Day 4 takes us north of Auckland to Whangarei (pronounced Faung-er-ray), home to the impressive Abbey Caves and Whangarei Falls. Our Farmstay family was nice enough to drop us off there for several hours without our huge packs so we could easily explore. Armed with cameras, lume cubes, and our go pro, we set out to explore these free caves. The organ cave is the largest, with cavernous ceilings lined with hundreds of glowworms. As we waded through the sometimes waist-deep black water, we found stalagmites and new passageways at each turn. 3 hours later, our eyes straining to adjust to bright again, we more or less thoroughly explored all 3 caves in the region.
About another 10 min drive from the caves lies Whangarei Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve laid my eyes on. You can easily park at the top and walk the 5 min to the bottom, or take the 45 min trail up the road that snakes through bush to the falls. Adding to this scenic, picnic-perfect spot, we eyed a Cormorant clearly posing for the cover of Audubon.