22.02.2014 - 24.02.2014
Hello New Zealand.
Tactically we budgeted our money so we could spend more time in New Zealand than Australia listening to friends advice who hailed New Zealand as the best place to visit. We've only been here 3 days and I can already see why.
On the first day we trekked to Cathedral Cove, a beach only accessible by kyak or a 45 minute trek on the clifftop under the cool cover of forest. The Tasman Sea is not a warm one so we didn't head in. Instead I filmed a Chinese man who was surrendering himself to the strong waves with glee. So cute. Afterwards Dan drove us to Hot Water Beach, unfortunately due to the wind the low tide was going to be late so we didn't get to dig our own spa bath. I drove us 2 1/2 hours through the beautiful hilly landscape dotted with cows to Waitomo where we stayed for the night.
Waitomo has a permanent population of 41 residents yet see's half a million visitors per year. The village doesn't consist of much more than a caravan park, discovery centre and general store come cafe/pub. We took a glow worm cave tour with Spellbound who took us on an inflatable raft down a calm stream where we saw thousands of glow 'worms' (actually maggots). It was quite impossible to take a good photo and we were happy not to. It was magical. That was untill our 15 minute sit down in the cave in silence was broken by the sound of the two large swedes snacking. The husband and wife duo looked like Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter and couldn't make it through a 30 minute tour without snacking!
On the way out of Waitomo we did the 45 minute Ruakuri walk going into a cave tunnel and strolling by the Waitomo stream. We drove to Rotorua and on the way saw a hawk pick up a rabbit. Tasty.
I was very excited for our next days activity and have been for a long time. Managing to keep up to date with The Hobbit thanks to Malaysian cinema and making Dan watch the beginning of LOTR before we arrived in NZ. We went to Hobbiton! It was awesome. I love to see how things are made especially film props and sets. Dan was on duty camera man and in the end with the help of a free ale. Stated that he also enjoyed seeing the Hobbit holes.