So far the stray bus has taken us to Ragland, where we stayed at a lodge in the middle of the bush. We went on a forest walk with a few of our fellow travellers and spent the evening eating fish and chips and playing silly games! Next morning we drove to Waitomo to go caving and look at the glow worms – in total darkness the roof of the cave turned into a night sky with thousands of pinpricks of light, was pretty magical.
That evening we arrived at a Maori meeting house and were welcomed onto their family grounds. A small ceremony was held to welcome us and then all 50 of us touched noses twice to say hello or Kia Ora. Then we went to see the waterfalls and a Maori man broke off some tree branches and showed us how you can eat the substance inside – a cross between apple and coconut!
That evening after dinner they danced and sang for us and performed the huka. Then it was our turn and the girls were taught a short poi routine that we performed for the boys! Went rather well, although we definitely whacked ourselves a couple of times with the poi! That night we all slept in the meeting house on the floor with sleeping bags.
After spending the day in Rotorua and smelling the lovely sulphur egg smell of the geothermal pools, we stopped off at Huka falls. The water cascading down this waterfall can fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 12 seconds!
Now we are stopping off in Taupo for a few nights before picking up the stray bus again. The lake here is the size of Singapore! Definitely missing the Australian sun as it’s raining today, but the volcanic landscapes of New Zealand are stunning.
Love to all back home