Redwood trees vs. me. Haramura Springs, Rotorua, NZ.

Caves, Sulfur Pools & Driving the North Island

Honeymooning in New Zealand, Part 1.

Cham-oflauging in the forest.

I was so afraid of walking down into the darkness of the cave. There was water dripping from the ceiling and you can hear your voice echo in between the stalactites. We also had not seen anybody since the start of our hike.

It wasn’t until Cham told me to stop being a baby and shine the flashlight into the darkness that made me not afraid. I took one step in and saw a faint light at the edge, which was only a mere 20 feet away. Pfft… I don’t know why you’re so scared, Cham. We walked down the steps and into the wooden balcony that opened into a cave that was at least 60 feet high. The platform we were standing on was 20 feet from the ceiling and below us was a river.

The giant caves in Waitomo.

Wiatomo glowworms

This Wiatomo glowworm cave has got to be one of the top 5 things that come up when you search for New Zealand activities. And even though it was a bit pricey, it’s pretty amazing to see that something like that exists underground. It looked like those glow in the dark stars you used to stick to your ceilings. But small. And multiply it by tens of thousands. It was amazing. (They didn’t let us take pictures in the caves.)

Driving the North Island

Every mountain was a lush green.

I offered to drive, but I don’t think anybody in the car trusts me. Driving on the left side of the street is already a doozy, but having to understand how to enter the traffic roundabouts and how to make turns are another world in itself. We thought it was safe for everyone if I stayed in the passenger seat.

The drive earlier in the day from Auckland was outrageously hilly and green. There’s cows and sheep everywhere. There’s even kiwi crossings. Compared to our drive of complete flatland in Argentina, it was such a change of scenery.

On the way Rotorua, where we were staying for the night, we stopped by Haramura Springs. In the middle of this golf course lies this crystal clear river. The natural spring water let’s out 4.5 million liters of water an hour, which eventually runs to Lake Rotorua.

Campercar camping

It was dark by the time we got to our campsite. The beautiful thing was… we didn’t have to set up a tent or inflate a sleeping pad. Our van provided the luxuries of lazy camping. We just wished we could have a sunroof to see the stars.

The air was crisp and fresh when we woke up. The lake had a layer of misty dew over it. We ate breakfast and headed out.

Geysers and sulfur pools

We were going to do this epic bike ride that brings you down 30+ miles of hot pools and geysers, but it was 30+ miles and Wai-o-Tapu was only 75 minutes of light walking. You can guess which we chose.

As we drove into the park for our light walk, you could smell the sulfur from inside car. We saw a geyser, green and orange sulfur pools, and bubbling water pools. It was pretty spectacular.

Naturally, you match the sulfur pools with your backpack.
Lady Knox Geyser @ Wai-o-tapu

Tomorrow we are headed for our first real outdoor excursion at Tongariro National Park. And by that, I mean we don’t drive into the parking lot and leave with an ice-cream bar from the cafe.