"Wow it's so beautiful - it's like Ireland on drugs." -- Tim commenting on New Zealand
I have been observing and trying to learn The Power Of Asking. Mike and Tim are so outgoing and willing to get things done simply by jumping up and asking. They talk to every one we meet and I don't know if it's their luck or the cheer of the Kiwis but they certaintly do receive. I'm learning a lot about myself and my social attitudes - watching Tim and Mike just make things happen has been astonishing. They go talk to people and return with posters of New Zealand and directions to secret campsites. These locals told Tim about a place to camp outside Tauranga which turned out to be a Forest Preserve Picnic Area with bold signs that said NO Camping and NO Fires. So we read Lord Of The Rings on some rocks in the middle of a river and headed back to a Camping Sign we had seen a couple KMs back.
We found McLaren Falls by driving past some waterfalls and arrived at a locked gate. Now here I would have turned around either to the Forest Preserve or into town to look for a hostel - just given up at the locked gate and the Closed At 7:30 sign. But Mike hopped the gate, sprinted up the hill, and returned several minutes later saying the Ranger would let us in in exchange for a beer! Off we went to set up camp, fighting the clock and the threat of rain. We finished cooking dinner in the dark (rice, chicken, and stir fried veggies for the most delicious warm meal in a cold dark field I've ever had) and packed up just as the rain stated. Again, we only had one tent and a tiny rental car so Dan and I slept in the cramped car. Before we fell asleep Mike wanted to go look for the Glow Worms someone told him were located in the park. Tim stayed at camp and we headed off in the rain down this hill to find a sign for the Glow Worms.
We wandered down the path along a cliff in the pitch black and before long tiny blue dots appeared along our foot path. There were thousands of glow worms all along the stream and up the cliff to our right! It was unreal. One of the most incredible things I've ever witnessed. We'd heard of glow worms but only through rafting tours you had to pay for to see them in caves. Here they were in the park we were sleeping at and there were so many it was as if someone had strung blue christmas lights along our path. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
To make it better, when we finally woke up in the morning the sun greeted us and we took our time packing up camp. We ate so many peanut butter sandwhiches, walked the waterfalls, and the boys spent time swinging on rope swings into the river.