Monday, December 19, 2011

Around the World: Whangarei

December 19, 1991

Made my way from Waiheke Island back to Auckland and bought a bus ticket that allows unlimited travel for 14 days. Took the bus to Whangarei and found the hostel atop a very steep hill, which is quite the workout with a backpack. On the bus, I talked with a lady, originally from Scotland, who has lived in New Zealand since 1965. She told me about the rainforest here and how most of New Zealand's trees are protected because they are native only to here.

Not far from the hostel is a nature walk along a narrow and uneven path that ends at a cave full of glow worms. The hostel keeper volunteered to take anyone who was interested to the cave at night, which made the path just that much more of an unpredictable adventure. 

Waipu Caves, Whangarei
Imagine this trail in the dark.

I had no idea what to expect from a glow worm other than a worm that glows, perhaps like a firefly, but longer. Arriving at the cave was such a treat, not only having survived a treacherous hike in pitch darkness, but looking up at the cave's ceiling and seeing this:

Glow Worms

I am so sunburned. I look like a long tomato.

This morning, while I sat outside drinking my coffee, a peacock flounced by, followed by a chicken and two dogs. The hostel manager, seeing my surprised expression, added that there was also a donkey behind the hostel.

On the way back from picking up a few more groceries, Gail and I had to investigate a store marked with huge letters that spelled "LiquorLand".  It was expected that it sold alcohol, and wonderfully unexpected to choose from their selection of mix, munchies and assorted clothing.  It's a kind of one-stop-shop for all your kicking back needs.

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"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
~Helen Keller