Well, Thursday I finally had to leave my cushy digs in Rotorua and head off for adventurous activities. The plan was to go to the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo and try something they call “Black Water Rafting.”
I arrived in Waitomo just after noon and had a trip called Tumu Tumu Toobing scheduled with Waitomo Adventures at 3pm. This gave me time to go check out the main Glowworm cave of the region in a low key walking and boat tour. The caves here are huge with miles and miles of limestone caves under the village of Waitomo. The tour was a nice intro and the short boat ride through the cave let us see thousands of glowworms (glow worms are actually the larvae stage of a fly that make webs to capture prey much like a spider). Quite impressive.
Next I checked in for my black water rafting and caving adventure. I don’t know why they call it rafting as all the tours are tubing, not rafting. But the black water refers to the fact that you’re in an underground (completely black) river. For people who have issues not being able to see what they are swimming in, this would be an issue.
Now, I have been in numerous caves and gone caving before, but this would be my first experience in a WET cave.
We donned wet suits and rubber boots and made our way to the cave entrance:


Down the rabbit hole…

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Its a sight to see:



To combat mythical cave dwelling creatures, we added camoflage and used native Maori intimidation techniques:

Here’s our tribe of adventurers in Tumu Tumu’s “Glowworm Grotto” (long exposure, so of course, I moved). Yes, those dots of light are glowworms.


Now on to the black water ‘rafting.’

In this pic, I am REALLY happy to be emerging from the crevice I’d been in. It was SUPER tight- I had someone Behind me (unfortunately she got too close and I kicked her in the face getting my boot unstuck from a hole) AND two people in FRONT of me (who didnt understand instructions and took FOREVER to get out). I had a tiny moment of mentally shouting MOVE YOUR ASS to the girl ahead as the claustrophic feelings creeped up after it seemed like I was in there for an eternity.

I’m not sure why I’m smiling, I’m up to my chin in cold cave water:


This activity was actually my favorite thing I did on the North Island (and turned out to be my last activity).