Our call-time this morning was at 0730 so that we could leave Hot Water Beach and make a quick stop in Paeroa on the way to our first stop of the day. There were two girls that were late coming back to the bus, so our driver, Jared, took the opportunity to inform us of his unique “late punishment.” The two girls were handcuffed together for the duration of the ride and during the walk at our next stop.
We took a 20-minute walk into the old gold mines along the cliffside. Once inside the mine, there were a few “windows” that open up and overlook the gorge. After we finished the walk, we piled back onto the bus and headed to our second overnight stop, Waitomo.
Waitomo is famous for the glowworm caves. There were a few different options available to see the glowworms. Instead of rafting and climbing, a small group of four of us opted to do the cheaper option, which was a short walk and boat ride into the caves. Our guide took us into the caves through an small entrance that slightly resembled the dwarf mines in LOTR and explained the history of the caves. At the end of the tour, we boarded a boat and floated along an underground river. When you look up from the boat, you can see hundreds of glowworms shining their green lights from the ceiling. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures inside the caves, but I did pick up some postcards as a keepsake.