It’s a small flightless bird

Posted: March 8, 2014 in Tales of Travel and Woe

And one of the cutest creatures on earth.  It has become quite the symbol for New Zealand – indeed the people are referred to as Kiwis. But this is not the sum total of the country.

New Zealand is an infinitely interesting place.  Well, at least the bits I saw in my week-long visit.

Waitomo  – which I was told means water hole.  (Quite coincidentally at that same time, a friend had a flood in their kitchen which lead to a hole in their floor. I felt very worldly to share that they have a tomo in their floor made from wai).

The claim to fame of Waitomo is the glow worms that live in the caves (holes) made by water (wai) over the billions of years the island has existed.  You can’t actually see the worms, but when the caves are dark, a million pin pricks of light give the illusion of a star packed night sky.

Also in Waitomo was the strangest animal farm I’ve ever visited. Upon arrival, and handing over your $22, you receive a little bag of food pellets to feed the animals and asked to not feed them to the young goats because it affects their….output.

This animal farm had deer, ponies, donkeys,

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lamas, horses, strange small pigs with pug faces,

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ducks, rabbits, enormous roosters, cows, and of course the goats (Sean, you’re right. Their eyes are creepy).

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I’m not usually afraid of animals, but feeding things with big teeth with my bare hands is unnerving. It’s amazing but something I was told when I was very small came back to me in the moment – flat hand. Keep your hand completely flat to avoid the animals from accidentally biting your fingers.  That neuron had been dormant for at least 30 years! Walked away with all of my fingers and a freshly flexed neuron.  Good day!

Another destination on my tour was Rotorua. A place known for its natural hot springs, geysers, mineral mud and natural beauty.  And the smell. I’ve heard of many other places described as the asshole of the earth, but this is definitely where she passes gas. The best way I can describe the smell is the day after a pickled egg eating contest. I specifically went to Rotorua to try a mud bath. I wanted to know what it felt like to sit in thick and goopy mud. Turns out they just put a bit of the mud into the hot water. So it felt like a bath.  I know what a bath feels like. I didn’t need to spend $105.  Yes, $105.  I was duped. The highlight of Rotorua was the giant redwood forest. I had no idea that giant redwoods grew here.  It was a thick, lush forest with soft paths of fallen leaves and a thick coating of moss.  Look! It’s a Snufalupatree!!!

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I loved New Zealand and it is a damn shame that I only had a week.  I’ll definitely go back (perhaps not to Rotorua). If for no other reason than I heard an ad on the radio for a dentist that offers a cleaning, check-up and x-ray for $60.  For that price, I can afford the flight!

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