We had always wanted to go caving from the moment we'd stepped foot on New Zealand soil. Tim with his new love for rafting and Bee with her love of all things 'nature' based. Waitomo was the place to go as it featured numerous cave systems that could be explored. We opted for 'Waitomo Adventures' as they offered a bit of everything, tubing, caving and the famous 'glow worms'.
One of the advantages of visiting NZ in June was that everything was very quiet due it being their winter. This meant we were the only two people in our group and had our guide 'Ryan' all to ourselves and could go at our own pace. We donned our long wetsuits, booties, wellies and hard hats and set off across the lush green landscape to find the cave entrance We were escorted by and a huge herd of sheep another NZ staple.
It had been raining heavily over the last couple of days so we had to be extra careful but the water level meter looked OK, so we cautiously ventured into the first cave system. The water got higher and higher and we suddenly noticed how cold it was as it flooded into our wellies. We then had to let a little water into our wetsuits to make them work, which led to more yelps from the both of us.
It wasn't long before we'd forgotten about the cold water and we're being amazed by the incredible rock formations. Giant stalagmites (ground up) and stalactites (ceiling down), funky spine like slices of rock and small eroded caves, perfect for hiding in.
The glow worms didn't disappoint either. Our guide had us turn off our head torches so our eyes could adjust to the dark. Then the glow worms came alive all around us, they're the larvae of tiny flies that enter the caves to reproduce. The light comes from the worms eating and moving and helps them attract smaller insects as food. With the lights still off our guide utilised the long exposure mode on his camera to come up with some rather magic photos, which you can see in the Waitomo photo album.
There was just time to jump in our handily placed inflated inner tubes and float down the next section of tunnels, before making our way out of the caves. Not quite the action packed rafting Tim had experienced above ground but Bee still got her pulse racing as she bounced down a section of water called 'Pinball Alley'. It was a great experience and as we emerged into the light outside with huge smiles on our faces we knew we'd be back to do more caving in the future.