Day 9: Te Kuiti
Left our comfortable lodge at Mangorei Rd and went on a three hour drive to Te Kuiti. Our plan for the day is Waitomo Caves for the spectacular glow worms display in the dark caves!!!!
We stopped by Bosco Cafe for a lunch break. Thank goodness for free WiFi though the signal is a bit weak so I’m using a bit of my 4G. It seems like it’s a local favorite as there’s lots of people eating here and drinking coffee. Luckily we got a seat inside with the aircon.
After filling up, we drove straight to our next motel which has a good kitchen, lovely bathroom and comfortable beds for us to sleep in! But it is still early in the day so we quickly unpacked our necessities before driving around 10-15mins to the Waitomo Caves to purchase our entry tickets.
The 45min tour wasn’t too spectacular as our tour guide spent the majority of the time talking about the rules for us to follow. I did not take any photos as we were not allowed and it’s understandable. But instead of just text, here are some photos from google images.
It was cool inside the caves so bring a cardigan or a light jacket. While viewing the beautiful sight of the glow worms, our tour guide kept on talking about the caves’ formation and how they named some of the pieces of the stalagmites and stalactites. We only had about 10mins tops on the small boat (which we had to queue up for quite a while due to the limited boats) and they took us around the small cave to see the spectacular glow worms in the darkness.
After the tour, we headed straight to the supermarket to buy some food for dinner as it was a pretty small town and cafes were already closed (they close around 4pm). The mussels in NZ are very fat and tasty when compared to Australia! Also, they are cheap! You can find them for around $3/kg!
Day 10: Te Kuiti -> Otorohanga -> Hamilton -> Auckland
The next morning, we woke up early to check out as we have a long 2.5 hour drive back up to Auckland before our flight the next day. On our way, we stopped by a good coffee place recommended by my mum’s bible “The Lonely Planet NZ Guide” lol. Located in Otorohanga, the Origin Coffee Station does deliver good coffee! We also bought a few bags of coffee beans as well as the addicting chocolate covered coffee beans for souvenirs!
It’s quite funny that these were the only souvenirs we bought from NZ. But it was good because they were worth it!
If only those chocolate-covered coffee beans lasted forever! They are so delicious and I’m sad that there are only a few left now 😦
We then had another short stopover to another recommended place by the Lonely Planet – Duck Island Ice cream. This was good because I have yet to have had ice cream in NZ. Located in Hamilton, this quaint place makes their own ice cream from organic products. The flavours are unique and it seems the locals love it as there was quite a queue. We purchased a tub which we could fill it with three flavours. There were quite a few options which was hard for us to make as we never tried any of those combinations before in our life! They were nice enough to offer us tasters and a lot of the flavours were disappointing. Honestly..it is not that amazing. Sydney has better 😜
This was our last stopover before we headed up to Auckland. The traffic was horrendous as there was an accident. I think we were stuck there for nearly an hour or two…really bad.
Day 11: Auckland -> Sydney
I have been waiting this day to come for the past two days already! Could not wait to get back home and snuggle into my cozy bed with my plushies! It was a lazy day before our afternoon flight as we just rested, ate and packed. We took our time and did not bother with extra sightseeing as we already saw most of Auckland in our first two days here in NZ.
We returned our car back to the rental company and the process was quick because as soon as we arrived, they checked the car and soon transferred us to the airport in less than 10mins! We checked in as soon as we arrived and waited until our boarding time. That did not mean that we did not spend time in duty free because who wouldn’t?! This is the time to get items for CHEAP (well…tax-free)!
We bought lots and lots of alcohol for ourselves and as gifts. My only regret now is not buying an extra bottle of Baileys as we’ve nearly finished it 😅
Anyways, I truly enjoyed my vacation at NZ! I liked the fact that we did not have to spend too long flying so no jet lag there. As an Australian, I felt quite comfortable in NZ as it felt like I was in another Australian city and not a different country. I guess the close proximity between two countries also helped in this feeling. The people were very friendly and the places we stayed in our trip were so comfortable! I would love to go back, especially, to explore the South Island!
Until next time New Zealand!