Waitomo Caves and Lake Taupo

The game was quite an experience, the All Blacks won of course, 41 – 7, but the Pumas got an early decent early try for a level score for a time which was fairly exciting until the All Blacks scored their next 3 tries within about the next 10 minutes. I had a nice position behind one set of posts and manage to survive all the jibes I was getting about how so much better Argentina is at rugby than England is. Hard to argue against, really!

Made it to Waitomo Caves the next day, and went for the 330 foot abseil into the cave option…. It’s most interesting when you stand at the top on this little platform looking right down into the floor of the chasm, which you could barely see that day as there was some fog in the cave! Luckily the ropes were long enough and I made it safely to the bottom, then you hike up into the cave proper where you can see thousands of glow-worms on the ceiling when you turn your lights out. Then there was the small matter of climbing a vertical 160 foot ladder and a steep climb out.

As soon as we’d disrobed from that and was comfortably settled into the bar for a post-pantwetting celebration drink with the other bloke that was there, the heavens opened, and decided not to close until next morning. So instead of doing the fairly long haul back to Wellington in the mower (which alledgely has ABS incidentally, which leads me to think they either: a) stuck a label saying “ABS” in the back windscreen, or b) the brakes are so shagged they can’t go on hard enough to lock the wheels anyway) I decided to divert to Taupo, a nice little town on the banks of the massive Lake Taupo. Next day we had the luxury of sunshine and so I cruised all the way back to Wellington, where I spent the next day wandering the streets and reminiscing about the time that I was there for a few weeks back in ’01. Stayed with Karen from work and met up with Dale who I used to work with in Sydney.

This morning I’ve flown over to Christchurch on the south island, an interesting journey in itself as we got as far as the runway before having to turn back as Christchurch was totally fogged in. Then it cleared a bit, we took off and circled for about an hour before landing as it was fogged in again. I’ve picked up a new car, this time a brand new Mazda, as I’m a bit unsure about going over the mountain passes in a mower. Last time I hired a new car I wrote it off after just 1 Km, in this one I’ve already done 8 Km without incident, so things are looking more hopeful. I’m going to nose about Christchurch for a little while, then head west over the famous Arthur’s pass to the west coast, along the line of the Tranzalpine railway. the plan to head down the west coast, there’s some big glaciers extending almost all the way to the sea there, then come back across through Queenstown and perhaps Dunedin before heading back up the east coast.

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