When Kristan was last in New Zealand, she had so much fun black water rafting in Waitomo that one of her top priorities for this trip was to take Max on an underground adventure of his own. This time we did the five hour Black Abyss, which involved abseiling 30 meters into Ruakuri Cave, a zipline across a cavern in the dark, jumping into the underground river, floating along in an inner tube looking at the glowworms lighting up the ceiling, and climbing up and over waterfalls to emerge once again into the light. Phew! We’re tired just thinking about it! So much fun and we met some really nice people from all over the world.
After a night in our haunted hotel (with PB&Js for dinner because Waitomo is so small everything closes at 7:30), we went on a bushwalk and ran into our friends from the caves. Hobbiton was our real goal for the morning though so we headed there next. The funny thing about Hobbiton is that after building the set for the Lord of the Rings, they started to take it all down per their contract but were interrupted because of a storm. While waiting for the team to come back, the farmer who owned the land asked for permission to do tours. So when Kristan was there in 2005, she went with three other girls and saw a few “holes in the ground” but not much else. Fast forward to the filming of the Hobbit – the farmer gave permission to use his land as Hobbiton again, but only if they built the set to last at least 50 years. So now thousands of people go every day and Hobbiton even has a full-scale replica of the Green Dragon (with their own ale!) and a new subdevelopment of 5 new hobbit holes. Gentrification is a bitch, but we had a lot of fun :)
We finished our day with two crazy water adventures – rolling down a hill in a plastic bubble called a Zorb and hanging out at the thermal pools at the Polynesia Spa overlooking Lake Rotorua. Another action-packed 48 hours in New Zealand!