Tag Archives: wayne

The Lost World

We are super excited and a little anxious to explore The Lost World!  The Woodlyn Park Lodge is right next door to Waitomo Adventures so it is a short drive to start our day.

We meet our guide who has over 2,500 abseils (rappels) under his belt.  He used to manage the business so we were in really in good hands.  It is just the four of us: Matt, Wayne, me, and Scott our guide.

We drive 20 minutes to the location where we get geared up and dressed.  After a short 101, we head to the “testing” area.  They provide everything: helmets with lights, jumpsuits, and wellies (boots).  

They have a little area that they call “the testing center” which gives us an opportunity to test all of our gear while getting comfortable clipping in and out of the lines.  After the short diversion, we head to the platform where we will abseil 100 meters into the center of the earth – aptly called The Lost World.


The first thing you have to do is lean over the gap between the platform and the steel pipe.  I just kept repeating to myself “don’t look down, don’t look down.”  Yes we are tied in three ways to Sunday, but it still doesn’t stop your heart from jumping in your throat!

All 4 of us are clipped together.  So, if one person starts to fall they will be stopped by the other 3 people.  We each have our own abseil line and 3 connecting lines or safety points.

One by one we remove our feet from the platform and hang hundreds of feet above the cavern.

What am I thinking?  This is nutso.  Yes, I have a smile on my face, but trust me when I say I was a wee bit terrified!

To go down, you lift the line up.  For the men it was rather easy as their weight pulled them down.  But for me, I had to actively work at lowering myself and to keep up with the men.  

The boys were having a blast, releasing their hands, leaning back and just dangling. Where I had the vulcan death grip on both boys.

As we start to descend you feel the gravity of the distance below you.  But the beauty in the area takes your breath away and you can truly see why they call this the Lost World.

We make several stops along the way down to ensure we take in all of the splendor that the Lost World has to offer.

A Walk on the Wild Side

We finally make it to the bottom and my heart beat returns to normal.  We crawl over boulders, through the river, over rocks, and under huge limestone formations.  The sun tries to sneak in through the crevices giving us fun photo opportunities.

We continue climbing deep into the recess of the Lost World using our headlamps to light the way.

The Glowworms

We come to a massive cave where we pop a squat and turn off our lights.  And what do we see but a bazillion glowworms!  This time we actually get to see the glowworm up close (top right photo) and its beautiful silk threads (bottom right corner).  If you look closely you will see the glow of the blue tails, but it is hard to get us, in the dark and the glowworms.

Departing the Lost World

Now, comes the fun part (not), climbing back out of the Lost World.  We begin by scampering over rocks, boulders, and more large limestone formations, slowly heading high and higher.  

Then we come to an enormous ladder that reaches 100m into the sky.  You can’t even see the top part of it. It is wet, muddy, and hard to hold on to.  We are clipped in at three safety points and begin the climb one at a time.  Holy hell that was hard on my arms!

But we all make it out and have an additional 20-minute uphill hike to the launching area.  What a spectacular and remarkable adventure.  If you are ever in Waitomo, I highly recommend The Lost World tour with the Waitomo Adventures team!

  • Hotel: Trinity Hotel
  • Kilometers Traveled: 0 
  • Time Traveled: 0 
  • Kilometers Walked:  5.5km (couldn’t bring phone on Lost World)

Events from this blog occurred at the end of February.  Our blogs posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual events.  Be sure to read the first part of our trip in Waitomo in our last blog post.

Waitomo Glowworms

Waitomo is famous for its bountiful caves which are covered in beautiful glowworms.  I say “beautiful” loosely because the actual worm is not so hot looking, but its brilliantly bright tail is a spectacular thing to see when emersed inside a pitch black cave.

We arrive into Waitomo after a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland.  The journey was uneventful and kept us on a beautiful, proper 4 lane highway (that even had a shoulder)  for most of the trip.  We did get a lot of fog, but once it cleared it was stunning, rolling, green hills and farm lands.

Waitomo means “water” “cave” (wai=water) and (tomo=cave).  There are well over 300 caves that they know of – which means there are plenty more to be discovered.

Arriving in Waitomo

We make our first stop in Ortohanga, the neighboring town to Waitomo, to have lunch at the Thirsty Weta. We enjoyed some cold beer and pretty tasty food.  Then we headed to the Waitomo Caves Museum and Discovery Center.  Super informative, interactive, and informational museum where we learned all about the glowworm.

Fun Facts:

  • A glowworm is not actually a worm
  • It lives as a maggot or larvae for the first 6-9 months, then builds a cocoon where it then turns into a fly with no mouth!  
  • The fly only lives for 3 days and their primary goal is to mate.
  • The larvae, which is about as long as a match stick, will build a small hammock that can slide front to back.
  • They drop between 30-40 sticky, silk threads that are used to catch their prey.
  • Their tails light up attracting moths, mosquitos, and other insects which then get stuck in their silk threads.
  • Females lay about 200-300 eggs in 20-30 clusters (all within the 3 days she has to live as a fly, find a mate, mate, lay, and distribute the eggs).
  • The first larvae to hatch will eat its siblings to get strength to build its hammock and drop its threads (charming).
  • The glowworms tail will brighten and dim in 24hr cycles with the other glowworms in its cluster (they are in sync) and will provide an endless luminescence. 

