The Black Odyssey - Black Water Rafting

Push your limits on this extreme dry caving adventure through hidden parts of Ruakuri Cave.

map Waitomo, New Zealand
5 hrs
Start & End Time
Start & End Time
10:00 am & 2:30 pm
Max Group Size
Max Group Size
Minimum Age
Minimum Age
16 yrs
Fitness Level
Fitness Level
Not included
From NZD $185
Not available
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What's Included

  • Experienced caving guides
  • 5 hours black water rafting
  • Equipment provided
  • Technical rope work
  • Flying fox / zip line
  • Abseiling
  • Ladder crossings
  • Mind-blowing heights
  • Swing
  • Climbing
  • Caving and walking
  • Glowworms

What's excluded

  • Transfers from accommodation




Feeling adventurous and looking for a sportive day? Then this extreme 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 Odyssey 

The legendary Black Odyssey guided tour includes traversing black chasms, edging across high bridges above roaring streams, spider-walking through ancient rift passages and pushing boundaries with technical high rope work, abseiling and flying foxes. Learn a range of different caving techniques which will help you complete this adventure. 


At every stage you will be accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides. The guides know and love this unique and mind-blowing 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 inspects 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.


Departure point

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


Departure Time

Daily at:

10:00 AM

02:30 PM



5 hours


What to bring?

Shorts, t-shirts, a pair of socks and a towel


Please note

  • You must be 16 years and older and under 120kgs
  • You will need to pass a ‘breathalyser' and 'squeeze box test' before starting the tour
  • 6 people per tour


Terms & Conditions:

  • Subject to availability and weather conditions.

Cancellation Policy:

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


From NZD $ 185
Not available
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