It rained all night. It was still drumming on the roof when we rose at 8.15am. By the time I had finished breakfast and had a shower it had started to ease off and blue sky could be seen seaward. It was such a shame that we were heading up the coast and away from a promise of better things.
We drove north and the rain increased. We stopped to fill up with diesel and a sausage roll and continued our journey to Waitomo under leaden skies.
We arrived around noon and bought tickets for all three caves on offer. Fortunately, Britz have provided us with a free entry for one person, so our costs were halved.
We had to drive a short distance to the first cave (Aranui), where we met our guide along with around 8 other tourists. Remarkably none of them were Kiwis, all were from differing parts of the world. Caves are caves, but the description our Australian guide gave us was up to muster and he made our route through the various chambers quite entertaining.
It was still raining when we exited. Boarding our RV we drove another short distance to our next meeting point and cave (Ruakuri). With half an hour to waste we made a cup of coffee. Our Polish guide introduced herself and we descended into the depths with another 8 tourists. Again, the script was informative and covered the basics of cave formation as previous. The exception this time being that in this grotto we had quite a lot of Glow Worms and they proved to be as mystical as the publicity literature suggested. It was disappointing that due to the rain and high level of water gushing through the system we couldn’t enjoy the promised boat ride. This was also the problem with our last cave visit (Glow Worm Cave) as most of the glow worms in this system were visible on the boat ride that should have taken place. Damn the rain!!!
By the time we had left the cave systems it was 5.30pm and the rain had at last stopped.
We hit the road again with darkness beginning to fall. We stopped for an hour or so at a small town called Te Awamutu and had an Indian meal. We had driven through darkness to eventually reach our selected campsite for the night, but there was no be another disappointment. It was full.
Using a combination of my phone app and the RV Satnav we picked out the next nearest (12km) and set off. It turned out to be the side (or rear) of a country meeting hall, seemingly nowhere. No facilities so we had to rely on the RV’s resources, but we have done that several times this trip and it is no big issue. Though Jamie does like his evening shower and that did no happen. Damn that rain, where is it when you really want it?
It was cards, ginger beer and bed.
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