We took a tour of Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. It's amazing how many of the little luminescent insects there were, and our guide was friendly (he was also the 8th generation of Waitomo tour guides in his family). It was more expensive than I thought it would be, but it was interesting. You're not allowed any kind of photography in the cave itself, and here they did try to get you to buy a photo - however it wasn't even a photo of you in the cave, they just took it in front of a wall before you went in.
Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve
Near the town of Te Kuiti, where we loaded up on picnic supplies, is the scenic reserve of Mangaokewa. There was plenty of room to relax and have a picnic under a large tree with a view of the river and wooded cliffs beyond. It seems we do have rather a lot of picnics.
Yannick's hayfever had been acting up that day and once we got to the caves and realised we needed a torch, he was overcome with sneezing. I ran back to the car for the torch and he had recovered somewhat by the time I got back. There were parts where you could see beyond into another cave, and I got to shine my torch on it to light it up for this photo. On one part of the rock, I saw a creepy marker of some sort - it looked like someone had made a dream catcher out of human hair and strung it to the rock. I bet it was for a voodoo ritual.
The sand is black because of the iron content due to the volcanoes that are off the coast as well as Mount Taranaki. The dark colour of the sand helps absorb and hold onto heat.