After our little party at the beach we jumped back on the bus the following morning to head to Waitomo.
Our first stop of the day was Karangahake Gorge for a quick leg stretching hike along the trail. It is the site of the original gold rush from 1875 and is steeped in mining history. We followed the old Goldfields railway line crossing over a couple of suspension bridges and through pitch black tunnels with stunning cliff side views of the Waitawheta River. It felt very Indiana Jones like!
From here, we drove to our accommodation for the night. We stayed with the guaranteed accommodation again as we’d been unable to secure anything else for ourselves.
We stayed in the Kiwi Paka Waitomo and had a double room to ourselves. We had our own kitchen facilities so we were able to cook for ourselves, which we ended up sharing with our friends, and in the evening we headed to the Curly’s Bar for a quick drink and a natter.
Bundled up in our very fetching wetsuits and wellies with our rubber rings slung over our shoulders we headed off to disappear into the caves. We didn’t really know what to expect, other than the fact we’d have a rubber ring to sit in whilst we look up at the glowworms.
Getting into the cave itself we had to step down over some ragged boulders and slid down a short version of the Goonies cave slide. After a short introduction from the staff we were wandering along the freezing cold rapids and squeezing underneath large rocks and then jumping off a waterfall backwards!
The cherry on top of the whole tour was of course seeing the glowworms. We all clambered into our rubber rings and formed a big snake like formation, linking up by our feet. We switched off the lights on our stylish mining helmets so we could lie back and admire the ethereal glow of the glowworms on the cave ceiling above.
It was definitely an experience to remember and certainly not something we’d done before. It was claustrophobic and scary at times but also relaxing. Suffice to say we felt quite proud of ourselves for doing it.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to take photos in the caves but you can see our walk through the gorge in our video here.