Abseiling and Caving at Waitomo
Late on 10 January 2006, I arrived at the Abseil Inn Guest House in Waitomo. It was getting dark when I arrived but the one memory of the drive from Auckland was how the countryside's landscape changed. It was obvious that New Zealand contained some stunning scenery. Once I arrived, I was greeted by the lovely Helen ... the room was great too - the ‘Cave Room’ with its black canopy and irresistible shaggy bed covering!

After a good sleep, an even better cooked breakfast ... and a birthday present too! And then off, down the hill, to Waitomo for the Epic Adventure. This was my birthday present to myself - a 100m abseil down into the Lost World cave followed by six hours getting wet, sore and frightened to death while seeing the glow worms on the cave roofs for which Waitomo is famed.

What a fantastic birthday - the 100m abseil was stunning ... and frightening hanging on 100m up, a long way down and nothing only a rope between you and the bottom. Once at the bottom, the most surreal picnic I've ever had. All wet-suited up, we had tea, coffee, sandwiches etc. in the base of the cave watching the eels pass by in the rivers and wondering what all eight of us had let ourselves in for.

The experience was fantastic - scary in places, very wet, dive-bombing in pitch darkness into cavernous waterpools, crawling through magnificent caves, sliding through crevasses under boulders, swimming through rivers, seeing the magnificent glow worms in their natural habitat away from the tourists, tearing the tops of my fingers to the point of bleeding, coming out of the caves into the daylight and walking up the river to find the most fantastic natural Jacuzzi ever!

And to top it all off, a great Kiwi BBQ back at HQ ... a truly wonderful day and birthday present ...