Aussie/NZ Adventure – Day 1

This was one long day. We left Great Falls late Monday afternoon and arrived Wednesday morning in Auckland New Zealand. We met our guide, Anja, a kind German lady who lives in Sydney, at the gate and took off down the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand in a bus driven by a New Zealander named Max. We stopped at a place called Haven for some coffee and my families’ first meat pie. I discovered a new flavor of ice cream as well…Hoky Poky is flippin delicious.

We continued down to the Waitomo Caverns where we were introduced to glow worms and their hanging glow worm saliva. This cavern was very similar to our Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana. I doubt the NZ glow worms could survive our colder and more rugged montana cavern. The caverns and glow worms were fantastic. I have never been in an underground river before. We stopped in Otarahanga for some lunch where I utilized the library’s wifi to have a brief chat with Dean Groom.

We ended the day at a traditional Maori dinner where we ate a variety of local dishes. We had the privilege of listening and watching a group of native maori people dance and sing in their native language. It was probably the coolest part of my trip this far as their music, even the crazy warrior chants, were very pleasant to listen to. My son Adam and I even got up and danced like crazy Maori Warriors…I have asked around and it seems there are some real similarities between the Maori and Montana’s native peoples with regards to adjusting to the introduction of new people to their land. I never realized how polynesian New Zealand is until vacationing here. Tomorrow, I get to go to a present day Maori village and learn more about their culture…perhaps I will get a family tree tatoo from a real Maori warrior named Jacob…

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