I came to Waitomo to experience a thrilling adventure tour in the stunning glowworm caves everyone told me about. The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Co offers a range of different tours. You can select if you want to get wet or not, if you want to do some abseiling or just tubing. Whatever you choose, a magical glowworm experience is guaranteed. I decided for the Abyss tour.
In the morning I had a nice little breakfast in the cafe on site before our guides introduced themselves and encouraged us, the group, to get to know each other a little better, as well. A good idea since we would spend the next five hours together. We made our way to the shed full of equipment. Everyone got a wetsuit and a jacket, socks, shoes and a helmet. As we were told, I put on the socks first, then jumped into the wetsuit, which didn’t seem long enough for my legs at first. After a while of pulling and jumping up and down while a woman from my group was holding my suit it got a little better so I put on my jacket. The shoes we got were really bold, a characteristic I was thankful for as soon as we were in the cave. We all put on our helmets with the little lights on top and then got our harness for the abseiling. After a short briefing about not peeing into the wetsuits and how there would be the chance for an adventure pee in the middle of the tour, we made our way to the van which would bring us to the entrance to the Ruakuri Cave. The first challenge before we even entered the cave was walking up the hill in our wetsuits and practice the abseiling. Our guides showed us first and then it was our turn to show that we understood what they just told us. Finally, it was time to use our knew skills. One of our guides went down first to secure us while going down. There were two platforms, one to enter the cave and another one to watch the others disappearing into the dark. When it was my turn I was a little nervous. I had to sit down in my harness and then I started sliding down into the dark. The entrance is formed like an hourglass so it gets narrower the deeper you go. When I got to the narrowest part I though I would never fit through it. My arm got stuck a little but after a lot of squeezing I finally made it and after a while I already saw the headlight of our guide down in the cave. The first real challenge: 35m abseiling – done. The others were waiting in the dark to enjoy the first glowworms. Moreover, we saw some fossils in the limestone we were sitting on. After all group members were in the cave we moved on, passed dripstones till we arrived at our next thrill – a flying fox into the dark. I didn’t expect that and I was the first to go. Yeah. I was attached to the rope, told to put my feet first and then I was already flying trough the dark cave having a stunning view of the glowworms. I was so surprised when I was catapulted backwards when the zipline was over. I laid down on the rocks watching glowworms while waiting for the others to arrive. When we were all there it was time for our first little recovery break. Everyone got a cup with hot chocolate and a piece of cake. It was really delicious.
The next challenge was to find a tube which my bottom would fit into. After everyone picked one we were told to jump off a platform and lift our knees up to land in the tube. 3,2,1 and I was diving into the stonecold water. In our tubes we were moving trough the caves, looking at the rock formations and learning about the cave’s history. On the way back we built a line and our guide was pulling us trough the cave in the dark so we could enjoy the glowworms to the full extent. It was magical. The rest of the tour was full of action. Swimming trough the cave, barging over rocks, sliding, squeezing and finally climbing up waterfalls to see the daylight again. Our guides were making sure we were safe and warm all the time. They also gave us the chance to experience the most delicious hot drink: hot orange juice. I had such a great time and the free soup and the bagel created the perfect ending of the tour.