Thursday, June 14, 2012

NZ Adventures 7: Waitomo

Our next day was spent in the Waitomo area. We talked Steph into joining us the night before, so we had one more for our adventure. After breakfast we headed for Waitomo to meet the famous NZ kiwis at a Kiwi house.

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At the kiwi house (and bird zoo) I was super surprised to find out that Kiwis are nocturnal – which is why they have a house. They have the lights timed in such a way that two kiwis are out in the morning and two in the afternoon. They use the lights to fool them into thinking that it’s night during those hours.

The bird zoo was cool because there were a bunch of cool birds. But there were TONS of ducks. It turned into a joke “Hey Gene, did you see the ducks?” And he, of course, would ask me back.

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They had a Pukeko! We were excited since we could finally see one close enough for them to not just look
like black spots, way out in the distance.

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Fejoas! Depending upon who you ask in our group they either taste like starfruit or the smell of rubber. I liked them and thought they tasted more like starfruit.

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That day, I decided it was time for food experiments and jam is WAY less interesting than real fruit, so I went for a fejoa and peanut butter sandwich. It was surprisingly delicious!

Apparently NZ folk don’t fancy PB&J as much as us North American folk. This shows Steph’s feelings about her PB&J trial.

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These signs were always interesting. The person with the black arrow has the right of way . . .

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. . . over the one-lane bridge. One-lane bridges were super-common on our windy, two-lane road adventures.

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With another super windy drive, we found ourselves at Marakopa falls. They were huge and gorgeous.

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We continued on the same road to the Waitomo Peninsula to see the beach with the black sand.

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I had never seen black sand before, so I was a bit amazed.

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It was fun chatting with Steph as we walked. Since I got to NZ just in time for the wedding, I hadn’t had much of a chance to chat with her before.

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Jean decided to have a seat on her shoes and inspect the sand on her feet. I made her show me so you could see how black it is.

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One last look before we headed back.

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When we got back to the head of the beach, where I had left my flip-flops, they had disappeared. We were all a bit surprised because there hadn’t been many people on the beach with us.

After watching the beginning of another un-sunset, we headed back to pick up Dan and ended up eating dinner in the car.