Sunday, 29 March 2015

We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday - Part One: Glowworms and Camping

Finally, after 6 months in New Zealand I was going to see somewhere other than Wellington! Two friends and I were heading up to the Coromandel Peninsula for some camping but first we had an overnight stop at Waitomo so we could go Black Water Rafting through the famous glowworm caves. My friend had a car so we packed it up and I made myself a mini-fort in the backseat which I pretty much claimed as my own over the next week. I was excited to be leaving Wellington and to be taking my first NZ road trip. The drive was long but the scenery was fabulous and we kept each other entertained well enough. Once at Waitomo we all happy for the chance to stretch our legs and relax. I took my camera out for a walk whilst my two friends took the opportunity to plan the second week of their holiday. I have to confess I was happy to leave them to it as their discussions made me a little jealous since once they were up north having fun I’d be back at work already, something I definitely didn’t want to think about!

The black water rafting the next day consisted of us floating down the river through the caves on a large inflatable tube. It wasn’t what I would think of a rafting but it was a lot of fun. The caves were fascinating and our guides were entertaining. We all agreed it was a great start to our holiday. We finished our day with lovely meal out and toasted a successful first day. The next day we were back on the road heading to our first campsite. We thought we’d be fairly safe considering it was summer but the sky had some threatening looking clouds so we parked and tried to get our tents up as quickly as possible. The campsite was basic but nice enough and we were happy to have somewhere to stay. Originally we had hoped for a hostel but by the time we tried to book they were all sold out, oops. In the end we got our tents up in time but knew we’d be in for a wet night. We crossed our fingers and hoped it would rain itself out overnight and the sun would come out the next day.

Our first morning camping we woke up to the sound of it still raining and I noticed a suspicious bump on the tent floor. We had two tents. Two of us shared one tent and the other had her own which she pitchedbeside us. I poked the bump and right enough it was decidedly watery..... I said as much to my half asleep friend who didn’t understand which became apparent when she reacted to surprise when our other friend shouted over a friendly enquiry asking if were we aware we were now camped in a large puddle! The puddle turned out to be more akin to a small stream. Eventually we resigned ourselves to the fact that the rain wasn’t going to stop and we both rolled up our trousers and exited our tent. I cannot describe our reaction on seeing the steam now running round, under and in places through our tent. I would say we coped very well. We got our stuff out of the tent as quickly as we could and stored our air mattresses upside down in our friends tent in the hope they would dry out by bed time. We then relocated our tent and left it open to dry out. By this time the rain was finally letting up and it looked like it might actually stop sometime soon so we were cautiously optimistic of having a dry place to sleep that night. Tent dealt with we sorted ourselves out and headed out in the car to Coromandel Town. It turned out to be beautifully sunny there so we enjoyed the sun whilst we could and I tried my very first cheese and steak pie. It was surprisingly tasty.

The next day we woke up on dry land, woo! The weather was much improved so we headed out to hot water beach. We got there at the height of the tourist invasion and failed to find any hot water as all the springs had been dug up and were currently occupied. After an hour or so of digging various unsuccessful holes we gave up and head out to Cathedral cove. The walk there was stunning and we took our time since we had nowhere else to be. Once at the cove we braved the water for a summer swim. I know people always say this but once we were in it was actually quite nice however getting out was less so! After months of hard work and Wellignton wind a day at the beach was a fabulous end to a busy year. Once back at camp I am happy to report our tent and surrounding area remained dry so we put them back together before making what can only be described as a backpacker meal before heading to our wonderfully dry tents. Even better the sky was looking clear and e were pitched on higher ground to though sleeping on a slight slope felt a little odd we were confident we would wake up as dry the next day.

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