Waitomo Caves = ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE.
What an amazing experience... We spent 2 hours in an underground cave, full of stalactites, which FYI grow 1cm every 100 years. We got to wear stylish, thick wetsuits, rubber boots and helmets with headlamps.
The caving started with a narrow climb down a long ladder and then we were in! We spent a good while walking/crawling through the cave before we reached the underground river. Most of the crawl spaces and other obstacles had hilarious names, a few of the best being: the rebirthing canal, ankle-breaker alley, and constipation crack.
Before we got in the water we had to smear mud all over our faces to camouflage ourselves from the Taniwha (pronounced tawn-ee-fa), a Maori water monster. Just myth, although there ARE eels living in the water… a bit creepy… thankfully, I did not encounter one. The water was cold but we had thick wetsuits on, which our guides gladly helped us break in by unexpectedly dunking us all. After more wading and climbing we reached the tubes!! Yes, underwater cave tubing! Given our young, adventurous spirits we were all required to jump from high off the cave walls with our tubes into the river, with the option of doing a flip. Kiwis are awesome in that they let you do things that would easily be a liability in the US ;) makes everything more fun! We floated in the tubes with our headlamps off and watched the glowworms on the ceiling while singing songs, the finale being “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, very much reminded me of Disneyland. The whole experience was incredible and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
A picture with our group and the guides, Russ and Chris, top left and laying on the ground.