North Island

We departed the south island the other evening and landed in Auckland at about 6:00pm. We decided to head south of Auckland because we couldn’t find good accommodations around Auckland. After chasing around our rental car company for bout an hour, we drove the 60 or so miles south to begin or sprint tour of the north island. We started the next morning with a visit to the Waitomo Caves where about 10,000 glowworms line the ceiling as we watched from below by boat. Unfortunately, no pictures allowed.

North Island

Our next stop was in Kuirau Park just outside of Rotorua. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity and the park was full of bubbling mud pits and sulfur pools. The smell of the town is something else with all of the sulfur and definitely got to me be the evening. It seems to come in waves but can be very overpowering at times.

We spent the next day at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park, which was one of the stranger places we have seen. The green pond above was just one of the many strange things. It may have been the uncertainty of our future combined with the trip ending but the whole place made me feel uneasy. We spent the afternoon hiking from Spa Park to Huka Falls. It is more of a rapid than a falls but is supposedly one of New Zealand’s most visited places.

We are so proud of our sister, Lexa, for finishing the Boston marathon this weekend! She was incredible and we can’t wait to see her soon. We are prepping for our own travel marathon today as we start our 32 hours of flight time over the next six days. We will be exhausted when we land in Rochester in less than a week. The trip has been full of emotional highs and lows, and I imagine its impact will continue to set in for years to come. Our short term goals are managing these long-haul flights and getting home safely.