New Zealand North Island

By Helen

- 9 minutes read - 1809 words
The Way Down

We were a bit tired so the next day just went to Lake Taupo. Again, power issue so had to switch campgrounds but luckily for us people were really great about it.


We decided to head to this area after reading about some caves… after our “cave stream” experience we decided we were ready for another go. We stayed at Juno Hall which was a hostel with a few spots for vans or tents. Great people who run it, super friendly and down to earth. The kitchen was really well set up and they had real coffee on offer all day! This was part of a farm where they had a rescued deer, goats, calves and a pig which were all funny to watch. On the first day we drove down to Marokopa Falls, stopped off at the PiriPiri Cave and the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.

Marokopa Falls
PiriPiri Cave
Natural Bridge
Storm Coming
Funny Goats

We stopped in at The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co to book our adventure to the Ruakuri Cave. After some discussion with the staff, we decided on the Black Abyss tour. To clarify, when we were discussing this I was under the impression that we were talking feet, not meters and that I would always be able to stand up and touch the bottom of the underground river. I won’t even mention the zip line in the dark. I handled it like a champ… if your champ has a panic attack, cries a little and swears like a trucker on steroids to express their fear. I’d say just kidding here but I’m not.

What can we say about it? Wow, cold, amazing, terrifying, incredible… still can’t believe we did it super awesome experiences that we will always cherish. The two guides for our group were wonderful. Paul was asked how many times he had done this before since he was that good… me, I got a hug or two and a compliment on my combination of swear words. At the end, I didn’t climb out and took the easier way. Paul said it was a good choice since there was a sketchy part.

Fake Smile
Part of the system
Climbing out
We Survived!

Well how do you follow that? By taking it easy that’s how. We had three more nights before we turned in the van at Auckland. So we went to Hobbiton, which was okay but not as expected. You got on a bus, drove out, were toured around on a timeline, had a beer at the pub before being bused back. Stayed one night in Kawhia, a small town at the end of another beautiful road. We hung out the beach, watching families and friends dare each other to jump off the pier, there was a huge group of locals there for a celebration. We were told to take “the scenic route” to the next area, but quickly discovered that scenic means twisty, winding gravel road… still traumatized by our Tasmanian road experience, we went the normal way. Our last night was at Muriwai Beach Campground. We were given quite the send off when Paul was almost impaled by the large shade umbrella. We were eating supper outside when the wind caught it, lifted it up and, literally, rammed it into his chest. People rushed to help and luckily he was only grazed and bruised but talk about scary. Turns out the umbrella wasn’t secured to the table as it should of been, the people who run the place thought since it was solid wood that it was heavy enough. I wanted Paul to get xrays or looked at but he, being Mr Tough, decided he was fine.

Fitting in with the locals
Local Carving

The next day was our drop off in Auckland, a ride to the airport and away to the Philippines.

Bring home a sheep!
Flying over Wellington
The South Island