Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wandering at Waitomo

We started term 2 with an outing organised by a lady who runs a homeschool group called Homeschool Outings - Auckland Area.
We went to the fabulous Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms which is about 120kms from our place, mostly back country so only 1 1/2 hours away.  

Ready to go for the cave tour
The kids were pretty excited about the day and there was a HUGE turn out by homeschoolers (we had to pre-book and pay). The group was broken down into two as when you leave the caves the exit is via the stream by way of a boat. Your guide holds onto a series of ropes and pulls the boat along through the darkened cave. You are asked to be very quiet so that you don't disturb the very many glow worms on the cave ceiling.
Before you enter the caves via the cave entrance up stairs, you are of course asked not to touch any of the walls, stalactites or stalagmites and photography is strictly forbidden. The caves have been changed a bit to accommodate tourists, there is lighting throughout and where you walk there is a tiled path (about two large tiles wide) and whilst I understand it's to keep tourists off the cave floors and walls, and strictly on the track it seems odd and a bit slick if that makes sense.


Outside the glow worm cave - you leave the caves via boat.

Looking at the stream that leads into the lower caves.

After the tour which only takes about 40 minutes, we went and had a picnic morning tea/lunch with a h/s friend of mine that I had arranged to meet up with on the tour. It was the first time my girls and her three boys (eldest two are of similar age) had actually had free time together and they had a ball playing tag and pretending to throw each other into the nearby stream, in between eating lunch. My girls don't get a lot of time playing with just boys of their age and so it was rather funny afterwards to listen to them discussing how the boys were actually more fun than they thought boys would be ... haha They are even looking forward to catching up with them again at future events despite the good natured ribbing from siblings on both sides re "crushes" on each other. All quite funny! 

After that our friends took off for another cave tour which we hadn't bought tickets for (kind of wish we had now as I have since heard that that one was better than the first) and we headed off for a hike to the look out.

View from a look out, of Waitomo

View of the look out - third tree from the right there is a wooden platform in front.

There were a LOAD of steps up the hills so I heroically offered to stay down below at a point and take a photo of the girls when they reached the top -- I am thoughtful like that! It also started to rain about that time (I hid under the overhang of a big rock) and basically didn't stop for the rest of the day, not that deterred us from anything and we still had a great day.

View of Waitomo village from the look out.
We then headed into the Discovery Centre in nearby Waitomo and saw some films on the glow worms and learnt a bit more about the history of the area. 

The Historic Waitomo Hotel / Motel

We drove up and into the circular driveway of the historic Waitomo Hotel but didn't stop despite Agent Smelly wanting to have a meal there!

Petting German Angora Rabbits at Roselands

We then visited Roselands Restaurant Farm and Gardens because I am aware that they have a lot of angora rabbits and hold a shearing show each day and although we were later than the show the little madams were keen to check the place out. It was quite a lovely place, although we didn't really wander around much due to the rain and we weren't there to see all the other animals on display. We met the most lovely lady there who was thrilled to hear that The Fashionista has an English Angora and is learning to spin wool. So she was keen to show her how to spin the rabbit fur onto some merino (it is too fine to spin pure and also too hot to wear if pure) and then gave us a list of contacts in case we want to show Melody.

The side of a shop in the town of nearby Otorohanga

We then stopped in the nearby town of Otorohanga for hot drinks and saw this out the window. How cool does that look!
Then back home with two very happy and tired young ladies. A perfect first day of term.

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