The museum also had bones from a really large and rare bird, called the moa.

Waitomo Caves

Waitomo is famous for its caves which is their primary tourist attraction.  Unfortunately, they do not allow any photography inside the cave.  

We start our tour out by descending 13 meters into the cave.  We are surrounded by stunning stalactites and stalagmites that are thousands and thousands of years old.  They have a strict no touch policy so we keep our hands to ourselves.  Tons of curtains, candles, and mounds hanging from the ceiling and slowly reaching for its partner on the ground.

After a 20-25 minute walk along these beautiful structures, we quietly board a small boat in the dark.  This is the part we’ve all been waiting for – the glowworms.  We silently glide in the water as the guide uses a pull rope to maneuver the boat.  It is breathtaking to see these bright blue lights dotted all over the ceiling and cavern walls.  The top left photo was taken in slow-mo by someone else, but it gives you an idea of what it looked like.

They did have a fun green screen for photos –  we got suckered into the purchase since we couldn’t take any photos on the tour.

And us in the caves…Matt and Wayne with a lion, oh wait, that is me with crazy hair!

Ruakuri Bushwalk

After our leisurely stroll through the museum we decide to follow one of the trails that leads to another trail called Ruakuri Bushwalk.  We were not really prepared for this long walk as we did not have any water, but the path was pretty flat and well marked.

The first trail started at the Waitomo Caves, connected to Johnston Memorial trail then to Waitomo Walkway before it connected us with the Ruakuri loop.  But the long walk was worth it as the Ruakuri trail was fabulous!

We followed the river and discovered loads of caves!  The trail even took us through several caves or tunnels.

We crossed over a questionable bridge, trespassed on a few farms, and climbed over fences.

The river was at times gushing and other times tranquil.

Even if you skip the original walk that brought us to the Ruakuri Bush Walk, we highly recommend the Ruakiru Bush walk – it was absolutely fantastic.

The Woodlyn Park Lodge

We took the whimsical route when we decided to stay at the Woodlyn Park Lodge.  You have a choice of staying in a train, a freighter Bristol airplane, a hobbit cabin, or an old war ship (ML430).  

We opted to stay in the Oceanic “suite” in the stern of the ship (primarily because everything else was sold out!).  As it turned out, it was super fun with a large outdoor deck overlooking the river.

Upstairs is the living area, deck, and kitchen area.  Downstairs is the bathroom, master bed room (thru the small door) and an additional room with 3 single beds.

It certainly was fun and a novelty for us all.  Stay tuned tomorrow as we go 100 meters into the center of the earth on the Lost World tour.

  • Hotel: The Woodlyn Park Lodge
  • Kilometers:  185
  • Travel Time: 3hrs15min
  • Kilometers Walked: 9.8km on 22 Feb and 8.7km on 23 Feb

Events from this blog occurred in late February,  Our blog runs 10-12 weeks behind actual events.  Did you catch our last blog where we visit the City of Sails?

Road Trip Across New Zealand

The best way to see New Zealand is on land.  Sailing around New Zealand can be challenging as they have deep bays, rough seas, high winds, and not many anchor spots (so we have been told).  Plus, we have a lot of work going on Sugar Shack right now so moving her away from the docks is not really an option. So, a road trip is the perfect solution.

I had been planning this road trip for months and months.  Originally, Matt, Wayne, and I were going to take a campervan (or RV) but we decided to take our car instead.  Why do you ask?  Well, first of all the roads in NZ are incredibly windy, small, two lane (one lane each way) roads and driving a giant campervan seemed scary.  Also, the campervan sites are located between 2-10 miles away from the center of the main towns and we would not have had a way to get to and from the campsites.  And third, it was cheaper to take our car and stay in hotels than it was to rent the campervan.

We bought a car

You are probably thinking we are crazy, right? Well, we are a wee bit nutso, but not in this instance.  We were not planning on buying a car, but we did because the deal was just too good.  We bought a 2006 323i BMW with 18k miles for $3,800 USD.  Yep, and she was a beauty.

So, we had the reliable car, we had insurance, we had a jam packed itinerary full of action and adventure and we were set to go!

The Road Trip

Matt and I had already ventured to Coromandel and Whitanga which is on the East side of the North Island.  If you missed this blog, go back and read it! 

I had the opportunity to go to the North tip of the North island with friends and will take Matt back another time.  Check out this road trip to Cape Reigna.

So, our goal was to focus on the South Island. while still hitting a few highlights in the North Island.  We anticipated this being a 4500-5000km trip.  This is a rough idea of where we planned to go.  I anticipated several detours and unplanned stops along the way.

For the next three months, you will be reading all about our fabulous road trip, how long it took us to get to each destination, where we stayed, what we did, and what kind of mischief we got into with our friend Wayne.

So, please stay tuned and enjoy the ride!  It was a fantastic one.

Events from this blog post occurred between 20 February through 18 March 2023.  Our blog posts are running 10-12 weeks behind actual live events, so please be patient with us.