We left Matamata and took a detour to the Waitomo Caves area to see the Glow Worm cave- high on Chloe's list of favorite stops in New Zealand. There are actually hundreds of caves in this area, but only a few are open to the public. The glow worm cave tour was pretty cool but, due to the nature of the cave, no photos are allowed. We took a walk down through limestone caves and got into a little boat and then all lights were out and we saw the glow worms (actually the larvae of an insect) on the ceiling of the cave. Our tour was completely silent until the baby on the tour took up a full-on baby cry. Chloe was really disappointed about that, but it was magical nonetheless.
In case you're wondering about the campervan accomodations in NZ, you can see a photo of our favorite campground of all the ones we went to. Most had parking that was quite close like this, but this one had a lovely playground and a great pool and spa. We were lucky to meet a wonderful Dutch couple that we talked to for a long time. Ours is the second one on the right.
In addition to the Glow worm cave, there was the Aranui limestone cave that we took a tour in the next day. This cave is filled with many delicate formations and before it was taken care of, many people walked away with the tips of stalactites and stalagmites.
On our way north from the cave area to the Coromandel Peninsula we stopped in Otorohanga to have lunch at The Thirsty Weta- a wonderful cafe where we had some delicious pizza with sweet pototoes and Thai soup. We also walked around the town and found the library with these fabulous kiwis. This sweet little library was nice to relax in for a bit and had free internet!
These Maori carved totem poles were on the lawn in front of the library. Looking back at the Otorohanga website, I wish we'd spent more time there. As it was, we headed right up to the Peninsula, which was our last stop before heading to Aukland. More on that next time!