Waitomo caves

One of New Zealand’s most renowned tourist attractions, Waitomo’s glow worm caves and limestone landscape has been a major attraction and the centre of caving tourism since 1889, when the maori first led people to see the magnificent caves, formed 30 million years ago!

After pondering my adventure level, I decided that I would regret just walking through the caves and be frustrated with watching the mind blowing scenery only from a boat. I opted for black water rafting, a 3 hour trip to the pitch black darkness and 10 degree water, 65 metres below ground. And I was so happy I did.

The Wai (water) tomo (hole) caves boast lofty chambers, long galleries, stalagmite and stalactite formations, small tunnels and caves, mysterious rivers and waterfalls. Before heading to the caves, we geared up and practiced jumping the waterfalls on the river – even that was scary for me! After the practice jump, I decided that I would go all in and go first in everything if I had the chance to. Into the darkness I went, with no other directions but to hold on to my black tube, my adventure vehicle. We crawled trough a tiny labyrinth, jumped 3 waterfalls, had some chilled (truly, chilly) out floating with the flow, paddled and at the end of it all, let the glow worms’ glow guide us out of the cave in pitch black darkness.

I didn’t make this time lapse, obviously.

The rafting was definitely an experience I will never forget – we learned about these glowing maggots (not actually worms!) who have very interesting lives: from mating for 48 hours and then dying, to their cannibalism and webs that have neurotoxin. After the adventure we were treated to a (not so hot) shower, followed with a cup of soup. That experience definitely woke me up, but then I fell asleep on the bus to Hobbiton – the ultimate more new tourist attraction of New Zealand.