Waitomo – caves and miniature pet zoo

Our next destination after Rotorua was Waitomo. We had perfect weather and took the scenic route, which was the shortest, but also the most complicated route to take. Small and windy roads led us the way, and presented us with a wide array of photographic opportunities.

We made a stop in Otorohanga to visit the famous Kiwihouse. Unfortunately, this was the only time in New Zealand when I saw live Kiwis. What surprised me most, was how big Kiwis are. I’ve always thought they were less than half their actual size, which is depending on the specific type somewhere between 25 and 45cm. Fun fact: Kiwis lay the largest egg in relation to their body size and incubation is mainly done by male Kiwis.

After this short break we headed for our final destination of the day, the Big Bird Bed & Breakfast in Waitomo. This place was in retrospect one if not the highlight of the New Zealand experience. The B&B is operated by Ann, who is a lovely lady. She gave us a warm welcome and showed us the main attraction: the miniature pet zoo. They have mini alpacas, mini lamas, kune kune pigs, ostriches, emus, donkeys and highland cows. Look at the photos, it was awesome. Afterwards we went along the hills in the early evening sun, which is a treat for every photographer.

Waitomo is best known for its caves. So we took the opportunity and got on a tour through one of the caves. The main attraction was the glowworms, more specifically the fungus gnat Arachnocampa luminosa. They look like little LEDs mounted on the ceiling of the cave. The larva glows to attract prey into its threads, perhaps luring them into believing they are outdoors, for the roof of a cave covered with larva can look remarkably like a starry sky at night.

After the cave tour we drove home, opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and closed a highly eventful day.

Top moments:

  • Stopping in the middle of the road whenever it was nice to take pictures
  • Finally seeing tow real Kiwis and realizing that they are indeed quite cute
  • Standing in the evening sun on top of a hill with the perfect round view across the area

3 thoughts on “Waitomo – caves and miniature pet zoo

  1. Good to see you making use of the PUKANA again Dr Rill! Yay for a little slice of the Mighty Waikato!

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