After breakfast, Sandra drove us into town. Fortunately, she had to go in to buy some bread in any case, thus assuaging our guilt somewhat. She dropped us off at the big power station on the edge of town – it was having an open day today, so we thought we’d seize the opportunity to look around. And it was quite interesting, more from an aesthetic impression point of view than because of the engineering, since there wasn’t nearly enough information being given out. One went on a long walk thro’ the complex, + that was all. There were lots of people around (wearing hard hats) to answer questions, but as one of the feats is knowing exactly which questions to ask, that really wasn’t very much help. Still, as I say, all those pipes were interesting – but we had to pay $1.50 each for the privilege.
Afterwards, it was affair little walk into town, especially as we were heavily laden. But once again the hitch-hiking was easy, even on a Sunday – we were at Waitomo, our next stop, by late afternoon. The rides of note were with a garrulous Dane (in NZ we have met 2 Danes, or Danish ex-pats – both have been convinced the world is going to pot, + that it’s the Communists’ fault! I suppose it must be something in the bacon), + with an elderly couple who bought us ice-creams. Anyone who buys us an ice-cream automatically gets a mention in the diary. How’s that for fame!
Diane had told us that the Waitomo Hotel have rooms at $5, so we went there. She was right, the room was $5… each. This is still by no means a bad price, but we’d somehow got the impression from Diane that the rooms were a bit special. She’s gone on especially about the bath. Well. The room was seedy, and the bath in the communal bathroom was dirty + didn’t have a plug. Still, the building was beautiful.
The price of entrance to the caves gave us a bit of a shock – $8.50 for the ticket to all 3. Still, we were there to see them, so bought our ticket, + then went down to look round the museum. It wasn’t bad, but the guy in charge was a bit too enthusiastic + conceited for us. However, he did tell us we could see the Glowworm Cave this evening, so we rushed off there. It was a very good trip, most especially the last part, a short boat-ride thro’ the Glowworm cavern itself, + out into the open air – that was just unreal. What a place to be stoned! (Or maybe not.) As usual, of course, there were some right show-off eejits in our group, making inane comments + fools of themselves (in our view, anyway.)
After the trip we returned to the hotel, fixed ourselves some dinner in our room – amazingly, after 10 months of idleness, our little stove fired first time – then relaxed in the lounge for the evening. That was another plus – the lounge was ace.
Our photo album for this section of the trip devotes 3 pages to the power station, which was definitely somethkng of an overkill. And it was interesting enough, i suppose.
And then Waitomo. For quite a while, it was my favourite word, simply because of the sound. And again, it was quite an enjoyable outing, but maybe a bit too much like common or garden tourism.