February 16, 2014
Waitomo Caves Scenic Reserve
A delightful walk up, down and around the entrances of the Aranui and Ruakuri caves. The very green and picturesque short trail is steep in sections and passes through tunnels in others and is well worth the 5 minute drive from Waitomo Village to reach the parking lot. Alternatively there is a 2 hour track from the village. On a Sunday afternoon we had the place practically to ourselves, running into only one other couple.
Dining at Huhu
Listed as one of the best 100 restaurants in New Zealand by Cuisine Magazine, we were not disappointed. The back terrace of the contemporary dining room overlooks the surrounding hillsides as well as the holiday park next door.
Beautiful in the late evening sun. Just four days out of snow covered DC, it’s hard to believe we are dining al fresco in mid-February.
Started with the eggplant and feta croquette served with baba ghanoush – great eggplant flavor, not too cheesy and best of all served fresh hot.
For mains we tasted the succulent crispy skinned teriyaki salmon served with a summer salad of greens, cucumber, orange slices and avocado dressed with wasabi mayo and sweet soy,
and the slow roasted lemon and garlic chicken served with a potato mash and a tomato and sautéed zucchini salad.
For dessert an apricot cobbler with plum ice cream.
The Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge has bright and clean bungalow type rooms set in a multi-level well- tended garden.
The top room, #3, has the best views back over the valley.
While the rooms are rather ordinary they are spacious and comfortable. The friendly Colin and Jan offer good advice on the area as well as beach towels for the cave tours. A breakfast buffet of the usual offerings is included in the price.