Bugs and adventure on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula
“Are you afraid of insects?” asked Doug Johansen, dubbed “Kiwi Dundee” by the local press. “Well, – er, not really,” I replied, hesitating as I again brushed something itchy off the back of my neck. We were deep in an abandoned gold mine on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, in the midst of stunning, pristine wilderness, a mere two-hour drive from bustling Auckland.
Doug shone his flashlight on the roof of the cave, only inches from the top of my head. The flashlight’s beam revealed the most revolting, seething mass of insects, some inches long. I began frantically slapping the back of my neck as I again felt the ominous itch. But it was only Doug surreptitiously wielding a small fern branch. He delights in telling how, upon playing the same trick on a strapping member of the British boxing team during the Commonwealth Games, the boxer went screaming from the cave.