Wataimo Glowworm Caves

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Wataimo town is a tiny place. There are just a few houses, a shop, a couple of caf├ęs and then there are glowworm caves.
For those of you who do not know what a glowworm is, it is a kind of a larvae that has a tail glowing like a led light to attract flies and mosquitoes that they catch in their sticky strings hanging down from them, almost like a spider. After nine months as a worm they turn into a mouthless fly that mate, lay eggs and then dies of starvation just so that the cycle of life can repeat itself.
Around Wataimo there are over a hundred such caves and all kinds of expensive activities like tubing, abseiling and ziplining are offered where you also get to see what looks like a star sky of glowworms. Myself I just joined a fifty dollar walking tour that included a ten minute boat ride at the end which for me was just perfect.

Surfing Raglan, New Zealand

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When our Stray bus rolled up at the Kariori Lodge we had a quick introduction about our accommodation for the night before it was time for us to get ready to do what we came there to do, which was surfing.
Board and surfboard hire was super reasonably priced at 20 bucks for an hour which then also included driving to whichever place had the best waves and rinsing of the wetsuits afterwards. I have always had to do that myself before, so that was nice for a change!
The beach we went to was right between town and the lodge. The sand was black and the waves were rough. I was there on quite a windy day, so it all was a bit messy with waves coming from all sides at the same time but I managed to have a couple of long rides all the way into the shallow waters. I still wish I would have come on a more calm and sunny day though to see what New Zealand’s most famous surf spot is like on its best.
A really cool thing about the Kariori Lodge was that lots of glowworms could be seen on its driveways at night. They also had a house calles “the barn” that was separated from the rest of the camp so that the ones who wanted could party all night and the rest could just have a quiet night around the bonfire or resting for morning surf sessions.

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Couchsurfing and Hiking the Outskirts of Auckland

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Before getting to Auckland I had thought that the place was just another business city with nothing to do, but I could not have been more wrong. My couchsurfing hosts Jan and Matylda from Norway and Poland were both quite outdoorsy and showed me all kinds of hikes and day trips that could be done from their home.
The next morning we were all up and ready in our hiking outfits heading to the area around the surfing village Piha, just half an hour drive from Auckland. First we went to the black sand beach to pick some shells and watch the surfers fight their way out through the rough waves. We walked an half an hour track leading up to a viewpoint and back down to the beach to get to our next spo, the kite kite track leading up to a cascade waterfall. The walks were both easy, but scenic and good to get a good lock at the flora and fauna in the country where I will spend the next few weeks.

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