The Black Abyss - Black Water Rafting

Explore Ruakuri Cave on this adrenaline fuelled black water rafting adventure - including Jumps, Flying Fox and Climbing Waterfalls!

map Waitomo, New Zealand
5 hrs
Start & End Time
Start & End Time
Max Group Size
Max Group Size
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Not included
Minimum Age
Minimum Age
16 yrs
Fitness Level
Fitness Level
FromNZD $246
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What's Included

  • Experienced caving guides 
  • 5 hours of black water rafting
  • Wetsuits and footwear 
  • Abseiling training
  • Abseiling 35 metres
  • Caving and walking
  • Cave tubing (black water rafting)
  • Glow worms
  • Jumps
  • Flying Fox
  • Climbing
  • Waterfalls

What's excluded

  • Transfers from accommodation



Feeling adventurous? Then this black water rafting tour is a must-do for you! Our experienced guides are ready to accompany you on an unforgettable journey through Ruakuri Cave. 


Black Abyss - Black Water Rafting

Black Abyss is the ultimate Waitomo black water rafting adventure for adrenaline junkies.

Descend into the endless black depths of Ruakuri Cave lit by marvellous lights of shiny glowworms. This five-hour expedition includes abseiling the 35-metre tomo, climbing, whizzing down a flying fox and cave tubing underneath glow worms. 

At every stage you will be accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides. The guides know and love this unique  environment.


About Ruakuri Cave 

The Maori legends state that a young Maori hunting for birds first discovered Ruakuri Cave (rua = den; kuri = dog) 400-500 years ago. Wild dogs attacked him just outside the original cave entrance. The cave was re-opened in 2005, and is now an amazing example of natural cave structure and engineering.

How the caves were formed 

The Waitomo Caves and neighbouring Ruakuri Caves are located in an area full of limestone rock. The cave structures began to form around 30 million years ago from the bones and shells of marine fossils. They collected on the sea floor and then hardened into sedimentary rock. At the same time the earth shifted and volcanoes erupted. It made huge slabs of limestone lift out of the sea. Over the centuries, water flowed through cracks in the rocks, widening them into larger and larger channels until huge caverns were formed.

Ruakuri highlights

Ruakuri Cave has an abundance of glowworms. It is filled with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites formed over millions of years. Another natural wonder includes softly folding shawl-like formations which are formed by flowing rivers. Fossilised seashells indicate how the caves were part of the seabed a long time ago.

One of the major sights is Holdens Cavern, which is named after James Holden. He was the first to open the cave to the public. Other sights include The Drum Passage, The Pretties, and The Ghost Passage.


The Waitomo and Ruakuri caves accommodate the larvae of a species of gnat called Arachnocampa luminosa. A glowworm that is unique to New Zealand. These little insects spend most of their life as larvae (juveniles). They only grow to the size of a matchstick. The effect of their twinkling lights is truly magical. 


Maori spiritualism

Ruakuri Cave has always been a spiritual place for local Maori. They originally used it as a sacred burial ground (wahi tapu). The original public entrance to the cave went right through the burial ground. Today, the new spiral entrance ensures that visitors do not disturb this sacred place.


Please note

  • This tour is on beginners level
  • Minimum 16 years and 45kg
  • Good physical condition is required 
  • Water temperature 10-14°C / 50-57°F
  • 8 people per tour maximum



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585 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo, Otorohanga, 3940, New Zealand

Departs daily at:

09:00 AM

11:00 AM

02:00 PM

5 hours 

Swimwear and towel

Small print
Terms & Conditions:

  • Subject to availability and weather conditions.
  • Minimum of 2 people per trip.
  • Prices and times are valid until 30th September 2017 and are subject to change without notice.

Cancellation Policy:

  • 100% of gross charged inside 24 hours from departure
  • 100% full fee charged in case of No-show

Read full supplier's terms & conditions

Location map

Tourism Holdings Limited
585 Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo, Otorohanga, 3940, New Zealand


FromNZD $246
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