We survive the night in the haunted hotel with our only problem the person next door with a terrible cough. We meet up with our group for the
Spellbound tour of Waitomo Caves!! After donning our safety helmets, we enter the cave on an elevated platform above the running water. We head 10 meters into the cave and then turn our headlamps off and we are all blind unable to see the exit or our hands in front of our faces.



After turning our lights back on, our guide points out a few glowworms ( actually the larval stage of the fungus gnat) on the ceiling. They produce bio-luminescence to attract insects which they catch on sticky threads to eat.



After a short walk thru the cave we come to a rigid inflatable boat. After taking our place, we all turn our lights out and slowly start to drift on the water towards the sound of falling water. After a few minutes our eyes adjust to the dark and what was once pitch black is now like viewing the night sky. There are literally thousands of points of light on the cave ceiling, as well as the sides with more appearing as our eyes adjust.
It is spell binding with the sound of the rushing water but no real feel of movement, but the lights twinkling on the ceiling. Once we return to the dock we navigate thru the cave without lights all the way to the exit.


The second cave is what we are used to with the usual stalagmites, stalagtites. We do see the fossil remains of the ancient Mau bird that would stand 10 feet tall in its day.

After the 3 hour tour, it’s time to head to our final stop of this trip – Auckland. We stop at Mt Eden (an  extinct volcano with a huge crater) to get a view of the city. Just like Sydney it goes on and on. We can see the bridge as well, as the tower where brave souls can bungee jump.

The drive to our hotel was very harrowing with the sun down and rain falling. Just to make it more interesting it’s located in the center of town and we have to navigate thru a lot of road construction.  We do manage to make it, only to discover there is no parking available, so we plug the meter and hope our lovely red Toyota Corolla is there in the morning.


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