Friday, November 8, 2013

A glowing greeting from New Zealand

        Sweet as!!
A common phrase here in New Zealand, and I can't help but say it when I drive through the beautiful countryside of New Zealand. This is some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen, and some of the nicest and friendliest people I've met abroad.

I left Australia and headed to New Zealand to meet up with 4 friends from my university, we've rented a camper van (company name "Jucy".... uuuhhh) and we've been road trippin' through New Zealand's north island for almost 2 weeks now.

The city of Auckland was nothing of great importance, a standard city with some nice buildings and walks. But, what New Zealand is known for is their natural beauty....and we soon experienced it as we left the outskirts of the city. Rolling green hills, sheep everywhere, mountains in the back, and small towns in the middle of nowhere.

We headed from Auckland to Waitomo, and 3 hour drive. One lovely thing about driving around NZ is the short distances and drastic changes in landscape. In just 3 hours, we went from a city by the sea to Lord of the Rings-esque landscape with a huge system of underground caves below and pastoral landscape above. My Danish friend and I decided to explore the caves in an adventurous style; we went on a tour with a few other people that took us through the caves. We grabbed inner tubes and hiked into the ground; we were rewarded with the entire ceiling of these caves being covered in bright glow worms. It was a beautiful sight to see as we floated down the underground river looking up at the milky way of glow worms covering the cave ceiling. The pitch black caves had some surprises, we had to slide down a waterfall and jump off another - in pitch dark, it was quite the adrenaline rush. The cave was also full of stalactites and stalagmites, and unfortunately we weren't able to take pictures in the cave because it affects the glow of the worms, so I've uploaded some that represent what it looks like.

The milky way like stream of glow worms was a magnificent sight, nothing like anything I've ever seen.

Other natural wonders of New Zealand include natural hot springs in the Rotorua area (a geothermal hot spot). We found a local spot just south of Maori land (Maori is the local indigenous culture), it was a beautiful natural hot spring that also had mud. Uniquely, this river ran right into a cold stream from the other direction, so depending on where you were standing, you could be in hot, cold, or warm water. It was fantastic, and the natural mud facial was an added bonus!

The adventures and beauty of New Zealand continue to amaze me, but seeing as we are road trippin', internet access is limited at best so unfortunately I won't be able to update everyone too often.
Life is good!

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