CRT+RPK=RTW – New Zealand 2

rpk here-

if you didn’t get to read about my skydiving adventure go back and read the last blog entry from a couple days ago.this is the continuation of that story……..

after we got the DVD of my plummet and a health conscious lunch from KFC, (they now have deep-fried mashed potato bites) we returned north to Rotorua and visited Wai-o-topu Thermal Wonderland, which is just another tourist site on a long highway of Thermal Activity, but it was the one we chose so it’s special.’Specially stank-tastic that is.the place reeked like a giant stink-bomb!about 25 different sulphur caves and uber-heated pools, one which was 65 meters deep, some waterfalls.It was pretty neat, but every few steps one of us was close to gagging from the horrific smell.I already smelled like airplane fuel exhaust, the noxious gases were no help.next we trudged north toward the Waitoro caves.There were only 3 or 4 hotels in the area of the caves, so we picked the least sketchy-looking/cheapest one, which happened to look like the Hotel from ‘The Shining’.long dark hallways, off in the woods away from any other buildings.i was certain some creepy twin girls would appear down a hallway at any moment.we locked ourselves up in our miniscule freezing room with a bottle of wine and our latest TV addiction, the Rock Star:Supernova reality show.after a very so-so night’s sleep and icicles hanging from our eyebrows upon awakening, we headed off to the caves to go tubing.Neither of us have been warm for about 5 days.But it was great.Despite the sarcasm from the two guides trying to teach us and the other 4 Americanshow to abseil and how to put on a wetsuit, the whole experience was killer.i enjoyed it more than skydiving and CR said it was the most fun she’s had on the trip short of elephant bathing.after an abseiling crash course, we were lowered into a cave 1 by 1, and told to go sit over in the dark while everyone else descended.then we were hooked up to a zipline and each sent further into the darkness (called Flying Fox).riding down a zipline into pitch blackness and not being sure how you’re going to stop is a strange sensation, take it from me.next we had a quick coffee and granola biscuit snack to warm up our bones, we grabbed a tube and jumped butt-first into the cave-stream about 7 feet below us.Unless you’ve gone polar-bearing in Alaska, you people don’t know cold water.It took me a second to catch my breath, and i’m sure a profane word or 4 came out of me.I warned CR, but she jumped in after me and nearly cried.(remember, this was fun!)we floated, paddled, wadedm and jogged down the stream a few dozen yards and turned off our waterproof halogen hardhat lanterns to see several thousand glow-worms covering the walls and ceilings, just like the ones in Hokitiki on the south island.we all floated back downstream toward the faint-yet-growing-louder sound of a waterfall with our lanterns off.that was similar to some experiences i had in college, but i won’t go into that.the waterfall was actually quite small and had a short slide attached so we each slid down and continued on.Spelunking is wicked.the guide pointed to a small crack in the rock and said, ‘go’.so i got down opn all fours in the water and crawledwith only my head above water into a small hole and the rest of the group followed.this is not an adventure for the claustrophobic, that’s for sure.we entered another tunnel, of which i’m sure there were hundreds, and the guide told us to head toward the sound of the waterfall.with a little assistance, we literally scaled the rocks up a powerful rushing waterfall.it wasn’t a long drop had any of us fallen, but the rocks were so sharp and slippery that it was a major rush.i really can’t describe what a cool experience that was, it’s something that i’d do over and over again. my brother will remember how much fun rock-climbing was our first year at the Black Hills Playhouse. this was ten times the fun that was.even though the water was so cold, i’d do it again in a heart beat.we also got a hot shower, toasted bagels, and tomato soup which all obviously really helped in warming us up.it was over so fast, it didn’t seem like we were underground for 3 hours or whatever it was.we didn’t get any pics of course as it wouldn’t have been possible to keep the camera dry.but so much fun.

next we headed north toward and thru Auckland.we stopped at a suburb of auckland just in time to see the elimination episode of Rock Star (we are such nerds)and the next morning went to a thermal pool and waterslide park.i went for the waterslides, CR went for the relaxing stean pools.after a few hours of slipping and sliding, we headed north to Paihia which is almost as far north as you can go on the south island.a little town without much to do.yesterday (saturday), we drove to the northern tip of NZ of see a lighthouse and a great view, but it was foggy, drizzly, windy and overall crappy outside so we drove all the way back down to the same northern suburb of auckland.this morning, we had a round of mini golf (i am still far superior in that regard) and headed into the city which brings us to the internet cafe at which we sit this moment amidst a slew of drunken Maori teenagers who i think are messing with us, but they are speaking Maori so i can’t understand them.Next we find the cheapest hotel we can find for the next few nights and contact our Egypt friend Nathalie who is from Auckland.Tuesday, we return the rental car, Wednesday we fly to Fiji.We have a hotel booked already, and from what a couple guys on the cave adventure said, it’s in poverty stricken Nadi,Fiji’s main city,and doesn’t have a great beach, but the hotel doesn’t have a cancellation option, so i guess, we’ll just grin and bear it.as long as they have foo-foo cocktails and a swimming pool, we’ll be content.

We are both definitely winding down.Ready to get home.I think we’d both skip Fiji if we could, but like we’ve said a million times already, when are we going to be in Fiji again?we had better enjoy it while we can.funny to think about, but today is sunday and we fly home next tuesday.9 days!of course, with all the airport crap we’ll have to go thru, it’ll probably take us an extra day or two just to get home.But it’s coming up fast!see you all very very soon!more from Fiji

RPK
Posted from New Zealand:

posted Sunday August 2006

cachet