.  I wanted to sit down and cry, but I knew that wouldn't help anything and just stress Porter out.  So I held it together.  And finally we made it to the top!  

But all that crap we had to climb up, we had to go down on the other side.  Luckily, the easy path met up with this path a ways down so we could take the easy back.  This is how I felt about the little orange arrows.

Do not be fooled by how pretty this path looks, it is treacherous. 

On our last day we drove around Auckland.  

We found some cool tide pools at low tide.

Peace out NZ, you were wild, and pretty cool, I will miss you.

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