same_difference: (Me.)
[personal profile] same_difference
So yesterday we left the Coromandel Peninsula and drove sort of SWW to Waitomo to see the Glowworm caves (or cannibalistic maggots with effervescent poop caves as the guide more accurately described them), then on to Matamata for our trip around Hobbiton tomorrow.

The drive was interesting. Driving in NZ's North Island seems to be mostly either long straight roads on largely flat terrain or serpentine roads that snake up and down mountains and steep valleys. Also the change from Coromandel W which is either mountains or flat and feels either American mid West or South Pacific island, to Otorohanga province whose rolling hills wouldn't look out of place in the UK, and certainly make it obvious why they used it for the Shire, is stark. Curious to see how the rest of the country compares to those two.

The glow worm caves were spectacular in terms of the limestone formations, and the thousand of glowworms illuminating a starscape like pattern on the caves. We didn't do the more adventurous caving, underground rafting options in the end. Partly because not knowing when we'd arrive meant we couldn't prebook. Having said that the combination of underground "heights" and enclosed spaces made me uncomfortable - not quite phobia freak out but caught in that unpleasant anticipation phase.

From there we did our first unplanned detour to see live kiwi birds in a sanctuary. As the birds are endangered, nocturnal and sleep a lot it was probably our best chance of seeing them. They look very odd sorry of fat bodied and legged with very narrow beaks, and they wobble amusingly when they dig.

Today also marks our first taste of proper autumn rains. Some light and a few heavy downpours to add to the driving.

Speaking of which Rachael did her first bit of driving from the bird sanctuary to tonight's motel. She missed having a clutch, but it's good thing we have the option to split the driving if we want to.
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