So we did find a campsite…on the camping app it said that Bill and Brenda, the hosts, were really sound and would give us free pies and other treats at the end of the night, and there were hot showers, laundry facilities and other amenities and its all free.
So we rocked up, ready for our pies, hot showers and some banter with Bill and Bren. No sign of any of the above so we just sulked in Timmy and began cooking chilli. It was chucking it down outside so we had to cook inside haha, everything still smells like onion…niiiice!
We went for a walk and thought we found some showers and a laundry room, until an old man appeared and was chatting to us, and we realised we had strolled into his cabin and were casually looking around it hahaha.
We kept popping into the café bit to see if there was any sign of B & B or pies but we had no luck. The weather was still rank so we set up the bed and got cosy for the night with a hot chocolate and Lord of The Rings – wild night hey! Crazy Kids!
The next morning we arose bright and early, special thanks to the massive Cockerel squawking outside the van, ready to head to Waitomo Caves! Anyway, we were sat having a cuppa in bed in our pjs, and who should show his bearded, red, smiley face…Bill. He was so friendly (too little too late Bill) but then he was like ‘ahh I think you were asleep last night but I knocked on your door to see if you wanted any pies but you must have been asleep’. God Damn it Bill. He gave the pies to his 9 cats. Great.
Anyway, we packed up and were on our way. To be fair, the campsite had an incredible view so we made the most of that in the morning as it is FINALLY sunny again!! The views on the way, were again absolutely amazing. It is so green and so many gorgeous streams and lakes. The mountains are beautiful and just look like they have been painted!
We arrived at Waitomo Caves at 10am, ready for our Black Water Rafting trip!
There are around 300 known limestone caves that lie beneath the hills of the Waitomo region. Geological and volcanic activity created the caves, which have evolved over the last 30 million years.
We were led down to put on wetsuits, boots and helmets by a really annoying kiwi guy that kept telling everyone not to wee in the wetsuits (not that Matt took any notice of this haha and looked so proud everytime he did the opposite of this). We were then piled into a van to go and collect our rubber rings, and to have a test run of how to jump off a waterfall in them! We had to jump from a wooden ledge and into a river backwards to prepare us, we all seemed to do it fine, apart from getting sooo much freezing water down the back of the wet suits!
They wouldn’t let us take any photos either which was a bit annoying, because they want you to pay for their own ones, so we unfortunately don’t have any (apart from the googled ones below).
When we got to the entrance of the cave we had to climb down a steep uneven path and jump onto the raft and had individual photos where they made us do really cringey poses. It was so cool in the cave, there was so much climbing to do across the rocks and it was quite hard because you never know how deep its going to be. I’m so clumsy anyway, so this was a major task in itself, and I had to keep grabbing Matt to keep myself stable…if I was gonna fall, he was gonna come with me! There were a few times we had to turn off our lights, and it was literally pitch black… funnily enough, I guess that’s how you would expect a cave to be.
The tour was really well planned out and there were loads of opportunities to jump down water falls, climb over really dodgy rocks, and crawl through tiny passages in the cave! Everyone seemed to do this manoeuvre in a cool fashion, unlike me that looked like a blind seal. About half way through the guides told us to stop, gave us a chocolate fish (amazing) and we all switched off our helmet lights. When you looked up, there were thousands of glow-worms! It was inane how many there were, and how bright too. It looked so romantic! They told us all about them and apparently a glowworm is the larvae stage in the lifecycle of a two-winged insect. It grows as long as a matchstick and looks a bit like a maggot, and it uses its glow to attract food and to burn off its poo.
We carried on floating along and came across a massive black eel!! It was so gross, but it proper came out and was just chilling out for a while so everyone could see it. There must have been hundreds in there, and loads of other things like that…best not to think about it probably!
After about an hour and a half of being in the cave, we could see daylight! We had to float down a river to get to the minibus, Matt and I were right at the back and just plodding along merrily down the river (obviously being twats and trying to push each other into the plants, and off our rings) and we missed the stairs where we were supposed to get out. The current got loads stronger and we just continued down the river haha…no one else was amused.
When we got back to the changing rooms, the Germans were messing around and the boy was running naked through the girls showers…quite disturbing! I came out and told Matt and he said a German girl did the same in the boys showers…very odd, maybe it’s a German thing.
We all got given hot soup and a bagel and then we were off on our journey to Rotorua!
There was literally no free campsite in Rotorua which was annoying, so we stayed in the cheapest paid one we could find. It turned out to be such a beautiful spot, overlooking lake Rotorua.
There were loads of black swans and other interesting lake creatures! We were debating what to eat for dinner, until we remembered Rotorua had the only all you can eat pizza hut in NZ…so without question and without really processing what we were doing, we were already tucking into our 5th slice. We ate so much that we could have just rolled out of the shop, then we got back to the campsite and saw the camp kitchen which had everything you could ever need….probably wasn’t the best move going for pizza that night, ahh well.