Thursday, December 14, 2006

Side-trip: Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Enter Lauren Casey, self-titled "Genius of Travel"

On Sunday, the boys arrived in Wellington all right, only to run smack dab into the clutches of long-lost L-Case, a sister in arms from Stanford Sierra Camp, the old home. After one night in a hostel in Wellington, she laid plans to kidnap Trainer and Morgan the very day they planned to move into their new apartment - The Penthouse - the one that the crew had found and leased after one day of search.

[They couldn't be done. They SAID...finding a place will take you weeks. What they SAW was an army-style, city-spanning commando raid on Wellington that landed the boys in a hot spot in downtown with satellite TV, 2 bathrooms, a balcony overlooking the city, and suede couches, all for $100/week less than advertised. What do they say now?]

L-Case cared not. When the boys woke up to move into their new place on their 4th day in the country, Trainer and Morgan were gone, the only evidence of their existence being the claw marks on the ground by the still-swinging door.

When Trainer and Morgan came to, they were headed north again - to the Waitomo caves a few hours southwest of Auckland. The caves were famous for ceilings covered with the blue-glow lights of thousands of worms. Figuring the apartment a lost cause, they gave in.

The countryside was beautiful. The crew even stoppd at Mt. Ngauruhoe, the mountain featured as "Mount Doom" in the Lord of the Rings triogy, to hike. They camped in Waitomo, and headed to the caves the next day. The "Rambo Rating" advertised on the advert: 8/10.

After donning wetsuits and helmets, they absailed down three different waterfalls until they were 70m underground in the limestone caves called "Haggas Honking Holes." They crawled through underground rivers, gawked at stalactites and stalagmites, rock-climbed underground walls, and gazed upwards at the starry, starry cave ceilings - stars you could touch. After four hours, they emerged into daylight again, weary and blinking at the sheep, but enourmously happy. L-Case had won again.

After that, they were bound for home. After one final stop at Otaki Beach, after passing through hundreds of kilometers of brilliant-green, sheep covered mountains, they arrived back in Wellington, setting foot in The Penthouse for their first time. L-Case was delivered to the airport with a warning, and the boys settled in to the main story of their journey - life in New Zealand's Capital City.

Another beautiful sunset. Let the journey begin.


Jewpony said...

Dude, these blogs are sweet. All my co-workers have links to this site and think yall are crazy as hell! Haha.


Roadrunner said...

Matt: Glad you're having a great time. The pictures are terrific. You might want to email Nanny whose birthday is tomorrow. Not sure if she can open up your blog but she'd really appreciate a word or two from you I'm sure. You sure lucked out with the van and the apt. You didn't have anytrouble with the van did you (saw it obviously for a while in a service station.)

j kelly said...

man, the side trip looked awesome. great pictures. and i'm loving the penthouse! what a sweet place to be living for the next 6 months. good to hear the first week has been so successful! keep the posts coming:)