Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 8, 2017 - Waitomo Glowworm caves

Today we drove out toward the west coast to Waitomo.  It is an area filled with several hundred caves, of which about half a dozen have operating tours that you can visit.  We chose one that looked quite interesting and took us to two caves.  The first was a good example with lots of formations (stalagmites and stalactites, cave cauliflower, etc).  We spent about 45 minutes in that cave.  There were bones from a few animals that wandered in and never made it out.  In a few places there were small chutes that opened to the sky above, and that is where the bones of a cow were found.  In another place, there are bones of a now extinct bird (larger than a human).  They went extinct about 700 years ago when the locals over-hunted them into extinction.

Here are pictures from the first cave:

Riding in our 12 passenger Ford Transit van to the first cave

Stalactites, stalagmites, and columns

Our guide pointing out "Cave Cauliflower"

Cindy and Steve in the "Cathedral"

Great formations

They did a nice job making this cave accessible, and safe

Remnants of that extinct bird I mentioned

Beautiful cave

We then hopped in the van and drove a few minutes to another cave.  This one has a river flowing through it, and we got into a Zodiac-style rubber dinghy and went down the river to see thousands of glowworms on the ceiling.  It looked like a night sky.

Heading into the glowworm cave.

Our guide wiping the dripping water off the Zodiac.

Glowworms.  Sorry, it was hard to capture on camera

The river flowing into the cave

A few pictures from the "Spellbound Glowworm" tour company they emailed me.  These are better than I could capture:

Walking back to the van after the glowworm cave
We then drove to Taupo, which a nice town on a large lake right in the middle of the North Island.  We stopped at Huka Falls, which is a very popular tourist destination.  It's not a big drop, but rather a river running down a steep slope.  Huge volume of water. flowing.  After that we walked around town a bit and found an interesting McDonald's.

The playgound in this McDonalds has an extra feature.  A plane you can play in!
We thought that was pretty "cool"
I guess a lot of people agree

The is a lot of great scenery here in New Zealand

Huka waterfall in Tuopo, NZ

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