And here we go again! After 6 days of staying put we have our bags on our backs and we are off again. This time we decide to make life a little easier on ourselves and book an all in package from Auckland in the north to Christchurch in the south, our departure point to Australia.. We booked on a "Magic bus" tour, a company that not only gets you there and books your accommodation and activities, but also stops at all the points of interest on the way and organises nights out in each town we stayed in. Backpacker paradise.
Our first stop on the trip was to Rotourua, a small town in central North Island, but on the way we first stopped at a rabbit shearing farm.
At the Thermal Wonderland.
Yes, rabbits. Poor old bugs bunny has huge fur over in NZ, so they shave him naked and use the fur for jackets and gloves and the like. As if they havent enough sheep to be shearing. We saw a little critter get shaved and then we got to pet two of them, one with his fur on and the other in his birthday suit, a before and after affair. Sounds cruel but they were well looked and looked in no pain. I reckon they squeeze them out the back to get all the shite out of them, so they wouldnt poo in front of us in in terror! I might be wrong though.
Our next stop was the Waitimo glow worm caves, funnily enough just outside Waitimo. We were looking forward to this for ages, as we'd seen the website months before arriving in NZ.
Mount Doom from Lord Of The Rings...this is the mountain we could see across from Lake Taupo.
The caves are natural formations which go really deep underground, and they are filled with a type of glow worm found only in NZ. First we saw the stallicmites and tites, and then boarded a boat to go to what is known as the "Glow worm Grotto". It was really stunning, with hundreds if not thousands of gloworms dotted all around the caves roof and wall, brilliantly illuminated in the total and utter darkness. Nice. We then went for a few quick bevvies with some of the blokes off the bus before heading onto Rotoura, which had less entertainment than a night out in Cappoquin has, so we had an early night.
The next day we headed to Taupo, which is a beautiful town built on the side of one of the largest lakes in the world.
By the volcanic bubbling hot mud pools.
It is an adventure paradise, with all the extreme sports that NZ is famous for. On the way there, we stopped at Waitopo thermal wonderland, which has boiling mud pools and lakes and ground of every colour. There is a geyser called Lady Knox which erupts each morning at 10.30. Well sort of erupts, apparently it is not as reliable as it used to be, so they hire a guy to tell you all about it before he shoves a bag of soap down its funnel to set it off, and then he runs like hell. Apparenlty they found you could set it off like this when four Irish boys were having a wash there before work and dropped some soap in. Shaming the Irish, the iejits. It was great though, shooting water almost 100 feet for 5 - 10 mins. Next we stopped at Huka falls, which is a raging waterfall that pumps out enough water to fill an olympic size swimming pool every 2 seconds.
On the bridge over the Waitiko River.
Apparently some foolish professional canoists try and run its gauntlet every few years, most of the brave apparently dying in its vice like grip. Its so vicious because it runs in a narrow channel just before the falls, funnelling the river, and the drop is over 22 meters to the bottom, so apparently if they go the left side, they have a chance of surviving, if they end up on the right, no chance. We decided not to give it a go. Next we went to the site of taupo bungy, where funnily enough John was booked in to do a jump the next day. It is set over the Waikato river which is gorgeous, and the drop from platform to river is 96 meters, the highest in NZ. We watched a few people jump and wondered if Id be able to the next day.
We arrived in Taupo around 5 and it has to be the most scenic place I have ever been, with its stunning lake and snow capped mountains in the distance.
The huka falls, just look at those rapids!
One of which happens to be Mount Doom from lord of the rings, which looked very impressive. That night the whole bus went to a quiz night in an Irish bar in town, we were rubbish but still managed to come joint third, and we staggered home late that night to our cosy bunk beds. That was the end of our second day with the magic bus tour, and our next day was going to be the most active John's life... No, seriously. See the next blog.