Schneider's Oceania Adventure 2010; Fiji, AU, NZ travel blog

Christmas tree

No glowworm pictures allowed

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Finally, Christmas is here! Greg woke up at seven, and decided to walk Claire and I up. We saw presents under our tree, and Santa had used our hiking shoes for stockings! After fully waking up, we ran into Mom’s room and bounced on their bed. They were surprised we were up so early. They took forever to wake up, and we sat there dividing our presents. In our “stockings” there were huge Caramello chocolate bars and Kinder Surprises. There was also an adorable koala keychain that I love!!! From Santa I got brown Uggs, which I really wanted. Claire got a snowglobe and a Sydney etch glass. Greg received a Fiji rugby jersey that was really nice. We all loved our presents. I also got a really cute Sydney poster from Greg and Claire, and a drawing book from Mom and Dad. I got Claire a kiwi snow globe, and Greg got her an I.O.U. ☺ Greg got a huge bag of Mars Bars, his new favorite candy. Mom got a Fiordland movie, a Sydney picture frame, a Sydney ornament, and a Queensland ornament. Dad got a really cute snow globe and a plate from Queenstown. Claire unfortunately lost her present for Greg, we think its somewhere in our luggage. After opening presents, we went back to sleep. We were so tired from waking up early, than took a nap. Typical Schneiders. Then the farm family came over to wish us a Merry Christmas, we gave them some Frango mints that we bought at Macy’s. They were so excited, but we don’t know how well they travelled from Chicago. They gave us some Cadbury chocolates that were New Zealand made. Greg and Claire went to play on the trampoline with the other cabin’s kids. They had a bunch of kids, but Greg and Claire played with Olivia and Sam, eight year old twins. Mom and I sat on the porch swing, reading our kindles. We brought out blankets and pillows, and it was very nice. Then Mom, Dad, Greg, and Claire went down to the river to see the cows and sheep. I stayed at the cottage on my comfy swing reading Charlie St. Cloud. When they came back we had lunch and relaxed. Then we made a delicious Christmas dinner. We had steak, fresh from the butcher. It was very yummy and we were having a great Christmas. Then, we had to go into town for 8:15 glowworm tour. When we got to the visitor’s center, we boarded a boat. The boat ride took about forty-five minutes, and we went through the pretty islands. Mom and I went to the top of the boat, where it was windy and raining, but we didn’t get seasick. There were a lot of Asian tourists on the Christmas tour. When we finally arrived at the little hut across the islands, we go off the boat and walked into a visitor’s center. We received free tea and coffee and watched a quick video on the glowworms. Then, they split us up into four different groups of twelve people. They would take one group, then we would wait five minutes before the next group got in. Our group was third, and we entered the cave. The entrance was very low and we all had to duck, even Claire! The water was rushing right beside us; it was a little frightening. So we were in this cave, about forty meters underground, on this little boardwalk. We were walking, and when you looked up, you saw tons of tiny blue lights. They looked just like little Christmas lights hung from the ceiling. When we stopped at a skylight, we asked if they were fake. Our guide said those were glowworms, who don’t like sound or light. We walked up to a waterfall that was roaring, just pouring over the edge. It was so beautiful; to think such a huge waterfall could be in a cave. We walked up some stairs, still with great views of waterfalls and whirlpools. Then we boarded a small little boat. It was completely dark; you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Our guide was pulling the boat by a rope, and we were surrounded by glowworms. They looked so close to us, I probably could’ve touched many of them. It was magical, seeing millions of tiny blue dots all of over the ceiling. It kind of felt like a Disney ride; being in a little boat on a relaxed river. We saw another boat pass us and we could barely see them. It was a time of silence, nobody talked and there was nothing to distract us from the amazing little creatures. Mom later said that the whole thing was magical, they whisked us off to a little island, put us on a boat and guided us through the glittering caves of glowworms. After we got off the boat we walked around the cave, then we exited the same way we entered. It was dark when we got out of the cave and we walked back to the visitor’s center. We learned a little bit more about the glowworms and then they answered questions. The tour was over, so we went back on the boat that would take us to Te Anau. It was an incredible experience, seeing the glowworms. On the boat ride back we saw fireworks and tons of Christmas lights. We ended our tour and went back to the farm cottage. We had an amazing Christmas, one that won’t be forgotten. Tomorrow is Christmas at home, so Merry Christmas! We love and miss everyone!

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