Saturday, May 7, 2011


It was still raining this morning when we arrived at Te Puia Maori cultural center. A guide showed us around the complex which included a Kiwi room where we saw a pair of Kiwi birds-they are nocturnal so no pictures allowed, 

mud pots,

                                                       hot springs,

a geyser, 
The geyser isn’t as big as Old Faithful, but it erupted for over an hour.

a Maori lodge, and the school where they teach carving and weaving. It was quite interesting. There were intermittent downpours the first hour, but then the sun came out along with some blue sky. 

The drive to Waitomo caves took us through some beautiful countryside.

Most of New Zealand is in a rain forest climate, and there are large tree ferns everywhere.

The hope when we got to the caves was to take the 45 minute boat ride on the underground river and the 2 hour walk into the caves. However, we stopped for lunch and arrived too late to do both, so at the advice of the ticket salesgirl we chose the 2 hour walk.

It was a good choice as we got up close and personal with the glow worms. Some interesting facts about glow worms-they are actually larvae of a fungus gnat, and the glow spots are the waste inside their excretory organ.

They drop threads with mucous drops down to catch their prey. When one is trapped, they draw the thread up.

After we were done with our cave tour we drove
to Hamilton and spent the night at the Novotel.

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