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glowing poop

horror film plot #2 in the bag

View Studying in Auckland on ctamler's travel map.

we left wanganui bright and early to make our way through winding roads, back country, and national parks to waitomo. it was a 3.5 hour drive but the twists and turns absorbing enough that i didn't offer to let anyone else drive. we listened to the radio (that song about "sweet home alabama," coldplay's "viva la vida," they're everpresent on the radio at the moment...as well as a couple of other songs that are so annoying that we switched stations every time we heard them -- like the one that starts "i hate this part right here"), and discovered that cody thought lambs and sheep were completely different species.

at waitomo we ate the remnants of our food -- the bread zack, cody and i were sharing made some pretty stupid sandwiches. when we went to check in, we discovered they had raised the price of the black abyss tour by about 20nzd sometime in october -- but we must have looked poor and pathetic, because the receptionist gave us a discount. fifty cents less than we originally thought we were going to pay, actually.

we squeezed ourselves into cold, damp wetsuits, learned how to abseil, and then threw ourselves down a hole that dropped many, many meters down into the mouths of the waiting cave monsters below:


while waiting for my turn to abseil, i concocted yet another brilliant movie plot that will rival ghost twin in its rapid climb to the top of the horror film genre. i don't have a title yet, but it involves a "caving company" that is actually being contracted by cave monsters to supply them with a steady supply of human victims to munch on. the monsters need to do this, of course, because they can't leave the cave...daylight kills them.

our time spent spelunking was a wet wild and cold three hours ziplining through pitchblack cave sky twinkling with glowworms, climbing up waterfalls, and getting thrown off of twenty foot ledges into black water on innertubes.



the guides basically delight in keeping you in the dark the whole time as to what's coming next -- partially as a fear management control tool, partially just because they're dicks. but it was funny. of course, they couldn't refrain from making a descent joke or two.

i won the glowworm game, which means i never need feel shame for my incompetence at the skytower game ever again.

cody drove back to auckland and we all passed out -- but not after kirstin sent me to bed with the promise that she was going to take care of directions to karekare for the next morning. the world should note that carefully.

kirstin and i succeeded at waking up, getting to parnell, and leaving the city right on schedule in the morning. cody even elected to come with us, which was to say the least a (pleasant) surprise. then we got onto the northern motorway and drove for about fifteen minutes.

me: "so do you know how long we're supposed to be on the motorway before the next turn?"

kirstin: "no, i didn't write down the distances, really..." pause. "wait, do you not know where you're going?"

"no why would i? you're in charge of directions."

"yeah but you just seemed so sure of yourself."

"well, where are we supposed to be?"

"i dunno -- the northwestern motorway?"

"we're on the northern motorway...there IS no northwestern motorway..."

cody: "is this beach on the west coast or the east coast?"

us: "the west."

cody: "well, we're definitely heading towards the east coast."

the upshot is we turned around and somehow magically ended up on the northwestern motorway despite the fact that there were no signs for it until many kilometers after it had started. and got to karekare beach, a bit late, but still got there, with the weather shitting all over us, black sand stinging our legs in the wind. we wandered up and down the beach at the foot of soaring cliffs. it's right down the street from piha but i liked it even better. really, really beautiful. seems bigger, and more remote. more tracks you can do. if the weather had been better...

but kirstin and i, being the hardcore motherfuckers we are, found a waterfall that fed into a deep, clear pool, and then --

kirstin: "the water's not that cold."

[laughter. pause. i feel the water.]

me: "you know it's really not." pause. "we should probably swim."


"no. seriously. we should."

"you're right. we should get towels from the car..."

"no. we shouldn't. because this is all about the impulsiveness. which we are already clearly losing by talking about it so much. so i really think we should just shut the fuck up and swim."


"yeah ok."

down to our bathing suits in ten seconds, we slipped and stumbled across the mossy, rocky bed of the pool, then swam, tingling with the cold, to touch the rock beneath the rushing falls. we held our heads under the falling stream, leaned against the mossy wet boulders. a family of ducks quacked disapproval, flaunted its waterproof feathers. cody stood on the shore, arms folded.

the air felt warmer when we emerged. the van of tourists at the trailheads staring at us laughing walking in our dripping togs didn't faze us. shit's real.

Posted by ctamler 16:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ecotourism

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