Abbey Caves and Whangarei
Today we visited the Abbey Caves Reserve. This is 18.7 hectares of naturally sculptured limestone outcrops, bluffs, enclosed depressions, sink holes, and three significant caves. It was a beautiful walk and climb into the caves. Thank goodness for the flashlights that our driver Chris provided to us. Before we began our descent into the cave, our biology teacher gave us a quick lesson on “glow worms”, the organisms that live at the top of the caves. We had to shut off our flashlights, putting the cave into complete darkness, to see these organisms. A rather eerie feeling! It was great to see the teamwork of the students as they helped each other traverse over the slippery rocks and narrow pathway in the caves. I have to admit, I breathed a sigh of relief when we left the caves and headed back to the bus. A very unique classroom setting!
We then travelled into the city of Whangarei (the largest city in the north of New Zealand). Some students choose to walk the 4.5 km Hatea Loop walkway to see the sailboats, yachts, and sculptures along the Hatea River front. Others choose to shop for souvenirs or eat lunch at one of the many cafes by the waterfront. Before travelling into the city we visited the Mount Parihaka Lookout and Memorial to admire the beautiful view of the city.
Students returned to the hotel for afternoon classes. Tonight we are packing for tomorrow’s trip back to Auckland. We will stay one night at an airport hotel and then travel to the Whitsunday Coast via Brisbane on Wednesday. It is hard to believe that we have almost completed the first leg of our travels. We have seen such majestic scenery in the north and have enjoyed many water activities. It is great to see so many new friendships forming as we meld into one big family.