Have you ever heard of the Glowworms? They are only found in New Zealand, and guess what? It turns out they are not worms at all! Read on to find out what we learned today as we visited the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the Ruakuri Cave. It sure was a day packed with caves exploration.Read More
Today marks our final day on the west coast of the South Island. Before heading east, we enjoyed checking out the interesting "pancake rock" formations and exploring a pitch black cavern in Punakaiki.Read More
Ok, so we did it to get it out of our system... We slept at a hostel. Will we do it again? Probably not, but they say never say never! The kids loved it, but I didn't really get that "we are all travelers let's share stories" vibe. It likely has something to do with the fact that we were a family, and had a private room. Most of the people at the hostel were alone and I overheard some of them trying to have conversations with others. I have no complaints about the hostel. It was clean and quiet and comfortable, but I think I had made up this super fun, let's make friends atmosphere in my head!
A light breakfast was included as part of our stay, and we had to wash up after ourselves. After eating, we headed out to check out Eyre Square, but as we often do we got distracted by a mall on our way. We went in to have a look around and ended up window shopping for so long that it was advisable to eat something before getting back on the road. The shopping mall was close enough to Eyre Square, so we stepped out to take a look before eating lunch.
After lunch, we continued our journey down south along the Atlantic Wild Way. This time we actually made a reservation at a bed and breakfast in the Ring of Kerry (in Glenbeigh). The goal was to make it there around 4 or 5 PM (I'll save you the suspicion and let you know now that we didn't make it until 9:30 PM!! Ha!)
On our way, we drove through some very neat landscapes in an area of Ireland called The Burren, where we decided to make a stop at the Aillwee Cave. The kids were really excited, it was their first time being in a cave. There was a guided tour that taught us a lot about the history of the cave. Hannah's favorite part was the waterfall and Kian's favorite part was the lair where the bear(s) supposedly would sleep during the winter, about 2000 years ago when there were still bears in Ireland.
Kian also enjoyed his head lamp, as it made him feel like Martin from Wild Kratts.
After the cave, we stopped at the farm shop on our way out where we could sample freshly made cheeses and fudge. Mmmm Mmmm...
Next stop was the Cliffs of Moher. Unfortunately for the tired kids who fell asleep in the car, the ride was not very long, and so they weren't very happy at first.
The Cliffs of Moher are magnificent, but the admission price is a bit ridic! I continue to be glad that our kids are under 6 and can get in almost anywhere for free. The entire site is very touristy, with big buses pulling into the parking lot and lots and lots of people walking around.
Nonetheless this wasn't a view we were going to pass up. We did not walk all the way to the end, just up one way to a little tower, then we turned around towards the main cliffs and went half way to the second cliff before heading back. We took the "safer" path, which is barricaded by big stone blocks. On the other side of the blocks you can walk on the edge of the cliff if you would like, and we saw quite a few people doing it. They do have big "DANGER" signs to let you know, you walk the edge at your own risk!
Also, for the Harry Potter enthusiasts, such as ourselves, it was fun to see the film location of one of the scenes from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
It was getting pretty late, and we still had a very long drive to the B&B where we were going to stay for the night. It really isn't that far of a distance as the bird flies, but in Ireland the roads are not exactly super highways, or even remotely straight, and there is a big river in the way with no bridge, making the only driving route something that would take us significantly out of the way. We knew that there is also a car ferry that can take us across the river and make our drive much shorter, but we did not know when the last one would leave. Around 5:45 PM, the Atlantic Wild Way brought us into a town and we decided to ask a shop owner if he knew more information about the ferry.
He did! The last ferry would leave at 9:30 PM and we were only about 45 minutes away. We took the 7:00 PM ferry across the river.
Hannah kept saying that we could not drive on a boat with our car. "The car is too heavy", she kept saying, and would fall off. She was definitely surprised when she saw the number of cars on the ferry.
The ferry took us across the river Shannon from County Clare to County Kerry.
We grabbed dinner from Alma's Takeaway in Milltown, a little shop that served pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets, and the likes. It was good food, and I loved that the shop was run by two women. Since everyone was quite exhausted, we all went to bed shortly after arriving at the B&B, the Kerry Ocean Lodge.
Tomorrow is another day :)