Ok... so this post is WAY over-due, but better late than never, right?
I am going to go over our 12-day honeymoon to New Zealand! The country is stunning, the people are friendly and the adventures are unlimited! If you are adventurous and enjoy the great outdoors, this is the trip for you!
DAY 1 | FLY INTO AUCKLAND, DRIVE TO WAITOMO CAVES
The morning after our wedding, we hopped on a plane and flew from SFO to Auckland, in NZ's North Island. 12 hours later, we arrived -- it was 5AM local time. We picked up our rental car (which was a manual transmission in a car with the steering wheel on the left) and we drove (on the wrong side of the road -- thank goodness for Robbie) about two hours south to Waitomo Adventures. We pre-booked the 'Lost World Tour' excursion about six months out to ensure we got a spot.
By 7:00AM we had arrived and had about 20 minutes to squeeze in a power nap. Then it was off to our first adventure! Our group consisted of two guides plus Robbie and me, which made for a super personalized experience. We first suited up in wet-suits, steal-toed boots, helmets and headlamps. Then we proceeded to the route...
We walked through jungle-like terrain until we reached a gaping hole in the ground. Cables spanned from our feet, down 100 meters into the caves below. Next, we were abseiling (like repelling but below ground). The abseil down was remarkable -- eye stimulation overload! We kept looking up and down at the cable between our fingers, then over at the walls of the caves growing the most vibrant green ferns. The cave walls appeared to be breathing water -- a series of natural high-speed slides carrying the water from the earth's surface 100 meters to an underground river.
Once we landed on our two feet, we began our trek through the underground tunnel carved out by water. Every few minutes, our guides had us shut off our headlamps and gaze at the glowworms clinging to the ceiling of the caves. The glowworm, also known as Arachnocampa luminosa, can only be found in New Zealand. By the thousands, these tiny creatures radiate their luminescent light and create a natural flashlight for visitors entering the caves. With the help of their glow, we climbed through small openings in the rocks and jumped into pools throughout the tunnel.
We walked, swam, jumped, crawled, stopped for lunch and drank from the natural water flows. After about three hours hours, we finally saw the light (literally), as we had reached the end of the tunnel, but our journey was far from over! We were greeted by a sheep farm upon exiting the caves -- a lush, vibrantly green pasture with hundreds of friendly sheep. Then our guides took us to our final stop: dinner. We changed back into our warm clothes, ate a BBQ dinner with fresh New Zealand ingredients and had some hot tea. Then we drove back to Auckland to rest up for the night.
The Waitomo Caves excursion made for the most incredible greeting to our jam-packed honeymoon, and we would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking for a memorable adventure!