Hitch Hiking: The Tinder of Transport Options 

“Hitch hiking is so safe in New Zealand, everyone does it” says, just about everyone. 

Yesterday, three 3 Non Blondes (of the non musical variety) wrote up some signs and stood by the side of the road. 

Tactics weren’t really discussed – we just stuck our thumbs out (cautiously at first) and smiled. Some people smiled at us, but no one stopped. It was like being swiped left in real time, people glanced at us, didn’t even look at our profiles and decided to keep going. Clearly, our outfits, what we’ve deemed, “Rape Prevention Kits” were working too well: no one wanted to pick up three women in cargo pants and non Lululemon exercise gear.

We laughed off being rejected, but began to question ourselves when a blonde hitch hiker gave us some side eye when we said we had been waiting 20 mins, as though that was an inconceivable amount of time. Note: we can also put the 20 mins down to the fact that there were three of us, and for the first half an hour, we were ambitious and held up a sign asking to be driven an hour away (turns out no one on their way to work wanted to drive to a glacier instead).

It was time to change tactics, be a little less hard to get, so we changed the sign to “Roy’s Peak”, a mere 7km away, basically the equivalent of changing a dating profile from “I am a princess, earn my love” to, “I love dive bars”. 

Once again we were thwarted by a second blonde (wearing shorts) who also laughed when we said we had been there for 30mins, and promptly picked up a ride within 5 mins. 

Embarrassed, we started walking and just hoped that someone would take pity on us, as with all dating, our standards had gone down, it was like 4am at the end of the night and basically we would have gotten into any kind of sketch camper van. 

Miraculously, finally, a very nice travelling Melbourner, took pity on us, picked us up in his very acceptable four door sedan rental car and drove us to the start of the 16km walk. 

Lesson: there is a lid for every pot, and the lid will come around when it’s good and ready.

Blatantly Hitting on Someone Without Having a Clue

Handy tip: of you want someone to follow you around for a bit, especially in a slightly creepy way, upon introduction to said person, just say “hi, (I hear you’re jumping on our bus), you’re very attractive, don’t laugh, it’s empirically true and you know it – see those boys over there….” 

The rest of the introduction (a nefarious plan to give the boys on our bus some competition) bypasses their brain completely and all you’re left with is a guy who thinks you think they are attractive. 

Should I have known better? Probably. Definitely. But now I get to make excuses as though I am in a hair commerical, “well, must go brush my teeth…”, “Been wearing the same clothes for too long, really must do laundry”, “couldn’t possibly tonight, must look for my passport” 

delayed lessons in adulting…

Pre-Gaming St Patty’s Day

If you want to feel fresh before going out for St Patty’s Day, go to the spa. 

And so it was that three intrepid backpackers decided to treat themselves to a premium Polynesian Spa experience: 5 hot pools full of geothermal healing activity, one provided clean plush towel and a shower that came with shampoo (we would be lying if we didn’t say we did it for the shower)

It should be noted that the geothermal activity was sulfric, and hence smelled like rotten eggs. 

Three hours later, we were hard boiled. 

An hour after that, on our way to the bar, the smell of old breakfast eminated from our pores and slight concern lingered in the air. 

However, concern was unnecessary because St Patty’s Day in Rotorua (population 20,000) is just like anywhere else: the entire population crammed into one bar, getting sweaty, singing “Sweet Home Alabama” at the top of their lungs, everyone kind of on the same page about consciously not inhaling anything. 

In a town that always smells faintly of rotten eggs, humans that smell of rotten eggs was no big deal. Even in my giant man repelling green baseball cap men chose to talk to me (#thingsthatwouldnothappeninnewyork)

And now I’m scrambling on how to end this post, so I might just pull a Humpty Dumpty and crack off. 

Cannibalistic Shagging Worms 

“Basically they are cannibalistic shagging glow worms” said our guide with glee, knowing that this perfect description, delivered at least twice a day, landed well with every tourist. 

We laughed cause it was funny, but also because we were 80 meters below the surface, sitting in a dark cave, in the middle of a flowing river, wearing very smelly wetsuits- and in that situation you laugh at anything your guide says lest you turn into the example of the “sheep” bone put on display for us at the beginning. 

The Waitomo Caves, (in Maori, “Wai” means water, and “Tomo” means hole) are a series of 1000 caves under prime New Zealand farmland. They were unearthed when farmers discovered their sheep had gone missing due to an unhealthy penchant for base jumping. 

Not my image. We were not allowed to bring cameras

Inside these caves reside bright blue “glow worms” that light up like LED lights at a Katy Perry concert. Only they aren’t worms at all, they are fungus gnats, the larvae of which glow when hungry. They spend about 6-12 months being larvae, spinning a mucus that hangs down and is used to catch prey. Then they spend 3 days as adult flies, mating as much as possible, or getting caught in the mucus snares and being eaten by the next generation. 
In order for us to view this sort of “red light” district for flies, a place they “know they shouldn’t go, but they just can’t help themselves” we abseiled down into the cave, under waterfalls, crawled on our tummies through really tight spaces, scaled pretty vertical walls, wore questionable smelling wetsuits, and generally felt like badasses (you try lifting your leg onto an unreachable slippery rock while in full body Spanx) – all so we could say we viewed some glow worms, which will now be referred to as Cannibalistic Shagging Worms because that sounds the appropriate level of badass.