Caving

The Waitomo district is blessed with many cave systems. Each company uses different caves and is therefore able to offer something unique. Included here are a variety of trips offering everything from high adventure to eco tourism. For more options the Waitomo Caves Isite is situated in the village Discovery centre.

All prices for trips were correct at the time of publishing (July 2012).

 

The Lost World

Duration: 4 hours

Price: $310

Level of Fitness required: Moderate to good.

 

If you want spectacular cave views, a 100m abseil and no wetsuit, this will tick all those boxes and a few more. This trip is normally a small group tour. You will be given all the equipment you will need. Although you will be required to provide your own thick socks and you are advised to wear warm comfortable loose fitting clothing to wear under the overalls. This trip is a step in to another world. You will abseil with a guide and descend 100m to the cave floor. There is plenty of time to take in your surroundings before you head a short way into the cave. This is a cave on a grand scale. You will get to see a glowworm display, but really the cave is the star of this trip. There is a fairly long (30 meter) ladder climb to exit the cave. Booking ahead is advised to ensure the timing of the trip suits you. www.waitomo.co.nz/

 

The Labyrinth

Duration: 3 hours

Price: $119

Level of fitness required: average

 

This is an adventure trip where you can expect to get wet and have fun. The Labyrinth trip is a combination between easy on foot exploring and lots of floating along in an inflated rubber ring. Halfway through the tour there is a jump off a 1.5m high waterfall. There are sections of the cave where you will float along in the dark apart from the light of the glowworms. Magic. It is a fully guided tour of no more than 12 people, with all equipment provided. Do take your own swimwear for the trip and a towel and toiletries for the hot showers afterwards. Yes it is chilly in the water but the wetsuits keep you comfortable enough to enjoy the adventure. Free hot soup and bagel give a warming finish to a fun trip. Booking ahead is advisable. www.waitomo.com

 

The Abyss.

Duration: 5 hours

Price: $220

Level of fitness required: good

 

So adventure and variety is what you are looking for? This could be the trip for you. The Abyss takes you on a journey that includes a 35m abseil in to the cave, a flying fox lit by glowworms, a gentle tube ride to get up close and personal with the glowworms and then a cave exploration on foot of the giant canyon with roof on, following the river. If that wasn’t enough then the easy rock climb up a series of waterfalls to exit the cave should have you smiling even if a little tired out. You will be guided through the cave in small groups of no more than 8. All equipment and training will be provided. All you need is swimwear, a towel, toiletries and a sense of adventure. Booking is advisable. www.waitomo.com.

 

Green Glow eco-adventures.

Duration: Allow up to 6 hours

Price: $180 per adult $90 per child

Level of fitness required: Average.

 

Green Glow uses a beautiful, well decorated cave system, which is inhabited by glowworms and has a gentle river running through it. It is set in a stunning area of limestone cliffs and native bush. On this trip you have the option of abseiling, climbing, getting wet and exploring the cave whilst in the river or even exploring just the dry parts of this cave. You can be as adventurous as you like. Cave photography is allowed and if that is what you are most interested in then your trip can be tailored around that. You will not have to wait for people that you don’t know on this trip as you and whichever friends or family members you book on with will be the only people in your group. Your guide on the trip is a highly experienced outdoors instructor who will change the trip to suit your needs. All equipment will be provided but you will need to take a packed lunch.  Booking is essential. www.greenglow.co.nz or 0800476459.

 

Kiwi Cave Rafting.

Duration: 5 hours

Price:$160

Level of fitness required: Average to Good.

 

Another great adventure trip. On this trip you will get wet. To start with you will abseil down a dramatic 27m drop in to the cave to join the river. Once you are in the river there is a combination of exploring on foot and floating about on inflated innertubes. At times it will be possible to turn the lights out so that you can admire the glowworm display that is in the cave. On this trip you need to save a little bit of energy for the last part of the adventure, climbing out. You get to climb back up the dramatic 27m drop. It is not a hard climb and prior experience is not required. You will also be on a safety line so you can relax and enjoy the scenery as you head towards daylight. Then it is back to the base for a quick shower. Group sizes tend to be small with a maximum group size of 6. All equipment is provided, but you will need to take your own swimwear, towel and a spare pair of socks. Booking is advised. www.caveraft.com

 

Tube It.

Duration: 2 hours

Price: $124 per adult, $110 per child.

Level of fitness required: Suitable for all.

 

The word for this trip is fun. It is an easy going adventure that takes you through a pleasant cave system that does have glowworm displays. This is one for the whole family (as long as you are over 36kg). This is a combination of exploring on foot, and floating in an inflated innertube through the cave. There is a waterslide on this trip that you will get to float over and a jump off a waterfall (optional). Lots of fun and a good trip to do if you are not sure how adventurous you are. You will be guided through in groups of up to 12. You will need to take swimwear and a towel (and toiletries for the shower afterwards). Everything else will be provided. Booking is advised. www.caveworld.co.nz

 

Spellbound Cave Tours.

Duration: Allow up to 3 and a half hours

Price: $70 per adult and $25 per child.

Level of fitness required: Basic.

 

An exceptional trip to view not just the biggest and brightest glowworm display in Waitomo, other cave features and decorations but also the surrounding dramatic limestone countryside. This is a small group tour (no more than 12 in a group), because of that, each trip is tailored to the groups needs. There is no hurry. The trip consists of a spectacular van ride out to the caves, 2 caves and a refreshment break between the two caves. In one cave you get to focus on just glowworms. Lighting in this cave is very low to allow your eyes to adjust to glowworm light as quickly as possible.Everyone is encouraged to get up close to these little creatures. Your guide will carefully explain the glowworm’s life cycle and habits as well as answer questions. There is a serene 15-20 minute boat ride under a mass of glowworms. During the boat ride there are no other sources of light allowed, to maximise glowworm viewng. The other cave that you visit on this trip is a beautifully decorated cave with a formed footpath and sympathetic lighting. There are vertical hole in to the ‘Cave of the Spirit’ which at certain times of the day allow beams of sunlight to penetrate in to the cave. This is a deluxe tour that is suitable for everyone. Children are welcome. Bring warm clothes and comfortable, sturdy footwear. Cameras are welcome. Due to small group size booking is recommended. www.glowworm.co.nz or 0800773552.

 

 

 

Waitomo Glowworm cave

Duration: Allow 45 minutes

Price: $48 per adult $21

Level of fitness required: Basic (although you will need to be able to descend a flight of stairs).

 

Tourism started in Waitomo in the late 1800’s with just one trip through just one cave. That same trip can still be done today, although the trip has changed quite a lot. It is a dry trip that is easy going for most. You will be guided through in groups of up to 50, going very early in the day or late in the afternoon will help you to avoid crowds. The tour takes you through some pretty and well lit areas of the cave culminating in the catherdral of the cave. This is a very large chamber with some lovely cave decoration. From there you will be guided to the jetty. The lighting is dim in this area as once you get on the boat you will be able to see Glowworms. There is only the light of the glowworms as the boat  moves away from the jetty and floats on the river. The boat floats out of the cave to an outside jetty where you will be assisted off the boat. To stay comfortable in the cave it is advised to wear a jumper of jacket and comfortable shoes. High heels are not recommended. Photography is not allowed anywhere in the cave. Trips run every half an hour on and past the hour. Booking is not required. www.waitomo.com