After a late night of partying it was early to rise to get on the bus to Waitomo to go caving! About 2 weeks ago I was at Waitomo Adventures doing the Haggis Honk, which is abseiling and caving. Today’s plan was to do the Haggis Honk again, but Stray arranged for a couple of us who have already done the Haggis Honk to do the TumuTumu TOObing. Thanks guys! This action packed adventure had hiking, swimming, climbing and black water toobing involved. I thought it was going to be a cakewalk; sit in a tube and just float down the underground waterways, just like being on the lazy river at wonderland. I was wrong! We were in the water a lot more than in the Haggis Honk; thankfully we had wetsuits on to keep us warm. Though one of the guys was cold and constantly shivering (we now call him shivers ehehe). The guide did have a warm pack for him to slip in his suit to counteract the chattering teeth. I really enjoyed this caving/toobing. I saw way more glow worms than in the Haggis Honk – it was almost as if you were looking at the stars on a clear night. The guides pushed us to lead and put us through small cave systems, seeing if we could be pushed out of our comfort zones. I really didn’t have a problem with any of the tight spaces. Im also not a really big guy so I could slip through most tight spots with ease. Finally my smaller stature works in my favour ehehe. Between the two trips; Haggis Honk and TumuTumu TOObing I really cant pick a better one. Each had some really cool aspects to it. Haggis Honk you get to abseil down waterfalls and with the toobing you get too see more glow worms. If you have the chance do both, as they are great fun!
After the toobing we had a hot shower to get warmed up and it was back to the Wiatomo Adventures office to wait for the other group who did the Haggis Honk. Being that our group was made up for 4 people it moved quite a bit faster than the other group, so we had to wait about an hour or so before they got back. Everyone was pretty hungry after exerting themselves in the caves, so we hit up a local bakery and went to town on the pies! New Zealand does have the best pies in the world! So many choices.. steak and cheese, thai chicken, lamb mince.. I could go on and on!
Maori welcoming at Uncle Boys
With everyone fed we were now off to Uncle Boys for a traditional Maori meal before experiencing Maori culture as our group took the role of visiting tribe. Uncle Boy greeted us and he gave us a run down of the evening events. First off we would have a big feed and then take in the show, which included a welcoming, some history, a haka and a poi.
The food was great and we were all pretty excited to se the cultural show. We took off our shoes and headed into the Marea, men first and women following. We then lined up behind our chief, (the oldest person with us) and he had to pick up a leaf to show the tribe that we were there in peace and not to do harm. If he had stepped over the leaf, not picked it up or didn’t keep eye contact with them as he picked it up it would have been an insult and we would have gotten our asses kicked. Thankfully, it all went according to plan and the tribe accepted us. We then sat down and watched them perform a couple songs for us and then the women did the Poi and the men did the Haka.
With their show over it was now our turn to learn the Haka and the women would learn the Poi. We separated into two rooms and the guys started to break down the Haka for us. When doing it you really have to commit and give it your all regardless of how stupid you will look. After practicing for about 20 mins we changed into the outfits and headed into the Marea to show off our Haka. The ladies went first and did the Poi. Back in the day Maori boys used to do the Poi and it would strengthen their forearms and wrists so they could use weaponry. The girls did a great job and then it was our turn. I headed for the back row, so I could follow a long, as I wasn’t 100% on all of the movements. It was a lot of fun and we did a pretty good job. We then had to switch back row and front row ahaha . So now I had no one to follow once I got lost .. Hilarious! (I kind of felt at one point like I was dancing in thriller ahah). I was impressed that everyone gave it 110% and were all screaming at the tops of their lungs. I think all of the guys broke blood vessels in their legs from slapping them so hard. Loved it!
Jason from Stray's Go East tour and Ryan from Longbush Wines (left to right)
After that we had a wine tasting with Ryan from Longbush wines in Gisborne. I am not a big wine drinker, but I really did enjoy this part of the evening. We sampled about 10 different wines and learnt what to look for. It is all personal preference so there are no wrong answers (love those kind of things!). Ryan brought 25 bottles and we polished them all off. Pretty impressive. When we all first sat down at the table everyone seemed pretty tired, but after a couple of glasses of wine everyone came a live.
With the wine tasting over Ryan broke out his acoustic base and Casey brought out his acoustic six-string and they had a little jam session in the kitchen. We all just chilled out, drank some more wine/beer and partied the night away.
That evening we were sleeping in a traditional Marae as a group. It was great fun. Everyone had a mattress and comforter; it was nice and cozy. We did have one guy who snored. I mean it sounded like he was starting a chain-saw. Fortunately enough I drank enough to pass the hell out quickly, plus I had my ipod, which made it a little easier. In the morning there were quiet a few people who didn’t get any sleep because of the snoring – poor bastards. He did warn us of his snoring before hand, so I prepared by having a couple extra beers before bedtime.
Both Waitomo Adventures and Uncle Boys are something that shouldn’t be missed if you coming to NZ. Have any questions about it, just drop me a comment and Ill get back to you.