Bright and early the next morning, we headed over to Waitomo where all the glowworm action is located. Glowworms are actually the pupa of a species of flies. They light up their butts to attract small insects, which then become stuck in a web and feed the pupa till they are ready to hatch. Despite the somewhat scientific explanation, the worms are really a sight to see. They dangle from the ceiling of the caves and look like hundreds of little stars.
Most people head to Waitomo to do one of the adventure tours that include abseiling, rock climbing and/or black water rafting. Black water rafting is simply rafting or tubing in the dark. Because I knew my friend Lan would be visiting New Zealand in a few months I decided not to partake in the Waitomo fun. Three others on the bus also opted to skip Waitomo as the tours are somewhat pricey as well.
To keep us occupied for the four hours that our busmates would be doing their tours, Chase took us to Ruakuri Bush Walk. The weather wasn’t looking so hot but at least it wasn’t really raining. However, the track was pretty muddy from the rain that had fallen for the past several days.
The bush walk was a nice introduction to New Zealand. There were no sounds of cars or any type of sign of civilization besides are squishy feet in the mud. It was a peaceful existence if I ever saw one. It felt as though we were the only souls alive on the planet. We didn’t even see any other people on the path, which led us in a circuit through the forest and caves and over rushing rivers. It was really quite amazing, and I had to wonder how many more of these places existed in New Zealand?
After our hike, the others decided to walk back to Waitomo, which involved another hour or two of walking. Deciding to skip the extra workout, I went with Chase to fill up the bus’ greedy gas tank. She dropped me off in an interesting little town with a small pathway marking New Zealand’s history. It was the first time I’d really read up on a lot of things, such as the Maori history, traditions like the haka and Western influence on the Maori. I found it really interesting.
Chase picked me up and we headed back to get the rest of the gang. It turned out that one of the tours was running 45 minutes late and we had to wait around a lot. Once we collected everyone, we headed over to Maketu and Uncle Boy’s Marae, where we would spend the night.