Left Whangerei Bay, passed through Auckland, and after getting lost multiple times, finally found the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves only to be told we needed to have reservations. Back tracked and headed over to Thames (pronounced Tims, do NOT ask me why) where we met our second ATC members, Phil and Anne. Turns out that we were their first ATC travelers since they had signed up for the program only a week before. Anne was so sweet and had put chocolate bunnies on our pillows since it was Easter and cooked us dinner every night.
On the agenda for the day was a water garden on the way to Cathedral Cove and hot water baths. The garden was beautiful and ended with a waterfall. I couldn’t help but groan at how much upkeep it must be to maintain it, but not my problem I guess.
Hiked about half an hour to Cathedral Cove, which is–I believe–the site of one of the Narnia scenes. We tried to swim in the ocean but could not stay on our feet the waves were so strong. Mostly we just lied on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine and sand. We were told that the hot water baths would be even more packed than Cathedral Cove had been, so we decided to skip that site and take the scenic route home. The drive back to Thames around the Coromandel Peninsula was arguably the most beautiful part of New Zealand that I saw during the entire trip. Taking pictures was tricky, however, due to the winding roads and my inherent laziness. The speed limit was 100 km/hr, which was just ridiculous but just like the rest of the trip, cars still piled up behind us. After that we really didn’t have much time for anything else around Thames, so the next day we were off for Rotorua.