Sunday 14 January. Today the trip South starts. First stop is, of course, the beach. A big beach but just a part of it is really crowded. Everyone digs and sit in water-filled holes. Looks quite strange, but these small pools are hot pools. The water coming out of the sand is around 65C, but if you mix it with cold sea water it’s a nice 40C. A free spa at the ocean! Camp at Hahei and with my new friends, Anne, Jenna, Jetske and Michelle to the sandy beach. The view of the ocean with small islands and rocks is amazing. Next day a short walk along the coast to Cathedral Cove, a natural stone bridge between two beaches. Blue sea, red flowering trees, again: what a view. Cooling down in the sea and swim into a cave. Have a beer at the local crafts beer garden.
Next stay is at Raglan, a surfers mecca. The hostel is in the forest and a trail leads through the dense woods. One viewing point, the rest lovely deep green. On the hill we have fish and chips and wait for the sunset. It’s cloudy, so not much sunset, but I learned quite a lot about UK party culture from stories of Alice and Nicole. Thanks.
Wednesday a full program. The Waitomo Caves is a must. Enter the cave, step into a zodiac and turn off the lights. After a while the ceiling seems to be lightened. Approximately 30.000 glow worms light this cave. So cool. The next cave is, well just a cave. The afternoon is for Hobbiton, here the film set of the Hobbit is built in the hills and like many other tourists we can enjoy the shire and have a beer at the Green Dragon.
Thursday a walk to the Kairua Park in Rotorua, at the other side of the road with Michelle, Jenna and Johanna. Here the ground is warm, everywhere fences to keep you save, not the burn yourself at the very hot pools, bubbling mud, steam from rocks and steamy natural ponds. The afternoon is rainy, so the movie The Hobbit, part one is on the program. To get more sleepy we go to the Polynesian Spa.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I feel very privileged to travel with this group. Hopefully, all parts of the trip will be this good.