on January 14, 2007
Volcanic action in the Waikato region has made it one of the worlds greenest places and ideal for agriculture, raising dairy cattle, thoroughbred horses and exotic timber.Due to this richness the Maori people did not want to sell the land forcing the Government to confiscate it in the 1860s Waikato Wars. Situated in this region, the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves are one of the natural wonders of New Zealand and a big tourist attraction. For NZ$30 each you are taken through the caves by a guide on foot who explains about the stalactites and stalagmites. One of the caves has wonderful acoustics and we were asked if anyone would like to test them by singing. No-one volunteered so our guide - a Maori lady - gave a rendition of a Maori song.As our tour progressed we reached an area where there were glow-worms on the roof, at which time the lights are dimmed to allow you to view a myriad of tiny lights.The tour then continues to a boat which you board and drift slowly through the dark caves with glow-worms overhead lighting your way. No photography is allowed until you near the end of the boat journey. Tickets are available from the Visitor Information Centre at the Museum of Caves situated further up the road. At this area refreshments and toilets are available. There is also a large car park across from the caves entrance, so you don't have to walk.There had been a fire prior to our visit with a lot of the buildings and surrounding area being lost. The area was recovering, but a lot of the buildings were temporary ones.The area also offers other activities such as abseiling into caverns, floating through caverns on tubes, horse trekking, jetboats and 4 wheel drive guided tours. There is also the Ruakuri Bushwalk which takes you through 3 short caves with unusual limestone formations.
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