The beaches were definitely nice but it was time to start doing some adventure travel which New Zealand is famous for. That being said I decided to pay for my first Stray bus excursion which happen to be spelunking at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
I ended up going with the Tumi Tumi tubing option which ran around 110 US. Once I payed my cold hard cash we donned our wetsuits, geared up with hard hats with lights and put on a pair of rubber boats. We looked like a couple of salty miners ready for action. It was about 10 min walk to the cave which had me sweating to death in the thick 7Mil wetsuit but it was short lived because as soon as we entered the small hole into the dark underworld the temperature drop drastically.
Right off bat we started seeing the glowworms on the ceiling of the cave. When we turned out the head lights the ceiling of the cave looked like a clear night sky beaming full of stars. It was beautiful! Funny fact: the glowworms are not actually glowworms but MAGGOTS! Guess if you named them “glowing maggots” it would really rune the appeal to come see them.
Its pretty amazing how they glow. The glowworm actually does not poo for lack of better word but converts its waste product into light by chemical reaction. Which in turn attracts its prey who fly towards the light and get stuck in the glow worm’s hanging silky beads on the ceiling of the cave. This makes for a pretty efficient cycle of eating, glowing, prey, eating, etc.
After admiring the glow worms for a while we finely got down to some spelunking. The name of this excursion is pretty deceiving being that you only tube through 2 short areas and most of the time you spend crawling, swimming, climbing, scooting your way through dark wet muddy areas of the cave. In one spot we crawled through a small tunnel about 15 ft (4.5 meters) in length that was just big enough for me to fit through on my belly! Talk about claustrophobic and we did it in complete darkness as well!
By the time we got to the end of the cave 2 hours had passed and my adventurous side was still wanting more. I think if I had more time to stay in the area I would have done the full day tour! All in all it was blasty blast time!!!
Stray recommendations: If you are looking for something out of the norm to do on the North Island this is it. Tumi Tumi tubing was well worth it and the guides were great!
Next Travel Post: The Haka