24th – Disaster Diverted

Haha that’s a bit of an exciting title isn’t it! Sorry… nothing mental, but today after we left Mark and Robyns to drive about 1hr40m away to our cool caving tour in Waitomo, about 10 minutes into the drive I got a call from the company to say they’d cancelled their tours as the caves were too full of water from the rain. Aaaargh!  Gutted!

After some swearing and booing we rerouted Wendy, given another chance to behave, to take us to Raglan, a town on the west coast Mark had recommended. We arrived later to a fun looking totally hippy little surfers town and fell in love. The sun had come out (yeah thanks just to rub it in our faces our tour was cancelled) and there were quite a few people about, full of dreadlocks and no shoes. Well that doesn’t mean anything actually, I used to think the barefoot thing was from Aus but it’s maybe about 35% of the people’s feet we see are bare here in NZ.  Huh. Anyway this little town was really great to wander around and through the tiny alleyways to hidden little sheds that are actually shops.

After we hung around there for a bit we rerouted again to a local waterfall called Bridal Veils Falls which was hidden in a huge Jurassic Park like forest full of ferns and huge trees. It was a 2 minute walk from the carpark to the top of the waterfall to look down the 55m drop, which was beautiful. There was a sign saying go down 300something steps to the bottle and we could see a little bridge at the bottom so Javi waited at the top while down I skipped. There was nobody else about and everything was glistening and flooded with water which smelt so great, I stopped a good few times just to breathe in that good clear oxygen. Down the bottom I had a great view of the whole fall, which I guess did look like a bridal veil, and could see Javi waving at the top. Perfectly timed there was a couple on the bridge taking pics too so I got me one of me with the water. Now coming back up those wooden slippery mud filled steps was not half as easy as skipping down them! I had a near heart attack by the time I got to the top as I didn’t let myself stop (you know just to see if I could, that kind of stupidness) and Javi was like haha how do you feel? I put his hand on my chest as an answer.

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After that nice little jaunt we unfortunately spent a good couple of hours failing at travelling (yep Wendy’s fault) and ending up down dead ends after driving down a gravel road for 21km. After getting a bit delirious the time came where we decided to call it quits and save the diesel and we put it Marks address once again. Now this we thought would be fine as we’d done it before. Nah. We ended up at a gated (although open and inviting) road and sat there debating whether to go down it ignoring the sign saying do not enter, authorised site users only… when a yute came speeding down the track towards us. It turned out to be the land owner and he jumped out to help us with directions, we explained Wendy’s behaviour and he gave us two routes to get home. We thanked him and were about to get going when he chuckled and said “unless you wanna get dirty and go through my mud track” I didn’t quite hear him clearly so just chuckled along then kind of caught it and said “sorry what?” So 2 minutes later we’re trundling along a mud track through this kind man’s farm to take a huge shortcut to the main road again. What a nice guy! That seriously would have saved us about 30 minutes of gravel road backtracking, we were so grateful!

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Well, eventually we got to the big pub in Rangiriri, just a little way from the house, where we were meeting our hosts for some pub grub. Oh was it ever. It was a huge plate full to bursting with steak and potatoes and veg all covered with cheese sauce. Dribble. .. it was so good and we all had giant food babies after for sure. We caught up about our days and how we were really a bit sad our cave tour got cancelled, as I’d never think to do anything like that anywhere else, I don’t like small spaces like that. What did Mark do? Turned around and was like “aw we can just whizz down there now and show you, it’s not that far, there’s still caves you can walk in”… now this was at like maybe 7pm and the sun was starting to set. We were like really!? After driving an hour from a whole day at work they were offering to drive us an hour 40 mins ‘down the road’ to see the glow worms? Well of course we jumped on that boat and still through the whole journey couldn’t believe we were going that far at that time of night, even if it was Easter holiday the next day,  just the kindness of offering!

Well, it turned into a magical trip. It wasn’t quite pitch black in the forest Mark took us too as the moon was full and so bright, but we had torches anyway. We walked for about 20 minutes through the bush, a forest called the Ruakuri Scenic Reserve, and as we started nearing Aranui Cave we turned out our torches and could spot little bright blue lights on the rock walls that were growing around us. They were so cute and blue, I was really surprised, I was expecting yellow! As we moved along and spotted more it looked like a whole blanket of fairy lights in one area there were enough of the little things.

Suddenly Mark pretty much disappears and Robyn says “oh Mark I’m not sure about that…” to which my response was “Er what are we doing!?” Haha we had to bend down and go through the rock walls for about 5 seconds and then we were out to the other side and in front of gushing waterfall/pool/rapid cave – words can’t really describe it but it was huge and we were told this is where the black water rafters come out at the end. We kept on the path and did actually end up going inside a cave a little bit… on our way out I spotted what looked like a giant creepy spider in the wall right where I wanted to walk past and Mark and Robyn got excited, saying it was a cave wetter, and only a small one. Not a spider rather an insect. Whatever, it was big and I could HEAR it scuttling! It froze for a photo and Mark still wouldn’t admit he shoved Robyn to make her jump but I was the one who was like er ok the thing jumped towards me lemme out! Haha fun times. Lots more glow worms on the way home which we couldn’t even pick up on our cameras but it’s ok, the experience was wonderful. And even more special that if we’d done the tour that morning because Mark told us all about his grandma who used to sit near the entrance of this walk and sell scones to the tourists! How cool is that, totally part of the history of the place. It was absolutely amazing that these guys took us all this way to show us this special place, you don’t get a genuine offer like that often/ever!

We fell asleep like children on the drive back, picked up Joey from the pub and drove home. Aw we didn’t want to leave our hosts just yet the very next morning, after tonight just think of the possible adventures!!

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2 thoughts on “24th – Disaster Diverted

  1. Haha it was a pleasure to take you down there and it was even more of a pleasure to have you both stay a couple of nights. Safe travel home and come back soon, there is always a room here for you. Mark & Robbie xx

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