On our way to the cultural stay in Mourea, we stopped at Waitomo for the famous glow worm caves. Most of the others went for the adrenaline version with abseiling and rafting and such – but if you’ve been following me for a while, you know how I feel about pitch-dark and tight places 😉 That’s why I went for the “senior” option with Spellbound, where we went into a glow worm cave on a private farm, first walking and then on a small rubber raft. After that we also got to see a limestone cave with stalactites and stalagmites, which was very interesting.
If you ever get to see glow worms, I learned this trick: If you make a loud noise (i.e. hitting the rubber raft with your flat hand), they will light up more – I forgot why though 😉 It’s an amazing experience seeing a cave full of those tiny beetles 🙂 I would like to show you some pictures… and I did bring my camera. But it had been switched on for a while in my bag and the battery was completely flat. Note to self: Always check battery the night before you go somewhere that you might want to take pictures 😉 It was pretty amusing though watching the others fiddle around with their camera settings… especially after the guide had told them to set the ISO very low 😛
After Waitomo, we headed towards Rotorua and met our guide and host for the night, Piwi. He showed us some nice waterfalls and then took us to the marae of is tribe, where we were to get dinner, learn some Maori dance and sleep in the actual marae – all 43 of us 🙂
We were welcomed by his sister and then exchanged “hongi” with everyone, the traditional greeting where you press your nose against that of your counterpart and say “Kia Ora”. That certainly led to a more relaxed atmosphere in the group and a lot of laughter 😉 After that, we girls were asked to go to the kitchen while the boys should prepare the mattresses and pillows for the night.
Dinner was a lot, very good and really tasty, I think everyone enjoyed it even more because it was cooked for us 😉 Then we got a cultural performance with songs and dancing by Piwi’s family and after that it was against the boys who had to leave. They were learning the Haka and we were learning the Poi – which meant twirling a ball on a string while performing certain movements and steps. I never thought that it could be so difficult to catch a ball on a string in one hand 😉
It was a lot of fun though and we got to perform it for the boys, then they did the Haka for us. They looked pretty fierce! (Again, there are no pics due to flat battery. I got a few from someone on the bus, but as they are not mine, I will not post them).
When we were done dancing, it was closing in on bedtime and we all got to snuggle up on our mattresses in our sleeping bags while Piwi took over the storytelling. Some gruesome stories he had there, but it was again a lot of fun 🙂
And if nobody out of 43 snores, that’s a guarantee for a good night’s sleep 😀
In the morning, we did get cereal and French toast for breakfast, again cooked by Piwi and his family, before we had to leave for Rotorua.