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We’ve changed our route!

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 4 February 2008 | Views [724] | Comments [1]

We’ve changed our route for the next few stops, when we were passing through Taupo we heard that the A1 Grand Prix is being staged there next weekend.  Both Em and I really enjoy F1, so we thought we would treat ourselves to a weekend at the races; treat as we thought it would be a few $ to go and see a Grand Prix race weekend as it’s expensive back in the UK.  We found a ticket outlet and were pleasantly stunned at the prices, for a 2 day pass to the ‘standing embankment’ it was only $90 about £38; puts the F1 prices to shame.  So after the tickets were purchased we then decided to head to Waitomo to see the Caves and do some Black Water Rafting.  Well it’s not actually ‘Rafting’ more of a large tyre inner tube, with a bit of guided caving to get to the river.  After my ‘fear’ at Abbey Caves I needed to go and see them first and have a chat as to the how’s and where’s of the trip, they explained it all to me and so it was booked; no going back now!  We arrived at the hostel after driving past a sign which we thought would deserve further looking at tomorrow after the Caving, the sign said ‘Angora Rabbits shorn daily’  We asked the hostel host what it was all about, she shrugged her shoulders and winked ‘go, have a look’  We met a lovely English gent here called Paul who had stayed here for the past 6 weeks, as he could ‘do what he wanted here’ he had no car and would just walk where and when he wanted too; he was so pleased to see an English couple at last and we had a fun filled evening just sat around watching the Sun go down while talking the usual load of rubbish ‘English rubbishing the rest of the world’ stuff.  After our ‘rubbishing’ talk the final good nights were on a short sentence that summed all that we had spoken about and one on which we all agreed ‘If England is that good, why are we over here wishing we could stay forever?’  We didn’t only talk rubbish, Paul warned us to close our windows as there was a sort of flying Cockroach around here after dark and they fly into the glass; he called them ‘The Kamikaze roach squad’ He was not kidding, we shut the windows turned on the lights to have a read of our books and then in they came; they really were mad.  We were just laid on the bed listening to these things hit the windows like someone was throwing stones at us, it was so strange and to the sound of ‘The Kamikaze roach squad’ we laughed ourselves to sleep.  In the morning we set out for the Caves smiling at the sight of a couple of these things along the window sill, legs in the air; and bl**dy big bumps on their heads.  We got kitted up, sorry no photo’s of that; but we looked more than a sad sight in a baggy wetsuit, hard hat with light and to top the outfit off; BIG White Wellington boots.  It turned out that we were the only 2 booked on this trip so we had our own private tour, and what a tour; even I was too ‘dumbstruck’ to worry that we were heading a lot deeper than she had told us.  We entered into the Caving system behind the guide, rubber rings in hand; sat down for a few minutes to allow our eyes to become adjusted to the pitch black darkness.  We’ve seen Gloworms before, but nothing like this; above us while floating on our rubber rings the roof of the cave just a sea of shiny Green glowing ‘bug butts’ all eager to catch their next meal.  The guide warned us that he was going to make a loud noise to cause the sound vibrations to wake the others up, a loud noise me made; and then the whole cave just started to glow.  It’s estimated that a 1000 Gloworms will shine the equivalent of 1 Candle power, the roof of the cave was so alive with Gloworm shiny butts that you could actually make out the water run ahead of us due to their reflection; again there is only one word to sum it all up AMAZING.  After a 1 ¼ floating around below in the caves it was time to come out, soaked through and boots full of what we hoped was water, sand or stones and not any of the creepy crawlers that were down there with us; we came through to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We headed back to change, cup of hot drink and laughing over every thing we had seen that morning we headed to ‘that sign’?

‘Angora Rabbits shorn daily’ it said, what on earth is that?  Well as it said, there were Rabbits, big fluffy Angora White Rabbits; most in various states of ‘fluffiness’ some all fluffy, some half fluffy and some not fluffy anymore.  They actual do shear the Rabbits for their fur, it’s the finest hair of a commercial animal available.  It really felt like it, it was so light and fine to touch and never irritated our skins at any time; and is so fine that it has to have a ‘parent’ fibre blended in to help knitting which is usually Merino wool or Silk.  It was explained that the Germans bred this breed of Rabbit so that they would not moult naturally, and therefore if they are not shorn every 12 weeks will die due to them overheating; another example of humans twisting mother nature for their own benefits.  It was also explained how the Rabbits were ‘trained’ to understand what was happening to them from the first 12 weeks by slowly putting them into the simple racking set up in private, and in time introducing the shears.  Before you all shout and scream ‘abuse’ we’ve seen a rabbit put into the rack you see in the photo and we can honestly say, it was NOT forced or handled hard in any way at all.  The shearer gentle laid the Rabbit down and without even prompting at all, it laid out flat and allowed her to attach the ropes without even kicking out or resisting; the rack is used to gentle lay the Rabbit flat and flattening it’s skin under the fur.  Due to the heat the fur retains the Rabbit has large veins to try and lose as much heat as possible, but due to this in bred defence; if it’s cut it can bleed to death in less than 20 min’s.  You only had to see how lively the Rabbit was after the shearing to understand how ‘happy’ it felt and how it ‘enjoyed’ the cool air around it.  The shearer was so playful with the Rabbit, and explained how they all get to roam around as much as possible after the shearing and she also explained that when they die; no Rabbit is ever skinned or sheared after death and they are buried in a ‘Rabbit cemetery’ near the farm.  I should point out that the shearer claimed that NO Rabbit has ever bled to death or been put to sleep resulting from a shearing cut.  We had great day at Waitomo, but New Plymouth was our next stop over.

Tags: Sightseeing




It's very true that angoras were bred to tolerate a haircut. It's bizarre almost. I have 4 and they have no cares in the world as I groom and clip them. Of course, they are as big as a small dog, so aren't easily intimidated. In fact, they sometimes grind their teeth as if it's a massage (grinding teeth is equivalent to a cat purring). Definitely doesn't hurt them and yes, it's awesome to see them fly high without the fur coat - they become little hopping happy birds. And I love the fur clippings they allow me to have!

  jane Jun 18, 2008 4:08 AM

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