We eventually made it to the caves. Unfortunately there is no photography allowed in the caves. But the bit of the tour where you see the glowworms involves sitting in a boat and floating along a bit of river in a cave. There were so many glowworms that you could easily see everyone in the boat. It turns out that we came at the right time of year. The display is much better in summer than in winter.
As we left, I handed the GPS back to Connor. He asked if we trusted him and Chris and I both said yes. The car was silent as we started backing out. All of a sudden, from the back seat, we heard, "GPS signal is lost." Connor looked back at Chris and Chris gave a sheepish look.
It was getting a bit late, so we all stopped at a cafe. Whitebait was on the menu and I thought Connor should have a taste. I've decided that Whitebait isn't my thing. There is just something about having your food look at you that puts me off my tucker.
Later on that evening Sarah and Ben took us to Kerosene Creek, which has a hot and cold sling running into it. We sat in the warm water underneath the night sky and enjoyed ourselves.
On our last day, I drove Connor and I back up to Auckland. Along the way we stopped for lunch in Matamata, which is right by Hobbiton. Our Hobbiton tour guide had told us about how people would sometimes take off their shoes and kneel on them to look more like a Hobbit. A certain someone enthusiastically jogged over to the town sign to do just that.
Before going to the airport I took Connor to Takapuna, where I had spend much of my time in New Zealand as a child. While we were there Connor brought out some greenstone he had bought me and dipped it into the ocean. Dad and I had done something similar for Mum's greenstone on a previous visit.
We walked up and down the beach and enjoyed the last bits of New Zealand.
This was to be the last calm moment we would have for the next few hours. We hit the worst traffic I have ever seen in Auckland and almost missed our flight back home. It's an involved story, but everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Highlights included all the rental car drop off spots were full, getting separated and only one of us having a working mobile, losing my boarding pass as we were being called to board (I've never lost one until now), going to the desk to get a new pass... only no one is there. We did make it. But we got to the gate with less than 10 minutes to spare. But we made it! And so ends the great New Zealand adventure chapter of my life.