Phew, we're back. It was a fun trip but it's nice to be home, with the cat collected from the cattery and my own kitchen to cook in. We stayed at the Waitomo Caves Hotel for a couple of nights and went on a couple of cave tours on Saturday. The hotel was quite the experience - faded grandeur would about sum it up, it's in dire need of some major TLC inside.
It was built in two stages, which is fairly obvious from the photo - the bit on the right where we stayed was built in the early 1900s and the bit on the left in the 20s. We were in the older 'Victorian' section, on the second floor. Hazel's room was under that octagonal tower on top and ours is the window far right.
The hotel is reputedly haunted but whatever, don't believe in that stuff. Well so I thought until Mat was chatting to a tour guide at the caves while we waiting to be picked up for the Ruakuri Cave tour and she asked which room we were in, and when he said 5 she was all "ooo, that's one of the haunted ones you know" and reeled off a few other room numbers in addition. So what I discovered is that believing in ghosts is sort of like being pregnant (you either are or you aren't, no such thing as a little bit pregnant) - you either believe or you don't. And the fact that I got even a little bit skittish that night must mean that despite being all analytical and matter-of-fact and scientific about life, I probably do believe in ghosts. Just a little bit. Teeny bit really. And of course nothing untoward happened at all.
ETA: I had a bit of a google about the hotel and the whole haunting thing sounds more than a little vague and certainly room 5 isn't ever mentioned. I think I got pwned!
I tried take a couple photos in the Ruakuri cave but since we'd forgotten the big camera and I was using the iPhone it was a bit of a washout. People taking photos in caves with flashes became the bane of my life though, I mean really WTF people? What kind of photo are you going to get with your tiddly little point and shoot flash anyways? Or without a tripod? So you get a camera full of craptastic photos and I'm wandering around half-blinded by random flashes in the dark. Far better to just ban the damn things and make people buy postcards in the gift shop - they'll end up with better photos and the company will make more money. And I wouldn't be so irritated (the main point). The worst bit was coming out of the Glowworm cave after a magical 15 minutes or so of silence in the boat, just us and the river and the glowworms, and as we came to the entrance of the cave in the twilight, all silent and magical, the guide said "ok people, you can take photos now if you want" and the boat exploded in a frenzy of flashes. Fer god's sake...can't we just enjoy the moment? (grumpy old lady muttering). Check out the links for some decent photos of the caves and some videos!
I did get a nice photo of the Ruakuri stream earlier in the day though, this was taken at 1/30 second, which says a lot about photography in the NZ bush