|Leaving Rotorua we headed to Te Puia, a geothermal area where we got to see lots of geysers, boiling mud pools and also Kiwi birds! Apparently a Kiwi egg is the same size as an ostrich egg! There was another Maori recreation village to have a wonder around and we got told some Maori legends, which were interesting. Such as how New Zealand was formed - a man was in his canoe and was fishing, and he caught a big fish from the deep, this turned out to be a stingray, and if you look at the North island, it looks like an upside down stingray, with the tail at the top. And the south island is the canoe, with Stewart island at the south being the anchor. (the photos for Te Puia are under the Rotarua entry...)
We were then headed towards Waitomo, a town with many limestone caves and the option to do black water rafting. However, just before entering Waitomo itself we stopped at 'The Shearing Shed', where they shear rabbits to get angora! Very random, but quite cool, we got to watch as they sheared one of their rabbits! The rabbit looked quite content considering he was having his coat taken off!
We had a short walk through Aranui caves and some native bushland which was nice and then to the hostel to relax.
The next morning I was up for 7.45 to head to Waitomo caves to do the 'Black Labyrinth'. This is black water rafting that includes walking through caves, tubing, jumping over waterfalls and rafting in the pitch black guided only by the glow from the thousands of glowworms lining the cave ceilings. We all got very wet and cold, but it was excellent! And we even got free soup and bagels afterwards. Very cool.