Waitomo the Abyss Caving and Abseiling Experience

So afternoon arrive in Waitomo around 1pm and just have time to check into the hostel, which seems nice with big rooms and tranquil location. Sharing a room with Anna from Gloucester and a girl from Surrey called Miriam.

Checking into the caves I see Hunter from Raglan, which is cool as working there at the Labyrinth, but we have different instructors: Christina who reminds me a bit of lara croft always trying to freak us out and a guy from NZ who acts very ditzy and the joker of the two.

The group for caves is kept small with 9 of us as we have to abseil and it takes about an hour by time we learn how to do it, use the equipment and get down. Some quicker than others, with me being last and slow. Im mostly lowered into the hole rather than abseiling as forgot to use feet to bounce down the wall, so a bit sore on the hands with the rope as not smooth going down. Abseiling was the bit of the trip slightly anxious for, but now I would do again as know what need to be done. At the bottom we turn off our lights and the cave is full of glow worms, which are so amazing to see and very mesmerizing too.

After that we head through the cave to go on the zip wire down to where the water is and we do it in pitch black through the glowworm tunnel –  very cool! Then its time for the rubber tubes and floating along the glow worm caves and jumping into the water it’s so cold – icy and it takes my breath away. We get a hot chocolate and flapjack just before very much needed! We also get some info on the glowworms and explains how they are actually a maggot and of 200 layed only 100 survive as are eaten by other glow worms.

We are floating for about half hour until we have to start walking through the caves ourselves, which is so cold on the hands even with the thick 5m wetsuit. We walk through areas that are tricky, because there are lots of rocks and holes on the floor like the drunken passage.

The last part of the tour is some actual caving where we have to go through some tight holes, one with a mini slide on the other side as you crawl through head first on your stomach and another you climb through more standing up. They lead to small waterfalls we need to climb up, that are fun and a big one in a seperate chamber area that we use to get out the cave and is difficult to climb up as the water is flowing down fast and it’s high so can fall back. Christina tells us where to put our feet as there are certain grooves and have to really listen to instructions to not fall as it is pretty steep. Outside it is starting to get dark and cold. After one last group pic we have a short walk back to warm up as very cold plus to get soup and a toasted bagel. We hang around there all chatting about the experience before heading back to the hostel to change for evening drinks at CURLY BAR. It’s a fun night there and get to know more of the group better all sitting outside on the terrace. The bar actually stays open an extra hour for us all, so it’s not until about 2 before everyone gets to bed!

April 21st 2016

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