Waitomo Journals

A Caving We Will Go...in Wild Waitomo

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A March 2003 trip to Waitomo by wanderluster

KiwiPaka YHA Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand More Photos
Quote: Feeling adventurous? Try abseiling 300 feet into the eerie Lost World cave, then swimming, jumping and rock climbing your way back out. Not your thing? Go for spectacular walks inside and outside Anarui Cave, ride a boat under a zillion twinkling glowworms or try blackwater rafting. Choices abound!

A Caving We Will Go...in Wild Waitomo

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Information Center is located in the Cave Museum  Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
This is glowworm cave country...where you can explore multiple caves at whatever level of physical exertion you feel up to: boating, walking, inner-tubing, swimming, climbing or abseiling. Above ground amid rolling hills you can ride horses, quad bikes, or even drive your own jet boat. Our favorite all-day tour in New Zealand was the Lost World Epic abseiling and caving adventure here in Waitomo. Absolutely thrilling to descend through a mist 300 feet into a magical cave, then swim, jump, climb and squeeze your way out the dark deep interior. A must do! Another hit was the scenic Waitomo Walkway that led from pastures to a forest studded with limestone formations. We also rode...Read More

KiwiPaka YHA

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Hotel

KiwiPaka YHA Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
Kiwipaka was one of our favorite hostels in New Zealand...brand-spanking new with the friendliest staff, situated smack in the middle of the caving village. It felt more like a hotel than a hostel. Plus it's adjoining restaurant served the best food in town. For starters, staff at Kiwipaka were attentive and helpful months before I even met them. Quick to reply to my emails, they provided me with information and answers and went beyond the call of duty. They arranged a private shuttle at midnight for us from the train station at Otohanga to Kiwipaka, and waited up for us to check in. With smiles on their faces. We got off the train tired fr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

KiwiPaka YHA
In the heart of Waitomo Village
Waitomo, New Zealand

Abseiling into Lost World Cave (part 1)

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Attraction

Abseiling into Lost World Cave (part 1) Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
The highlight of the tour begins with abseiling 300 feet into a sinkhole, where a stream of sunlight illuminates an eerie mist at the bottom of the cave floor and lights up mosses and ferns along the cave walls. Magical. Truly a Lost World atmosphere. A year ago when David and I watched competing teams on TV's Amazing Race, "abseil down the deepest and most dramatic cave in the world," we were mesmerized, and knew we had to do the same! Waitomo Adventure Company is the company to go with! Guides are fantastic, and everything is included from gear (wetsuits, helmets, headlamps, gumboots) to food (lunch, tea, even a barbecue dinner after hot showers). And groups are small (max eight)...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Abseiling into Lost World Cave (part 1)
Waitomo Caves Village
Waitomo, New Zealand

Waitomo Adventures

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Attraction | "Wild Wet Adventures in Lost World Cave (part 2)"

Waitomo Adventures Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
"Are you a goer?" the young Kiwi guide asked, his eyes sparkling. David nodded. "Yep? Then go on, you're first," he said pointing over the darkened edge of a cliff. "Jump!" "Where?" I asked incredulously, peering into vast black nothingness, straining to see water below. "No way," my inner voice shrieked. With trepidation I watched David jump, following the light of his headlamp as he plunged into the belly of the cave, eventually splashing into the river below. He surfaced laughing, exhilarated, whooping with delight. "Come on, it's great!" I glanced at my white gum boots perched on the edge of slippery limestone willing them to move. "Just jump straight d...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Waitomo Adventures

Waitomo, New Zealand

Aranui Cave

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Attraction | "A simple, dry walk through Aranui Cave"

Aranui Cave Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
This was a short 45-minute easy walk through a spectacular cave where photos are allowed. You won't see any glowworms here, but you will come face to face with some amazing limestone formations including the usual stalagmites and stalagtites, coral, straw stalactities, shawls and flowstone. Located a bit out of town you have several choices on transportation. You can walk here along the scenic Waitomo Walkway beginning at the Visitor Information Center which will take about an hour and a half, drive here from Waitomo Village in 15 minutes, or do like we did and ask for a ride when you make your booking at the Information Center. We purchased our tickets there and walked 10 minutes to the Glowwor...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Aranui Cave
Waitomo Caves Road
Waitmo, New Zealand

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

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Attraction | "Wandering along the scenic Waitomo Walkway"

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
This was one of my favorite short walks in all of NZ. The Waitomo Walkway winds through karst landscape--over rolling green hills scattered with limestone outcroppings and through a forest--leading to Ruakuri Natural Bridge, the scenic highlight of the hike, where waterfalls cascading over mossy rocks and limestone caves beg to be explored. The trail starts across the Information Center and takes a minimum of three hours round trip. Just allow plenty of time, and bring torches. It gets very dark at night, scary for hiking back, but perfect for seeing hundreds of blue-green glowworms twinkling for free. My husband, David, and I started out at 5:30pm on a sunny summer day in...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo Caves Road
Waitmo, New Zealand
64 7 878 8227

Horseback riding over Hobbit-like land

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Attraction

Horseback riding over Hobbit-like land Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
I'd been dying to go horseback riding throughout my stay in New Zealand, but I had been rained out thus far. So I made reservations in Waitomo. And naturally it rained. But the next day was beautiful, and we finally got to go. Waitomo Caves Horse Treks is an operation run by Rob and Cathy from their farm about 25 minutes west of Waitomo. They'll come into town to pick you up for free with a minimum of two riders. We made and paid our booking at our hostel Kiwipaka, signing up for a two-hour ride. At 9:30am, Cathy promptly picked us up at the hostel and drove us through the country. Her 18-month old was in the car entertaining us, reminding us of our own 22-month old at home. Cathy ex...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Horseback riding over Hobbit-like land
20 minutes drive from Waitomo
Waitomo, New Zealand

Pioneer History at the Kiwi Cultural Show

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Attraction

Pioneer History at the Kiwi Cultural Show Photo, Waitomo, New Zealand
Quote:
Once a day at 1:30pm, a strangely unique Kiwi puts on a one-man show illustrating and explaining New Zealand's agricultural heritage. Billy Black (being the sole employee at his Woodlyn Park) picked us up at the Information Center and drove us to his rather large building which houses a country-styled bar/reception room, and a stage to hold his pioneer show. We looked around the old photographs and farming equipment on the walls while he waited for other people to arrive. Slowly people wandered in. He energetically moved across the stage, passionately sharing pioneer history in a humorous light. What a character! Robin Williams incarnate. Same sense of humor, voice, even appearance. On...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 23, 2003

Pioneer History at the Kiwi Cultural Show
10 minute drive from Waitomo
Waitomo, New Zealand