Gerry had hoped to catch a boat Thursday to White Island (site of an active volcano) when we left Rotorua, but offshore winds had been strong causing the trips to be cancelled for several days running; soooo, we turned in the complete opposite direction and headed inland to Waimoto Caves (limestone caverns rich in lore and views). We were part of a small group – six of us (Besides us, there was an older British couple and a young couple from Argentina.) plus Louisa, our tour guide. Together we spent four hours visiting two different caves, one filled with glowworms (Both the life cycle and the presentation of these insects are none other than amazing – we learned lots.) and the other a living cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites.
Louisa was quite a character, a British gal with a drama degree transplanted to NZ 11 years ago who found a job in the adventure industry (caving, rock climbing, tour-guiding). We enjoyed her banter and her informative spiel, especially delighting in her stories about being an extra in the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
We did a bit of back-tracking this a.m. to take a bushwalk into and around some of the caves on our own. It was the most fascinating hike we’ve done here in NZ; the walkway was so cool as it took us through and around the cave system.
As we left Waimoto and drove to Taupo Lake, we stopped MANY times, once to check out a Maori meeting house with intricate carvings,
once to hike through a totara tree (the huge trees the Maori used to make their long, large war canoes) reserve and several more times for Gerry to wander about in the ash flow tuff (finding pumices as big as your head, he says) and in a producing geo-thermal field.
We’ll be in this area for the next four days with limited Internet access, so blog posts may be slower in coming – sorry : / .