If this week is any indication of what the rest of my stay here is going to be like, I’m not sure I can leave. I’ve gone caving, white water rafting, hiking in the Redwood Forest (the one in New Zealand, not California!), and I’ve even enjoyed a wonderful hangi, a traditional Maori meal! But the thing I loved most about this week was seeing the country.
I wish I could describe to you the beauty of this place, but I can’t even begin to do it justice. This country is simply green. The trees are a mixture of fern-like palm tree, and Californian pines. They appear to fit comfortably in between the rolling hills of the North Island. I got my first glimpse of New Zealand countryside on the bus ride from Auckland to Rotorua. I felt like I was in some kind of a continuous screen savor. It was so surreal. I felt even more spoiled when I got to raft down one of New Zealand’s rivers. The river had class three and some class four rapids, and they did not disappoint!
But I think one of the most beautiful places I got to see was Rotorua. Rotorua is known for their hot springs that literally pop up all over the town. The sprigs are heated by all of the geothermal activity in the area,
This particular spring was right behind the backpacker’s lodge, Kiwi Paka, we stayed at in Rotorua. Along with the hot springs and great white water rafting Rotorua is a simple two-hour dive to Waitomo and it’s famous caves. I was lucky enough to do a caving trip in Waitomo’s St. Benedict’s Cave. This was my favorite thing I’ve done so far, and I think I might have found a new hobby! The decent into the cave starts with two repeals a 60ft and 80ft foot drop one right after the other. I was the first to repeal into the cave, with the helps of our guilds Ryan and Scot of coures, but for the second repel Ryan had to stay on the platform to help the other people on my trip, so I got to spend the first 5 minutes at the bottom of the cave by myself! It was incredible. The cave was cool and damp with tons of limestone eroding and dripping with water. Unfortunately, I can’t show you a picture that I took of the cave because we weren’t allowed to bring into the caves, but I can show you one someone else took!
Oh yea, I almost forgot, and in the cave there was a zip line across a highly concentrated area of stalactites and stalagmites. I got to do it in complete darkness. The cave was so dark that I couldn’t tell a difference between my opened or closed eyes.
I’ve just arrived in Christchurch and am getting settled in. I can’t wait to explore the city, and keep taking advantage of New Zealand,s many opportunities!