Waitomo caves

One of New Zealand’s most renowned tourist attractions, Waitomo’s glow worm caves and limestone landscape has been a major attraction and the centre of caving tourism since 1889, when the maori first led people to see the magnificent caves, formed 30 million years ago!

After pondering my adventure level, I decided that I would regret just walking through the caves and be frustrated with watching the mind blowing scenery only from a boat. I opted for black water rafting, a 3 hour trip to the pitch black darkness and 10 degree water, 65 metres below ground. And I was so happy I did.

The Wai (water) tomo (hole) caves boast lofty chambers, long galleries, stalagmite and stalactite formations, small tunnels and caves, mysterious rivers and waterfalls. Before heading to the caves, we geared up and practiced jumping the waterfalls on the river – even that was scary for me! After the practice jump, I decided that I would go all in and go first in everything if I had the chance to. Into the darkness I went, with no other directions but to hold on to my black tube, my adventure vehicle. We crawled trough a tiny labyrinth, jumped 3 waterfalls, had some chilled (truly, chilly) out floating with the flow, paddled and at the end of it all, let the glow worms’ glow guide us out of the cave in pitch black darkness.

I didn’t make this time lapse, obviously.

The rafting was definitely an experience I will never forget – we learned about these glowing maggots (not actually worms!) who have very interesting lives: from mating for 48 hours and then dying, to their cannibalism and webs that have neurotoxin. After the adventure we were treated to a (not so hot) shower, followed with a cup of soup. That experience definitely woke me up, but then I fell asleep on the bus to Hobbiton – the ultimate more new tourist attraction of New Zealand.

Byebye Australia – For Now

Leaving Australia after building a life in Melbourne was very sad, something I had ticking in the back of my head even a few weeks before leaving. I had booked a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, just because I needed to go somewhere, not because I necessarily wanted to. In Melbourne I had friends, a lovely laid back job with great work mates, and still heaps of exercise places to try out, it was the best season of the year…and I needed to let go of it all, get rid of the clothes and things I managed to hoard in 12 months, move out of my apartment and figure out what’s next in life. Easy to admit, the last few weeks have been a tad hectic. I was lucky enough to have a lot of work until the end, and to still managed to have the time to check out all the cafes I’d wanted to go but hadn’t had the chance yet…it was living life to the absolute fullest, with minimum time for rest and oh-so important me-time. One chapter of my life is now over, and I am off to the adventures awaiting me. To the Hobbit land!

Brighton beach huts.
Brighton beach huts.

After going to eat breakfast out for 4 days in a row, having farewell drinks and games and bbq (finally, a real bbq experience!), I got myself to the airport with my expensive cold pressed organic juice and only 17kgs of luggage, just to drop the juice to the floor and find out that I won’t be let in New Zealand without a ticket out. After a quick panic attack, some phone support and Skyscanner scanning, I chose to fly to the Gold Coast after 20 days in New Zealand. I calculated that 20 days would be enough to get me from the south island to the north, and to see ALL THE THINGS on the way. And what an adventure it is going to be…

Last meal in Melbourne in Auction Rooms.
Last meal in Melbourne, Auction Rooms.

Melbourne will always have a special place in my heart, and I am pretty content I will return there some day. There is still so much to see, do, eat…! I have made lifelong friends, gained tremendous amount of great memories, learned heaps of life and myself, and developed myself both professionally and personally. What a great year, regardless of the rough patches throughout. I have definitely become stronger, and also learned that from now on I will not risk having to buy tickets at the airport. It is stressful and not fun. While starting and sorting out my New Zealand adventures, I will post some foodie things from Melbourne.