Rotorua was extremely picturesque. Small lake overtaken by black swans. Black swans are the norm here, they don’t have white swans!
I made my way from Rotorua to Taupo the next day stopping at Hell’s Gate geothermal park. It was crazy how hot the mud/water was. The signs were a little interesting too…
My airbnb in Taupo was right next to Huka Falls – which had some good hiking that I was able to do before checking into my airbnb. The actual falls were incredibly blue/teal. The photo doesn’t do the color of the water justice!
The next day I went out to Waitomo to do a caving excursion with the Black Water Rafting Company. This was super cool – abseiling down 35 meters, zip lining in the dark, rafting under the glow worms and rock climbing up waterfalls. Glow worms aren’t actually worms.. They’re maggots and the glow is them digesting. So technically we were watching maggots poop. On our way out, between climbing waterfalls, we encountered an eel that was probably close to 5′ long. The guide was able to coerce it out of our way so we could continue.
Emma, who lived at the Airbnb, joined me for a morning hike before I drove up to the Coromandel Peninsula. We wanted to go up Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom for Lord of the Rings fans). It is also New Zealand’s most active volcano. We made it about 2 kilometers in before it started raining and continued on for another 3 before we were completely drenched and decided it best to turn around. The visibility was crap and it just wasn’t worth it. I was bummed but we would have been miserable if we had continued on. It would have been impossible to go all the way up anyways because of the ice. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the mountain.
My final day was spent in Thames on the edge of the Coromandel Peninsula. It was just a quick overnight before heading to the airport. The flights back to Maine were long – ended up being around 28 hours of travel after a delay from Philadelphia to Portland, but I made it back on Sunday. Over the next few weeks I’m going to figure out what my next plans are…stay tuned!