Tag: #northisland

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.