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mudskippers adventures Apollo Motorhome road trip in NZ North Island. I designed this road trip specific to my 15 y.o son and 46 y.o husband which involved a lot of motorsport fun and a taste of New Zealand culture, history and landscapes.

Day 2 - Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Tongariro National Park

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 9 April 2012 | Views [1669]

Day 2 - Monday 31st October, 2011

15 minutes drive south from Otorohanga is Waitomo Village.

We stocked up on food at the Countdown (Woolworths) store at Otorohanga before meeting our 10am tour at Waitomo. There are approx 400 cave in the Waitomo region, not all are accessable to the public, but there are plenty of tours on offer. I chose a smaller operator "Spellbound Tours" which took us to 2 caves via a mini van. The cave are about 45 minutes drive from the Spellbound's reception where you drive through private farm lands consisting of green rolling hills scattered with sheep and cattle.

The first cave was the glowworm cave where you kitted up wearing helmets with small headlamps. You weave through the cave and down to and area where you board a small raft and get pulled further into the cavern where the glowworms like to reside. After visiting the small underworld, it was time to resurface and have some morning tea and toilet stop at a small restplace in the fields. The second cave was larger and contained a skeleton of a Moa bird.

The tour took 3.5 hours and was well worth the money, we felt.

To learn more about Spellbound Tours - Click here to visit their website - http://www.glowworm.co.nz/

It was then back to the van for a spot of lunch before we proceed 170kms (2.2 hours drive) southeast toward Tongariro National Park. Note that there is plenty of winding roads in this country, so sometime help to a little extra time when driving in the more regional areas.

We did our first fuel-up at Taumarunui which was half way to Tongariro. The drive in this country side is georgous! Winding rolling hills of green pastures with pleanty of dairy and sheep farms to be seen. The roads are in beautiful condition, but can be narrow in some sections. We never had a worry with our motorhome...It just cruised along so sweetly with not a worry with any hill climbs!

The last half an hour the whole country side changed completely and instead of tight hills, the scenery opened up into a wide expansive landscape -the climate also got a little cooler (17 degrees celcius) and then looming up infront of us was snow capped volcanic mountains namely Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe!  Ruapehu had the honour of playing Mordor and the Emyn Muil in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

We couldnt believe it was almost November, and we were still sighting snow... It was georgous!

Our stop for the night was at the base of one of these mountains, at Tongariro Holiday Park. The park is older style and beside the main road and consists of both cabins and powered sites. We were a little worried about our powered site being so close to the road, hwoever the traffic is very sparse on this road and we were not at all inconveninced by any road noise.  The amenties are tidy and again, plenty of hot water at the showers. There is also a small private jacuzzi that you can hire to wash aware any aches or pains. We however had no aches and pains, as our motorhome was just so plush and comfy to ride in..We had plenty of room to strech our legs and of course we could pull over the side of the road at any time to make a cuppa or grab a cold drink from the fridge. We just loved the convenience of having our own home on wheels with us all the time!

There is a cafe as part of the park complex, and they make some nice homemade pizza's if you dont feel like cooking! We didnt partake as I cooked up a nice lamb stew for dinner, but we met a german couple in another Apollo motorhome which was at our campsite who ordered and ate pizza in our van. We all had a lovely evening sharing travelling stories and drinking plenty of red wine to keep the cockles warm. It was amazing to belive we were now sitting at the base of snow capped volcanoes! It was wonderful!

To learn more about Tongariro Holday Park click here - http://www.thp.co.nz/

Tags: glow worms, moa, spellbounds tours, tongariro, tongariro holiday park, tongariro national park, waitomo


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