This week’s Thowback Thursday sees a return to my 2008 New Zealand travel journal. I wish I’d written a bit more detail as I don’t remember anything about the two couples at the bed and breakfast. I remember very little about Waitomo Caves, although I remember the hotel vividly.
Keri Keri to Waitomo
Thanks to the laptop, this is the second time I’ve written 9th February. (Perhaps the original version was better!) We had breakfast in the company of a pleasant Canadian couple (whom we’d seen the previous day at the Treaty Grounds) and a slightly snooty English couple. Soon after breakfast, we left for Waitomo. Our first stop was the Treaty Grounds, because we’d left our copies of the treaty behind the previous day. We stopped for lunch at a sheep centre, somewhere between the Bay of Islands and Auckland. There was an unscheduled stop on the Auckland motorway when Andy got caught speeding. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, New Zealand speed limits are unusually low, meaning that the Police make a fortune out of tourists!
We arrived in Waitomo to discover that we were staying in Fawlty Towers! Although the Waitomo Caves hotel looks great from the outside, and has views of the entrance to the glow worm caves, it is slightly shabby inside. It looks as if it was last decorated in the 1970s, with peeling floral wall paper. That night’s dinner was in the back packers next door, which was much better value than the hotel restaurant. I almost wish we’d stayed in the back packers – at least it was more modern! We booked onto the evening tour of the glow worm caves. This was a good move. The caves are packed during the day and there are certain areas that you can only visit when it’s quiet to prevent carbon dioxide levels from getting too high as this could damage the caves. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos in there, so you’ll have to take my word that the rock formations and glow worms (which are viewed from a boat on an underground stream) are spectacular.