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April 19th 2007
Published: April 19th 2007
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A split day. I went off caving doing two different activities in the morning and afternoon with a company called Waitomo Adventures. With 5 others we were minibused to TumuTumu cave. We donned our wetsuits and stylish white wellies and then after a short walk descended through a small entrance into the caves. The cave follows the course of a stream. At first it felt very claustrophobic. The cave varies from large tunnel to fairly tight squeezes. The water varies from ankle deep to so deep that it is necessary to swim. The wellies of course kept filling up. At one pool our leader showed us a large eel in the clear water. There were very beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and curtains. I’d been a bit worried about the squeezes, but none were too alarming. At a deep section we each collected a tyre tube and plunged backwards into the water. The water was very icy. It was very relaxing as we drifted along and turned our lights out so that we could see the incredibly numerous and bright glow worms which each have descending spidery threads to catch insects. We stopped for a flask of hot lemon and a chocolate
Tumotumo cave - blackwater raftingTumotumo cave - blackwater raftingTumotumo cave - blackwater rafting

On my inflated tube underground
fish (the latter seem to be a NZ institution) at a platform called the ‘Hard Rock Café’. The adventure came to an end all too quickly although it was very pleasant to clamber up through the exit into the daylight. We had been underground for about two and a half hours. There was just time for a hot shower before being bussed back to Waitomo Caves village. My planned activity called Haggas Honking Holes was cancelled due to the other person on it cancelling, so they offered me the more expensive option of doing the ‘Lost World 4 hour’ at the Haggas price. I decided to do it and having joined up with the other two ( a Kiwi father and son ), headed off to a different cave. This is a dry caving experience - the highlight of which is a 100 metre abseil into an amazing cavern. It was my first ever abseil and very scary especially when you initially slide of the platform and look down the 100 metres to the carvern floor. It takes about 15 minutes to descend and I gradually became more relaxed and enjoyed the fantastic views. Once at the cave bottom we headed off into the cave. There was a lot more hairy scrambling with huge drops ( we had safety harnesses attached at these points). The cave system is enormous and impressive. At one point there is an exhausting 30m climb up a steel ladder. The leader showed us fossils of scallops and oysters. At one point we clambered over a huge rockfall (it was a bit scary but actually the fall happened 30,000 years ago). We saw more glow worms. By the time we exited the daylight was fading over the beautiful limestone landscape. A fantail fluttered amazingly close to check us out and a large hare scampered past. It was 6:35 before we got back to the office. Because they’d messed me about with the cancelled activity, they let me have the photo CD for free which was a nice bonus. Jen had spent a relaxing day catching up on emails and relaxing. We decided on a Chinese Takeaway. The sweet-n-sour fish was delicious washed down with some Speight’s Old Dark beer.

Additional photos below
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My first ever abseilMy first ever abseil
My first ever abseil

There was a 100m beneath me - and he told me to smile for the camera.

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